Our Story

Our Story

Our Mission

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.

Our Services

We believe that effective therapy “starts where the person is” and honors their values, personal preferences and cultural background. Our therapeutic process begins with a comprehensive initial assessment designed to help us to determine our clients’ unique needs, strengths and goals, which informs our therapeutic plan that enhances motivation and positive change.

Our approach provides a safe, supportive space for people to explore whether moderate, less harmful substance use, or abstinence is best suited to them and we work collaboratively to help people achieve their goals. We also help people address mental health issues that are impacting their functioning and provide individualized services for a range of issues including depression, anxiety, and trauma.

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 array 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.

Our Background

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 who may not yet be ready to commit to a goal of abstinence at the onset of treatment. 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. Our approach is different and offers truly individualized treatment for those wishing to address problematic substance use and other mental health issues. We understand how shame and stigma may prevent people from seeking help and realize how important the therapeutic relationship is. We view that as a critical foundation of our work. We also work to create a safe and non-judgmental environment where our clients can begin to make positive and lasting changes.

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.

Our Event Space

The Center for Optimal Living is situated in the shadow of Grand Central station, and houses a modern, mid-size event space for trainings, group sessions and retreats. It is equipped with a range of features including a 65” HD smart tv with HDMI cable and an adjacent kitchen. The space is available to like-minded organizations and hosts affiliate and private events. For rental inquiries and more information, please contact info@cfol.org or 212-213-8905 x2.

Size: 12′ 7″ x 25′ 5″ | 319.82 sq ft.
Capacity: 30-40 people

Meet Our Team
Andrew Tatarsky, Ph.D.

Andrew Tatarsky, Ph.D.

Founder and Director

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 35 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 past President 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.

Assistant Director

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. Together with Dr. Tatarsky, she created the Harm Reduction Psychotherapy Certificate Program and participates in the training and supervision of clinicians and graduate students. She is the Assistant Director of the Concentration in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling at the New School for Social Research. Specialties: Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy; Emotion management skills; Trauma and PTSD; Mood and anxiety disorders Email Jenifer: jtalley@cfol.org Phone: 212-213-8905 x106

Adam Frankel, Ph.D., CGP

Adam Frankel, Ph.D., CGP

Clinical Psychologist

Adam Frankel, Ph.D., CGP

Adam Frankel, Ph.D., CGP

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

Alexandra Rybakovsky, MD

Alexandra Rybakovsky, MD

Administrative Manager

Alexandra Rybakovsky, MD

Alexandra Rybakovsky, MD

Administrative Manager

Alexandra (Sasha) Rybakovsky received her medical degree from Kharkiv National University, Ukraine majoring in Ophthalmology.She has clinical experience and in-depth knowledge of fundamental medicine. She also has more than 10 years experience in the medical field as a manager. Sasha joined The Center for Optimal Living in 2013 as Administrative Manager and she is responsible for the day-to-day operations in the Center. Her priority at work is implementation of the client-focused approach. Email: arybakovsky@cfol.org, phone: 212-213-8905 х 2

Allison Mitchell, Ph.D.

Allison Mitchell, Ph.D.

Clinical Psychologist

Allison Mitchell, Ph.D.

Allison Mitchell, Ph.D.

Clinical Psychologist

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

Eddie Einbinder, LMSW

Eddie Einbinder, LMSW

Licensed Social Worker

Eddie Einbinder, LMSW

Eddie Einbinder, LMSW

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-occurring 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 at The Center For Optimal Living. He also completed 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: eddieeinbinder@cfol.org Phone: 212-213-8905 x108

Devora Reichman, PhD

Devora Reichman, PhD

Clinical Psychologist

Devora Reichman, PhD

Devora Reichman, PhD

Clinical Psychologist

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 specialized 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, dialectical behavior therapy, motivational interviewing, and CRAFT 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, spanning the entirety of the lifespan. Currently, in addition to her work at the Center for Optimal Living, Dr. Reichman is also a clinical psychologist, supervisor, and adjunct facultyaat City College Counseling Center of New York, where she primarily provides psychological services to young adults, Her main specialties are: Substance Misuse, Integrative Harm Reduction, Relationship Difficulties, Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Email Devora: dreichman@cfol.org Phone: 212-213-8905 x115.

Katherine MacLean, Ph.D.

Katherine MacLean, Ph.D.

Director of the Psychedelic Education and Continuing Care Program

Katherine MacLean, Ph.D.

Katherine MacLean, Ph.D.

