Our Professional Counselors
Deborah Gonzalez, Anger Management Counselor, Certified Parent Instructor, Relationship Coach, Master Life Coach, LLC
Life Coaching is a profession that is different from consulting, mentoring, advice, therapy, or counseling. The coaching process addresses specific personal projects, business successes, general conditions and transitions in the client's personal life, relationships or profession by examining what is going on right now, discovering what your obstacles or challenges might be, choosing a great course of action to make your life be what you want it to be.
Anger Management counseling is a time-limited, structured therapeutic-educational process that focuses on:
Defining the many faces of anger
Understanding and identifying one’s personal patterns of anger
Exploring personal origins of habitual anger responses
Developing proven strategies for overcoming conditioned responses of anger
Learning & practicing safe conflict resolution.
Understanding how the brain works and being aware of your thoughts is the starting point for nourishing vibrant self esteem and living your inspired life vision
Counseling can help parents in various ways. When a child faces a mental health concern or behavioral issue, a parent may find help for the child but leave their own emotions and feelings unaddressed.
What Is Co-Parenting?
The term “co-parenting” is a parenting relationship in which the two parents of a child are not romantically involved, but still assume joint responsibility for the upbringing of their child. Occasionally, social scientists also use the term to describe any two people who are jointly raising a child, whether or not they are both biological parents or have ever been romantically linked (i.e. a single mother raising a child with the help of her own mother). But more often than not, co-parenting occurs following a separation, divorce, or break up of a romantic partnership in which children are involved.
What is Life Coaching?
What Is Life Coaching? "What you seek is seeking you." Life Coaching is a profession that is profoundly different from consulting, mentoring, advice, therapy, or counseling. The coaching process addresses specific personal projects, business successes, general conditions and transitions in the client's personal life, relationships or profession by examining what is going on right now, discovering what your obstacles or challenges might be, and choosing a course of action to make your life be what you want it to be. How Does Life Coaching Work?
Sports. Life coaching often includes principles from sports coaching, such as being your best, doing more than you think you can, working with a team, going for the goal. But unlike sports coaching, most professional coaching is not a competition. Your life coach will help you win in your own life!
Maybe you have never heard of life coaching. Or maybe you think it's for other people. Or maybe you think it doesn't work. Let's clear up some common misconceptions. First of all, life coaching is an umbrella term that encompasses coaching for any number of areas from relationships to finances to cultivating healthy habits. Life coaching is very popular with people of all ages throughout the world. Coaches and clients can be in different places, as sessions most often take place by phone or Skype. There are life coaches for every age group, life stage, ambition, and goal you can imagine. Life coaching is a process and requires the full commitment of the client. Coaches help clients identify blocks, challenges, and opportunities. Additionally, many life coaches are very accomplished in their own lives and are good at asking key questions to unlock their client's potential.
What is Relationship Coaching?
Relationship Coaching is a professional client-focused service which assumes that individuals and couples are healthy, powerful, and able to achieve their relationship goals with effective support, information, and guidance.
The key to a successful life partnership is to work together with your partner to become clear about what you each want. You can then make effective choices so that you both actually get what you want. Once you are working together effectively, the choices and opportunities necessary for success will easily present themselves.
In a relationship there are problems that are solvable and unsolvable problems. Problems can remain unsolved for years when skills and information needed to communicate effectively are not present, resulting in unhappiness and resentment. Unsolved and unsolvable problems result in failed relationships can be prevented or overcome with Relationship Coaching.
Relationship coaching for couples is effective both before and after making a commitment.
Dr. Janice Downey, MD
Janice began her career as an ensign in the United States Naval Nurse Corps.
After that, she pursued medical school, followed by psychiatric residency at KU Medical School.
She opened her own psychiatric practice and saw adolescents and adults with a variety of problems, including anxiety, depression, addiction, ADHD,
and became an expert with medication treatment, and individual, and group therapy.
Dr. Downey does not just look at a person as a “diagnosis,” rather she sees them as a unique person, searching for not just answers, but rather, a healing journey and Dr. Downey is part of each unique person’s healing journey.
