J. Stuart Ablon, Ph.D., is the Director of Think:Kids in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is also Associate Professor and the Thomas G. Stemberg Endowed Chair in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Ablon is author of the books Changeable: The Surprising Science Behind Helping Anyone Change, Treating Explosive Kids: The Collaborative Problem Solving Approach, and The School Discipline Fix.
Dr. Ablon received his doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of California at Berkeley and completed his training at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. A dynamic and engaging speaker, Dr. Ablon was ranked #5 on the list of the world’s top rated keynote speakers in the academic arena. Dr. Ablon trains parents, educators, and clinicians, and helps organizations throughout the world implement the Collaborative Problem Solving approach.
Laura Benkov, Ph.D. is the Clinic Director at Think:Kids, Assistant in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Clinical Instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Benkov is both a psychotherapist and neuropsychologist who has worked with children, adults, couples and families for the past three decades in a variety of community mental health, private practice, school and hospital settings. She is the author of Reinventing the Family: The Emerging Story of Lesbian and Gay Parents (Crown Publishers 1994) as well as numerous articles and book chapters. She has taught at the Family Institute of Cambridge and Boston University and been an instructor at Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Benkov earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at City University of New York and completed her pre-doctoral internship at Children’s Hospital Boston and Judge Baker Guidance Center. Before joining Think:Kids, she was a senior/supervising psychologist at Children’s Hospital Boston, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and New England Memorial Hospital, as well as a clinician at Fenway Community Health Center, Somerville Mental Health Child Services, Tri-City Mental Health Associates and Milton Academy.
Marjorie Berkowitz, Psy.D., is a Licensed Psychologist and Clinical Instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and full-time staff clinician at Think:Kids. Dr. Berkowitz has worked with many behaviorally challenging youth in diverse settings which include outpatient, inpatient, and school-based services. Dr. Berkowitz has specialized training and experience in the field of forensic psychology, including the assessment and treatment of childhood trauma and the challenges faced by families connected with the juvenile justice system.
Dr. Berkowitz earned her doctorate in clinical psychology at the George Washington University and completed her internship training at the Psychiatric Institute of Washington, in Washington, D.C. She also completed postdoctoral fellowship training in the area of child maltreatment at Hackensack University Medical Center. Dr. Berkowitz completed postdoctoral coursework in both Family/Civil and Criminal Forensic Psychology at Montclair State University.
Jennifer Cormier is the Program Coordinator for Think:Kids in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. Jen earned her BA in Corporate Communications at Framingham State University.
Prior to joining Think:Kids, Jen worked as a Service Coordinator in home care where she managed a team of over 100 home health aides in the Boston area. Jen has an eagerness to help others and is excited for the opportunity to work with children and their families.
Amefika Desir is Think:Kids’ Staff Assistant, and the first person many of our new partners and patients talk to when they find Think:Kids. As the front desk manager, she assists patients and clinicians in booking appointments, handles inquiries and information requests, and serves as a welcoming presence to all who work with us.
In her other role, Amefika coordinates the full slate of New England trainings, overseeing registrations, confirmations and operations at sites across the region. Amefika joined Think:Kids in 2015 after training in the Partners Career & Workforce Development program. She was previously employed in the Campaign Department of the Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD), and she is currently completing a bachelor’s degree in Communications.
Christopher Eddy is the Clinical Research Coordinator for Think:Kids in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. Chris earned his BA in psychology with a certificate in mental health from The University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.
Prior to joining Think:Kids, Chris worked in a variety of child and adolescent psychiatric care facilities; most recently as a milieu counselor at Boston Children’s Hospital. He plans on pursuing a PhD in Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychology with a focus on treatment design and outcomes. Chris is excited to continue working to improve the care provided to children and their families.
Daisy Gómez-Hugenberger, LSW, MA is the Outreach & Communications Manager for Think:Kids. She is responsible for developing and managing an overarching communications/outreach strategy for the program.
Previously, Daisy directed a diverse portfolio of communication activities for the Massachusetts juvenile corrections department. Daisy also served as a Licensed Social Worker in the Psychosocial Oncology Dept. of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Boston Children’s Hospital where she assisted pediatric cancer patients and their families. At the Dana-Farber/Brigham & Women’s Cancer Center, she coordinated support groups and programs for adult patients who were parenting with cancer.
