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Mount Vernon Counseling Center Team of Professionals

Ehsan Habibpour, Medical Director of McLean Counseling Center
Ehsan Habibpour, MD
Medical Director
Child and Adolescent and Adult Psychiatrist

Dr. Habibpour is a professional psychiatrist with training in Child, Adolescent, and Adult Psychiatry. He began working with the prestigious George Washington Psychiatry Department in 2014 as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and then started teaching a course in Child Psychiatry.

He has a strong educational background in his field. After attending a top medical school in Iran Dr. Habibpour was able to complete his Adult Psychiatry Residency at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, VA. He then continued his training by pursuing a Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, TX. The Fellowship taught Dr. Habibpour about the normal development of children and how childhood experiences can affect us in the future.  

While practicing psychotherapy, Dr. Habibpour has mastered treatment with psychiatric medications. Witnessing the many areas of exciting progress in the field of psychiatry over the last decade has given him the chance to familiarize himself with the most up-to-date medications. Dr. Habibpour’s approach to helping his patients involves the integration of both medications and psychotherapy for the most efficient and effective results. Often times the emotional and behavioral styles people use to protect themselves during childhood carry over into their adulthood. These behaviors may be helpful during childhood, but they are no longer needed in adulthood. To achieve an effective change, one must first explore those feelings and behavioral styles.

Dr. Habibpour has also developed an interest in helping those with anxiety and mood disorders, and gained experience in treating eating disorders. A major area of interest for him is the role of culture and ethnicity in emotional disturbances. He had a chance to study this overlap and learn about it because of the cultural diversity to which he was exposed over the course of his life. His passion was reflected in the paper he co-wrote: “The Treatment of Depression in Culturally Diverse Children and Adolescents.” (Sunita M. Stewart, Alex Simmons, and Ehsan Habibpour. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology. February 2012, 22(1): 72-79. doi:10.1089/cap.2011.0051.). He is pursuing that passion through his involvement with The Global Mental Health Project at George Washington Psychiatry Department.

Over the years of his practice, Dr. Habibpour has experienced and appreciated the importance of therapeutic relationships. Self-determination, resilience and the power of meaningful relationships are the key factors that nourish human growth.


Sara Bahraini, M.D.
Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatrist
I am a board-certified psychiatrist with expertise in treating children, adolescents and young adults. Whether you are seeking help for yourself or you are a parent, seeking help for your child, I value the trust you place in me when taking that step. I provide care that is culturally-sensitive, trauma-informed, LGBT-inclusive and highly-individualized to your needs. I treat a wide range of concerns through a tailored combination of psychotherapy and/or medications. My particular strengths and areas of interest include anxiety disorders, depression, insomnia, ADHD, gender dysphoria, selective mutism and childhood medical trauma, among many others.

 
As a physician, I provide a holistic assessment for potential medical, dietary, environmental and lifestyle factors that could be affecting your mental health. I am also trained in the judicious and evidence-based use of medications when appropriate. If medications may be beneficial, we can discuss your options and together pick the medication that is right for you.
 
As a therapist, I seek to support your journey to mental wellness with kindness, empathy and dignity. Through therapy, we can identify and challenge unhelpful habits and patterns of thinking that present difficulties at work, home, school and in social settings. I employ principles of cognitive and dialectical behavioral therapies as well as motivational techniques to deepen self-awareness and inspire change. Together we can devise a practical treatment plan that plays to your strengths, addresses your everyday challenges, and helps you achieve your goals.
 
When working with youth, I take a collaborative approach with families, schools and pediatricians to devise creative solutions for a wide variety of emotional, behavioral and learning difficulties. I employ an engaging approach that helps children and teens feel heard and encourages them to take an active role in their treatment, strengthening their relationships with their families and educators in the process.
 
Watching friends and loved ones suffer with mental illness and struggle to find professional help is what compelled me to enter the field. I received my B.A. in psychology from American University and my M.D. from the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. I completed my adult psychiatry training and my child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at the University of Maryland/Sheppard Pratt program in Baltimore, MD. As a native of Falls Church, I’m excited to offer mental health services in the DMV region.

Monique Deely, Child and Adolescent and Adult Therapist
Bobby W. Nelson, M.D., D.L.F.A.P.A.,
Board-certified Psychiatrist

Bobby W. Nelson, M.D., D.L.F.A.P.A., is a Board certified psychiatrist who has practiced adult psychotherapy with individuals and couples for more than 47 years, utilizing a variety of therapeutic approaches adapted to the needs of the individual patient or couple. Following his medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia (MCV, now part of Virginia Commonwealth University), he served at the NIMH Clinical Research Center in Lexington, Kentucky as an officer in the United States Public Health Service. He then returned to MCV for his residency in psychiatry.

