COURAGE. CONNECTION. CHANGE.
“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.”
– Margaret Mead
Alex Klein, MS,LCSW
For nearly 20 years, Alex has been working with children, adolescents, young adults, and families. Starting in entry-level, direct-care positions, Alex has steadily expanded his education, increased his training and certification, and broadened his experience and skills in this field. While rising within the ranks of previous organizations, Alex developed a vision for combining dynamic counseling and community partnerships to meet client needs in the least restrictive environment. Alex’s creation of SPBH is a manifestation of his prior experience and his mission moving forward: to direct a therapeutic program in which clients and families receive treatment on the path to living healthy and productive lives within their communities.
Alex’s professional experience has been centered around macro and micro treatment practices; he has held leadership roles in previous facilities, focusing on programmatic systems and staff training and development, while simultaneously maintaining a focus on direct-care, individual counseling, crisis management, and family systems work. His innovative contributions to agency structure, and his talent in providing quality care for individuals and families, have all lead to positive outcomes for the clients and staff with whom he has worked. A leader in both therapeutic content and process, Alex’s attention to organizational arrangement and service methodology are the cornerstones of SPBH; a program aimed to deliver the highest levels of training for his clinical and counseling staff, and the highest quality of care for his clients and the community.
Alex holds Bachelors Degrees in Psychology and English, a Masters of Science in Recreational Therapy, and a Masters of Clinical Social Work. He is a Licensed Psychotherapist with a broad range of experience in hospital programs and psychiatric units, residential treatment centers, therapeutic boarding and day schools, and community clinics. Alex has extensive clinical and leadership experience in working with clients across the diagnostic spectrum at all ages and stages, from children to adults to families. Alex has intentionally sought opportunities with varied and diverse populations to develop his skills, become more well-rounded in his knowledge, and make a positive impact in both the mental healthcare community and the education system. In addition to leading SPBH, Alex manages a thriving private practice in Madison CT focusing on psychodynamic counseling, collaborative care, and crisis consultation.
Throughout his career, Alex has blended his passion for travel and adventure with his professional experience, leading groups of high-risk adolescents on foreign and domestic trips to engage in outdoor activities like mountaineering, rock climbing, alpine skiing, and water-based adventure, as well as humanitarian trips in which he has helped build facilities for, delivered food and medicine to, and educated and played with children living in poverty. Alex believes that the human connection to nature and the outdoors, and meaningful, shared experiences with others are impactful opportunities for expanding horizons and strengthening psychosocial development. Alex identifies that the foundations of mental health are built on a healthy diet, exercise, and maintaining points of contact within family systems and community connections. Alex’s work in forming community partnerships is intended to provide clients access to care across the continuum of supports and interventions available while keeping them connected to their families and communities. A native of upstate New York, Alex has created a second home on the Connecticut Shoreline where he has lived and worked for the last 15 years.
Janel Lynch Bacon, LMFT
Janel possesses a natural gift for connecting with clients and helping them better connect with themselves. Her work as a clinician, as well as a leader in program development and staff supervision, are deeply rooted in her caring for others and aiming to better their lives. Over the last 20 years, Janel has melded her personal and professional experiences with formal education and certified credentials to become an effective leader and contributor in the field of mental health services.
Janel’s expertise lies in complex trauma and EMDR treatment modalities, child and adolescent development, couples therapy, and family systems. Her attention to detail in working with clients is her greatest strength, as she possesses an innate ability to identify and understand presenting issues, and to guide and educate on the path to self-discovery and healing. Janel is clinically-oriented in her focus; her relational approach allows her to join with her clients and build rapport, connection, and trust during their therapeutic journey. She has provided therapy for clients across the diagnostic spectrum, from children to adolescents to adults, and for individuals, couples, and families.
In addition to her clinical work, Janel is a gifted teacher with extensive experience in the training and development of other clinicians, counselors, and crisis intervention coordinators. Throughout her 20-year career in previous facilities, Janel has been consistently promoted to higher levels of responsibility and management based on her ability to learn, teach, supervise, and develop her own skills, while helping her colleagues do the same. Her expertise in the clinical supervision of therapists and care providers, as well as her creation and implementation of systems for program development and staff training and certification, have been significant in increasing the sophistication of services delivered to clients and their families. Janel’s leadership at SPBH will ensure that all staff and families are understood and provided with nuanced quality care tailored to their individual needs.
