Services - Mental Health Counseling
In-Person and Telehealth
The Counseling Team at Synergy Wellness Center’s mental health clinic values a balanced lifestyle, and we support your well-being by partnering with you to integrate the thoughts, feelings and behaviors that impact your relationships, health, and personal and professional goals. Licensed Therapists at our counseling clinic sites in Hudson and Bolton bring expertise that supports caregivers, those they care for, and all wellness seekers.
Our Therapists serve adults, youth and children in person in Hudson and Bolton, and in telehealth sessions to clients throughout the state of Massachusetts.
Areas of Expertise
- Caregiver Fatigue
- Exposure to Trauma
- Substance Use
- Expressive Therapy
- Trauma Response Support
- Academic/Career Obstacles
- Relationship Issues
- Identity Exploration
- Life Transitions
Synergy therapists accept the following insurance for in person and telehealth counseling sessions at our mental health clinics in Hudson and Bolton:
- Blue Cross Blue Shield
- Tufts Health Plan
- Harvard Pilgrim
- United Healthcare
- Allways Health Partners
- Mass General Brigham Health Plan
At this time we do not accept Medicare Plans.
Meet The Clinicians
Michelle Bernier-Capaldo, LMHC, Practice Manager
Michelle is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and has been practicing for 9 years. She received her Master’s degree in Counseling from Framingham State University in 2010. Throughout her training, Michelle has provided therapeutic services to a culturally diverse clientele including adults, adolescents, children, and families that live with mental illness and substance abuse. Michelle has been dedicated to early childhood development and improving the lives of children and families through emotional and behavioral support, advocacy and community outreach.
Michelle has experience providing diagnostic evaluations and therapy services to treat a wide range of complaints including depression, anxiety, trauma, grief, self-esteem, social skill building, and life transitions. Michelle’s therapeutic style is supportive, Solution-Focused with a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy approach. She believes that therapy is a collaborative effort and she offers individualized treatment to meet each of her client’s unique needs and challenges.
Michelle’s goal is to reduce the stigma of seeking counseling, to help her clients develop emotional wellness, and to improve their relationships and daily functioning. She is committed to supporting her clients by providing the tools that will help them better understand their experience and to find solutions for their challenges.
Michelle Stakutis, LMHC, Clinical Director
I believe that counseling can help us uncover our authentic selves and our strengths so we can meet life’s challenges with self-compassion and confidence. We can all grow and heal from old patterns, painful experiences, and trauma. My work is client-centered, strength-based, and I strive to be fully accepting and inclusive. It is my priority to provide a safe space to allow clients to explore their feelings and participate in the creative process of self discovery, healing and change. I am trained in CBT, DBT skills, pain management, and my work is trauma-sensitive.
I obtained my MA in Counseling with a holistic concentration at Lesley University in 1997, and have a background in science and public health. In over 20 years as an LMHC, I have worked with young adults as a bilingual clinician in middle and high school, with children and families in community mental health centers and with students in a college setting.
I am also a certified yoga teacher through Breathe for Change and teach social-emotional wellness strategies and the use of mindfulness-based techniques. While my practice is informed by science and evidence-based treatment, it is grounded in compassion, relationship and mutual trust. When I’m not working, I love spending time outside in nature and in the mountains, listening to music and hiking with my dogs.
Sue Schmitz, LMHC, ATR, Clinical Supervisor
Sue is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and registered Art Therapist. After studying psychology and studio art at Dartmouth College, Sue attended Lesley University’s Mental Health Counseling and Art Therapy program, graduating in 2012. Sue has worked with adults and children with depression, anxiety, trauma, thought disorders, and substance use, as well as oncology patients, homeless and low-income women, and youth on the autism spectrum.
Sue previously worked at Beth Israel Lahey Health Behavioral Services, overseeing state-funded children and family programs. Sue is passionate about helping individuals achieve better functioning by implementing healthy lifestyle changes, improving communication and relationships, and increasing resiliency.