Daisy is dedicated to supporting programs that are evidence-based, results-oriented, and compassionately puts young people at the focus of healthy and positive development. She earned her master’s degree in marketing management from the Extension School at Harvard University, and received a bachelor’s degree in sociology and public relations from the State University of New York at Geneseo.
Sara Hepburn, MA is a Project Manager for Think:Kids in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. Sara received her BA in East Asian Studies from Brown University and her MA in Sustainable Development from SIT Graduate School (formerly the School for International Training).
Prior to joining Think:Kids, Sara managed several complex domestic and international projects. Projects included designing and managing a gleaning project for low-income families in northern Vermont; an USAID project at Tufts University Medical and Veterinary Schools that installed a technology in several east African countries and the D.R.C. to help health workers study, communicate, and respond to outbreaks of zoonotic diseases; and a research project studying multi-drug resistant Tuberculosis at Harvard Medical School. Most recently, Sara was at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA, working on an IMLS-funded project that created and assessed the viability of an application for blind and low-vision museum visitors.
A former Peace Corps volunteer (Bangladesh) and avid traveler, you can most often find Sara during her down time relaxing at the beach with her husband and young son.
Erin Hill, Ph.D., is a Licensed Psychologist and Clinical Instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and a full-time staff clinician at Think:Kids. Dr. Hill has worked with youth and families in a variety of settings including inpatient, outpatient, residential treatment, and therapeutic schools and summer camps. The primary focus of Dr. Hill’s training has been on providing evidence-based treatment to children and adolescents experiencing acute emotional distress and/or behavioral challenges.
Dr. Hill received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Suffolk University and her master’s in child development from Tufts University. Dr. Hill completed her internship training at Astor Services for Children and Families, in Rhinebeck, NY. She also completed postdoctoral fellowship training at the University of Minnesota.
Naomi Kling, MA is the Director of Operations for Think:Kids in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. Naomi received her BA and MA in Economics and Finance from Brandeis University.
Prior to joining Think:Kids, Naomi served in a variety of other roles at Mass General including Practice Manager for the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program and Project Manager for the MGH Substance Use Disorders Strategic Initiative. Naomi has a passion for supporting innovation and quality improvement in the way we care for marginalized and vulnerable populations.
Alisha R. Pollastri, Ph.D., is Director of Research and Evaluation at Think:Kids. For the last decade, Dr. Pollastri’s research has focused on the identification of neurobiological, social, and environmental factors that contribute to disruptive behaviors, particularly in children. At Think:Kids, Dr. Pollastri is responsible for evaluating how, and for whom, Collaborative Problem Solving works best. Through the analysis of data collected in our clinic and in our partner schools and agencies, Dr. Pollastri strives to promote a clearer understanding of challenging kids and to improve child outcomes.
Dr. Pollastri earned her doctorate in clinical psychology at Clark University, and completed a clinical internship in community and school-based mental health at South Shore Mental Health Inc. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the Psychiatric and Neurodevelopmental Genetics Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
Ben Stich, LICSW, M.Ed is the Director of Certification for Think:Kids. Ben provides strategic and administrative leadership to the Think:Kids certification team. Together, the team uses a mixture of training, group supervision, recording reviews and individual coaching to create experts in applying the Collaborative Problem Solving model, as well as certified trainers of the model.
Ben has extensive experience in working with young people with challenging behavior, and currently provides CPS family counseling and Family and Divorce Mediation in his private practice in Natick, MA. Previously, Ben worked for eight years as a Program Director at Germaine Lawrence, a residential treatment program for adolescent girls, and six years as an Adjustment Counselor at a Massachusetts high school where he introduced and helped the district adopt CPS. He earned an MSW from the Boston College Graduate School of Social Work and an M.Ed in Organizational Development from Endicott College.
Lu Wang, Ph.D., is a Research Associate at Think:Kids. Dr. Wang has worked on social cognition development in preschoolers, investigating how children understand people’s thoughts and actions, and factors that contribute to the development of children’s social skills. Dr. Wang also earned a master’s in Statistics, with a specialty in educational statistics and measurement.
