Meet Our Team

Michael Shanahan, M.Div., LMFT, Executive Director – I am a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, trained in mediation and spiritual direction and I have been working with clients in the field of mental health for over 20 years. I use a holistic, person-centered approach, employing treatment strategies that begin with the concerns a client brings to therapy as well as what they hope therapy will accomplish. I believe that building rapport and trust between client and therapist are essential in order to form a sound therapeutic relationship which sets the stage for healing.

I help heal relationships after an affair and I help individuals heal after divorce. I work with couples struggling with their relationship and also offer pre-marital counseling. I treat a variety of mental health issues including depression and anxiety, relationship issues, anger management, living with covert as well as overt abuse by partners or family members, life-direction and spiritual-path questions, and others. I help clients build healthy boundaries in their relationships with spouses or life partners, family members, and co-workers.

In addition to reducing mental health symptoms, my goal as a therapist is to support a client’s sense of themselves as capable and gifted, so that relationships with the important people in their lives are enhanced and made more authentic and enjoyable. I tell my clients to give a therapist 2 sessions: if you don’t feel a connection or that anything is happening after two sessions, find another therapist! Your well-being is too important and the initial connection you make or don’t make with a therapist is essential to all that will follow.

Stacey Campbell, Director of Operations – After a career in the private sector for 20 years working for the former Big 8 and Big 6 accounting firms and 10 years as a stay at home mom, I decided it was time to re-enter the work force full time. It never occurred to me about working in the non-profit world – but it has changed my life in so many ways. Hired by our late former Director, Sr. Lorraine Bernier, RGS in 2012 I knew I was on a new path in life, one that was going to be more than just a job. This was going to be – different – exciting and gratifying! Many years later, it has proved to be that. Coming from a worldwide organization whose main goal was to profit financially and then transitioning to a small community-based non-profit whose mission is to raise funds for their clients in need – it could not have been more opposite.

As Director of Operations here at MDCS, I wear many hats and oversee the day-to-day operations for all our staff and volunteers. I work with our Board of Directors and different committees that support our mission and have a side by side working partnership with our Executive Director. We make a good team. I have found within myself skills I didn’t know I possessed, one of which—I am told—is having a keen sense of people. Many times I am the first one to offer reassurance to a caller who is in crisis or sit down in our waiting area with a person who came in off the street distressed and looking for help.

I welcome my role and my gifts and I see how my ability to treat others with compassion compliments my position here. Maria Droste Counseling Services has “grounded me” and has helped guide me through my life and life’s bigger pictures. Compassionate care and respect for a person is a virtue that will never go away and it is alive here. MDCS has become an extension of my family. I have made their mission part of my daily life…whether it’s caring for my 2 children or doing outreach and fundraising for our agency. MDCS’ mission is real, our work is real and I leave each day with a real sense of gratifying accomplishment. I am truly blessed to be part of this unique organization.

Sr. Elish McPartland, RGS, M.T., RCST® Holistic Therapist – I am a trained Holistic Therapist who has been practicing Massage Therapy (Swedish, Sports Massage, and Acupressure) since 1992 and Polarity Therapy since 1996. I began practicing and teaching Reiki in 1997 and became a Registered Practitioner of the Biodynamic method of Craniosacral Therapy in 2003. I offer sessions in all four modalities in an atmosphere of deep respect and sensitivity for the person. Many of the people I see for bodywork are experiencing a wide range of physical and emotional difficulties. In order to provide the most effective treatment outcomes, I tailor treatment plans to meet the unique needs of the individual.

Meghan Earle, M.A. MHC – As a Mental Health Counselor, I work collaboratively with individuals and couples to achieve their desired goals. I believe that one of the most important components of therapy is a trusting and respectful therapeutic relationship and I strive to provide a therapeutic space that is safe, supportive, and free from judgement. As a graduate of Boston College’s Mental Health Counseling program, I place specific emphasis on understanding the identity and context of each client and cater my therapeutic approaches to meet their identified goals. In order to meet the client’s needs, I draw from a variety of theoretical orientations including person-centered, cognitive behavioral, family systems, psycho-dynamic, and mindfulness. I treat a range of mental health needs including depression, anxiety, anger management, life transitions, relationships issues, trauma, and others. In addition to reducing client symptoms, my goal as a therapist is to help clients better know and understand themselves and feel capable of navigating through the many stressors that occur throughout the lifespan.

