BEGIN THE PATH TO HEALING, GROWTH
AND POSITIVE CHANGE
WE OFFER INTEGRATIVE HARM REDUCTION PSYCHOTHERAPY,
A COLLABORATIVE APPROACH INVOLVING PERSONALIZED, INNOVATIVE,
AND EFFECTIVE SOLUTIONS TO ADDRESS ADDICTIVE BEHAVIORS.

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AN INDIVIDUALIZED APPROACH TO MEANINGFUL CHANGE

AN INDIVIDUALIZED APPROACH TO MEANINGFUL CHANGE

We specialize in Integrative Harm Reduction Psychotherapy, an effective treatment that focuses on the whole person, not just addictive behaviors. Our approach recognizes the complexity and multiple meanings of these behaviors and is based on the principles of compassion and curiosity.

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Our Story

Emerged out of Dr. Andrew Tatarsky’s over 30 years of experience working with people with substance use problems. We recognize the need to create an alternative to traditional abstinence-only substance use treatment programs.

The Center for Optimal Living is built on innovative, personalized treatment. Integrative Harm Reduction Psychotherapy is for individuals and families struggling with substance use issues, other risky or addictive behaviors, and a wide range of mental health issues.

Recognizing the complexity and multiple meanings of these issues, we promote healing and positive change through the principles of compassion, collaboration and empowerment.

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Our Story
meet our team
  • Andrew Tatarsky, Ph.D.
    Andrew Tatarsky, Ph.D.

    Andrew Tatarsky, Ph.D.

    Founder and Director

    Andrew Tatarsky is an internationally recognized leader in the treatment of substance misuse and other potentially risky behaviors. He has specialized in the treatment of addiction for 30 years as a counselor, psychologist, program director, trainer, advocate and author. He has devoted his career to developing a comprehensive understanding of the broad spectrum of substance use problems and an integrative harm reduction psychotherapy approach to treating this spectrum. This treatment is described in his book, Harm Reduction Psychotherapy: A New Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Problems, and several professional papers and book chapters that extend the approach. The book has been released in paperback and Kindle, published in Poland by the Polish Office of Drug Prevention and is currently being translated into Spanish and Russian. He trains professionals nationally and internationally. Dr. Tatarsky is Founder and Director of the Center for Optimal Living, where treatment and professional training is based on Integrative Harm Reduction Therapy (IHRP). He earned his doctorate in clinical psychology from the City University of New York. He is a Clinical Advisor to the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services of New York State, Founding board member and President-elect of the Division on Addiction of New York State Psychological Association, Board Member of Moderation Management Network, founding board member of Association for Harm Reduction Therapy and Chairman of Mental Health Professionals in Harm Reduction and Faculty, Advanced Specialization in Family and Couple Therapy, The Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, New York University. Specialities: Integrative Harm Reduction Psychotherapy; Emphasis on Therapeutic Alliance Email Andrew: atatarsky@cfol.org Phone: 212-213-8905 x101

  • Jenifer Talley, Ph.D.
    Jenifer Talley, Ph.D.

    Jenifer Talley, Ph.D.

    Assistant Director

    Dr. Jenifer Talley is a clinical psychologist who specializes in the treatment of trauma and co-occurring substance misuse. Working from an integrative harm reduction framework, Dr. Talley's approach is interactive and focuses on the development of practical skills to manage intense emotions, reduce self-judgment, and promote self-compassion. Mindfulness skills are integrated into an active exploration of the interrelationship between thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, and behaviors, along with their contribution to substance misuse and relationship issues. Dr. Talley is also interested in how yoga can be used to enhance the connection with the body and support the development of emotion management skills. She is the Assistant Director of the Concentration in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling at the New School for Social Research where she participates in the training and supervision of graduate students in psychology. In addition, Dr. Talley was a Supervising Psychologist at the Women's Health Project of St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital for four years. Specialties: Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy; Emotion management skills; Trauma and grounding skills; PTSD, mood and anxiety disorders Email Jenifer: jtalley@cfol.org Phone: 212-213-8905 x106

  • Michael Benibgui, Ph.D.
    Michael Benibgui, Ph.D.