Aurelio Ayuso, MSW, LCSW, CAP, ICADC
Aurelio specializes in the treatment of addiction, trauma, and abandonment using strength based strategies deeply rooted in solution focused, and mindfulness therapies. Aurelio is committed to the mental health and wellbeing of his clients and has been working with those that suffer from depression, anxiety, trauma, and addiction as well as couples and families for over 10 years.
Fluent in Spanish.
Do you feel abandoned by those you love? Do you feel overwhelmed by feelings of dread due to past trauma? Are you consumed by shame? Is living for you a never ending feeling of worthlessness? How many times have you felt you don't belong, even within your own family or circle of friends? Once is too much and I can help. Divorce, loneliness doesn't have to be your future. Nor do anger issues, anxiety or depression. You deserve to have self-worth and a positive tomorrow. Feel free to reach out to me. You are not alone.
Let us discover, together, new ways to look at change. My focus and passion is to help you reclaim your joy and peace. Marriages can be saved. Nightmares can stop and negative thoughts don't have to win.
Our goal will be to find lasting solutions that work for you in your every day life.
Aurelio received his Graduate Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker as well as Certified Addictions Professional in the State of Florida, and Internationally Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor.
“My counseling style has developed over time to become one that does not spend time dredging up the past or spending time talking about the past session after session. This approach focuses on finding solutions for today and the future and keeps you on your new path while discouraging looking back because you are not going that way”.
Lisette Perez, MS, LMHC
Lisette’s therapeutic approach to counseling is client centered, and she believes every client has the ability to improve their quality of life. She also provides individualized client centered therapy incorporating an eclectic style and incorporating cognitive behavioral therapies, solution focused and Gestalt therapy among others. She focuses on each client’s ability to reach self-actualization. Her specialties include pervasive mental illness, autism, child/parent relationship, teens, adults and more! She is also fluent in Spanish.
Healing takes time, asking for help is not easy but it's a brave first step in your journey to a healthier and happier life. Most clients come to me struggling with anxiety, depression or relationships issues that they cannot solve on their own. These issues can addressed through understanding the causes and working through blocks which stand in the way of a happy and healthy mind. I can help you identify the causes of your distress and find relief from symptoms.
My expertise in the treatment of anxiety and depression provides you with the tools you need to live a more balanced and healthy life. If you are looking to find more meaning and purpose in your life but find yourself unsure how to begin the process I am here to help.
I can help you understand and find your path to a fulfilling lifestyle. My experience includes the treatment of depression, anxiety disorders and relationship issues. I can help you find healthier ways to eliminate daily anxiety, social anxiety, trouble sleeping, and phobias.
Years in Practice: 5 Years
School: Nova Southeastern University
Year Graduated: 2015
Membership: Florida Mental Health Counseling Association / 31134817
Member Since: 2014
Membership: American Counseling Association / 6379801
Member Since: 2014
Pregnancy, Prenatal, Postpartum
Sleep or Insomnia
Trauma and PTSD
Ethnicity: Hispanic and Latino
Alternative Languages: Spanish
Children (6 to 10)
Preteens / Tweens (11 to 13)
Adolescents / Teenagers (14 to 19)
Types of Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral (CBT)
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)
Solution Focused Brief (SFBT)
Cindy Wilks-Vásquez, MSW, Registered Social Worker
Cindy Wilks-Vásquez, MSW, Registered Social Worker Intern
Cindy Wilks-Vásquez partners with people to help them find their inner strengths and resilience in order to overcome life’s challenges and live a fulfilling life. She uses an integrative and strengths-based approach, using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Compassion-focused Therapy.
Fluent in Spanish and French.
She obtained her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Florida Atlantic University in 2020 and is a Registered Clinical Social Worker Intern. She helps people to navigate through life’s obstacles and issues related to depression, anxiety, stress, fatigue, life transitions, issues related to gender and sexual orientation, trauma, immigration, people living with HIV, addiction, and family members impacted by addiction.