At Think:Kids, Dr. Wang applies her knowledge in research design and statistical modeling to evaluate how Collaborative Problem Solving works, and to better understand factors impacting CPS treatment effects. Dr. Wang earned her doctorate in cognitive psychology and her master in Statistics at Rutgers University – New Brunswick. Before coming to the U.S. for education, Dr. Wang earned her BS from Peking University in China.
Randi Cooper, M.Ed., is a Clinical Trainer and Consultant for Think:Kids. In her role she provides coaching/consultation and training in the Collaborative Problem Solving model in a diverse range of settings and systems of care. She is passionate about supporting parents and professionals in shifting their mindset in how they view individuals with challenging behavior by viewing it through the CPS lens.
In addition to her work at Think:Kids, Randi is a Behavior Specialist and Special Educator with 16 years experience working with students who display challenging behavior. More than seven years ago, she fully implemented CPS in her self-contained behavior class with excellent results: a significant reduction in chronic challenging behavior and the development of healthy relationships with students and parents.
Randi has also worked as a Behavior Specialist and Think:Kids Certified Professional Trainer for NW Regional Education Service District in Hillsboro, OR and in a special behavior school for developmentally delayed students who lived in residential group home.
Beth Holliman, MA, LPC, has worked with children and families in a variety of different settings over the past 20 years including residential treatment, foster care and outpatient services.
Beth has a master degree in Counseling Psychology and is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Oregon. She is passionate about Collaborative Problem Solving and teaching the CPS model not only to agency staff and providers, but also to parents and caregivers. Beth served as the Director of Crisis Psychiatric Services for over decade at a community non-profit before stepping into her role at Oregon University of Health and Science University. She currently oversees the Collaborative Problem Solving Project at Oregon Health and Science University which is tasked with overseeing state- wide implementation of CPS across the children’s system of care.
Michael Hone, MA, has worked in child and adolescent services since 1988 in a variety of settings including child welfare, youth justice, education and child and youth mental health. He began his career as a child & youth worker, then following receipt of a Masters in Education degree in 1998 became a therapist. Currently he is the Executive Director of a Children’s Mental Health Centre in Ottawa, Canada.
Michael has been committed to implementing the Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) approach across Ontario, and to date has trained approximately 8,000 people in Ontario. This includes the police, fire departments, children’s aid societies, parent organizations, other mental health organizations, and learning institutions (schools, colleges and universities). All of which are working together towards the common goal of improving outcomes for the ever increasing number of children and youth requiring mental health services. He is one of 2 Master trainers in Canada for Collaborative Problem Solving. Michael also is involved with the Advisory Council of Think:Kids at Massachusetts General Hospital
Heather Johnson, LCSW, is a Clinical Trainer and Consultant for Think:Kids. Heather provides coaching and training to various individuals and organizations seeking to learn CPS and integrate the model within their professional practice and organizations. Heather has served as a Behavior Specialist in McMinnville, OR for 10 years and through this time has developed a particular interest in service to young people with challenging behavior in the school setting. Through this role, Heather provides school-based behavior support to students, consultation and training to school staff, and coordinates with building and district administration regarding policy and practice.
Heather also has a small private practice specializing in services to children and adolescents and their families. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education and Human Development from Wheelock College in Boston, MA and her MSW from the University of New Hampshire.
Margaret Johnson, MSW, is a Think:Kids Clinical Consultant and Trainer who specializes in applying and implementing CPS in child welfare settings. A west coast native, Margaret has been working with at-risk families and children since 2000. She earned her social work degree from the University of Southern California.
Margaret is passionate about addressing the impact of social trauma on behaviors and is committed to helping marginalized communities integrate the Collaborative Problem Solving model. She has completed in-depth study and application of trauma-informed care under the tutelage of the National Council on Behavioral Health and has participated in child trauma assessment and case management training with Dr. Bruce Perry. As a writer, artist, and musician, Margaret approaches all aspects of her work and life with creative energy. She is based in Portland, OR.
Erik J. Kola, RN, QMHP is a faculty member in the division of child and adolescent psychiatry at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) and the coordinator of the CPS Project in the State of Oregon.
Erik has been fostering the growth of CPS in the state of Oregon for more than a decade. He is a Certified Master Trainer in Collaborative Problem Solving through Think:Kids at MGH. Erik teaches, trains, consults, and coaches professionals and families in education, mental health, foster care and residential settings in the application of the CPS model. His practical scope of experience includes working in acute psychiatric inpatient programs (adult/youth), special educational settings, juvenile justice programs, community based programs, and system development projects.
