Religious and Spiritual Concerns

All of the professionals at CPS are qualified to address the full range of concerns students bring to counseling. However, our counselors do have various areas of special interest or experience. Below is a list of CPS social workers, psychiatrists and psychologists who may be especially good matches for students with religious or spiritual concerns as well as for students who wish to see a counselor with a specific interest in the intersection of psychotherapy and spirituality.

Please note that if your situation is urgent and a particular counselor is not immediately available, it is generally not wise delaying in seeking assistance. It is best to initiate treatment with a counselor who is more immediately available; you are always welcome to transfer to a different counselor at a later date.

Team

Drew Bianchi, Psychiatrist

Drew provides consultations to students who may benefit from medication. Drew has a strong interest in working with matters of spirituality and enjoys working with students from this perspective. He has a longstanding interest in eastern philosophy and meditation, and taught an undergraduate course at New York University on mindfulness.

Debra Domenech, Senior Psychologist

Debra has long been attentive to the place of religion and spirituality in psychotherapy and emotional well-being, and has co-facilitated in-service training on this subject. She has worked with many students who struggle with the role of religion and spirituality in their lives.

Rachel Efron, Senior Psychologist

Rachel values and supports the centrality of spirituality and religion for the well-being of many students. Judaism is very important to Rachel. She has worked with many students who are trying to understand their Jewish identities and the place of religion (be it Jewish or other) in their lives.

Adam Johnson, Psy.D.

Adam has experience incorporating spirituality into therapy and has worked with a variety of religious and spiritual backgrounds. Adam has worked closely with issues surrounding terminal illness and death and has worked in hospice and palliative care settings. He also completed his dissertation focusing on implementing customized rituals in coping with losses. Adam works with individuals to help make meaning of difficult existential questions such as questioning a higher power, issues related to life/death, grappling with multiple identifies that may be in conflict with one’s religious/spiritual beliefs, and finding one’s life purpose. Adam enjoys implementing mindfulness and meditation into his work.

Annette Santiago Espana, Psychologist

Annette did her graduate training in a program based on a philosophy that promotes the balanced development of the mental, physical, social, cultural and spiritual aspects of human nature. She is actively involved in teaching seminars and facilitating discussions in churches on self-esteem, stress management, maintaining a healthy balance, and the intersection of vocation and faith. She enjoys working with individuals of all religious and spiritual backgrounds and recognizes the importance of respecting the uniqueness of each individual's experiences. 

Wendy Greenspun, Psychologist

Wendy has a particular interest in mindfulness meditation as a practice and a way to enhance well-being. She thinks of mind/body/spirit as all equally vital areas to explore and utilize in helping students. 

Victoria Grosso, Senior Psychologist

Victoria views mind/body and spiritual life as interrelated. She has experience discussing spiritual matters with Columbia students of various religious backgrounds, including some who need to be validated in their beliefs or find encouragement to reconnect with their religious community, and others who are conflicted about their religious beliefs or practices. She has experience with different meditation practices and integrates Mindfulness into psychotherapy.

Regina Lara, Psychiatrist

Regina provides consultations to students who may benefit from medication. She was raised Catholic and is open to including discussions about faith and spirituality with all students, including the role of faith for students in the LGBT community. 

Shirley Matthews, Senior Psychologist

Shirely worked closely with the priest community at Seton Hall University for twelve years. She was a comparative religion teacher at her Unitarian Universalist congregation's Sunday school and has long been involved in a personal exploration of faith and religion.

Zvi Weiss, Postdoctoral Fellow in Psychology

Zvi has a particular interest in working with people who are navigating challenges presented by the intersection of religious identity and other aspects of life experience. As both a psychologist and an ordained rabbi, Zvi conceptualizes issues of religiosity, modernity, and psychological wellbeing through a multidisciplinary perspective, and strives to engender a healthy exploration of issues surrounding religious identity and practice.

Please Note:

CPS psychiatrists focus on medication consultation and management. Upon first coming to CPS, students ordinarily meet with a social worker, psychologist or postdoctoral psychology fellow. If together with your counselor you decide you would like to evaluate whether medication may be useful, you will then have the option of meeting with a CPS psychiatrist, and may, if you like, request one of the psychiatrists listed above. Again, however, if your situation is urgent, we recommend you do not delay seeking psychiatric assistance.

 
 
Last updated January 30, 2017