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Behavioral Health & Psychotherapy located in Jersey City, New Jersey and Boston, Massachusetts. Telehealth virtual therapy throughout New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York

101 Hudson St 21st fl, Jersey City, NJ 07302 | 201-896-7171
867 Boylston St 5th Floor #1942, Boston, MA 02116 | 617-676-2688
1178 Broadway, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10001 | 332-237-7077
Aaliyah Jones, MA
Aaliyah Jones
Behavioral Health and Psychotherapy, Adolescent and Young Adult Therapist, Telehealth, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Women’s, Reproductive, Couples & Family Psychotherapy & Treatment of Depression & Anxiety

Aaliyah (she/her) is a master-level therapist at Joy

Aaliyah is a master-level therapist at Joy Mental Fitness, which has locations in Jersey City, New Jersey, and Boston, Massachusetts. Aaliyah also provides telehealth services to patients throughout New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

Experience & Specialties

Aaliyah prides herself on being authentic to her core to cultivate the therapeutic alliance. She believes the relationship between client and therapist is essential and highly important to the healing journey. This makes room for the client to feel safe, cared for, and supported.

Aaliyah specializes in helping new moms through baby blues/postpartum, young adults who are in a transitioning period, and teens/adults with trauma. She is also experienced in sex therapy.

Aaliyah uses Solution Focused Brief Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Motivational interviewing to get clients to their desired goals. Self-care, life structure, and forgiveness work are intertwined into her work to help individuals make connections between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Aaliyah is passionate about ending the stigma of mental health in black and multicultural communities.

Education & Training

Aaliyah received her M.A. degree in Mental Health & Wellness Counseling at New York University and B. A degree in Psychology with a minor in creative writing at Bloomfield College.

 

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Andie San Gabriel
Andie San Gabriel
Behavioral and Therapy Services, ADHD Specialist, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Adolescent and Young Adult Therapist, LGBTQIA+ Primary Healthcare Specialists & Treatment of Depression & Anxiety

Andie is a Master Level Therapist at Joy.

Andie (they/them/theirs or she/her/hers) is a master-level therapist of Joy Mental Fitness, which has locations in Jersey City, New Jersey, and Boston, Massachusetts. Andie also provides telehealth services to patients throughout New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

Experience & Specialties

As a young queer Filipino, Andie believes that each aspect of an individual’s identity and their unique intersections shape how they feel and experience the world. Andie aims to help clients reconnect with and understand themselves in the multitude of contexts in which they live their lives.

Andie strives to foster a safe environment for clients to explore whatever they choose to bring to the room. They will collaborate in creating plans and strategies to help work towards achieving their goals, navigate their healing journey, approach their feelings, behaviors, thoughts, and strengthen their sense of self.

Andie’s theoretical framework includes CBT and narrative therapy, as well as integrating strength-based therapy to hone in your interests, resourcefulness, and best qualities to help develop your coping skills and strategies. They are also guided by principles of trauma-informed care, cultural humility, and gender-affirming care.

Education & Training

Andie received their B.A. in Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and received their Master’s degree in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness with extensive coursework in LGBTQ+ Health, Education, and Social Services at New York University.

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Bella Park
Bella Park
Behavioral Health and Psychotherapy, Mindfulness Specialist, Treatment of Depression & Anxiety, ADHD Specialist, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy & Telehealth

Bella (she/her) is a master level therapist at Joy.

Bella (she/her) is a master level therapist at Joy Mental Fitness, which has locations in Jersey City, New Jersey, and Boston, Massachusetts. Bella also provides telehealth services to patients throughout New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York. Bella is bilingual, proficient in both English and Korean.

Personal Journey

Everyone’s goal in therapy is different. Even if we enter our first session with a goal, it might change throughout time.

My first goal in therapy was to find my identity. To me, this meant being comfortable living in between social norms and expectations: finding comfort with not being Korean enough and not American enough, working on heavy “guilt” toward family, friends, and my cultural origin while living as an international student, and working toward my internalized “isms” that were ingrained in me since I came to the US by myself in 7th grade. During the times when I was silenced, and watched others being silenced, I worked on my wounds by finding help from my therapist, maintaining a routine, and seeking a support system. And honestly, finding enjoyable things in life like good food, sleep, music, coffee, meditation, nature, and scrolling through cute cat posts and videos.

I hope to relate to clients who are also constantly seeking meaning between social norms and systemic injustice. What is it like to live as a BIPOC and as an individual from diverse immigration backgrounds in American society? What is it like to be raised by parents who no longer speak the languages you speak or fully understand the cultures you’ve been exposed to? How does it impact us when our identity is constantly being questioned and oppressed by those in power? These are the questions that I hope to address and process in our sessions.

As I naturally gear my attention to the relationship between an individual and society, I also hope to empower and bring light to the strength and beauty of unique identities and narratives clients hold. While I may never be able to fully understand what one’s life and experiences look like, I can speak emotions and feelings through curiosity and empathy: the feelings of betrayal, despair, grief, elation, or even emotions that simply cannot be contained in words.