    Michael Benibgui, Ph.D.

    Dr. Michael Benibgui is a clinical psychologist and research scientist in the fields of substance abuse and the bio-psycho-social impacts of stress on mental and physical health. He has directed drug treatment programs federally-funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) within NYC harm-reduction agencies (SUS and GMHC). He has also served as assistant project director of a federally-funded (NIAAA) clinical trial of moderate drinking at Columbia University Medical Center. He has special interests in applying the principles of integrative harm reduction psychotherapy towards the specific life stressors of professionals / executives, cultural minorities, young adults, and people of the LGBT spectrum. His clinical approach weaves together psychodynamic, motivational, mindfulness, cognitive-behavioral, and positive psychology techniques to empower people to achieve measurable life-changes. Dr. Benibgui holds a doctorate in psychology from Concordia University in Montreal and completed his clinical training at McGill University. He can provide psychotherapy in English and French. Specialties: Substance Use; Mood Disorders; Relationships; LGBT Issues Email Michael: mbenibgui@cfol.org Phone: 212-213-8905 x104

  • Eddie Einbinder, LMSW
    Eddie Einbinder, LMSW

    Eddie Einbinder, LMSW

    Eddie Einbinder is an internationally recognized educator of harm reduction within drug use. His work in this field is presented through lectures, literature and film, and is targeted towards youth and young adults. He started his formal research in drug use and associated risky behaviors while obtaining his B.A. in Psychology at Lehigh University. This research was the basis of his book, How To Have Fun And Not Die, which won the grand prize at the 2008 New York Book Festival. This event was the catalyst for a lecture tour that found him at over 100 universities and high schools over the following two years. In order to reach a larger audience and greater level of detail, Einbinder directed a drug education documentary film series, called Play Safe. Each episode observes individuals using their drug of choice and utilizing harm reduction tactics to teach safest practice. Play Safe debuted at the Harm Reduction International conference in Vilnius, Lithuania in 2013. The film continues to screen at institutions around the globe, and is partially made available online. Einbinder continued his education in mental health focusing on clinical work with substance users and their families at New York University's Masters in Social Work program. He has worked as a Substance Abuse Therapist in group and individual settings with young adults who use drugs, many with co-ocurring psychiatric disorders and criminal records. Acceptance and understanding of meaning and purpose behind one's drug use, and working with patients to identify and succeed with realistic strategies towards achieving their goals, is integral to his work. This is his focus at The Center For Optimal Living. He is continuing his training in the Harm Reduction Psychotherapy Certification program at The New School, taught by Dr. Jen Talley and Dr. Andrew Tatarsky. Specialities: Harm Reduction and Drug Education based Group Work. Young Adults with Substance Use Disorders. Family dynamics of people with Substance Use Disorders. Mental illness and Criminal behavior. Motivational Interviewing.

  • Adam Frankel, Ph.D.
    Adam Frankel, Ph.D.

    Adam Frankel, Ph.D.

    Clinical Psychologist

    Dr. Adam Frankel is a clinical psychologist who specializes in the treatment of substance misuse and co-occurring anxiety and mood problems. He employs an integrated harm reduction framework to help clients gain a greater sense of agency in their own life through the development of practical coping skills and self-understanding. To this end, Dr. Frankel integrates psychodynamic, dialectical, motivational, and cognitive behavioral therapeutic approaches. Additionally, Dr. Frankel has a particular interest in group psychotherapy and its relationship to the improved capacity for managing difficult emotional states, interpersonal intimacy, and personal creativity. Dr. Frankel is a Certified Group Psychotherapist from the American Group Psychotherapy Association, and is a graduate of the Eastern Group Psychotherapy Training Society. Dr. Frankel received his PhD in clinical psychology from Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus. He completed his internship at Beth Israel Medical Center, and his post-doctoral fellowship at the Addiction Institute of New York at Mt. Sinai-Roosevelt Hospital. Dr. Frankel has been a clinical supervisor and teacher to advanced PhD students in clinical psychology, and psychiatric residents throughout the New York Metropolitan Area. Specialties: Substance misuse; Group therapy; Mindfulness Email Adam: afrankel@cfol.org Phone: 212-213-8905 x103

  • Ingmar Gorman, M.A.
    Ingmar Gorman, M.A.

