Clinical Team & Advisors
Hara Ntalla brings an expertise in infant-family mental health and development—as well as depression, anxiety, and grief—to her role as clinical director of Seleni. Prior to her current role, Ms. Ntalla conducted supervision with Seleni's clinical staff since 2015. She has lectured at Brooklyn College’s Early Childhood and Art Education Department for 12 years and worked in the Early Intervention and Early Childhood Special Education fields as a provider and supervisor for over 15 years.
Ms. Ntalla is a co-developer of the Early Intervention advanced Certificate program at Brooklyn College and teaches the psychosocial courses for Brooklyn College’s Advanced Certificate in Early Intervention and Parenting Program. Ms. Ntalla has also worked closely as a consultant with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to train NYC providers in the Reflective Supervision model. She gives lectures on parent and child development to several organizations throughout NYC in order to promote the wellbeing of families.
Ms. Ntalla received her degree in Infant and Parent Development and Early Intervention from Bank Street College of Education and is also NY dually certified in both general and special education (with a specialization in autism). Ms. Ntalla is an advanced candidate in the Adult Psychoanalysis program at the Training Institute of the Contemporary Freudian Society of New York.
Dr. Brofman specializes in reproductive and perinatal mental health. She supports people before, during, and after pregnancy, pregnancy loss, and pregnancy termination. Dr. Brofman assists people navigating infertility, assisted reproductive technology, and third-party reproduction, as well as those pursuing or considering medical or elective fertility preservation.
Dr. Brofman completed her undergraduate degree in child development and Spanish at Tufts University. She then worked as a case manager for children with special needs, and as a clinical research coordinator at Columbia University Medical Center, where she researched the effects of mood disorders and stress during pregnancy. Dr. Brofman completed her doctorate in clinical psychology at Rutgers University, where her research focused on the psychologist's role in reproductive medicine. She has advanced training in perinatal mood disorders from the Postpartum Stress Center and Postpartum Support International.
Dr. Brofman has worked with children, adolescents, and adults in various settings across the Greater New York Area. She is an active member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine's mental health professional group, and currently serves on its continuing education committee. Dr. Brofman is a member of several other local, state, and national professional organizations, including Postpartum Support International, RESOLVE, and the NYC Women's Mental Health Consortium. She is also an adjunct assistant professor at Columbia University, where she teaches a master's level course on perinatal mental health.
Dr. Harteneck has more than 18 years of experience treating patients with mood and anxiety disorders. She specializes in depression and anxiety, adjustment disorders, perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, life and career transitions, infertility, and relationship issues with partners, family, and friends. She uses an integrative approach to therapy, combining psychodynamic insight with cognitive behavioral techniques.
Dr. Harteneck earned both her master’s and doctorate degrees in clinical psychology from Adelphi University, her master's degree in counseling psychology from Columbia University, and her master's in business administration from the University of Chicago. Her undergraduate degree in clinical psychology is from the University of Buenos Aires. She did her internship at Kings County Hospital Center and worked at the Metropolitan Center for Mental Health. She completed her postdoctoral training at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center and the Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy in Philadelphia.
In addition to working at Seleni, Dr. Harteneck supervises at Lenox Hill Hospital and the Center for Cognition and Communication. She is fluent in Spanish, French, and German.
David brings an analytically informed approach to his work with individuals and couples navigating such life transitions as pregnancy and parenthood.
Originally from the Midwest, David received his degree in social work from New York University and is currently completing psychoanalytic psychotherapy training through the Contemporary Freudian Society. In addition to his work as a clinician, David is an active volunteer with the SPRING project which promotes education and affordable treatment of Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders in the New York City and Washington DC areas.
Venus Mahmoodi, PhD, specializes in maternal mental health during the perinatal period. She treats patients with a wide range of mental health challenges, including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, psychotic disorders, and emotional dysregulation from various conditions.
