The Center for Optimal Living provides innovative, personalized treatment, based on Integrative Harm Reduction Psychotherapy, for individuals and families 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.
We believe that effective therapy “starts where the person is” in terms of their values, personal preferences and cultural background. Each patient receives a comprehensive initial assessment to determine their unique needs, strengths and goals; this forms the basis for a therapeutic plan that enhances motivation and positive change.
Then we help people to figure out whether moderate, less harmful substance use or abstinence is best suited to them, and to pursue their chosen goal. We provide similarly individualized therapy for people with all mental health issues.
We offer comprehensive evaluations, treatment and referral services to adults, adolescents, couples and families. We provide a confidential environment that fosters collaborative and supportive therapeutic relationships.
We collaborate with each patient to determine the focus of their treatment and the approach that will best meet their needs. Treatment is provided by clinical psychologists and other clinicians with expertise in substance issues, other risky and addictive behaviors, and a wide range of mental health issues. Our approach is a combination of evidence-based science and mindfulness-based traditions, and we apply this framework to identify and address each patient’s issues.
Addiction treatment has long been dominated by approaches that require complete abstinence as a precondition. But “abstinence-only” treatments have been shown to offer little benefit to most people with substance use issues. In addition, many people who need help do not enter treatment out of concern that they will be stigmatized as an “addict.” Currently, the vast majority of people with substance issues or other risky and addictive behaviors do not receive necessary help.
Dr. Andrew Tatarsky, the founder and director of the Center for Optimal Living, is a clinical psychologist, program director, trainer, author and advocate with over 35 years’ experience in the addiction and mental health field. He has dedicated his career to improving treatment by giving patients the individualized, evidence-based care that they want and deserve.
To that end, Dr. Tatarsky has developed Integrative Harm Reduction Psychotherapy, an innovative and effective approach to the treatment of addictive and risky behaviors. This approach is described in his ground-breaking book, Harm Reduction Psychotherapy: A New Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Problems, and in a series of professional papers and book chapters. The Center for Optimal Living, with its team of twelve dedicated clinicians, is the only private treatment center that offers this unique form of therapy.
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: email@example.com Phone: 212-213-8905 x101
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: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 212-213-8905 x106
Dr. Michael Benibgui is a senior 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: email@example.com Phone: 212-213-8905 x104
Licensed Social Worker
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. Email Eddie: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 212-213-8905 x108
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: email@example.com Phone: 212-213-8905 x103
Clinical Psychology Intern
Ingmar Gorman is a doctoral candidate 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: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 212-213-8905 x109
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: email@example.com Phone: 212-475-3151
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: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 212-213-8905 x102
Dr. John Pasagiannis is a senior 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. Email: email@example.com Phone: 212-213-8905 x2
Dr. Melanie Eckhoff is a clinical psychologist with extensive experience working with trauma and co-occurring conditions including substance misuse. She received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from The New School for Social Research in NYC. She completed an APA-accredited internship at the Brooklyn VA Hospital where she focused on working with veterans affected by PTSD and substance use issues and completed her post-doctoral fellowship at The Koch Center where she specialized in providing dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) for adults, adolescents and middle-schoolers. Dr. Eckhoff was also a supervising clinical psychologist at the Brooklyn VA Hospital where she offered DBT skills training to veterans to enhance their emotion regulation, distress tolerance and mindfulness skills and provided harm reduction-based psychotherapy to address their co-occurring substance use issues. In addition to her position at the Center for Optimal Living, she now works at a community-based outpatient clinic providing psychotherapy and DBT skills training. Specialities: Trauma and PTSD, mood and anxiety disorders, veterans, women’s issues, CBT, DBT and mindfulness. Email Melanie: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 212-213-8905 x113.
Licensed Social Worker
Mari is a psychotherapist and yoga instructor and is passionate about integrating talk therapy and movement in her work. She received her master's degree in clinical social work from New York University and has taught therapeutic yoga for clients with co-occurring disorders as well as young women involved in the juvenile justice system. Contact Mari by email at email@example.com or call 212-213-8905 x114.
Dr. Devora Reichman is a clinical psychologist who specializes in the treatment of substance misuse and above all, aims to create a collaborative and individualized treatment environment with a focus on integrative harm reduction. In individualizing treatment, Dr. Reichman pulls from her training and experience using psychodynamic, dialectical, motivational, and cognitive behavioral therapeutic approaches. She also has specialized training using mindfulness and dialectical behavior therapy to aid in establishing healthier relationships with one's self and the surrounding environment. Dr. Reichman received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Yeshiva University, and she completed her internship at Mt. Sinai - St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital, and her postdoc at the Addiction Institute of New York at Mt. Sinai. Dr. Reichman has experience working with people of all ages. Currently, in addition to her work at the Center for Optimal Living, Dr. Reichman is also a clinical psychologist at City College Counseling Center New York, where she provides psychological services to young adults, and she is also a clinical supervisor at Isabella Geriatric Center in Manhattan, where she provides therapy for older adults and their families. Her main specialties are: Substance Misuse, Relationship Difficulties, Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Email Devora: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 212-213-8905 x115.
Katherine MacLean, PhD. is the Director of the Psychedelic Education and Continuing Care Program and a trained research scientist with a long-standing interest in the brain and the science of well-being. At the University of California, Davis, Katherine was supported by a NSF research fellowship to study the effects of mindfulness on well-being and brain function. As a postdoctoral research fellow and faculty member at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, she worked with Dr. Roland Griffiths and his team. Her research on psilocybin and personality change suggests that this class of medicines may play an important role in enhancing mental health, promoting emotional well-being, and creativity throughout the lifespan. Her current focus is the role of psychedelics and meditation in preparing individuals for end-of-life and healing trauma related to grief. Email: email@example.com