    Ingmar Gorman, M.A.

    Ingmar Gorman is a doctoral student in clinical psychology at the New School for Social Research. After receiving his B.A. in Psychology from the New College of Florida. Ingmar completed a pre-doctoral externship at Bellevue's Chemical Dependency Outpatient Program and Dual Diagnosis Inpatient Unit, where he obtained specialized training in treating people living with substance use disorders. He has also gained extensive experience treating severe mental illness at South Beach Psychiatric Hospital's Heights Hill Outpatient Clinic. Ingmar has trained in individual and group psychotherapy at Beth Israel Medical Center's Psychiatric Inpatient Services, as well as the Brief Psychotherapy Research Program. He is currently continuing his training at the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Research and Training. Ingmar uses an integrative approach to treatment utilizing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Psychodynamic principles. When treating substance misuse, Ingmar draws on his extensive training with Dr. Andrew Tatarsky and Dr. Jen Talley, in Harm Reduction Psychotherapy and Mindfulness based approaches. Specialties: Integrative Harm Reduction Psychotherapy, Trauma, Psychedelic Integration Therapy Email: ingmar.gorman@gmail.com Phone: 772 240 8907

  • Gayna Havens, Ph.D.
    Gayna Havens, Ph.D.

    Gayna Havens, Ph.D.

    Dr. Havens has a particular interest in helping couples impacted by substance use. She believes in working from both an integrative harm reduction and systems approach, which helps the couple strengthen their ability to create a collaborative vision. A primary focus is for the couple to build ways of communicating with each other that promotes movement toward the goals that they establish. The systems approach uses the relationship as a resource, in contrast to the 12-step approach, which often views the relationship as an impediment to growth. Dr. Havens earned her doctorate in clinical psychology from the New School for Social Research. In addition to previously working in outpatient substance abuse treatment centers, she trained at the Ackerman Institute for the Family, and was a faculty member of the Center for Substance Abuse and Family at the Ackerman Institute for many years. Dr. Havens is an adjunct clinical supervisor at Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology. She is a member of the Executive Committee and a past president of the Division on Addictions of the New York State Psychological Association. Specialties: Couples and Substance Use, System Focused Psychotherapy, Group Therapy for Couples

  • Teresa López-Castro, Ph.D.
    Teresa López-Castro, Ph.D.

    Teresa López-Castro, Ph.D.

    Dr. Teresa López-Castro is a clinical psychologist with expertise in the areas of substance misuse and co-occurring anxiety and mood problems. She employs an integrative harm reduction framework to collaboratively explore and address the unique needs of her clients. Dr. López-Castro’s specialty is in the intersection of traumatic stress and substance use and in particular, innovative approaches for the holistic treatment of co-occurring trauma-related and substance use issues. She has presented nationally and internationally on cognitive behavioral interventions and research related to trauma and substance misuse. A native Spanish-speaker, Dr. López-Castro has a personal interest in issues of cultural identity and immigration and is available for psychotherapy in English and/or Spanish. Dr. López-Castro received her B.A. from Columbia College, Columbia University, and her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from The Graduate Center of The City University of New York. She completed her internship and post-doctoral fellowship at the St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, an Academic Affiliate of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She is currently a Supervising Clinical Psychologist and Research Scientist at The Trauma and Addiction Project at The City College of New York. Specialties: Substance misuse and traumatic stress; Dialectical Behavioral Therapy; Cognitive Therapy for Mood and Anxiety Issues; Acculturation stress; Spanish-speaking and/or bilingual therapy Email Teresa: tlopezcastro@cfol.org Phone: 212-213-8905 x2

  • Wendy E. Miller, Ph.D.
    Wendy E. Miller, Ph.D.

    Wendy E. Miller, Ph.D.