Dr. Mahmoodi takes an integrative approach, incorporating psychodynamic relational work with cognitive and dialectical behavioral therapies. Her diverse clinical and diagnostic expertise ranges from working with refugees and torture survivors to veterans and perinatal women. Her most rewarding experience was at an intensive outpatient program for pregnant and new mothers, where she treated women experiencing perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) as well as post-traumatic stress. Treatment there included cognitive behavioral techniques in both individual and group settings.
Dr. Mahmoodi completed her PhD in clinical psychology at Palo Alto University and her predoctoral internship at Mount Sinai Beth Israel. Through a unique collaboration between Stanford University and Palo Alto University, she completed a program with an emphasis in women's mental health. Coursework and research examined the role of endogenous hormones on mental health throughout women's life cycle. Her dissertation topic focused on the perinatal experiences of Muslim women living in the United States. She also completed specialized training through Postpartum Support International on screening and treating PMADs.
Dr. Mahmoodi is affiliated with the New York Women's Mental Health Consortium as well as Postpartum Support International.
Dr. Manzella comes to Seleni with extensive experience as a clinician, administrator, and professor of psychology. For more than 20 years, Dr. Manzella maintained a private practice in New York City where she provided therapy and supervision in several areas, including grief and bereavement, her specialty.
Dr. Manzella specializes in working with parents after miscarriage, stillbirth, and child loss. Her clinical work also includes helping women and couples navigate fertility challenges as well as the complexities of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Her focus is on helping women and couples find ways to draw on their strengths and take the next steps that are right for them.
For those who are grieving, the next step might be letting go. Or it might be recognizing their ongoing bond with and love for the child they have lost. She also focuses on any potential mood or anxiety disorders that can complicate bereavement, and she is particularly skilled at supporting parents as they explore the decision to pursue subsequent pregnancies or build a family in other ways.
Dr. Manzella is also an expert on the relationship between loss and trauma. She is an empathic clinician who uses empirically derived interventions that are proven to be effective treatments for grief as well as mood and anxiety disorders. She continues to embrace and use mindfulness-based clinical interventions, including those she developed through her research and teaching as an international consultant on managing loss and trauma.
Dr. Manzella also provides career assessment and counseling for women making career changes following pregnancy. She addresses practical and psychological elements in career exploration, building on her 20 years of experience as a New York University faculty advisor and professor.
Dr. Manzella earned both her master's degree in clinical psychology and doctorate in counseling psychology from New York University. She carried out her doctoral dissertation research at Beth Israel Medical Center hospice, with postdoctoral supervision in grief and bereavement work.
Dr. Manzella also has had specialized training at Postpartum Support International, the Postpartum Stress Center, and the Beck Institute for Cognitive Therapy. Dr. Manzella was named a Fellow in Thanatology: Death, Dying and Bereavement by the Association of Death Educators and Counselors. She is completing the third year of a three-year term as a member of their board of directors. She continues to teach at New York University and makes her home in New York City.
Charles Schaeffer received his MA and PhD in clinical/counseling psychology from New York University and has worked at New York University, Mount Sinai Medical School, the Department of Veteran's Affairs, and in the New York City public school system. He has spent the last nine years working with adults, adolescents, and children who are experiencing stress, insomnia, anxiety, and depression.
As an experienced psychotherapist and adjunct clinical professor at NYU, Dr. Schaeffer comes to the Seleni Institute with expertise in different methods of treatment, including cognitive-behavioral, sleep enhancement, mindfulness-based, and psychodynamic. He is an internationally recognized scholar, career coach, and research contributor for Deloitte, and he applies his research on work-life balance, caregiving, and career development to help parents negotiate the demands of work and family. When not in the office, Dr. Schaeffer enjoys creating media designed to help people understand and apply psychology to everyday life including his column for the Daily Meal, Mind Over Meal.
Julie Slavin comes to Seleni with a diverse background in the music industry and women's issues. For more than a decade, she has worked as a DJ and lyricist for some of the biggest names in entertainment. After becoming a mother, Ms. Slavin was inspired to switch from helping musicians achieve their artistic vision
in the studio to helping families realize their own vision for their lives.