Clinical Approach

My experience ranges from working with kids, young adults, and adults. In session, I ground myself in Person-Centered Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) through a multicultural and social-justice lens. At the end of the day, regardless of the theoretical orientations, my ultimate goal in therapy is to figure out what is best for the client. I trust more the relationship between the therapist and the client as a foundation for new experimentation and introspection – like a playground where we can try different activities that can only be performed in a trusting and vulnerable environment.

With this being said, my clinical approach ranges based on my client’s needs that may need support with trauma-informed care, grief therapy, relationship issues, and interpersonal issues, while also providing bilingual services in Korean and English. Moving forward, I hope to constantly learn and find new and different approaches for the clients, if the approaches I already know don't work.

Just like many things in life, therapy is also a trial and error: we will try, learn, try again, and adjust. I want to acknowledge the courage to start and for allowing me to join the ride. Just like what other clinicians at Joy said, ‘Therapists are passengers in client’s cars’ – meaning, therapy is a work of collaboration between therapists navigating the direction, and clients driving the car. It won’t happen in a set time, and the work is definitely easier said than done, but during our journey, I humbly ask for vulnerability, honesty, and a willingness to try new tasks with me :)

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Camille Mercado, MPsy, LPC
Camille Mercado
Behavioral Health and Psychotherapy, Bilingual - Spanish speaking, ADHD Specialist, Trauma, Treatment of Depression & Anxiety & Child and Adolescent Therapist

Camille (she/her) is a Licensed Professional Counselor at Joy

Camille is a Licensed Professional Counselor of Joy Mental Fitness, which has locations in Jersey City, New Jersey, and Boston, Massachusetts. Camille also provides telehealth services to patients throughout New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

Experience & Specialties

Camille thrives to provide a safe space for clients to explore the ways in which their personal strengths can be used to help them learn and grow. After traveling the world as a full-time missionary for over ten years, she is able to experience the complexities of assessing, diagnosing, and treating clients from many different backgrounds, cultures, languages, and needs.

Camille has had the opportunity to work in various settings specializing in various disorders and issues from Africa to Ecuador, and from California to Argentina. She has also been able to work within communities, churches, private and public schools, etc. Additionally, She was the hostess of the live English radio show “The Spot with Camille Merced”, covering multiple topics of interest to the community of Puerto Rico and the surrounding Caribbean Islands.

Outside of her career, Camille is also a professional recording singer-songwriter, a passionate wife, a loving mother, a dog mom, and an “adrenaline junkie”. She enjoys traveling with her husband and family, and discovering new food in each country they visit while collecting magnets.

Education & Training

Camille graduated with a Master’s degree in Psychological Counseling from the University of Ana G. Mendez in Puerto Rico. She also holds a double degree from Southern Adventist University in Tennessee in Education and Religion and in Psychology. For patient convenience, she is fluent in English and Spanish.

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Cindy Gao, BA
Cindy Gao

Cindy (she/her) is a master level therapist at Joy.

Cindy is a master level therapist at Joy Mental Fitness which has locations in Jersey City, New Jersey, and Boston, Massachusetts. Cindy also provides telehealth services to patients throughout New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York. Cindy is bilingual, proficient in both English and Chinese Mandarin.

Experience & Specialties

Cindy combines mindfulness, person-centered, and CBT techniques through a multicultural lens. Cindy’s philosophy centers around the idea that every person possesses their own unique view of the world, and only they have the authority to chart their path. She primarily utilizes a person-centered approach combined with CBT skills to assist clients in exploring their inner thoughts and identifying their genuine life aspirations. Additionally, Cindy embraces the belief that clients benefit from a diverse range of approaches. She adapts her style and techniques for each individual, recognizing the value of tailored strategies. With a deep appreciation for multiculturalism, she creates an inclusive environment where diverse backgrounds and perspectives are celebrated.

Education & Training

Cindy is currently pursuing her Master's degree at Steinhardt in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness.  Before enrolling in graduate school, she worked remotely as a peer guide counselor at CaringMinds. She also worked as a behavioral technician with autistic kids. For patient convenience, she is fluent in English and Chinese Mandarin.

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Fae Cushing, MA, LAC Mental Health Clinician
Fae Cushing
Behavioral Health and Psychotherapy, Grief Counseling Services, Telehealth, ADHD Specialist, Trauma & Treatment of Depression & Anxiety

Fae (she/her) is a a Licensed Associate Counselor at Joy

Fae (she/her) is a Licensed Associate Counselor of Joy Mental Fitness, which has locations in Jersey City, New Jersey, and Boston, Massachusetts. Fae also provides telehealth services to patients throughout New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

My Personal Journey

I have been on a journey of recovery and resilience since a young age. Sober since I was 21, I have personally navigated the challenging terrain of mental health struggles. My experiences with physical, sexual, and psychological abuse have shaped my understanding of trauma and recovery. Living through these adversities has given me a unique perspective and a profound empathy for those facing similar challenges. My recovery journey is not just about personal healing; it is about living my struggles “out in the open” to help others find their path to wellness.

Commitment to Helping Others

Helping clients get well is my life’s work. I excel in connecting with others who are struggling with their mental health, offering them insight and hope through my own experiences. Empathy is a cornerstone of my practice. I build trusting, safe, and non-judgmental relationships with my clients, creating a space where wellness can flourish.