Alan Romano, Registered Clinical Social Worker, SWI
Alan obtained a Master’s degree in Social Work from Florida Atlantic University in May of 2020 and is currently a Registered Clinical Social Worker Intern. Alan’s experience includes working with adults living with substance use disorders, low self-esteem, unresolved trauma, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Alan is a firm believer in the concept that everyone has the ability to heal themselves from within.
Alan will work collaboratively with you to facilitate you along in your journey of self-exploration and discovery. Alan’s aim is to provide a safe and comfortable space for the client to be able to openly explore themselves, identify areas of growth, and tap into their own internal healing processes.
Christy Mares, RMHCI
I'm Christy, a Registered Mental Health Intern with five+ years counseling experience. I am deeply passionate about helping people foster more satisfying relationships, heal from past wounds, and find practical and meaningful ways to live with more joy and freedom. To me, therapy is a place of profound listening, curiosity, attunement and courage. It is a place to learn and unlearn, to hold on and to let go. Individuals, couples and families come to me to work on relational issues, anxiety, depression, grief, trauma, neglect and abuse, gender identity, fertility issues, miscarriage and
infant loss, seasonal affective disorder, COVID-19 emotional recovery, divorce, infidelity and difficulty in life transitions.
My counseling approach combines Relational, Gestalt, Adlerian and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Psychoeducation. I provide a safe, nurturing place for you as you heal from the inside out AND the outside in -- by addressing deep emotional wounds and, as you are ready, by providing practical, psychoeducational tools to help solidify your new knowledge and growth.
Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP
Erika specializes in the treatment of addiction, as well as several mental health disorders ranging from depression and anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, to PTSD, personality disorders, as well as psychotic disorders. Erika utilizes a number of modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Mindfulness amongst others. Erika has been in practice for close to a decade and has earned her license in Mental Health Counseling, as well as being a Master’s Certified Addiction Professional. Erika has worked with many individuals including couples counseling and family therapy. Erika is also a fluent Spanish speaker.
Throughout my years of practice, one of the things I enjoy helping people find is inner peace. Whether you are in the deepest parts of depression, overrun by your anxiety, controlled by your addiction, or there are certain issues in your life that are negatively impacting your ability to function, and have a happy, healthy life, maybe now is the time to talk about it. I am a big believer in empowerment, working hard in therapy, and utilizing different techniques to help you regain that inner peace that may have been lost along the way. I want to work with you as a team because with two people, absolutely everything is possible. I want to be there as a therapist, to help build you up, support you, but also help you be honest with yourself and accountable. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, my biggest goal for you is going to be simple….for you to no longer need my services. Why? Because if you no longer need my services, it means that you have regained your peace, you have regained your strength, you have regained your confidence. It means that you now have the tools to address any issues that try to derail you, and best of all, you will have the insight to overcome and thrive. So let’s begin this journey together, and get you to the place you want to be, emotionally, mentally, and psychologically.
Fluent in Spanish
Cherith Bounds, MSW, RCSWI
With a Master’s Degree in Social Work, a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, and experience as a certified Exceptional Student Education teacher, I am passionate about helping all individuals facing a variety of social and emotional challenges. I specialize in working with children, adolescents, and adults using a strength-based collaborative approach. If you are struggling with trauma, stress, depression, anxiety, social struggles, college and career challenges, LGBTQ+ related struggles, grief, loss, divorce, addiction, I can help you discover solutions and successful coping skills for a positive future.
Using an accepting and collaborative approach, I believe in treating everyone with compassion and respect while giving special attention to your strengths.
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Suzanne Sunkel, MA, NCC, EMDR therapist, Registered Mental Health Counselor, RMHCI.**
Do you ever feel stuck in a cycle of anxiety, depression, substance use, or reliving past traumas? We will walk together through your counseling journey by applying techniques and strategies which support your goals. Discovering patterns which no longer serve you can clear the way for the release of painful thoughts, memories, and habits. I enjoy collaborating with new and existing clients who seek a better understanding of themselves and the world around them. Let's navigate life's detours together. Our office serves Vero Beach and surrounding areas.