As a marriage and family therapy student, Ms. Slavin takes a systemic approach to working with individuals, couples, and families. Recognizing that everyone has unique strengths and needs, she tailors her approach to best support each person individually.
Ms. Slavin focused on women's studies at Oberlin College and completed her bachelor's degree in theater at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She is currently working toward her master's in marriage and family therapy at Iona College. Her first children's book, She Believed She Could So She Did, highlights female political leaders from around the world and will be published in fall of 2017.
Nneka Symister, LMSW, is an experienced therapist specializing in helping women and couples who suffer with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. In her work, Ms. Symister uses multiple techniques to best serve her clients, including cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, interpersonal therapy and mindfulness.
Ms. Symister holds more than a decade of experience helping families build and strengthen their relationships. Her past work includes supporting diverse patients in underserved communities, including inner city residents and LGBTQIA. She also has an extensive background working with fathers, utilizing the latest research in human behavior to help patients enhance their relationships with their children and increase positive communication in their co-parenting efforts.
Ms. Symister is certified as a Parenting Journey Facilitator and received her Master’s in Clinical Social Work from The Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, and a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and Urban Education from the State University of Albany. She is also deeply involved in her community serving as member of state and national professional organizations, including the National Association of Social Workers and The Links, Incorporated, where she engages high school-aged youth in need.
Dr. Cohen is a board certified psychiatrist specializing in women's mental health and reproductive psychiatry. She is committed to working with women throughout all stages of their reproductive lives. Dr. Cohen has expertise in diagnosing and treating psychiatric conditions related to menstruation and providing support and medication management to women during infertility struggles and treatment, throughout pregnancy, and during breastfeeding and the postpartum period.
Dr. Cohen takes a holistic and patient-centered approach to treatment, combining her understanding of psychopharmacology and psychodynamic psychiatry to alleviate symptoms and help patients work to achieve meaning, balance, and health in their lives. She also treats mood and anxiety disorders, attentional disorders, substance abuse, eating disorders, and psychosis.
Dr. Cohen received her bachelor's degree from the University of California at Berkeley and went on to earn both a medical degree and law degree from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. She practiced law in New York City before returning to medicine and completing her internship and residency in psychiatry as well as a fellowship in reproductive psychiatry/women's mental health at the New York University School of Medicine.
In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Cohen conducts research and has published numerous articles on psychiatry and law. She teaches clinical bioethics at the NYU School of Medicine and serves on the bioethics committee at Bellevue Hospital.
Ayelet Kaznelson is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and a Certified Lactation Counselor. At Seleni, she offers clinics, classes, workshops, and one-on-one sessions to help expectant parents prepare for the postpartum period and to resolve breastfeeding issues after the baby is born.
Born in Israel, she moved to New York City in 1989. After the birth of her daughter in 1999, Ms. Kaznelson started training to become a lactation consultant at Elizabeth Seton Childbearing Center. When the Center closed in 2003, her mentors invited her to cofound a private practice, The Manhattan Lactation Group. She was also asked to join the original staff at Realbirth, New York City's first comprehensive childbirth education and postpartum center.
She received her Lactation Counseling Certification in 2000, and after the birth of her son in 2004, Ms. Kaznelson passed the International Board Certification exam. She relocated to Los Angeles in 2006 where she started a private practice, The Los Angeles Lactation Group, and was a staff lactation consultant at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Ms. Kaznelson returned to New York City in 2007, and she continues to offer home visits, teach classes, and run clinics. She currently resides in Manhattan with her 2 children, Zoë and Liam, and her husband Todd. You can find out more about her at ayeletkaznelson.com.
Doula and Childbirth Educator
Jen Dembo, CCE, CD (DONA) is a certified labor support doula and childbirth educator. She has worked with pregnant women and their families since 2004, attending more than 100 births throughout New York City and the tri-state area in home, birth center, and hospital settings. Her holistic approach focuses on the physical, emotional, cultural, and medical factors that influence a woman around the beginning of motherhood.
Jen recognizes that every family is unique and honors various perspectives on pregnancy, adoption, assisted reproduction, surrogacy, and childbirth. Her mission is to inform women about their many prenatal, childbirth, and postpartum options and to promote self-advocacy in regard to personal needs and preferences.
