Our Team

Photo of Dr. Reynolds

Michelle Reynolds, PhD

Founder and Owner

Dr. Reynolds is a Licensed Psychologist in the state of Connecticut. She graduated from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University and has worked in a range of mental health settings, including group practices in Wallingford and Glastonbury. She is the founder of  the LifeCatalyst: Therapy and Coaching practice and has a passion for helping people integrate healthy lifestyle choices across all aspects of life using a holistic model to help patients flourish. Some specialized areas of interest include: Creating a meaningful life, Putting values into action and Living your best life. Dr. Reynolds is a member of the American Psychological Association and Connecticut Psychological Association.

Specializes in working with:
  • People struggling with acute or chronic health difficulties
  • Professionals dealing with high levels of stress or burnout
  • Individuals in times of transition or wishing to make life changes through Life Coaching
  • Social and emotional challenges of gifted and talented individuals
  • Adults, children, and teens struggling with anxiety disorders such as obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, or generalized anxiety disorder
  • Adults, children, and teens with ADHD and executive skills functioning challenges
  • Adults, children, and teens on the Autism Spectrum
  • Play therapy, behavioral therapy, and social skills training for young children
  • Parents trying to create a more peaceful and cohesive family life

Debbie DevVecchio

Debbie DelVecchio, MAAT, ATR, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor and Art Therapist

Debbie holds her Masters in Art Therapy from Albertus Magnus College, is a Nationally Registered Art Therapist, and is a Connecticut Licensed Professional Counselor. She has worked as an art therapist with individuals across the lifespan. Most recently, Debbie has supported children and adolescents in both private practice and school settings.

Through individual and group counseling, Debbie utilizes art therapy interventions and expressive modalities to help young people work through school-related stress, anxiety, self-esteem issues, and social concerns. Debbie also specializes in support and guidance for parents navigating the stress and demands of school during these difficult times. Debbie also has extensive experience supporting individuals and families managing memory issues and dementia in assisted living and memory care settings. She helps her clients reduce their stress, improve their focus, and stimulate their senses–all while instilling hope and increasing their ability to cope with life changes.

Through her work, Debbie is able to enhance quality of life despite physical, psychological, and or cognitive losses. Debbie provides a safe and empathetic space where creativity, self-expression, introspective change, and healing occurs. Her work is based in the belief that expression through art is natural and often easier than communication through spoken word.

"Art Therapy is a mental health profession that uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages."

American Art Therapy Association

Deborah Pagano, MA

Licensed Professional Counselor Associate

Deborah is a nationally certified and licensed professional counselor associate in Connecticut, driven by an inherent desire to help individuals find hope and achieve transformative growth. Utilizing an integrative, person-centered, strengths-based approach, she incorporates cognitive-based and solution-focused methodologies into tailored plans to ensure her clients feel safe, respected and heard. Her passion extends to supporting adults, couples, parents, families, caretakers, teens, and college students, assisting each in developing effective strategies to manage anxiety, stress, relationships, trauma, grief, depression, and career challenges.

She firmly believes in the potential for extraordinary growth within every individual, regardless of their past challenges. While reaching out can be intimidating, Deborah sees it as a courageous and crucial step where the journey towards restoration begins, and she considers it a privilege to be a part of that journey.

While obtaining her Master's degree at Fairfield University, Deborah dedicated her last year to refining her counseling skills at Sacred Heart University, working with college students facing mental health and wellness issues. She continues to derive satisfaction from assisting teens and young adults, helping them navigate their crucial formative years and grow in healthy ways.

Before embarking on her graduate journey, she served as a Regional Coordinator for the Connecticut Family Support Network and volunteered on numerous state and local councils, advocating for families' voices to be heard and represented in crucial decision-making processes. It is here that her passion for working with parents, families, and couples facing the unique challenges associated with raising a child with special needs began. This experience laid the groundwork for working with couples who for many reasons have grown apart. Deborah enjoys assisting couples to develop healthy communication patterns rekindling the joy they once shared.

