Our Clinical Staff

Mahmoud Okasha, MD, DPM, MRC- Psych, DLFAPA

Dr. Mahmoud Okasha is a board certified psychiatrist. He has been in clinical practice since 1977. He became an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry after completing his residency at Yale Medical School department of psychiatry. Dr. Okasha is the Medical Director of Comprehensive Psychiatric Care. He has always been interested in research and began his career in London, England in 1970 where he was doing his residency in psychiatry at the Westminster Medical School. Dr. Okasha has been a primary investigator since 2000 at CPC where he has conducted numerous trials. He is also interested in clinical work with anxiety and treatment-resistant depression, which led to his initiation of TMS at CPC.

Catherine A. Girard, DNP, APRN-BC

Dr. Girard has been a nurse practitioner for thirteen years after graduating from Yale University and Duke University Schools of Nursing. She focuses on the specific needs of the individual patient utilizing psychopharmacology to enhance daily quality of life. The treatment goal is identification of the root causes of negative symptoms of psychiatric illness that inhibit the patient’s goals for the future. Dr. Girard has psychiatric care experience in outpatient, partial hospital, and inpatient hospital settings.

Megan Klein, APRN, MS, CS

Megan Klein, APRN, MS, CS is certified by the ANCC as a Clinical Nurse Specialist.  She has worked in nursing for 34 years, including as a nurse manager for children and adolescents in an inpatient setting, and as an office-based APRN for 20 years.    Her practice has included clients of all ages, primarily in eastern Connecticut, and before joining CPC, she worked most recently with a geriatric population in the Glastonbury area.  She works closely with families, and is sensitive to the need to integrate existing supports to maximize the client’s ability to benefit from treatment.

Sharif Okasha, PsyD

Dr. Sharif Okasha is a graduate from the California School of Professional Psychology where he earned his doctorate in clinical psychology. As an undergraduate, he earned a B.A. in Psychology from Boston College.  He has been providing therapeutic and assessment services for the past 14 years, and joined CPC in September of 2014. He is an experienced play therapist, and has worked successfully with many children in this modality.  With teens and adults, he works primarily from a psychodynamic model, which focuses on developing self awareness and understanding of one's emotional life as a means for greater satisfaction in relationships.

Candace O'Brien, APRN

Candace O'Brien, APRN, received her MSN from Yale University. She has many years of experience in treating adults in both outpatient and inpatient settings.  In addition to her experience in medication management and psychopharmacology, Candace also is trained in DBT and CBT.  She enjoys working with patients from a variety of backgrounds and joins the CPC team with a great deal of mental health experience. 

Laurie Mazzarella-Ganoe, LCSW

Laurie Mazzarella-Ganoe, LCSW received her masters in social work from UCONN. Laurie has worked in the mental health field for over 30 years. She eventually became a full time CPC clinician and works with children, teens, couples, and adults in various therapeutic modalities.  


Laurie particularly enjoys working with women's issues, incorporating all spheres of health and wellness. In addition to her work with women, she enjoys working with individuals and families from a family systems perspective.  This approach aims to assist clients in identifying and resolving problematic intergenerational family patterns.

Shelley Chenevert, LCSW, LMFT

Shelley Chenevert, LCSW, LMFT, specializes in individual, couples and family therapy with ages 13 and up. She integrates complementary methodologies of cognitive behavioral, solution focused, insight oriented, and family systems therapy techniques. She has been practicing with the CPC group since 2008. Shelley graduated with a masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Southern Connecticut State University in 1996 and a masters in social work from the University of Connecticut in 2006. She has had additional training in Gestalt therapy and is a member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) and National Association of Social Workers (NASW).

Ellen Babits Dodge, LCSW

Ellen Babbits-Dodge, LCSW received her post-graduate degree in 1981 from Boston College.  She has been with CPC for 28 years as a psychotherapist working with adolescents, adults and seniors.  


Ellen has also been involved in clinical research trials for the past 10 years.  She has interest and experience in treating eating disorders, and recently completed training in EMDR, which is a highly effective treatment for PTSD.  

Kathleen Hustek, LCSW, JD

Kathleen Hustek, LCSW, JD, received her graduate degrees from Columbia University and The University of  CT. Kathleen has practiced clinical social work in medical, residential and outpatient settings for the past 25 years as a therapist and as a clinical supervisor. She has both interest and experience in working with those struggling with symptoms of PTSD and is trained in ART (Accelerated Resolution Therapy). She is also trained in trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT). ​Kathleen is now studying to complete  credentials for an LADC (Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor). She especially enjoys working with women's issues, and assisting those who identify as LGBTQ+ to navigate personal issues and social stressors. Kathleen practices out of both our Old Saybrook and Norwich sites.

Joanne Zenowitz, LCSW

Joanne Zenowitz, LCSW, has over 35 years of masters level (ACSW) therapeutic experience. Joanne assists clients with guidance in a wide range of life challenges such as stress, anxiety, trauma, depression, grief/loss, anger management, couples difficulties, family crisis and other life transitions. Joanne's eclectic psychodynamic approach is client centered.  This means that the client sets the pace, and determines the starting point for the treatment. This sets the grounds for an active, collaborative therapeutic relationship to become established.   Joanne's particular strengths involve knowledge and skill with adolescent development, in addition to extensive experience working with adults, families and couples.  She has worked as a psychotherapist at CPC for 20 years. 

Dr. Donna Wakim, Ph.D

Dr. Donna Wakim, Ph.D. earned her doctorate degree in Developmental and Educational Psychology from Boston College.  She holds a Master’s degree in Counseling from St. Joseph’s University and is certified by the State of Connecticut as a School Psychologist.  Dr. Wakim has over twenty-five years of experience working with children, adolescents and adults in hospitals, private practice and school settings.  She provides Cognitive-Behavioral therapy, Dialectical Behavioral therapy, family therapy and play-based therapy.  Dr. Wakim has significant expertise in designing, conducting and evaluating Psychological testing.  She is available to assist families and school districts in educational consultations to evaluate Special Education needs (Planning and Placement Team meetings, Individual Education Plans, Behavior Management Plans),  as well as offering consults regarding 504 Accommodation Plans. 

Lynn McCaffery, LCSW

Lynn holds an MSW from the Graduate School of Social Work at Boston College and has practiced Clinical Social Work in medical and psychiatric settings for over 25 years.   New to CPC  she works with adults and shares a mature understanding of the impact of illness on one's life.   Lynn uses a psychodynamic and developmental approach to guide patients in coping with life's transitions and psychiatric illness.  She is accepting new patients in Old Saybrook.

Katherine Teper, LCSW

Katie is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 12 years of experience. She provides a range of psychotherapeutic services including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFCBT), and is a Certified Parent Coordinator.  She is a client centered, strengths based psychotherapist who specializes in working with children, adults, families, and groups.

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