Director of the Psychedelic Education and Continuing Care Program

Katherine MacLean, PhD is a research psychologist with expertise in studying the effects of mindfulness meditation and psychedelics on cognitive performance, emotional well-being, spirituality, and brain function. As a postdoctoral research fellow and faculty member at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, she conducted clinical trials of psilocybin, the primary chemical found in "magic mushrooms", and other psychedelic compounds. Her ground-breaking research on psilocybin and personality change suggests that psychedelic medicines can enhance openness to new experiences, promote mental health and emotional well-being, and improve creativity throughout the lifespan. Dr. MacLean is the co-founder and current director of the Psychedelic Education and Continuing Care Program in New York, where she leads training workshops, educational seminars, and monthly integration groups focused on increasing awareness and reducing risks of psychedelic use. Learn more: www.psychedelicprogram.com Email Katherine: katherine@psychedelicprogram.com Phone: 212-213-8905 x2

Ingmar Gorman, Ph.D.

Ingmar Gorman, Ph.D.

Clinical Psychologist

Ingmar Gorman, Ph.D.

Ingmar Gorman, Ph.D.

Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Ingmar Gorman is a clinical psychologist who specializes in assisting populations who have had experiences with psychedelics and other psychoactive compounds. He is the Administrative Director of the Psychedelic Education and Continuing Care Program at the Center for Optimal Living, where he leads groups, trainings, and works with individual clients. Additionally, Dr. Gorman has extensive training in treating substance misuse, drawing upon mentorship by Dr. Andrew Tatarsky and Dr. Jen Talley, in Harm Reduction Psychotherapy and Mindfulness based approaches. Dr. Gorman received his PhD in clinical psychology from the New School for Social Research. He completed his internship at Bellevue Hospital Center and is currently an NIH funded postdoctoral fellow at New York University's Behavioral Sciences Training in Drug Abuse Research Program, which is NIDA’s largest and longest-standing training program. Dr. Gorman is also site co-principal investigator and therapist on a Phase 3 clinical trial studying the potential psychotherapeutic utility of MDMA for post-traumatic stress disorder. Specialties: Integrative Harm Reduction Psychotherapy, Trauma, Psychedelic Psychotherapy and Integration Email Ingmar: igorman@cfol.org Phone: 212-213-8905 x109

Mari Dickerson, LMSW, RYT

Mari Dickerson, LMSW, RYT

Licensed Social Worker

Mari Dickerson, LMSW, RYT

Mari Dickerson, LMSW, RYT

Licensed Social Worker

Mari Dickerson is a psychotherapist and social worker who is passionate about working collaboratively with patients and helping them connect to their own inner guidance and wisdom. She received her master’s degree in clinical social work from New York University and continues to train in Integrative Harm Reduction therapy under Dr. Tatarsky and Dr. Talley. Mari has specialized training in substance misuse, trauma treatment, and mindfulness and draws upon psychodynamic, dialectical, cognitive behavioral, and mindfulness-based therapeutic approaches in order to help patients strengthen their self-awareness and capacity for emotional regulation. Mari is also a certified yoga instructor and teaches individual and group yoga therapy utilizing a combination of basic hatha and restorative yoga. She has taught in inpatient psychiatric settings, juvenile detention centers, and sober living environments and views yoga as a tool for developing coping skills and supporting substance misuse treatment. Specialities: Substance misuse, self-esteem, identity issues, trauma, anxiety and other mood disorders, patients who identify as highly sensitive (HSPs). Email Mari: mdickerson@cfol.org Phone: 212-213-8905 x114.

Molly Bobek, LCSW

Molly Bobek, LCSW

Family Therapist

Molly Bobek, LCSW

Molly Bobek, LCSW

Family Therapist

Molly is a clinical social worker, specializing in therapy with couples and families. Molly received her degree in Social Work from Hunter College School of Social Work, and completed the Clinical Externship in Family Therapy at the Ackerman Institute for the Family. She brings to her role over 10 years of experience in the substance use treatment field, including counseling in a residential program, treating adolescents and their families in community mental health centers, and providing individual, couple, family and group therapy in an outpatient substance use treatment center. Molly is trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. In addition to her clinical work, Molly conducts research on the long-term outcomes of evidence based practices for adolescent substance use in real-world settings, adherence and process research on family intervention models, and the distillation of family therapy techniques across different evidence based family therapy models. Molly is currently a Teaching Fellow at the Ackerman Institute, teaching in the Foundations of Family Therapy Course. Molly is deeply committed to the belief that clarity, meaning, and motivation can be found in the healing power of relationships. Email Molly: mbobek@cfol.org Phone: 212-213-8905 x116

Elizabeth Nielson, Ph.D.