Sue offers art therapy as a cathartic modality that can provide a sense of “flow”. Creative processes help bring awareness to internal thoughts, beliefs, and desires. In better understanding our internal experience, we can identify priorities and make conscious choices that fit our needs. She also utilizes motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy, and dialectical behavioral therapy to support individuals in developing more adaptive ways to regulate internal experiences. She uses a person-centered, strength-based approach, believing that each individual is capable of driving their own healing and personal growth.
Suzanne Peters – LICSW
The therapeutic process can be a journey into self reflection, gaining insight into thought and behavior patterns where one has the ability to evolve and expand their life’s possibilities and build positive, effective coping skills in ways they may have never imagined. Therapy can offer a space to make sense of past experiences, relationship dynamics and to find ways to feel more comfortable in our lives. Each individual brings their own unique needs and desires to our work together and we begin by exploring what is important to you.
I have worked with adults and seniors for the past 17 years, using a strengths-based and client-centered approach. I specialize in working with clients coping with mood disorders, anxiety, loneliness, relationship issues, chronic illness, loss and those struggling with challenging circumstances or difficult transitions.
I provide a warm, caring, non-judgmental environment where clients can feel comfortable and safe discussing difficult topics. In our work toward well-being, I incorporate techniques from cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness approaches. I enjoy working with individuals to improve self-esteem and quality of life.
I see it as a true privilege to be invited along for the journey in my clients’ lives.
Harvey Atkins, LMHC
I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who has been practicing for over thirty years. I most recently served as Counselor and Transitional Services Director in a private special educational program. I worked with adolescents in finding strengths that could facilitate their inner growth and develop plans that could initiate their personal career and life development.
Prior to that I worked in a private clinic and was a member of a diagnostic team that evaluated complex cases and provided individualized treatment strategies. I provided counseling to individuals from ages four to sixty, presenting with various mental health and life challenges. During that time, I conducted court evaluations for juveniles at Uxbridge District Court and provided mental health services at the Blackstone Valley Regional Tech High School. This was part of the school-based health center and included an annual depression day screening.
My clinical perspective is that people should be seen through their individual thoughts, emotions and behaviors, and that this should be grounded in the social and familial history that guided their development. I believe that neuroscience can contribute to a comprehensive understanding of people but my emphasis is to see a person as a unique being. Along the way I have been influenced by many, but two practitioners in particular have impacted me. One is Richard Gardner who taught me to always remember that counseling is a creative art, and Elkhonon Goldberg who deepened my understanding of brain biology.
I have always respected the varying nature of each person’s story, as each provides a new challenge to learn and join in a process of change. I have great respect for those who seek ways to improve their capacity to live more successfully and accept their unique strength.
Kathy Benson, LICSW
Kathy is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker with over 30 years of diverse experience in clinical, medical and hospice settings, working with individuals from 18 to 99 and their families. She specializes in working with people who have traumas of various types, loss and grief, anxiety, depression, adjustment to chronic illness, aging and caregiving.
She is a group facilitator with training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, IFS (Internal Family Systems), Finding the Deep River Within, Reiki and bereavement work.
Kathy views counseling as a collaboration and invites frequent feedback from clients about the process. She brings compassion and empathy to her work with clients and believes self- care is an important element working with individuals. She often recommends exercise, yoga, creative arts and meditation to support healing. Kathy is passionate about personal growth, reading, dance, travel and finding joy in the simple things in life.
Catherine O’Connell, M.Ed., LMHC, LADCI
Catherine is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Licensed Alcohol/Drug Counselor with extensive clinical experience working with adults presenting with addiction, alcohol abuse, anxiety, depression, grief, relationship and trauma issues. She views therapy as an interactive collaboration to assist clients with developing awareness and perspective for enhanced self-care, personal growth and wellness.
Catherine believes that individuals present for therapy with a unique life story and utilizes a supportive client centered approach focused on the client’s needs, strengths, goal attainment, coping strategies and well-being. She embraces a holistic perspective for overall health and may recommend exercise, yoga, meditation and various recovery philosophies as effective strategies to support change and healing.
Catherine has been impressed with the courage exhibited by clients to initiate therapy along with their resilience to manage difficult circumstances and life events. She enjoys providing clients with a compassionate and safe space to share their story while exploring possibilities for life change and fulfillment.