Erik is a resource for answering questions about CPS in the state of Oregon, and continues to help re-think the challenges that kids and families are experiencing through promoting the foundational philosophy that all “people do well if they can.”
Ted Layman, LCSW, is a Clinical Trainer and Consultant for Think:Kids who provides trainings and coaching to a wide range of organizations seeking to learn the CPS model and integrate it into their programs.
Ted has been working with at-risk youth and families since 2002 in Ohio and Oregon in a variety of rural and urban clinical settings including juvenile justice, substance abuse, outpatient mental health, schools, violence prevention outreach, foster care, residential, home-based services, clinical supervision and private practice. He has been using the CPS approach for the past five years and was certified by Think:Kids as a CPS trainer in 2014. In addition to his work at Think:Kids, Ted works as a family therapist at Restore Therapy, LLC, a group practice in Portland, OR specializing in helping children and families heal from trauma. Ted earned his MSW from Ohio University in Athens, OH.
Averi Schaubman, LCSW, BCD is a Certified Trainer and Consultant for Think:Kids. She provides intensive training and coaching support in the CPS approach to schools and community organizations committed to improving lives for kids and families.
Averi worked as a clinical social worker in Cherry Creek Schools in Denver, CO for 27 years with an emphasis on working with adolescents with behavioral challenges. During her time in Cherry Creek, she helped to develop and implement the district’s intensive treatment program for kids and adolescents with severe behavioral challenges, and she served as the program’s director for two years. Averi also helped form the Cherry Creek’s CPS team, providing behavioral consultation and staff training in the schools using the CPS approach. Currently, she has a private practice and works with youth and families to implement CPS.
Averi received her BA in Child Psychology from Clark University in Worcester, MA and her MSW from the University of Denver GSSW. She has been using CPS in her professional work for the past 13 years and is committed to the philosophy and approach in working with all youth.
Jordan Spikes is a Clinical Trainer and Consultant at Think:Kids, providing training and coaching for individuals and organizations interested in implementing CPS in their systems. He earned a BS in Psychology from Oregon State University and has worked in the mental health and special education arenas as a front-line staff, coach and administrator for more than 12 years.
With a goal of shifting mindsets away from conventional “people choosing to misbehave” to a neurobiologically-guided mindset of viewing behavioral challenges as a form of learning disorder, Jordan joins with educators, parents, and caregivers in the responsibility of teaching individuals the necessary skills to meet daily, real-world expectations.
Natasha Tatartcheff-Quesnel, MSW is a Certified Master Trainer and Consultant for Think:Kids. She provides Tier 1 and Tier 2 trainings as well as site-specific consultations in English and in French.
Natasha completed her fellowship for her Master’s in Social Work at Think:Kids in the department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. She is committed to implementing the Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) approach in Canada and the United States and, to date, she has trained and provided implementation support to numerous sites including police and fire departments, children’s aid societies, parent organizations, mental health agencies and learning institutions (schools, colleges and universities. These coaching and training efforts are aimed at providing compassionate care and ultimately improving outcomes for children and youth with complex needs and their families.
Natasha has worked in child and adolescent services since 1991 in a variety of settings including residential services, secure treatment, youth justice, education, substance abuse, child and youth mental health, as well as in the private sector. She has also reviewed child and youth mental health systems internationally using the SOCPR and presented on the topic at numerous conferences with a specific focus on bridging the gap between System Care concepts by utilizing CPS to actualize those concepts at the level of practice.
Whitney Vail, Psy.D., is a Clinical Trainer and Consultant for Think:Kids. Dr. Vail is a licensed psychologist in Oregon, where she has been a leader in using, teaching, supervising and implementing CPS with children, adolescents, families and adults in a variety of institutional settings including day treatment, children’s psychiatric residential care, children’s state hospital level of care, juvenile corrections (ages 12-24), and the adult psychiatric state hospital. Dr. Vail has been a Think:Kids Certified Trainer since 2011 and is a member of the Oregon CPS Advisory Board.
Dr. Vail earned her doctorate in clinical psychology from Pacific University, completing her internship and residency at Trillium Family Services in Portland, Oregon. She earned her Master’s in Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from Pepperdine University.