Specializations and Approach

I specialize in working with adults dealing with trauma, depression, anxiety, and stress, adapting my approach to meet each client's unique needs. My eclectic theoretical orientation includes strengths-based, person-centered, and cognitive-behavioral paradigms. I am always open to incorporating new evidence-based practices to better support my clients.

Professional Background

I hold a Master of Arts in Mental Health and Wellness Counseling from New York University and a Bachelor of Science in Psychiatric Rehabilitation from Rutgers University. I am a Licensed Associate Counselor (LAC) and a Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner (CPRP).

Advocacy and Community Involvement

I am passionate about ending the stigma surrounding mental illness and have been actively involved in community activism for many years. I serve as an Adjunct Instructor at Rutgers University in the School of Health Professionals and as the Co-President on the Executive Board of Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey. This organization is a respected innovator of housing, community wellness centers, employment, and economic development services that promote the wellness and recovery of individuals with behavioral health conditions.

By sharing my journey and dedicating myself to helping others, I hope to inspire and support those who are on their path to mental wellness.

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Hanwen Wang, MA, LMHC, LPC
Hanwen Wang
Behavioral Health and Psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Grief Counseling Services, ADHD Specialist, Therapy & Trauma Therapy & Treatment of Depression & Anxiety

Hanwen (she/her) is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor at Joy

Hanwen (she/her) is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor of Joy Mental Fitness, which has locations in Jersey City, New Jersey, and Boston, Massachusetts. Hanwen also provides telehealth services to patients throughout New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York. Hanwen is bilingual, proficient in both English and Chinese Mandarin.

Experience & Specialties

Hanwen sees the therapeutic process as a way to learn skills that allow clients to be psychologically present while handling painful thoughts and emotions in an effective way. She focuses on increasing psychological flexibility to overcome a preoccupation with the past or future and promoting behaviors that contact psychological experiences in a non-defensive way. Using a mindfulness-based approach, Hanwen encourages clients to look at their thoughts and not from their thoughts to resolve cognitive fusion. She emphasizes receptiveness and openness to uncomfortable experiences to address experiential avoidance. She also promotes committed actions (ACT) and behavioral changes that serve one’s core values to provide a sense of meaning and fulfillment.

She focuses on individual experiences in their sociocultural context and helps make sense of the connection between their experiences, beliefs, and behaviors. Driven by social justice multiculturalism, she respects individuals of all races, ethnicities, genders, sexualities, ages, and religions.

Education & Training

Hanwen received her M.A. in Mental Health Counseling at New York University and her B.A. in Psychology at the University of California Berkeley. For patient convenience, she is fluent in English and Chinese Mandarin.

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Jessy Dong
Jessy Dong
Behavioral Health and Psychotherapy, LGBTQIA+ Primary Healthcare Specialists, Grief Counseling Services, Trauma & Treatment of Depression & Anxiety

Jessy (they/she/he) is a master level therapist at Joy

Jessy (they/she/he) is a master-level therapist of Joy Mental Fitness, which has locations in Jersey City, New Jersey, and Boston, Massachusetts. Jessy also provides telehealth services to patients throughout New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York. Jessy is bilingual, proficient in both English and Chinese Mandarin.

My Personal Journey to become a Clinician

My journey to becoming a clinician began with an unexpected love for theater and the arts. Diving into the world of acting, I found myself endlessly fascinated by the characters I played. Let’s face it—humans are delightfully strange sometimes! We often engage in behaviors we don't even understand, and that's perfectly normal (or at least that's what I tell myself). My theater experience allowed me to explore human behavior and emotion in a cathartic, profound way, helping me see how narratives shape our self-perception and worldview.

Drawing from my eclectic background in design, film, music, and creative writing, I bring a creative flair to my sessions, aiding clients in expressing themselves uniquely. Growing up in rural China, I encountered numerous socio-economic and cultural challenges that deepened my empathy and awareness of the pressures people face. Navigating life as a queer, pansexual, nonbinary, and poly-affirming individual has acquainted me with a myriad of visible and invisible challenges, particularly related to race, gender, sexual orientation, immigration and many other “isms”. These rich experiences enable me to connect authentically with clients from diverse backgrounds, especially within the LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities.

My Clinical Approach

In my practice, I employ an integrative approach, blending various therapeutic modalities such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), mindfulness, somatic work, Gestalt therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), and Internal Family Systems (IFS). Techniques like the Alexander Technique help clients reconnect deeply with their bodies. I chose these methods because they provide a holistic approach to understanding the multifaceted nature of human experiences—because, honestly, who wants a one-size-fits-all approach (looking at you, Brandy Melville) when we're all wonderfully complex beings?

Creating a safe, brave and supportive space is the cornerstone of my philosophy. My mission is to build a trust-based bond where clients can explore their thoughts and emotions without fear of judgment. I specialize in working with BIPOC communities, the LGBTQ+ population, and individuals dealing with anxiety, depression, and trauma, aiming to create an environment where all clients feel genuinely valued and understood.