I utilize EMDR, cognitive behavioral therapy, solution focused therapy, nutritional influences, and Christian integration with clients. I collaborate with clients who are motivated to strategically shift through attitudes, behaviors, and feelings which increase stress.
I look forward to working together in a safe, confidential environment. Your goals and well-being are my primary focus.
Maybe we can put this at the end:
Suzanne has her master’s in clinical Mental Health Counseling, is a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC), an EMDR therapist, and a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern, RMHCI. Suzanne is a member of the International non-profit association EMDRIA, which upholds the highest standard of training for EMDR therapists.
Gwendolyn Mcleod, MS, CAMS, CDVS
Being a faith based relationship coach, I’m also a certified Anger Management Specialist and Domestic Violence Specialist. I deliver sessions filled with hope, motivation and determination to help my clients push through adversity and empower them to live successful, abundant lives.
If you or a family member are experiencing, emotional, behavioral or relationship issues and are looking for a keep it real coach approach you have come to the right place. If you are interested in career consultation, training or other support services, my areas of expertise include:
· Anger Management – Adults and Teen’s
· Women Domestic Violence Awareness Training Support Group
· Relationships- Couples,Pre-Marital, Marriage, Divorce, Family
· Wedding Officiant Services
· Women Issues
· Mens Issues
· Transitional Living
· Career Coaching
· Student Educational Advocate – 504 or IEP (Individual Education Plan)
· Mobile Notary Services
Elizabeth is an MSW, Registered Social Worker, SWI
focusing on addiction, depression and anxiety. Elizabeth’s practice is rooted in empathy and understanding. She believes in empowering clients to reclaim their best selves through mindfulness therapy and addiction recovery coaching. She is devoted to her clients’ holistic wellbeing.
Trauma and PTSD
Elderly Persons Disorders
Impulse Control Disorders
Types of Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral (CBT)
Raymond Stephens, LCSW
Raymond is a native of Chicago, Illinois. He has worked in the field of mental health and addictions for the past 5 years. Upon the completion of his Graduate Program in Social Work at Florida Atlantic University, Raymond began working as a clinical therapist with children from ages 3-18 and their families who have suffered from a myriad of issues including abuse both sexual and physical, neglect, anxiety, depression, and substance use.
Raymond then transitioned to the adult population serving in the area of community-based care where he aided those afflicted with mental health issues such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. He has worked exclusively with those who battle substance abuse addictions for the past 2 years.
Mr. Stephens has a passion for helping those who feel “disenfranchised” and hopes to provide a “voice to the voiceless.” Raymond enjoys spending time with his family.
Leanne Arthur-Simmans, Registered Clinical Social Worker, MSW, LCSW
As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, I have experience working with client’s who struggle with a wide variety of mental health disorders, as well as trauma and addiction related issues. Many of my clients have benefited from the development of new healthy coping skills as it relates to self-esteem, anxiety, and anger management issues.
I use a client focused, individualized treatment approach to not only address symptoms, but the underlying root causes that contribute to difficulties leading a happy and fulfilling life. I am truly passionate about helping you achieve your goals through our individual therapy sessions!
I use a client focused, individualized treatment approach to not only address symptoms, but the underlying root causes that contribute to difficulties leading a happy and fulfilling life. I am truly passionate about helping you achieve your goals through our individual therapy sessions
- Substance Abuse
- Alcohol Abuse
- Anger Management
- Antisocial Personality
- Career Counseling
- Coping Skills
- Drug Abuse
- Dual Diagnosis
- Eating Disorders
- Emotional Disturbance
- Family Conflict
- Peer Relationships
- Relationship Issues
- School Issues
- Self Esteem
- Weight Loss
- Women's Issues
- Preteens / Tweens (11 to 13)
- Adolescents / Teenagers (14 to 19)
- Elders (65+)
Types of Therapy
- Cognitive Behavioral (CBT)
- Culturally Sensitive
- Motivational Interviewing
Aida Santana, Addiction Coach/Therapist, Intimacy Specialist
Aida has her masters in mental health, and a specialization in sexology. She provides services with a concentration in treating relapse prevention for adults. She coaches clients to celebrate and embrace sobriety. Aida helps adults navigate through issues of self-esteem, depression, anxiety, emotion deregulation, PTSD, behavioral issues, and intimacy issues related to trauma or disorders.