Prior to her role as outreach coordinator at Seleni, Jen managed a midwifery practice and spent countless hours serving women before, during, and after their clinical visits. She has advanced training in comfort measures for labor practice, counseling skills and strategies to assist pregnant/postpartum survivors of childhood sexual abuse, perinatal loss, and maternal mental health. She is the former president of the Hudson Valley Birth Network and a current board member of Birth Education Beyond the Ordinary (BEBO), an organization providing sliding scale childbirth education, doula, and lactation support services. She is a co-facilitator of BEBO's Village of Mothers home visitation program, which matches volunteers with new mothers to support them through their transition to parenthood. She is also the author of several blogs on pregnancy, birth, and parenthood.
Jen earned her bachelor's in communications at Boston University and is currently working on her master's in social work at Simmons College.
Brooke Nalle, MS, founder of Sleepy on Hudson, is a pediatric sleep consultant who works with families and children from birth to preadolescence. Ms. Nalle believes sleep teaching (rather than sleep training) creates a healthy sleep relationship for the entire family. She collaborates with families to find sleep solutions that meet each child's cognitive, physical, and socio-emotional needs.
Ms. Nalle received her master's in education from Bank Street College of Education in 2003 and is one of the first 50 graduates of Kim West's Gentle Sleep Coach program. She is trained in basic counseling and child development, sleep science, behavioral modification techniques, and secure attachment theory.
In her work with Kim West, Ms. Nalle studied with experts in postpartum depression, sleep apnea (and other medical conditions) in children, and sensory processing disorders and sleep, and received specialized training to handle the particular issues of babies in the four to six month period. Ms. Nalle is a member of the Hudson Valley Birth Network and chair of the Community Nursery School Parent Committee. She is the proud mother of three children: Alistair, Clara, and Loewy.
Dr. Bieger integrates psychodynamic therapy with cognitive behavioral techniques to treat trauma and bereavement after pregnancy loss, perinatal anxiety and mood disorders, and insomnia. She specializes in helping women navigate the struggles of making the transition to motherhood, especially challenges of parenting and relationships. She helps women build the support they need to take better care of themselves and their families.
Dr. Bieger earned both her master's and doctorate degrees in cognitive psychology from Columbia University and continued her specialization in the field at Adelphi University’s Derner Institute. She completed her undergraduate work in psychology at Oberlin College and trained at Mount Sinai Hospital, New York Psychoanalytic Society & Institute, and the Furman Counseling Center at Barnard College. Dr. Bieger’s work is enriched by her own experiences as a wife and mother of two young boys.
Susan Nason has facilitated parenting workshops for more than 30 years. She leads Faber/Mazlish "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, How to Listen So Kids Will Talk" and "Siblings Without Rivalry" workshops and has a thriving spiritual counseling practice, which features therapeutic and practical approaches to the challenges of raising children. Ms. Nason views parenting as a spiritual practice of compassion, gratitude, self-reflection, and connection. She also conducts teacher trainings in the New York tri-state area, is a frequent speaker at the Parents League and other organizations, and most importantly is a proud mother and ecstatic grandmother.
Dana Rosenbloom is dedicated to providing families with practical information and effective techniques that come from years of interacting with parents and their children. Ms. Rosenbloom offers parent education, play and behavior therapy, special education services, parent workshops and support groups, and professional development coaching.
Ms. Rosenbloom graduated from the Bank Street College of Education with advanced degrees in both Infant and Parent Development and Early Intervention and is certified in both general and special education for children birth to 9 years old. You can learn more about her services on her website, Dana's Kids.
Jodi Rubin is a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist who works with individuals, families, and groups in her private therapy practice in Manhattan. She created Destructively Fit™, a training program for fitness professionals that addresses eating disorders within the fitness industry. She is a former director of Day Treatment at The Renfrew Center for Eating Disorders, and creator of a curriculum on eating disorders for the Graduate School of Social Work at New York University.