Deborah finds joy herself in life's simple pleasures—walks with her sweet canine companion, nurturing cut-flower gardens, and curating inviting spaces through her love of interior design. Together with her husband, she finds fulfillment in the art of home remodeling and crafting delicious vegetarian foods. Deborah also enjoys deep conversations shared with her son, a college student on his own unique path.

Jennifer Brubacher

Jennifer Brubacher, MSW

Licensed Master Social Worker

Jen is a Licensed Master of Social Work who is honored to work in the field of wellbeing and mental health and is passionate about empowering people in their own healing process.

Jen’s style is accepting, compassionate and warm. Her goal is to come alongside her clients, working collaboratively with them, to harness existing strengths and wisdom to live a more authentic, meaningful, and fulfilling life. Together, we will work to explore thinking patterns, behaviors, and beliefs to foster greater self-understanding and increase tools that support vitality and flourishing.

Jen is committed to a holistic framework of integrating self-compassion and curiosity as guiding principles to increase internal self-awareness as well as the embodied experience. Jen often incorporates mindfulness and grounding techniques to build emotion-regulation skills which can also enhance the client’s ability to navigate their environment and external stressors.

Jen might draw from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Somatic Body-based techniques, and Positive Psychology concepts that align with current neuroscience research regarding rewiring the brain/body response. Jen also believes in the therapeutic benefits of connecting with nature, creative expression, and laughter.

Jen has experience working with the mental and emotional impact of inadequate resources, parenting, anxiety, coping with stress, life transitions, chronic pain, women’s health issues, cancer support, and those adjusting to a medical diagnosis.

Rachel Burton, MA

Licensed Professional Counselor

Rachel  is a licensed professional counselor (LPC) with the state of Connecticut and a board-certified dance/movement therapist (BC-DMT). She received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance with a minor in psychology from The University of Alabama and her Master of Arts in Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling from Antioch University New England. Rachel has experience providing services for clients in various settings including inpatient hospitalization, short-term residential treatment, PHP and IOP, schools, and outpatient treatment. In addition, Rachel has training in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Rachel meets each client where they are at and encourages clients to develop and strengthen resources in their bodies to support their mental health. She enjoys working with all ages and provider group sessions as well as individual sessions. Rachel uses mindfulness, breath work, progressive muscle relaxation, and Thich Nhat Hanh's mindful movements. This helps people learn and practice practical strategies for feeling physically and mentally relaxed, decreasing stress, increasing body awareness, and strengthening the mind-body connection. Rachel also helps children develop spatial awareness, self-regulation strategies, affect awareness and regulation, and empathy by incorporating dance, music, drama, and play.

Cristina Martins-Sikorsky, MSW

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Cristina is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of Connecticut. She graduated from Springfield College with her Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology in 2008 and completed her Master of Social Work degree in 2009. In 2019, she attended Sacred Heart University, attaining her Intermediate Administrator Certification in Education. Cristina has worked in a variety of mental health settings including Yale Child Study Center Intensive In-Home Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Services, Yale School of Medicine Child Study Center Outpatient Clinic, and practice groups in Sandy Hook and Wallingford, CT.

Cristina has worked as a school social worker and as a Social and Emotional Learning coach for a public school system for nine years. Cristina has had significant experience with Special Education, PPT process, and advocacy for people belonging to traditionally vulnerable groups like children and those with disabilities. Cristina’s role as a Social and Emotional Coach is to develop improved school climate and culture while targeting increased ability to possess emotional recognition, reflection, self-management skills, responsible decision-making skills, and establish and maintain positive relationships.

Cristina has experience working with children, families, and young adults, utilizing strength-based coaching, cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, parent management training, solution-focused therapy, family therapy, and child-centered play therapy. Cristina believes that self-care and prevention allows you time for discovery, renewal, self-reflection, healing, love, and an opportunity to be the best version of yourself. Times can be overwhelming and fast-paced,  it is incredibly important for Cristina's clients to feel safe and comfortable throughout their therapeutic journey. She will work alongside you throughout the marathon called life.