Audrey May, LMHC
Audrey is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with 9 years of clinical experience. She holds a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling and a Master’s in Criminal Justice Studies, both from Suffolk University. Audrey has worked in a variety of settings including in-home, group/residential settings, and outpatient services, with an emphasis on reaching under-served communities. She works with teens, young adult, and adult populations with a specialty in trauma treatment, mood disorders, and high-risk behavior.
Audrey uses a Person-Centered approach to counseling, in which the client/therapist professional relationship is a partnership, and goals are carefully tailored to meet client’s individual needs. Audrey draws upon Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, as well as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, to teach a range of coping and interpersonal skills.
In addition to her background in counseling, Audrey is a certified Kripalu Yoga Teacher and is in the process of becoming a certified Meditation Teacher. Audrey enjoys bringing these teachings and tools into counseling sessions as applicable to each client’s needs.
Corinne Spangler-Baccam, MA, LMHC, CEIS
Working with people has always been her passion. Whether it be working as an educator, an art teacher, a developmental specialist, an art therapist or psychotherapist, it has been her love for children, people, art and nature combined that has formed Corinne into the therapist she is today.
As a mental health provider, Corinne considers herself an extremely dedicated and present clinician. One who truly enjoys working with all who come into her practice. Her belief is each person is truly unique and special in their own way and that somehow, in their journey through life, they may have lost sight or never quite grasped what that special something might be. A large part of her work is helping people find that special something, or at least feel content with who they are and embrace their own love for self.
As a graduate from Lesley University with a Masters in Counseling Psychology and Expressive Art Therapies in 2003, Corinne has become well versed in the uses of varied treatment modalities that consist of art, play, the expressive arts, CBT and mindfulness practice to reach her clients. The use of these modalities helps her to better understand and connect with her clients and help her clients better connect with themselves. She believes not only in talk therapy or CBT but in that the expressive art therapies support personal processes in managing difficult thoughts, emotions, feelings or in changing behaviors.
With nearly 30 years of experience in working with children in education and mental health, Corinne has a special niche for treating young children and has made great progress working with tweens, teens, as well as young adults. Her experience through her professional life brought her to amazing work environments such as The Walker Home and School in Needham as an intern, The Community Therapeutic Day School in Lexington as a second year intern, Thom Mystic Valley Early Intervention as a Developmental Specialist and Psychologist for her post-graduate clinical hours, Safe Studio in Ipswich as an LMHC and Art Therapist and Criterion Early Intervention in Framingham, as a Certified Early Intervention Specialist and LMHC. Leading up to joining Synergy, Corinne had been running her own successful private practice in Northborough for over a decade. With a strong belief in treating the whole person, Corinne is very excited to be part of the collaborative holistic healing environment Synergy Wellness Center has to offer.
Yulia Heringer, LMHC
Yulia is a bilingual Licensed Mental Health Counselor who received her Master in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Lesley University. She has worked with adolescents and adults in a multitude of settings including outpatient mental health clinics, psychiatric inpatient units, counseling centers. Her goal is to create an empathetic and empowering therapeutic environment for each individual. Yulia approaches each client as a whole person and strives to create a collaborative relationship where there is room for both problem-solving approaches and transformative personal growth.
Yulia’s clinical areas of focus include depression, anxiety, substance use, and adjustment to medical illness. She uses evidence-based treatment approaches to identify and clarify goals, facilitate behavior change, and build coping skills.
She has a wonderful, supportive husband and two beautiful boys. Yulia loves to attend her kids’ activities, spend time with family and friends. She also enjoys nature walks, music, movies, and baking with her children.
Yulia appreciates the courage it takes to seek out help at a time of vulnerability and hopes that she can be helpful to you.
Alexandra Doucette, LICSW
Alex is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker who has been working and training in the mental health field since 2005 when she took a summer job at a state psychiatric hospital while pursuing her undergraduate degree in psychology. In 2014 she received her Master of Social Work degree from Simmons College in Boston. Over the course of her career she has provided services to people experiencing a broad range of mental health concerns including depression, anxiety, trauma, bipolar disorder, substance use disorder, and schizophrenia. She has also done family and group work, and has had experience in inpatient, residential, and community settings.