Fluent in both Chinese and English, I assist a diverse range of clients, particularly within the BIPOC community. I have dabbled in navigating issues related to race, immigration, acculturation, neurodivergence, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, suicidality, BPD, trauma, and relationship difficulties. My trauma-informed perspective acknowledges the multifaceted nature of grief, whether it stems from the loss of a loved one, a relationship, or a part of oneself. Basically, I'm here to help you view your woes, traumas, and amazing self with the compassion and care you deserve.

In addition, I'm training as a sex therapist, addressing issues such as sexual problems, trauma, kinks, consensual nonmonogamy, relationship dynamics, and communication skills. So, feel free to bring these steamy topics to the table—let's work through them together!

And hey, I welcome all kinds of emotions—joy, sadness, confusion, numbness, you name it. Personally, I have a particular fondness for anger; it's like the spicy hot sauce of emotions, and as a Chinese person, you know I love my spicy food. Let's dive into that beautiful, emotional nuance and see what we can untangle. No emotion is too big or too small!

Overall Impact

My ultimate goal is to empower clients on their journey toward wholeness, using a feminist approach that recognizes the significant role of environmental factors in their lives. By integrating somatic work and mindfulness practices, I assist clients in strengthening the connection between their mind and body. Witnessing my clients’ progress is incredibly fulfilling—think of it less as a straight line and more like a scenic route with a few stunning detours.

I hope my clients can look back on their progress and proudly say, "dang, I've grown."

A mantra that resonates with my therapeutic approach is, "Be patient with therapy and with yourself. It’s a marathon, not a sprint." Therapy isn’t a quick fix; it’s a gradual, ongoing process that requires time and effort. For those contemplating therapy, remember it’s not a magical overnight transformation. I won't flip your life around in just one session, but taking the step to attend therapy is already a monumental move toward healing, even if it doesn’t feel like it immediately. So, give yourself a pat pat on the shoulder. You're doing great—seriously!

I Might Be the Right Therapist for You If...

- You want to be heard, seen, and loved—but you're also okay with a bit of blunt honesty when it's needed, albeit served with a side of compassion.

- You're a deep feeler who struggles to untangle those big emotions. Think of our sessions as detective work with less trench coats and more mindful observation and movement. If meditation piques your interest, I'm ready to bring you on that tranquil (or occasionally awkward) journey, helping you develop a suite of tools to explore, understand, and embrace your feelings.

- You find expressing your feelings in words about as easy as parallel parking a bus. Let’s delve into creative and artistic avenues to articulate your experiences—no actual bus required.

- You face systemic oppression related to immigration, race, ableism, gender norms, and other delightful "isms." If you want validation from someone who’s been there and deeply understands the impacts of these oppressions, I’m here to stand with you.

- You're interested in exploring your relationships—including the therapeutic one between us—to understand how they shape your life.

- You're seeking someone to hold up a mirror (gently!) to your actions and language, helping you uncover behaviors you might not even be aware of that could be impacting how you navigate your life.

- You're keen to sift through childhood experiences and understand how they molded your current self. We can navigate these memories like archaeologists, with care and compassion.

- You want a therapist who brims with curiosity and favors a collaborative approach. If you prefer brainstorming sessions over having a life manual dispenser, we might just make a dynamic duo.

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Joey Zhou, MA
Joey Zhou
Behavioral and Therapy Services, Trauma, Mindfulness Specialist, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Treatment of Depression & Anxiety & LGBTQIA+ Primary Healthcare Specialists

Joey (she/her) is a  Licensed Associate Counselor at Joy. 

Joey (she/her) is a a Licensed Associate Counselor of Joy Mental Fitness, which has locations in Jersey City, New Jersey, and Boston, Massachusetts. Joey also provides telehealth services to patients throughout New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Joey is bilingual, proficient in both English and Chinese Mandarin. 

Personal Journey

My initial interest in becoming a therapist was sparked by my upbringing in a culture where mental health was seldom discussed, despite the clear struggles many people faced. Witnessing this widespread silence and neglect around mental health issues deeply impacted me. I felt a strong desire to break this cycle and advocate for the importance of mental health care. This personal drive to challenge the stigma and provide support to those in need motivated me to pursue a career in therapy, where I could help others find their voices and prioritize their well-being.

As a person of color, a 1.5 generation immigrant who came to the United States at the age of 13, and someone who identifies as queer, I have a unique perspective on the cultural and systemic impacts that shape individuals' lives. These intersecting marginalized identities provide me with a holistic understanding of the diverse challenges faced by my clients.

Clinical Approach

In my therapeutic practice, I emphasize a person-centered approach, believing it fosters the essential therapeutic rapport needed for self-exploration and personal growth. I integrate Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) as core modalities, providing practical coping mechanisms that encourage desired behavioral changes. To support emotional regulation and a deeper body-mind connection, I incorporate mindfulness techniques, helping clients stay grounded in the present moment.

Recognizing the profound impact of past experiences, I also use narrative therapy techniques to explore and reshape the stories we tell about our lives, while gently uncovering the unconscious thoughts influencing our beliefs and behaviors. This holistic and compassionate approach aims to create a safe and nurturing environment for growth and healing.