Specializes in working with:
  • Children who are dealing with anxiety, depression, trauma, and difficulty regulating their emotions
  • Children/adolescents who are dealing with self-esteem, self-awareness, social awareness, and relationship challenges
  • Mindfulness Meditation practices
  • Children and families dealing with divorces
  • People who are struggling with communication challenges in relationships
  • Young adults who are launching and coping with various societal expectations and stressors
  • People coping with grief and loss
  • Parent support around educational advocacy for students 4-21 years of age

Danielle Johnson, MA, MSW

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Danielle is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of Connecticut who has extensive experience working with children and families. She graduated from Southern Connecticut State University with a Master of Arts degree in Psychology. She also graduated from Fordham University with a Master of Social Work degree. Danielle has worked with at-risk children in a residential treatment facility and as well as incarcerated adolescents. She has also worked providing counseling support and Emergency Mobile Psychiatric Services to children and their families at Clifford Beers Clinic.

Danielle has worked as a Social Worker in a middle school setting for the past 16 years providing social and emotional support to students. She has extensive knowledge of the special education and Section 504 process. She has also chaired various committees including school climate, SRBI, Anti-Defamation League training with students, and other various committees to support student growth.

Specializing in:
  • Equipping children with coping skills to regulate their emotions
  • Guiding adolescents through challenges of depression, anxiety, and self-esteem
  • Providing compassionate support to adolescents coping with grief and loss
  • Facilitating social skills development in children and adolescents
  • Providing parental support around educational advocacy
  • Parent guidance for challenges related to developmental stages

Corey Roos, PhD

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Roos is a licensed clinical psychologist in the state of Connecticut offering evidence-based individual psychotherapy. He has expertise treating adults and adolescents struggling with: (1) anxiety, depression, chronic stress, and/or sleep problems, (2) alcohol or drug use problems, (3) chronic pain/health conditions; (4) eating disorders, or (5) a combination of these issues. In addition to providing clinical care, he is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine. In this role, he conducts clinical research focused on improving the effectiveness of psychotherapy, particularly for the issues listed above. He has published over 50 scientific articles and co-authored a book on mindfulness-based therapy. As a therapist, Dr. Roos values collaboration and compassion. He strives to honor your needs and preferences and always treat you with respect and dignity. Finally, he believes that the role of therapy is not only to reduce symptoms, but also to enhance quality of life, meaning, and purpose in life.

Jessica Shultis

Counseling Intern

Jess is a graduate student at Albertus Magnus College studying Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She earned her Bachelor’s in Developmental Psychology from Eastern Connecticut State University. She joins the field of counseling as an intern with hopes to gain a deeper understanding of mental health as a whole, empower others, and be a support system to those who embark on their healing journey. Jess’s therapeutic style includes a client-centered, cognitive-behavioral, strengths-based approach. She believes that the client’s goals for healing guide the therapeutic process. Her purpose is to be a non-judgmental, empathetic, and trustworthy individual who can provide skills for success. During her internship at LifeCatalyst, Jess hopes to work with clients of all ages with a variety of mental health conditions. She has specific interests in working with individuals with physical disabilities, chronic pain, anxiety, behavioral issues, and those experiencing the general stressors of life. Jess has a wide range of experience from working with preschool-age children to disability services in higher education. 

Christine Saari, MA, C-IAYT

Yoga Therapist

Christine Saari is a Yoga Therapist specializing in meditation, breathwork, and somatic practices to treat mental health conditions. She has completed over 700 hours of advanced yoga training, and is currently under clinical supervision with Brandt Passalacqua through Breathing Deeply Yoga Therapy.

Yoga therapists treat health conditions using traditional practices based on current neuroscience research, and supported by a growing body of clinical evidence demonstrating the efficacy of these treatments. Christine works with anxiety disorders, PTSD, OCD, trauma, depression, grief and loss, addiction recovery, weight loss, chronic pain, fatigue, life transitions and cancer support. Christine is also an experienced Kids Yoga Instructor, offering therapeutic yoga classes at Guilford elementary schools. She works with children privately to help kids build self awareness and self-regulation skills through a play-based approach. Christine is grateful to be part of this emerging field providing complementary health options that empower people to take a leading role in their own healing process.