I believe therapy and coaching can be a powerful tool to rebuild loss and restore confidence, peace, and joy within ourselves. When one member of the family is struggling, there is a ripple effect throughout. Counseling can be a saving grace restoring relationships and families.
My focus is helping develop skills that promote deep understanding of oneself and tools that create healthy, satisfying relationships. Counseling often begins with resource building and education, then it shifts into listening, re-imaging and creative problem solving. I offer a dynamic, compassionate and supportive environment utilizing a positive strengtth-based approach.
An important part of my work is to support you in exploring your inner resources and innate wisdom while cultivating practices that will help you deepen into a greater sense of well-being.
As a counselor and coach I bring my professional experience, extensive training, and educational pursuits, diverse career background and life experiences.
I hold a strong commitment to my own personal growth and healing journey.
I believe In the healing potential of psycho-therapy, psycho-spiritual, and faith endeavors.
I welcome individuals of any gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.
- Addiction Coaching
- Trauma and PTSD
- Relationship and Intimacy issues
- Coping Skills
- Grief and Loss
- Intimacy and Sexual Issues
- Life Transitions
- Peer Relationships
- Relationship Issues
- Sexual Abuse
- Substance and Addiction Issues
- Mood Disorders
- Age 19-UP
- Elders 65-UP
Types of therapy
- Cognitive Behavioral (CBT)
- Culturally Sensitive
- Trauma focused
Dr. Susan Young, PhD Natural Medicine
Doctor of Naturopathy
Holistic Health Practitioner
Holistic medicine is the art and science of healing that addresses care of the whole person — body, mind, and spirit. It integrates conventional and complementary therapies to promote optimal health, prevent and treat disease, while addressing contributing factors. I see each person as a unique individual, rather than as an example of a particular disease. Healing takes place naturally when a person’s physical, emotional, spiritual, social, and environmental challenges are brought into balance. I try to meet the patient with grace, kindness, acceptance, and spirit without condition — as love is life’s most powerful healer.
Your first appointment is preceded by a brief session to photograph your eyes with a special camera/microscope, called an iriscope. As in internationally certified Iridologist, I typically use these photographs, in conjunction with your completed 15 page patient information forms, to assess your health. Our bodies want to be healthy. But, sometimes it takes a bit of guidance and encouragement form a trained holistic professional to get us back on track. Let me help you restore your body to its natural state of health so that you not only feel better — you are better.
Alma Ortiz, Life Coach/Motivational Advisor
Alma Ortiz earned a BS in Special Education from City College of New York. Alma’s work experiences include: Certified ESE teacher, Mental Health Case Manager, Transition Facilitator, Behavior Assistant, and Resource Specialist, at various school districts and agencies throughout the years, within the United States.
Alma is fluent in English and Spanish.
All of her experiences have prepared Alma for her career as Life Coach/Motivational Advisor. Alma lives her life through strong faith, family, and creativity. Her goal is to help others find what drives their passion(s). She believes it is important to listen to what is being asked and provide the answer to what was posed. When assisting or guiding others, she always remembers to understand that she is the last person in the room and that the most important person is sitting before her. Her years of experience working with adults and children, has made her mindful that what most people want is to be heard and understood. What is Alma’s goal? To have all those that she meets or speak with leave feeling a sense of JOY. Alma is passionate about life and loves to see others experience that as well.