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Magdalena Vazquez, MA, LAC, NCC, CTP
Magdalena Vazquez
Behavioral Health and Psychotherapy, Bilingual - Spanish speaking, Treatment of Depression & Anxiety, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Adolescent and Young Adult Therapist & Mindfulness Specialist

Magdalena (she/her) is a Licensed Associate Counselor and a National Certified Counselor at Joy

Magdalena (she/her) is a Licensed Associate Counselor and a National Certified Counselor at Joy Mental Fitness, which has locations in Jersey City, New Jersey, and Boston, Massachusetts. Magdalena provides telehealth services to clients throughout New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Magdalena is bilingual, proficient in both English and Spanish.

My Personal Journey:

From an early age, I discovered a strong interest in helping and supporting others. It was not until I faced personal challenges within my own family, struggling with addictions and mental health issues, that I began to explore these issues more deeply to grasp an understanding of these afflictions. This motivation led me to pursue a career in Professional Counseling, focusing on co-occurring disorders. Throughout my journey, I relied on my faith in God and the support of loved ones to overcome obstacles and achieve my professional goals.

Transitioning from a long-standing career to a new path in counseling has allowed me to follow my true passion of providing support and hope to those in need. I am committed to serving as a source of guidance and assistance for individuals facing challenges, and I am eager to make a positive impact in their lives.

Clinical Approach and Techniques:

I use an eclectic therapeutic approach tailored to the unique needs of each client. For clients who struggle with irrational thoughts and faulty beliefs stemming from trauma, life experiences, and/or other challenges, I incorporate Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help them challenge and restructure their thoughts. For clients who have difficulty managing intense emotions, I implement Dialectical Behavioral Therapy to aid in emotion regulation. Additionally, I use a psychoanalytic approach to help clients explore their subconscious and gain a deeper understanding of how their past experiences impact their current situation, fostering a more comprehensive healing process.

During sessions, I employ various techniques such as breathing exercises, mindfulness, role playing, and traditional talk therapy. My experience extends to working with a diverse range of clients, including children, young and older adults, college students, families, premarital couples, and Spanish-speaking individuals. The mental health issues addressed in my sessions encompass anxiety, depression, communication difficulties, relationship conflicts, identity development, multicultural concerns, and trauma.

Clients can expect their sessions with me to be a safe and supportive environment where they can openly express themselves without fear of judgment. Confidentiality is paramount, and I strive to create a compassionate space where clients can be honest, transparent, and vulnerable as they navigate their personal growth and healing journey.

Education & Training

I hold a Master's degree in Counseling and a Bachelor's degree in Psychology, with a minor in Latino and Latin American Studies, from Montclair State University. I am certified as a Trauma Professional and Crisis Counselor. My expertise and passion for counseling and mental wellness are applied to support mental health and emotional well-being.

As long as you continue to breathe, there is always hope shining brightly on the horizon. Never surrender and always grant yourself the opportunity to embrace healing and mental wellness!

“There is hope, even when your brain tells you there isn't." John Green

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Mi Cao, LPC, LPCC, LMHC, ACS
Mi Cao
Behavioral Health and Psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Grief Counseling Services, Trauma & Telehealth

Mi Cao (she/her) is the clinical director at Joy.

Mrs. Mi Cao is the clinical director of Joy Mental Fitness, which has locations in Jersey City, New Jersey, and Boston, Massachusetts. Mrs. Cao also provides telehealth services to patients throughout New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York. Mi is bilingual, proficient in both English and Chinese Mandarin. 

How I Got Here

My path to becoming a clinician wasn't linear. It began with a leap of faith – venturing abroad as an international student. Navigating a new culture opened my eyes to the vast spectrum of the human experience. This immersion process wasn't always easy, but it sparked a deep curiosity within me. I became fascinated by the resilience and resourcefulness people demonstrate, particularly within BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities, when faced with unfamiliar territory.  Witnessing these experiences ignited a passion for understanding the human experience across backgrounds, and the complexities that shape how we navigate the world. This newfound cultural sensitivity became a cornerstone of my approach to therapy, allowing me to better connect with individuals from diverse cultures and backgrounds. My fluency in Mandarin Chinese further strengthens my ability to serve the specific needs of Asian communities.

Motherhood as a Profound Chapter

Motherhood has served as another profound chapter in my journey, further enriching my perspective on the human experience. Witnessing the joys and complexities of raising children firsthand has granted me a deeper well of empathy and understanding.  I can connect with clients facing difficulties in their own relationships on a more profound level. Whether they're navigating the ever-evolving dynamics of family life, struggling with parent-child communication, or simply managing stress that impacts their loved ones, my own experiences as a mother allow me to draw parallels and offer genuine support.  This deepened perspective allows me to create a safe space for clients to explore their challenges and develop effective strategies for fostering healthy and fulfilling relationships within their families.

Weaving My Experiences with Expertise

Drawing from the rich tapestry of my experiences as a first-generation immigrant, a mother, and a member of the Asian American community, I weave them together with my extensive clinical expertise.