She takes an integrative approach informed by both traditional and holistic treatment strategies including cognitive behavior therapy, motivational interviewing, solution focused therapy, and mindfulness, as well as the therapeutic use of nutrition, yoga, and lifestyle interventions. She has completed a 200 hour yoga teacher certification, a 100 hour Yoga Therapy for Emotional Health and Healing training, and is currently enrolled in a Certified Integrative Mental Health Practitioner course that teaches mental health professionals how to incorporate nutrition and lifestyle strategies to support psychological wellbeing.
She seeks to ensure that the therapeutic process is collaborative and empowering, honoring each person’s strengths, agency, and inherent wisdom about their own needs. She believes that everyone has the capacity to heal and to create and sustain positive changes in their lives.
Michael LaPointe, LMHC
Michael is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with 5 years of clinical experience and he received his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Fitchburg State University. After graduating, he worked as an in home family therapist for a non-profit organization with a focus on under-served and low-income families until joining the team at Synergy.
He has worked with a variety of caregivers and most of his time in the field has focused on youth ages 5-22, addressing trauma, anxiety, depression, and mood disorders. He utilizes a person-centered approach in working with clients and primarily draws inspiration from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and from the ARC model of trauma-informed care.
He believes in providing nonjudgmental and affirming care to all individuals and feels that therapy should be a collaborative process where empathy, compassion, and understanding are at the forefront. He also firmly believes that everyone has the capacity to improve in their overall wellness, self-care, and self-esteem, that everyone’s journey is unique, and that all should be made to feel welcome, valued, and appreciated.
Julia Sherwood, LMHC
Julia is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with 8 years of experience working with children, adolescents, adults, and families in various mental health settings, including residential programs, in-home family therapy, school counseling and outpatient therapy. In 2014, Julia had the opportunity to study abroad in Tibet, where she explored meditation and other mindfulness skills, and has since worked to integrate them with evidence-based therapeutic treatment. She received her master’s degree in Clinical Counseling Psychology from Assumption University in Worcester, MA, where she graduated with emphases in Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and Child & Family Interventions.
Julia draws from approaches such as CBT, problem-solving, Family Systems Theory, Emotionally Focused Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, trauma-informed treatment, and mindfulness strategies to support those with trauma, depression, anxiety, mood disorders and other challenges. Julia is passionate about utilizing a holistic, strengths-based approach in therapy. She strives to continuously integrate cultural humility into her work, with a particular emphasis on providing therapeutic support to the LGBTQIA+ community and acknowledging the effects of intersectionality on mental health. She firmly believes that emotional wellness is a journey—not a destination—with therapy providing a safe space for individuals and families to grow, learn, and explore at their own pace.
Kerry Saunier, LMHC
Kerry is a Licensed Mental Health Clinician with 11 years of experience in various clinical settings. She holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from Lesley University and a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Psychology from Northeastern University. Kerry recently became certified as an End-of-Life-Doula from The University of Vermont.
In addition to her counseling background, Kerry holds a license as a massage therapist through training at the Swedish Institute in New York and is a certified yoga instructor from the Sivananda School of Yoga.
Kerry has worked predominantly with adults, ranging through the life span, in a number of therapeutic settings. These have included outpatient programs, community house of corrections, emergency services and within the hospice network. She has extensive experience in supporting individuals through addiction and recovery, end-of-life and grief processing, as well as, mood disorders and trauma related stress disorders.
Kerry’s approach to the counseling process is based within a Person-Centered framework, where a client is held in positive regard, within a safe and non-judgmental space, in order for trust to develop within the therapeutic relationship. The process is guided by the client, with the therapist meeting them wherever they are, as they move together towards increased personal awareness, growth and empowerment for the individual. Kerry draws from her life experience and her studies in Buddhist Psychology, meditation and mindfulness-based practices to enhance her own self exploration, as well as, her approach to supporting others in their personal journey.