Counseling Service staff can be reached at (845) 437-5700. See below for additional contact information.
Wendy Anne Freedman, Director of the Psychological Services
Wendy earned her bachelor’s degree at Cornell University and her doctorate in clinical and school psychology at The University of Virginia. Before joining the Vassar College Counseling Service staff in 2004, Dr. Freedman worked in both inpatient and outpatient mental health settings and as a school psychologist. She completed her post-doctoral fellowship at the Pace University Westchester campus counseling service. Dr. Freedman is a certified group psychotherapist and is co-chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Taskforce of the American Group Psychotherapy Association. Professional interests include group therapy, attachment and relationships, suicide prevention, disability and chronic health conditions, and working with multicultural and social justice concerns.
Natalia Martínez Muñoz Potter, Associate Director
Natalia is the Associate Director of Vassa College's Counseling Service. In addition, at Vassar, she trains the next generation of psychotherapists as a senior supervisor to MSW students, Post-Doctoral Candidates and Post-MSW Fellows.
Natalia was born and raised in Ecuador, and from a young age, she was interested in how culture, family, and the environment shape who we are and who we want to become. Her quest to understand cultures, traditions, and systems led her to learn languages, live, study, and grow on three continents.
Thus, Natalia approaches her psychotherapeutic work from a multicultural lens, helping you make sense of what brought you to this moment as a base to understand where you want to go and support you as you get there.
Natalia trained as a psychologist in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and received her Master of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania where she found her passion for working with college students as a trainee at the Counseling and Psychological Services of the University of Pennsylvania. Natalia has completed extensive DBT and mindfulness training as well as postgraduate education from the William Alanson White Institute in NYC for the treatment of eating disorders, addictions, and compulsions. She is also a member of the advisory council of the Insight Into Mindfulness Program at the Harvard Divinity School and serves as MEST member at Vassar.
Natalia received the 2015 Clinical Excellence Award from the Pennsylvania Society for Clinical Social Work and is 2015 Clinical Excellence Award from the Pennsylvania Society for Clinical Social Work and is a Multicultural Concerns Scholar in the Society for Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Psychology of the American Psychological Association's Division 39. Additionally, she has been a speaker at national and international conferences on topics around immigration, epistemic injustice, and multicultural psychotherapy.
Native speaker of Spanish, fluent in French.
Angela Aznavorian, Assistant Director of Training
email@example.com · (845) 437-5700 · Metcalf House
Angela earned both her masters and doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Illinois School of Professional Psychology. Prior to joining Vassar, her clinical work has taken place in a variety of mental health settings
in both Chicago and NYC. Most recently, Angela was working as a Staff Therapist at a medical university in Brooklyn. Some of her clinical passions include anxiety and mood concerns, adjustment and social challenges, the LGBTQIA+ community, identity development, disordered eating behaviors and body image, as well as the mind/body connection and expressive arts therapy. Angela draws upon cognitive-behavioral, insight-oriented, mindfulness and creative art techniques to help individuals develop a greater understanding of emotional distress and manage various symptoms in a more healthy and balanced way. She believes incorporating a variety of therapies that contextually address the “whole person” is valuable to build upon one’s innate strengths and knowledge. New to Upstate, Angela enjoys exploring the Hudson Valley, thrifting, traveling, and illustrating in her spare time.
Elene Garay, Staff Therapist
firstname.lastname@example.org · (845) 437-5700 · Metcalf House
Elene is a Licensed Master Social Worker who earned her Master of Social Work degree from New York University. She earned her bachelor’s degree from University of Miami in Political Science and completed an associate degree in non-profit management. Prior to joining Vassar College Counseling Service Staff, Elene spent several years abroad working in education in Bahrain, India, and Qatar, where she was fascinated to learn how different cultures conceptualize and experience mental health. Prior to that, she worked at NYU McSilver Institute for Poverty, Policy and Research, where she collaborated on a number of research projects in mental health; provided individual and group counseling to high school students in underserved schools of NYC; and worked on a variety of study abroad programs and projects that included conducting needs assessments and program evaluations in Ghana, Argentina and Colombia. Elene is passionate about diversity, multicultural issues, trauma, resilience, loss/grief and how they come together to shape and impact our identities. She has a soft spot for working with underserved populations, especially adolescents and young adults. In her practice, she uses a holistic and integrative client-centered approach. She enjoys incorporating art and play in her sessions and is also a native Spanish speaker.
Ben Hindell, Staff Therapist
· (845) 437-5700 · Metcalf House
Ben earned his Masters in Social Work at NYU and a doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the University of Denver and is thrilled to be part of Vassar’s Counseling Services. Previously, he has had the privilege of working at the counseling centers of Juilliard, Colorado College, and Pace University where he specialized in helping students explore issues of social anxiety, mood concerns, trauma recovery, relationship dynamics, as well as issues of identity. Ben enjoys integrating CBT, insight-oriented approaches, as well as mindfulness and self-compassion to help students gain insights into what matters most to them. It has been Ben’s passion to support students throughout their college experience. Born and raised in New York City, Ben has made his home in the Hudson Valley where he enjoys biking with his kids on the many rail trails and trying to find the best pizza places.