This experiential understanding informs my therapeutic approach. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) forms the foundation, helping you identify and challenge negative thought patterns that contribute to emotional distress.  Behavioral interventions are then strategically implemented to develop healthy coping mechanisms and promote positive behavior change.  For instance, we might explore relaxation techniques like deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation to manage anxiety, or develop communication skills to navigate difficult relationships.  Mindfulness techniques further enhance your emotional regulation skills by cultivating present-moment awareness.  Additionally, mind-body practices can address the connection between thoughts, emotions, and physical well-being.  By creating a holistic treatment plan tailored to your unique needs, I empower you to cultivate strength, resilience, and a renewed sense of well-being.

Ultimately, my goal is to create a safe and culturally-sensitive space where you feel truly seen and heard.  Whether you identify as BIPOC or simply value an inclusive environment, I offer a space free from judgment where you can explore your challenges, develop effective coping mechanisms, and ultimately find inner peace and fulfillment.  Together, we can embark on a journey towards a healthier, happier you.

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Michelle Jiang
Michelle Jiang
Behavioral Health and Psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Grief Counseling Services, ADHD Specialist, Trauma & Treatment of Depression & Anxiety

Michelle (she/her) is a master level therapist at Joy.

Michelle (she/her) is a master level therapist of Joy Mental Fitness, which has locations in Jersey City, New Jersey, and Boston, Massachusetts. Michelle also provides telehealth services to patients throughout New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York. Michelle is bilingual, proficient in both English and Chinese Mandarin. 

My Path to Becoming a Therapist

Born and raised in a traditional Chinese family, I have witnessed and experienced both the burdens and immense support that come from being part of a collectivist culture. Later, I came to the United States as a first-generation college student in my family. The process of transitioning from China to America was both painfully insightful and healing. The values I carried from my culture and family were constantly challenged during my years here, but this journey also allowed me to discover and connect with parts of myself that I wasn't so familiar with. I learned to draw more attention and awareness to my own feelings and embrace my authenticity.

My passion for cross-cultural differences led me to participate in research investigating the function of vicarious memories among Asian participants. I explored how the cultural focus on interdependence and relationships impacts one of humans' most essential cognitive functions. Additionally, I researched different parenting styles and their relationships to emerging adult coping styles, helping me recognize the significance of early childhood experiences and family dynamics on an individual's development and mental health.

The duality of experiencing two different cultures profoundly shaped my perspective on relationships and mental health, inspiring me to become a culturally sensitive therapist who values both individual growth and community support. Along with self-reflection on my identity as an Asian female international student, it also breeds my curiosity and sensitivity toward other dimensions of identity, including race, gender, socioeconomic class, and sexuality. I appreciate the vast differences in human experiences and understand the unique experiences of systematic oppression and struggles of different identities and intersectionality.

Insights into human experience as a fellow human being

From the moment we are born, we have two essential needs: attachment and authenticity. We need to belong and to express who we are in a relationship. These needs aren't always compatible, and sometimes, we repress our need for authenticity to maintain the attachments our lives depend on. In my practice, I strive to help clients discover and connect with their authentic selves and build boundaries where they can love themselves and others simultaneously.

Life also brings unavoidable topics embedded in our human existence, such as uncertainty, emotional pain, and the finitude of our loved ones, including our own. Our shared human experience allows us to meet each other as “brothers and sisters in the same dark night,” forming deep bonds through our common struggles. As a fellow human, I aim to provide a relational home, offering deep emotional attunement and empathy where devastating emotional pain can be held and integrated.

My Clinical Approach

As an integrative therapist with a relational focus, person-centered therapy forms the foundation of my practice. I aim to provide a safe relational home that can hold all kinds of emotions and thoughts from my clients and embrace their unique identities. Feminist counseling informs my understanding of how complex and interconnected systems can impose psychological oppression and constraints on minorities.

In addition to building authentic and collaborative relationships with clients and advocating for social justice and equality, I utilize CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) to help clients capture and build awareness of their thinking patterns that fuel emotional distress. I employ ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) to manage uncomfortable thoughts and emotions through Mindfulness and help clients live lives aligned with their Values. I also use IFS (Internal Family Systems) to connect with different parts of ourselves, which might resemble the non-stopping critic or the vulnerable but playful child. With Curiosity and Compassion, I work with clients to free themselves from extreme beliefs and emotions carried by these wounded parts. We will also practice Somatic exercises like breathwork, body scans, and progressive muscle relaxation to bridge the mind and body.

I speak both English and Mandarin and specialize in topics of acculturation, anxiety, depression, life transitions, identity development, relationship issues, attachment trauma, adverse childhood experiences, ADHD, and complex trauma.

Healing should take the slowest pace, and sometimes, it is difficult to even start. It requires courage to face the darkness within us, but you don’t have to do it alone. Together, we will allow this gradual process to unfold naturally and gently at your own pace. My ultimate goal for clients is to foster their self-understanding, build nurturing relationships with others, and, more importantly, with themselves, along with effective coping skills to handle the emotions and uncertainties that life entails.

Some Questions to Get You Started on Your Self-Exploration:

How much do you trust your gut feelings?

What would you do without worrying about others’ judgments?