Elizabeth Nielson, Ph.D.

Clinical Psychologist

Elizabeth Nielson, Ph.D.

Elizabeth Nielson, Ph.D.

Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Elizabeth Nielson is a clinical psychologist and credentialed alcoholism and substance counselor with a holistic, compassionate, and integrative approach to psychotherapy. She specializes in treating addictive and mood disorders with a blend of of mindfulness-based interventions, dialectical behavior therapy, psychodynamic therapy, community reinforcement and family training (CRAFT), and principles of psychedelic-assisted therapy. Dr. Nielson’s work is guided by the idea that each individual has within them the capacity for growth and change, and sets out to support the natural healing process by building awareness, autonomy, and self-compassion. Dr. Nielson completed her doctoral degree in clinical psychology at Walden University, a post-doctoral fellowship in psychodynamic psychotherapy at Adelphi, and an NIH funded addiction research fellowship at NYU’s Behavioral Sciences Training in Drug Abuse Research Program. She is part of the Experimental Therapeutics Research Laboratory at NYU Langone School of Medicine where she is a therapist on the psilocybin-assisted treatment for alcohol dependence trial and on the MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD clinical trials. Dr. Nielson’s professional experience includes teaching substance abuse counselors in training at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY). She presently affiliated with the Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (CDUHR) at NYU School of Nursing and an active member of the New York State Psychological Association. Specialties: addiction, trauma, eating disorders, harm reduction, mindfulness, psychedelic therapy, CRAFT. Email Elizabeth: enielson@cfol.org Phone: 212-213-8905 x107

James Powers, DACM, L.Ac.

James Powers, DACM, L.Ac.

Acupuncturist

James Powers, DACM, L.Ac.

James Powers, DACM, L.Ac.

Acupuncturist

Dr. James Powers is a doctor of acupuncture and Chinese medicine; he is a NY State licensed acupuncturist and was nationally board certified in oriental medicine which he began studying in 2001. Dr. Powers has had success in treating addictive disorders, emotional trauma, musculoskeletal pain, menstrual issues, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, depression and other common disorders. He utilizes the extremely effective NADA (National Acupuncture Detoxification Association) Protocol, which is promoted by various organizations such as the UN and Yale Medical School, for addictions and substance misuse. Dr. Powers is also a teacher of yoga and meditation; his yoga certification was received at the Vivekananda Ashram outside of Bangalore, India. He piloted the yoga program at Estee Lauder’s headquarters in Manhattan and taught yoga to the Estee employees for 13 years. Furthermore he has studied energy healing in the Philippines, acupressure in Thailand, and spiritual psychology in Japan at the center of world renown scientist/yogi/ psychologist/Shinto priest Hiroshi Motoyama. As a meditator for 30 years, Dr. Powers studied as a resident student at the Dai Bosatsu Zen Monastery studying with the monks for a total of 3 years. Dr. Powers is passionate about helping people to heal compassionately and naturally with a particular interest in the roots of addiction, the nature of consciousness and the potential benefits of psychedelics in the healing process; he is also enthusiastic about supporting the multifaceted, holistic goals of Integrated Harm Reduction Psychotherapy as advanced by Dr. Andrew Tatarsky and the Center for Optimal Living. Email James: jpowers@cfol.org, Phone: 212-213-8905x110

Wendy E. Miller, Ph.D.

Wendy E. Miller, Ph.D.

Clinical Psychologist

Wendy E. Miller, Ph.D.

Wendy E. Miller, Ph.D.

Clinical Psychologist

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

Sonya Lazarevic, MD

Sonya Lazarevic, MD

Consulting Psychiatrist

Sonya Lazarevic, MD

Sonya Lazarevic, MD

Consulting Psychiatrist

Dr. Lazarevic graduated from St. George's University School of Medicine and completed her residency in psychiatry at the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Division where she served as Chief Resident. She is a graduate of the Integrative Medicine Fellowship at the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine in Tucson, Arizona and the Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship at New York University in New York City. Dr. Lazarevic is ABPN double board-certified in general psychiatry and addiction psychiatry, and ABPS integrative medicine board eligible. Prior to medical training, Dr. Lazarevic earned an M.S. in Social Work from Columbia University and an Advanced Yoga Teacher Certificate from the Integral Yoga Institute of New York. Her unique style and training reviews the patients life through an integrative lens, blending allopathic (conventional) and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies to address the patient’s mind, body, spirit and emotions. Dr. Lazarevic is available for appointments at The Center for Optimal Living on Mondays. To learn more about Dr. Lazarevic visit www.evo-md.com.