Janel holds a Bachelors Degree in Psychology and a Masters Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. She has worked in residential treatment centers, outpatient hospital programs, community clinics, and has nearly a decade of experience in managing her private practice in Madison CT, where she works as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist for individuals, couples, and families. Janel is also a certified Yoga and Mindfulness instructor and former college athlete who firmly believes in the mind-body connection, the importance of diet, exercise, and experiences in nature and the outdoors as the foundations of mental health and personal development. A Connecticut Shoreline native, Janel has lived and worked in the area for many years and maintains a strong network of family, friends, and connections to colleagues and other agencies in the community.
Joe Romano, BS, CPT, CNC,
Health & Fitness Consultant
Joe Romano is the owner and founder of Mojoe’s Gym with locations in Milford and Guilford, CT. Joe has spent the past 20 years immersed in the fitness industry, working towards the goal of helping as many people as possible achieve optimal health and increasing quality of life regardless of their age or physical limitations. He began his career at corporate gyms and was a top trainer for LA Fitness before branching out on his own as a traveling trainer. He then opened up his first studio in 2011 in downtown Milford. More important than a degree in Exercise Science is the thousands of clients he has worked with and the testimonials they share about the positive impact of his training on their lives. Joe combines nutritional counseling into his practice of highly individualized and safe personal training. Joe loves the challenge of working with people through all stages of life- from student athletes to baby boomers! Joe is involved with Employee Health Matters, LLC, the Milford Wellness Council and Chamber of Commerce and various not for profit organizations. Joe enjoys spending his free time with his wife and 2 young children and perfecting his practice of making Neapolitan Pizza.
Gretchen Holthausen, MS, LPC
Gretchen Holthausen is privileged to work as a Licensed Professional Counselor to develop knowledge, build self-advocacy, and sustain growth within teenagers, adults, and families. She utilizes an empathic, holistic, and client-centered approach to honor exactly where individuals are in their lives and develop a trusting therapeutic relationship within a safe space. Founded upon the belief that people do better when they can, Gretchen works with individuals to identify and work towards meaningful goals and, ultimately, through acceptance and empowerment, bring about change and fulfillment.
In addition to working with children, adolescents, adults, and families in a community-based clinical setting over the last three years, Gretchen has worked for 12 years as a Nationally Certified School Psychologist within a Connecticut public high school. In turn, she has experience across multiple environments in routinely supporting individuals with ADHD, Anxiety, Autism, Depression, executive functioning difficulties, Gender Dysphoria, and PTSD. In addition to helping individuals and families process and work through divorce and family conflict, she also specializes in assisting teenagers in accessing appropriate supports, increasing independence, and navigating the transition from high school to post-secondary education and work.
Gretchen welcomes all individuals regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity and/or expression. She brings a positive, honest, strength-based approach to her clinical work while incorporating research-based techniques founded in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), meditation, mindfulness, and psychoeducation.
A firm believer in the power of laughter within the context of hard work, when appropriate, Gretchen incorporates humor in her work with individuals and families. Finally, she subscribes to the notion that no success is too small to honor. As it takes a great deal of courage to make intentional change in one’s awareness, behavior, perspective, response, and understanding within the therapeutic process, it is important to celebrate growth each step of the way.
Michelle Marenna, MS.ED, LMSW
For the past 13 years, Michelle has been working as a Special Education teacher in both private residential and public school settings. In 2016, she continued her education by receiving her master’s degree in social work and becoming a licensed social worker. She is specifically interested in clinical work with children between the ages of 3-12 and has experience working as a clinician in a child and family agency setting. Michelle is currently working on becoming a registered play therapist, is an active member of the CT Association for Play Therapy, and uses principles from a variety of researched based play therapy practices with her clients.
She enjoys being in the classroom with her middle school students, but she also loves the magic that the playroom can bring.
This summer, Michelle became an approved yoga teacher through Radiant Child Yoga® at the 30 hour level; she has instruction and practice teaching yoga to children ages 3 to teenagers. Michelle looks forward to incorporating what she has learned about the mind/body connection with her clients.