He has been in continuous practice following residency. His work has increasingly focused over the years on the central and often under-analyzed roles of expectation, resentment and loneliness in human suffering, and assisting his patients in facing those emotions in a way that overcomes the obstacles in their lives. He also focuses on helping patients realize how childhood habits and events may currently impinge on their symptoms, which he has found results in greater self- awareness of their habits as an adult. This is particularly powerful where such unresolved childhood issues have subconsciously led to anger, depression and anxiety.

Dr. Nelson additionally enjoys helping his patients break through inter-personal communication barriers. His prior work supervising psychiatric residents with their psychotherapy cases further informed him about the imperfections inherent in language assumptions by both therapist and patient, and he has dedicated a great deal of his practice to overcoming those imperfections in therapeutic ways.
His work in prior years with the Psychiatric Society of Virginia in several positions, including President, resulted in his achieving the honor of Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He enjoys continuing to gather knowledge from his peer clinicians and, most importantly, from his patients who bring a wide range of important problems to his table.


Carolyn Heier
Amanda Roberts Ph.D., MA
Clinical Psychologist
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy

Dr. Amanda Roberts has 34 years of experience in the mental health field and 20 years of deep immersion and expertise in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy, EMDR.

EMDR is a robust evidence-based psychotherapy approach that is cost effective, culturally portable and endorsed by the World Health Organization. The approach is used to treat many conditions ranging from trauma with all of its complexities, to addictions, chronic pain, migraines, phobias, problematic behaviors, mood disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety. Dr. Roberts is also trained in hypnosis and a variety of mind-body modalities. She has a growing interest in the neurobiological basis of effective psychotherapies and, in particular, neuroplasticity.

Dr. Roberts’ approach is one of warmth, compassion and respect for the strengths within the person with the firm conviction that effective therapy involves a collaborative partnership informed by the patient’s innate wisdom and resilience. It is the quality of the therapeutic relationship based on a foundation of trust, safety and a caring connection that provides the most curative element in treatment. She is known for her creativity, passion, fearlessness, easy humor and deep commitment to the welfare of her patients. Your work with her will be solution focused, equip you with tools for living your life more joyfully and freely and will involve a practical problem-solving approach.

She studied Psychology at Harvard University, earned a Bachelors in Political Science with an emphasis in International Relations from the University of California Berkeley, has a Master’s degree in Marriage Family Therapy from the University of San Francisco and earned her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, CIIS. At CIIS the curriculum marries eastern philosophy and religion with traditional western empirical psychological training. Her dissertation was a quality of life study on the use of laughter and humor in the treatment of cancer survivors.

Her specialty is working with the psychological ramifications of medical issues, a branch of psychology known as Behavioral Medicine or Health Psychology. She has successfully worked with treatment resistant medically unexplained symptoms as well as chronic migraines, pain, cardiac, auto-immune, eating disorders and cancer. An additional specialty is in the treatment of recent traumatic/adverse events with ongoing traumatic stress. Dr. Roberts also provides clinical consultation to other EMDR clinicians individually and in groups.

Dr. Roberts has expertise in treating many difficulties and situations that you may be experiencing and together helping you to find resolution and lasting relief. These may include but are not limited to:

  • Stress reduction methods
  • Medical illness of any kind: cancer, cardiac, diabetes, auto-immune illness, pain, migraines
  • Family addiction/codependency
  • ADHD
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Recent and long-term traumatic experiences
  • Phobias
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, OCD
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Work stress and career challenges
  • Organizational challenges
  • Dealing with difficult people
  • Life transitions
  • Life crisis
  • Women’s issues
  • Fertility, pregnancy and post-partum difficulties
  • Sexual trauma, assault and harassment
  • Domestic violence
  • Military personnel and their families
  • War trauma
  • Difficulty with important life decisions
  • Problematic behaviors
  • Spiritual counseling
  • Government workers with access to sensitive information
  • Performance anxiety or procrastination

For government workers with access to sensitive information or with security clearance there are newer EMDR protocols that do not require disclosure or articulation of material in order for you to receive benefits. This preserves privacy, affords an extra layer of protection and can diminish your fears about receiving psychotherapy.

Our work will focus on building your strengths and resiliency and giving you the tools to make the necessary changes so that you are the author of your own life. Together we will take a problem solving and solution focused approach building upon the resources and strengths you already have. Some of the work will focus on self-regulation strategies and a variety of ways to contain and manage strong emotions. A good amount of time may be spent on psych-education and empowerment. Our goal will be to transform problems into assets and liabilities into strengths. In many instances you already carry the solutions, but merely need guidance to realize this and implement targeted strategies.
The work can be short-term or longer-term according to your needs, motivation and availability.