When was the last time you felt embarrassed?

What are your biggest triggers, and where do you feel they come from?

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Tameka Moore
Tameka Moore

Tameka (she/her) is a mental health fellow at Joy.

Tameka is a mental health fellow of Joy Mental Fitness, which has locations in Jersey City, New Jersey, and Boston, Massachusetts. Tameka also provides telehealth services to patients throughout New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, and New York.

Personal Journey and Inspiration

Over the past 15 years, I have been an avid participant in boxing. This sport has been a significant source of balance and stability in my life, providing me with an outlet for physical exertion and stress relief. Boxing has taught me the value of physical wellness and its role in promoting overall self-improvement and self-care. The discipline, focus, and determination required in boxing have contributed immensely to my personal growth and development. It has taught me the importance of setting goals, pushing myself beyond my limits, and persevering through challenges. The benefits of boxing extend far beyond physical fitness, enriching various aspects of my life.

Clinical Approach

As a therapist, my aim is to create a safe and empathetic environment where you can explore your thoughts and behaviors. I believe you are the expert of your own experience. I work collaboratively with you to identify your goals and create a plan that aligns with your values and preferences. My approach blends Psychodynamic and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) theories, prioritizing empathy and collaboration. This personalized method empowers you as the expert on your own experiences, helping you feel seen and heard as a whole person.

Areas of Expertise

I specialize in providing assistance and guidance to individuals navigating various challenges such as depression, anxiety, life changes, and transitions. My passion is to help people, and I am dedicated to creating a safe and supportive environment for everyone. My deep understanding of cultural diversity enables me to offer personalized care and support to each person I work with, ensuring they receive the help they need to overcome their challenges and thrive.

My Commitment to You

My ultimate goal is to support you on your journey towards a more fulfilling life. I use my expertise to provide personalized care and support, ensuring that you receive the help you need to overcome challenges and thrive. Together, we will work towards achieving your goals and improving your overall well-being.

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Bhavya Batra
Bhavya Batra

Bhavya (She/her) is a mental health fellow at Joy.

Bhavya is a mental health fellow of Joy Mental Fitness, which has locations in Jersey City, New Jersey, and Boston, Massachusetts. Bhavya also provides telehealth services to patients throughout New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, and New York.

Personal Journey and Inspiration

With a broad smile on my face, I stared at the slightly crumpled note. “Thank you for saving my life” it read. During a part of my internship experience, I had received this message from a young boy who had come in for an initial counseling session. At that moment, I hadn't fully grasped the impact I was having on his life. I was simply carrying out the routine of an initial consultation call. But upon receiving this note, a realization sparked within me: if just spending 15 minutes with someone could bring about such significant change in their life, how many others around the world might be in need of professional support? With that thought, I embarked on a journey to become a mental health counselor, hoping to break down myths and stigma surrounding seeking help. It proved to be a pivotal moment in my life.

Understanding Human Experience

I understand human experience as an opportunity for us to find authenticity within ourselves and to make meaningful change in our lives. By understanding an individual's relationship with past events, unresolved emotions, and patterns, we can gain insight into their current functioning. Every person possesses innate strengths and goodness, which they can harness to create the life they desire. As a therapist, I aim to foster connection with my clients' past relationships and tap into their innate goodness to improve their present functioning.

Embracing Multiculturalism

As a migrant living in the US for a while now, I became fascinated with the diversity of cultures and soon began to feed my curiosity to learn and understand from people of all walks of life. This fascination led me to actively engage in multiculturalism, ensuring that I create a supportive and inclusive space for my clients where their individual differences are respected. As an Asian, cis-gender woman of color, I'm particularly attuned to the importance of multiculturalism. My proficiency in English and Hindi further enables me to cater to the needs of the majority of my clients.

Clinical Approach

Drawing from a rich tapestry of experiences, I weave them together in my clinical practice which informs my therapeutic approach. I do not believe in a cookie cutter, ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach and hence integrate multiple modalities to best serve my clients. My foundation lies in a psychodynamic approach, helping you delve into your unconscious mind and past experiences to uncover patterns that may be impacting your present life. As a result of it, I also help my clients to identify and challenge their negative thought patterns using Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Additionally, I incorporate Mindfulness and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy techniques to further enhance your emotional regulation, distress tolerance, and experiencing the here-and-now skills. By holistically tailoring a treatment plan according to each client's unique needs, I strive to create a brave space, free of judgment and provide a comprehensive and personalized therapeutic experience.

Commitment to Clients

Being a client in therapy, I understand how difficult it is to take the first step and book a session. It requires courage to seek help and start the journey towards healing and self-discovery. Think of therapy with me as a journey where you are the driver, and I, as your therapist, am in the seat of a co-driver. As your co-driver, I am here to help navigate the complex terrain of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. While you are in control of your driving, I offer support, compassion, and tools to navigate the road ahead and eventually empower you to take on this journey independently.

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Nayalit Mercado, MA
Taylor French, MA
Taylor French
Behavioral Health and Psychotherapy, Adolescent and Young Adult Therapist, Autism Specialist, ADHD Specialist, Trauma & Treatment of Depression & Anxiety

Taylor (she/her) is a Master Level Therapist at Joy.