Nicole Ferri, RD, CD-N, CEDRD

Registered Dietitian and Certified Dietitian-Nutritionist

Nicole is a Registered Dietitian in the state of Connecticut who truly enjoys educating and guiding individuals through their nutrition journey. Nicole graduated from Keene State College, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Science- Nutrition and a Minor in Psychology. She then completed a dietetic internship at the Cleveland Clinic where she provided intensive nutrition therapy to numerous acute patient populations. After completing her internship, Nicole became licensed and worked at a residential eating disorder treatment program for children and adolescents as well as at her own nutrition practice. For many years, she worked with clients struggling with both disordered eating habits as well as a variety of mental health issues. Nicole has effectively helped hundreds of clients learn to properly fuel their bodies as well as foster appropriate attitudes and behaviors around food. She takes an individualized, non-diet, and integrative approach to help clients achieve lasting success. She is non-judgmental, compassionate, and sensitive to the variety of issues that can affect a person’s nutrition status.

Specializes in working with:
  • Non-diet, science-based nutrition interventions for optimizing health
  • Adolescent and young adult nutrition needs, ages 10-26
  • Disordered eating patterns and eating disorders
  • Mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and OCD and their effects on eating habits
  • Disease management and prevention (ex: diabetes, GI issues, heart disease, high blood pressure, etc)

Melinda Alcosser

Educational Coach and Academic Tutor

A graduate of Antioch College, Melinda’s teaching career began in 1987 at The Music and Art Center for the Humanities, University of Bridgeport, where she taught students with various developmental and physical challenges. She earned her preK-12 Connecticut Teaching Certification through the Yale University Teacher Preparation Program and MS in Environmental Education from Southern Connecticut State University, along with additional state certification in Elementary Education.

Melinda taught in New Haven at Betsy Ross Arts Magnet Middle School, Cooperative Arts High School, and Cold Spring School. She went on to teach middle school at Wightwood School on the shoreline. In 2009, she co-founded the groundbreaking independent school, Connecticut Experiential Learning Center in Branford, CT.

Melinda holds a Level One Trainer Certification from The University of Rhode Island’s Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies. While there she was a student of Reverend Dr. Bernard Lafayette, Jr. in Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation, an element of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s process of peace-driven societal change.

She is also a world music percussionist - teaching drumming and other music from around the world to students of all ages. Melinda is the mother of two daughters who study, travel, and who, like their mother, pursue their own aspirations and dreams.

Maria Mortali

Educational Coach and Academic Tutor

With over thirty years of individual tutoring, small group facilitating, and classroom leadership at Wightwood School and Connecticut Experiential Learning Center, Maria possess a broad and truly unique set of qualifications. Her scope of educational expertise encompasses Grammar, Reading, Writing, Algebra, Geometry, Spanish language instruction, U.S. History, and Physics. This gives her a depth of understanding, paired with an ability to synthesize and impart that is hard to find in education today.

A lifelong learner and serial entrepreneur, Maria studied at Purdue University, followed by successful ventures in restaurant management, small business accounting, as a professional cook, caterer, and literary editor. Her passion to teach and share led her to open a daycare business, engage as a private academic tutor for students from elementary age through college, and in 2009 co-found Connecticut Experiential Learning Center. Maria is a Branford “lifer” who co-raised two sons, both of whom have inherited her entrepreneurial spirit and who now operate their own successful businesses in the greater New Haven area.

Photo of Christine Reynolds

Christine Reynolds

Practice Manager

Christine earned her Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies with minors in Psychology, Sociology and Medical Anthropology from Southern CT State University and has been working in the mental health field for over 20 years. Through her experience of being the first point of contact for clients seeking guidance in therapy or coaching, she knows that this is the first bold step in asking for help. Christine uses her active listening skills and compassion to create a welcoming atmosphere to set each client at ease and make sure they are understood. Whether you are at the start or in the middle of your journey to wellness, Christine will help you with any questions or concerns and make sure you are placed with the right clinician.
In her free time, Christine enjoys reading books about health and nutrition, cooking vegan food, traveling to find the best vegan restaurants in the state of Connecticut and exploring natural spaces with her husband and two sons.