Have you ever wondered, “How can people run marathons and triathlons and thought, I wonder what inspired them do it?” Do you look at people with awe of their accomplishments, at the way they are living their life with a purpose, and watch as they are checking off accomplished goals from their bucket list? There’s only one response that could describe how these people got there: They were MOTIVATED!
Being “Motivated” is key to start any new goal, maintaining achieved goals, staying focused, and enthusiastically staying on track with your life plan.
Alma’s guiding techniques are set to provide others with the opportunity to set attainable and measurable goals, learn to release stress, free oneself from doubts, reduce procrastination, and through various activities, motivate oneself to start fresh and continue to be your best self. Alma believes that the best part of this journey is that YOU will do this Yourself! YOU are the captain of your ship and YOU are giving wind to your sails.
Whether in group or one-on-one, together we will work towards looking at the glass half-full. The time is now to create something new.
Erika Orriss MS, LMHC
I deal with all areas of Mental Health from Depression, Anxiety, Situational Crisis and Addiction to more serious Mental Health disorders. I do have an additional Certificate in Substance Abuse Treatment. My primary goal is to aide each individual in achieving their unique therapeutic goals, ultimately living the life they desire. I also deal with relationship issues including codependency, divorce, and marital and family issues. I have a unique interest in treating individuals with Chronic Illness and Chronic Pain, as the emotional component of the physical conditions many times overlooked or completely unheard.
I can help! Working with the individual or individuals, we will outline the issues bringing them to therapy and identify solutions. I use an individualized approach to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy along with providing an outlet for each individual to express and deal their feelings in a safe non-judgmental environment.
You are not alone. Regardless of your situation there is help. Let me share in your concerns. Life can be challenging. I am affordable and will work on a sliding scale with individuals to make sure the highest of standards of mental health care are affordable to all.
Located in Hazlet, New Jersey
Danielle Parascondola, CAM
There are times in our lives where we experience anger and stress. Sometimes that anger will create a loss of self, family, friends, our jobs and even our health.
As a Certified Anger Management counselor, I want to help you identify those problems and explore ways you can express your anger with healthy behaviors. My experience also comes as a Crisis Counselor, helping people move from a hot to a cool place safely.
My goal is to help you identify and achieve your personal goals by coping with the issues that are causing stress and anxiety. I take great pride in the progress and success of my clients and look forward to helping you. I am currently in the process of obtaining my mental health degree from NOVA Southeastern University. Get in touch to learn more
Ann "Anita" Kelly, MS, LMHC
Anita works in the downtown Orlando office and in the Hiawassee (Metrowest/Dr.Phillips) Orlando office. She facilitates weekend workshops at the Vero Beach office.
Ann "Anita" M. Kelly, is licensed with the State of Florida as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor # MH12491, She works with adolescent and adults in an individual, couples, family and group setting.
Anita facilitates weekend workshops at the Vero Beach office.
She is licensed with the State of Florida as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor # MH12491 and is also a State of Florida, Notary Public, I.D. # 1318601
Ann (Anita) works with adolescent and adults in an individual, couples, family and group setting.
Using a cognitive therapy approach and incorporating interactive practices, Anita will formulate a treatment plan that helps you recognize change. Her therapeutic approach is to provide support and practical feedback to help clients effectively address personal life challenges. She integrates complementary methodologies and techniques to offer a highly personalized approach tailored to each client.
With compassion and understanding, she works with each individual to help them build on their strengths and attain the personal growth they are committed to accomplishing. If you are ready to master something new call Anita today!
Anita has successfully completed the Florida State Licensed Clinicians Supervisors Training, and she is a Notary Public in the State of Florida and can perform marriage ceremonies and renewal of wedding vows.
- Are you a law enforcement officer, first responder, military service person with a special circumstance?
- Are you a person experiencing a hardship?
- Are you struggling to pay the high counseling fees in the central Florida area?
Call today and ask how CPO can help you afford counseling.
Telephone counseling is available under special circumstances; if you think you qualify please do not hesitate to ask.
Office: 407-896-8380 or Text: 321-436-7600
Anita facilitates weekend workshops at the Vero Beach office.