Taylor (she/her) is a master-level therapist of Joy Mental Fitness, which has locations in Jersey City, New Jersey, and Boston, Massachusetts. Taylor also provides telehealth services to patients throughout New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

Experience & Specialties

Taylor strives to provide a safe and trusting space for clients to discuss any issues they may be facing. Her goal is to create an environment that promotes autonomy, and open, honest communication so each client can feel valued and heard. By holding space for clients to express themselves, she gives clients a deeper understanding of what is impacting them. This forges a path towards their therapeutic goals which equates to their happiness and mental health.

While her approach is rooted in psychodynamic and person-centered therapy, Taylor draws on aspects of cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and a trauma-informed lens to inform her work. However, Taylor ultimately believes in working together to create a therapeutic environment that best suits each client’s needs. She believes that everyone has the strength to overcome hardships within themselves, and she will be here to help empower clients to explore what that means for them.

Education & Training

Prior to beginning her training in mental health counseling, she gained clinical experience working in equine therapy. That is where she worked with children who struggled with family trauma, attention, impulsivity, and behavioral issues, as well as veterans, children, and adults with developmental disabilities. Taylor received a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Family, Youth, and Community Sciences from the University of Florida and her Master’s degree in Mental Health & Wellness Counseling at New York University.

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null Du
Rachel Du

Rachel (She/her) is a mental health fellow at Joy.

Rachel is a mental health fellow of Joy Mental Fitness, which has locations in Jersey City, New Jersey, and Boston, Massachusetts. Rachel also provides telehealth services to patients throughout New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, and New York. Rachel is bilingual, proficient in both English and Chinese Mandarin. 

My Path to Becoming a Clinician

My name is Rachel Du, and I am currently pursuing my Master degree in the Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness program at New York University. I speak both Mandarin and English. I specialize in working with adolescents and young adults. As an international student living and studying in the U.S., I deeply feel the uncertainties and challenges of adapting to a new culture and building up positive self-images.

Creating a Safe and Supportive Space

My philosophy centers on creating a safe, supportive, and inclusive environment where clients can explore unique challenges, develop effective coping strategies, and work towards inner fulfillment. Growing up, many of us may find ourselves feeling confused and hesitant as we encounter different people and get exposed to different cultures. I provide tailored need to every individual, and I believe all emotions should be seen and valued. Moreover, I want to let you know that you are not alone and you can always love yourself:)

My Therapeutic Approach

I incorporate a strength-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) approach and positive psychology from a multicultural perspective. I believe in the power of CBT to help clients identify and challenge negative thought patterns, and I use positive psychology to promote resilience and well-being.

Whether you are seeking support as an adolescent, young adult, or part of the Asian community, I am here to help you on your journey. Together, we can work towards a brighter, more fulfilling future, realizing your strengths and fostering resilience every step of the way. My ultimate goal is to support my clients in their journey towards wholeness, helping them build a healthier and more balanced life.

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Terry Wu
Terry Wu

Terry (he/his) is a mental health fellow at Joy.

Terry is a mental health fellow of Joy Mental Fitness, which has locations in Jersey City, New Jersey, and Boston, Massachusetts. Terry also provides telehealth services to patients throughout New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, and New York. Terry is bilingual, proficient in both English and Chinese Mandarin. 

How I Got There

Growing up in an environment where there is a lot of competition and peer pressure, I understand and deeply resonate with the disturbing nature of mental health challenges and various sources that contribute to them. As an empathetic person, I strive to connect with and understand individual emotions and incidents, and this almost intrinsic nature drives my compassion and desire to provide assistance to those in need. The profession of mental health counseling motivates me to help individuals navigate their psychological challenges, develop resilience, and, most importantly, help them become better off and eventually live a fulfilling life. My fluency in both English and Chinese allows me to understand and serve clients coming from various cultural backgrounds, and my experience living in both the United States and China cultivates my multicultural awareness, allowing me to provide an open and nonjudgmental space for clients.

Clinical Approach

I believe in the concept of theory pluralism and take a very integrative approach in therapy, tailoring my methods to meet the unique perspectives and needs of each client. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help clients identify maladaptive thinking patterns, challenge negative thoughts, and assist in building rationality when approaching incidents and challenges in life. In addition, Psychodynamic Approach allows me to understand clients’ past history and how they shape clients as who they are at present through analysis of family dynamics, unconscious materials, and suppressed emotions. Lastly, by incorporating Mindfulness into the practice, clients may have an enhanced focus on their here-and-now experience through body scans and breathing exercises and thus, focus less on challenges and disturbances in life.

My ultimate goal in therapeutic sessions is to create a safe and empathic space where you feel respected, heard, and understood. In addition, I deeply resonate with the saying that working with clients is like sitting in the car with them. Instead of trying to grab the steering wheel and direct where the car is going, I, as a mental health counselor, shall sit in the passenger seat and let clients decide throughout the journey. Together, we will collaborate and learn from each other and strive towards a more resilient, healthier, and happier you at your own pace.

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Vivien Hao, BA
Yujia Dai