    Dr. Miller received her doctorate from George Washington University and completed her training in sex therapy at Downstate Medical Center. She is also a graduate of the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. Dr. Miller is trained in Sue Johnson's Emotionally Focused Couples therapy and has been a clinical psychologist in private practice in New York City for twenty-seven years. Currently, Dr. Miller is on the teaching faculty of the Women's Therapy Centre Institute where she supervises and teaches a therapeutic approach to working with eating problems. Dr. Miller has a passionate interest in working with couples that stems from her appreciation of the difficulty of emotional and sexual connection for many individuals. She works from a deep belief in the healing potential of relationships. Specialties: Sexuality and couples; Emotionally Focused Couples therapy; Eating Problems Email Wendy: wmillerphd@aol.com Phone: 212-475-3151

  • Allison Mitchell, Ph.D.
    Allison Mitchell, Ph.D.

    Allison Mitchell, Ph.D.

    Dr. Allison Mitchell is a clinical psychologist who is dedicated to working uniquely with each patient by creating individualized treatment plans and setting goals collaboratively. She has particular interests in helping patients navigate identity development and manage difficult relationships. In addition, Dr. Mitchell has specialized training in both trauma and substance use treatment. Dr. Mitchell received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the New School for Social Research. She completed her internship at Mount Sinai Medical Center/Elmhurst Hospital and her post-doctoral fellowship at The Karen Horney Clinic. She has experience working with adolescents and adults as well as with families and couples. Dr. Mitchell is also a clinical psychologist at Fordham University’s Counseling Center where she provides psychotherapy to students and supervises trainees. Specialties: Trauma; Substance Use Treatment Email Allison: amitchell@cfol.org Phone: 212-213-8905 x102

  • John Pasagiannis, Ph.D.
    John Pasagiannis, Ph.D.

    John Pasagiannis, Ph.D.

    Dr. John Pasagiannis is a clinical psychologist with over 10 years' experience working with substance misuse issues, mood disorders, and other problematic behaviors. He works from an integrative harm reduction model that draws upon psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral and motivational enhancement traditions. He believes that this approach is best suited for the development of a collaborative therapeutic relationship that promotes safety, empowerment, development of coping skills, insight and well-being. Dr. Pasagiannis specializes in working with artists and young adults. His work with actors, photographers, musicians, artists and young adults is guided by a deep appreciation of the complex biopsychosocial factors contributing to substance misuse and the importance of developing alternative coping skills that contribute to positive change. Dr. Pasagiannis worked as the Supervising Clinical Psychologist at Cumberland Diagnostic & Treatment Center's Chemical Dependency Outpatient Program and liaison between Cumberland and the Buprenorphine program at Woodhull Hospital. He was a Leopold Schepp Foundation and Glass Institute Scholar and served on NYSPA's Division on Addictions Executive Committee. Currently he serves on the board of directors of Moderation Management and is a consultant at LA PALESTRA, Center for Preventative Medicine. He holds a doctorate in clinical psychology from Adelphi University's Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies.

  • Johanna Tiemann, Ph.D.
    Johanna Tiemann, Ph.D.

    Johanna Tiemann, Ph.D.

    Dr. Johanna Tiemann comes from a diverse background, including studies in the arts which culminated in a master’s degree from Manhattan School of Music. Prior to her training as a clinician, she was employed as a computer programmer by major telecommunications companies and financial institutions. She holds a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Long Island University, and completed psychoanalytic training and New York University’s Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. She is also a skilled hypnotherapist. Dr. Tiemann is a published author in the fields of trauma, the psychology of racism, and multicultural psychology, and she has had the honor of speaking at conferences nationally and abroad. Throughout her more than twenty years in the field working with adults and couples, Dr. Tiemann has found her rich and varied life experience invaluable when working with patients to elucidate their own unique psychic landscapes. She believes that deep understanding of the contexts in which these landscapes developed and honoring the subjective experience they create are the keys to healing, growth, intimacy, and fulfillment. Specialties: Young Adults, Trauma, Relationships, Hypnosis Email Johanna: jtiemann@cfol.org Phone: 212-213-8905 x 107

  • Alexandra Rybakovsky
    Alexandra Rybakovsky

    Alexandra Rybakovsky

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