Robin Shutinya, Staff Therapist
Robin is a Licensed Master Social Worker who earned her Master of Social Work degree from Adelphi University. She also holds a Master of Arts degree from New York University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maryland, College Park. Robin has past experience working in outpatient mental health clinics, college counseling, and providing short-term crisis intervention for mental health and substance use concerns in an urgent care setting. Robin utilizes a strengths-based, individualized and relational approach to therapy that integrates psychodynamic theory, cognitive behavioral interventions and trauma-informed care. Her clinical interests include anxiety, crisis intervention, family/relationship concerns, grief and loss, and working with survivors of sexual violence. She is a Certified Grief Counselor via the American Institute of Health Care Professionals. Robin is originally from Baltimore, Maryland; after years of studying and working both internationally and throughout the United States, she is happy to call the Hudson Valley home.
Vinny Malik Dehili, Staff Therapist
Good news everyone! I’ve created a digital pathway for you to learn about the saga of Dr. Vinny Malik Dehili through the reading of this digital lightbox! Vinny hailed from the small town of Ormond Beach Florida, born to an Algerian father, and a Canadian white mother. He grew up as a simple, nerdy child, enjoying video games and listening to ska music far past when it was somewhat cool. In his youth, Vinny blossomed into uncharted territory and joined the circus while studying in his undergraduate psychology program at Florida State University. Hanging up his clown shoes, Vinny went into the world of psychotherapy through FSU’s Counseling and School Psychology Ph.D. program. Vinny’s research on ADHD in college students eventually allowed him to recognize that his research may have been more of a me-search, shifting to owning his neurodivergent strengths of creativity and hyperfocus. It was only after this formal education, that Vinny began to explore and become aware of how the aspects of psychological theory tend to be Eurocentric in the ways they focus on the individual self as the reason for one’s problems, rather than the systems surrounding them. Vinny takes the stance that we should not blame the flower for wilting in a drought. Influenced by the Buddhist Monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, Vinny became an avid reader and learner of diverse therapy practices and theories in group therapy and began to shift to a diversity-conscious, anti-racist frame of psychotherapy. Put simply, Vinny believes in Human-Nature, that humans are similar to any other part of nature, not separate from it. Each person weaves and bends to adapt to their environment to receive nourishment, love, and connection in the best way they know how. Vinny’s clinical interests vary as much as his attention, but is board certified in group psychotherapy, nationally involved with various professional organizations advocating for social justice and anti-racist practices within psychotherapy, and researches the benefit of utilizing Tabletop RolePlaying Games (e.g., Dungeons and Dragons) as a medium in group therapy to unlock the inner hero we each have inside of us.
Henry Levine, Post-MSW Fellow
Henry is a Licensed Master of Social Work and a recent graduate of the Columbia School of Social Work. He holds a BA in psychology and Spanish from Colby College. Previous to this fellowship, he has worked with adolescents and young adults in a variety of clinical settings. Before earning his master's degree, Henry worked for four years at a psychiatric hospital, serving young people coping with depression, anxiety, self-harm, substance use, and interpersonal conflicts. Henry's clinical style pulls from CBT, DBT, as well as a strengths-based motivational framework. Henry grew up in rural Vermont before his undergraduate education in Maine and is excited to be back surrounded by nature after two years in New York City.
Carly Shumaker, Social Work Intern
Carly Shumaker is a social work intern in her second year at Smith College School for Social Work. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College where she jointly majored in Environmental Studies and Anthropology/Sociology and studied Italian language. Carly hails from a small town in central Pennsylvania where she grew up in a blue-collar household and is a first-generation college student. From a young age, she had a desire to understand culture and the world at large, which led her to live in Europe, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Brooklyn, before settling in the Hudson Valley. As Carly got older, this inquiry turned towards the self and how she came to be shaped in her particular way. This self-inquiry is what drove her to pursue graduate studies in social work to more deeply understand how our environments, our families, our cultures, our languages mold us into the people we are today.
Carly’s therapeutic work is psychodynamically informed, systems-oriented, person-centered, anti-racist, and collaborative. Together we will work through a liberatory framework to create a radically safe environment for you to explore various parts of yourself and your identity, and to navigate the current landscape while building on the strengths you already have.
Mary Cruser, MD, Consulting Psychiatrist
Dr. Mary Cruser attended medical school at the Uniformed University School of the Health Sciences—the military medical school in Bethesda, Maryland. She completed her Psychiatry residency at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Dr. Cruser served in the Army and attained the rank of Major. Since leaving the Army, she has spent her time in private practice. After her partner retired from the Army in 2013, she was happy to be able to move back to the Hudson Valley and start her private practice in Highland, New York. Her practice includes medication management and individual psychotherapy for adolescents and adults. Dr. Cruser takes an individual approach to each patient and strives to help them find wellness through healthy living, not just treating a diagnosis. She has an interest in meditation, exercise, and nutrition as treatment modalities. Dr. Cruser holds a New York State certification in Medical Acupuncture. She maintains her board certification with the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and the American Board of Addiction Medicine.