Dr Roberts is an EMDR International Association and Trauma Recovery Humanitarian Assistance Programs approved consultant, an EMDR trainer in early intervention and former leader of the Western Massachusetts Trauma Recovery Network, a community disaster response program. She has conducted trainings around the US for trauma clinicians and has been instrumental in setting up the Trauma Response Network in Britain, a government sanctioned organization, formed in 2017 in response to terrorism and mass casualty events. She advises them on logistical and clinical issues. Dr. Roberts has an enduring and lifelong passion for global and international humanitarian issues.

She completed three pre-doctoral internships (At Stanford’s Drug and Alcohol Clinic, Stanford’s Counseling and Psychological Services and San Mateo County Mental Health Services) and two post-doctoral internships.(One in a national employee assistance program and another at the University of Massachusetts Memorial Center Medical school, ranked among the top ten medical schools in the United States) She worked in the Behavioral Medicine Clinic at the University of Massachusetts with rotations throughout cardiac and oncology, pain and bariatric surgery services. She has served on a mobile psychiatric crisis unit, in a full-service hospital emergency room, community mental health clinics and outreach, inpatient, general outpatient and two pain clinics.

She has provided trainings/workshops nationally and internationally on a variety of mental health topics and was on the United Nations working team of EMDR therapists acting to introduce EMDR Therapy as a modality to be used in humanitarian programs around the world. More recently, as an EMDR ambassador, she facilitated, an engagement with the World Bank in the Philippines and has been involved in various capacities with the Global Initiative for Stress and Trauma Treatment, GIST-T, based in Geneva Switzerland.

She is a consummate researcher and launched the world’s first EMDR clinical trial looking at the efficacy of the EMDR Group Traumatic Episode Protocol, GTEP with an oncology population. This protocol also has applicability to other populations.

Publications:
Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, Volume 12, Number 3, 2018 © 2018 EMDR International Association http:// dx. doi. org/ 10. 1891/ 1933- 3196. 12. 3. 105

EMDRIA Magazine September 2018. Vol. 23 issue 3
EMDR Early Intervention: A primer for clinicians


Monique Deely, Child and Adolescent and Adult Therapist
Susan Nelson, L.C.S.W.
Individual (Adults) and Couples Therapist

Susan Nelson completed her undergraduate degree at Hood College and her master’s degree in social work at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Social Work. She also completed a post-master’s program at Smith College. Ms. Nelson has been in private practice for 45 years. 

Ms. Nelson enjoys working with her clients to develop treatment goals and facilitate personal growth in their lives. She uses an eclectic approach integrating a developmental perspective in exploring family of origin issues as they relate to the client’s presenting concerns. Her style is collaborative, empathic, practical and interpersonal. Ms. Nelson often incorporates attachment theory, the development of emotional boundaries, and the power of gratitude in her work with individuals as well as with couples. She has found the principles of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) particularly helpful in her work with couples. Her long-term interest in the unique features of women’s issues has evolved with the changes in society. She has also found the research by Brené Brown on shame and vulnerability provides useful language to alleviate self-doubt, anxiety and depression. Ms. Nelson also works with clients around the experiences of grief and loss, including the loss of a pet. Her decades of experience have offered her the opportunity to help clients deal with their uniquely complicated life issues. 


Monique Deely, Child and Adolescent and Adult Therapist
Steffanie Kelshaw, LPC, CSAC
Individual and Marital Counselor; Substance Abuse Counselor

I am a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor with several years of clinical experience. I have worked with adolescents and adults in a university mental health facility, outpatient substance abuse clinics, and a residential substance abuse facility. As a Nationally Certified Counselor, Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, and member of the American Counseling Association, I am dedicated to delivering ethical and cutting-edge treatment to my clients.  

I believe that everyone is capable of change. I have counseled clients experiencing substance abuse, grief and loss, family and marital discord, stress, anger, depression, mood disorders, trauma, and anxiety. My approach has been to work together with my clients to develop treatment plans that improve healing, self-efficacy, motivation, and success. I truly enjoy empowering others to discover their inner potential and strengths. Throughout my diverse work experiences, I have taken pride in my ability to form connections with others, to anticipate their needs, and to help my clients change in order to attain healthier and more productive lives. 

My education includes a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Vermont and a Master of Arts in Education and Human Development with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from George Washington University. I use a variety of therapeutic treatment approaches, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing techniques, and Mindfulness based therapy, to encourage clients to elicit change within themselves. I have focused training and experience with helping clients navigate struggles around grief and loss and major life transitions. Through a variety of settings, I have had the chance to work with treating health care professionals and military personnel. My experience with this particular demographic includes processing their emotional difficulties and burnouts, including PTSD, and how substance abuse has become a self-destructive coping strategy.

I stand with my clients in the midst of their pain as they gain insight and awareness into life experiences past and present. I am dedicated to creating non-judgmental and sacred spaces where true transformations can occur. My personalized, collaborative, and integrative therapeutic approach allows for gentle healing in a safe and supportive environment that focuses on healing the physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.  


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