Maria Swanson, M.A. MHC – In my work as a Mental Health Counselor, I strive to see the unique strengths embodied in each person I encounter. I work primarily through a relational lens; this means that I value the relationship I build with each client, while also focusing on how people relate to themselves and others in varied contexts. I draw from relational psychoanalysis, multicultural psychology, person-centered counseling, motivational interviewing, and mindfulness approaches to counseling while also utilizing strategies from other treatment philosophies.

I work primarily with adults in both individual and couples counseling to provide support and healing for issues related to family and relationship difficulties, inter- and intra-personal boundaries, self-worth, depression, anxiety, continued identity development, impactful life changes, and contextual barriers. Above all else, my goal is to always approach counseling with humility since each individual I meet has their own history, experiences, and perspectives. I view it to be an endless task to check my own assumptions of others and greet people with an open mind and heart. I encourage clients to be open with me as well, and I strive to create a space where my clients will feel comfortable challenging me and raising questions that may arise at any point during counseling.

Kathleen Whooley, LICSW – My approach to counseling is working with individuals, couples and families to relieve or eliminate emotional stress. I strive to see the client within the context of family and important relationships, past and present. Other significant factors include spiritual, racial/ethnic, cultural, sexual orientation, gender and class identity. A supportive and strength based focus is crucial. I graduated from the Rhode Island College School of Social Work with a concentration in Community Practice. My professional experience encompasses counseling; public social services; mentoring oversight; child welfare program development and evaluation; developmental disabilities; parent aide and family support. I have worked with people across the lifespan, utilizing play therapy; family systems; cognitive behavioral; and solution-focused models of intervention.

Mary Ann Crowley, CSJ, MA, CADC, LSC Licensed Social Worker – As a trained educator and substance abuse counselor of over 25 years, I have had the privilege of working with many adults, children and families. I am in awe of the human spirit that is so resilient and one’s desire and ability to hope, heal and believe in oneself. Addiction and substance abuse are often complex and at the root of both personal and family issues.  I specialize in helping you through your unique life story.  My overall approach is to be highly empathic, nonjudgmental and patient.  Communicating with compassion, coupled with directness and at times a sense of humor can really help. Experience has taught me to use an eclectic treatment approach, respecting the individual and his or her learning style.  I look forward to meeting with new clients as we begin a journey of hope and healing.

Patricia Fair, LICSW Clinical Social Worker – For over 25 years, I have been practicing psychotherapy with individuals, families, and groups.  Prior to this, I cared for patients in hospitals and community mental health settings as a registered nurse.  Due to my varied background in physical and mental health, I seek to incorporate a mind body approach to my therapy.  This integration includes the use of energy work and spirituality, as experienced by the individual.  I wish to develop a relationship with the client that is safe and empathic, through which healing occurs.  Currently, I work primarily with adults suffering from a wide range of psycho-social issues, including anxiety, depression, family conflict, life transitions and medical illness.  The goal of treatment is to help each person achieve increased inner peace and improve relationships with others.

Denise Whall-Marlin, LICSW – I am a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker from Boston, Massachusetts with ten years of experience in providing psychotherapy. I have worked with all different kinds of people, and I have helped them with a variety of challenges and mental health problems. I have post-graduate training in several types of treatment, including cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy, as well as an academic background from New York University in psycho-dynamic treatment.
I know that no two people are the same, so there is no cookie-cutter approach to therapy. When I work with you, my preferred approach is to work together to find the unique approach that works best for you. I like to combine support, empathy and humor with skills-building, problem solving and mindfulness to help people better manage overwhelming emotions and improve their relationships – without any judgment. My goal is to help put you back in the driver’s seat of your life and gain mastery over your feelings and relationships. I know how important it is to build a strong and trusting relationship with a therapist, and I provide both validation and truthful insights to my clients. Most of all, I strongly believe in a strengths-based, person-centered approach that recognizes each person’s unique abilities and helps them to reach their highest potential.

Sarah Roman, MSW, LCSW – Working as a Clinical Social Worker, I am dedicated to using a strengths based perspective within therapy while focusing on empowering clients to create changes they’ve identified within their lives based upon their personal goals. I have an interest and experience working in Behavioral Medicine, and value a focus on the mind/body connection within therapy. My goal is to engage clients as partners within the therapy process and to provide clients a supportive therapeutic relationship and environment. In addition to outpatient individual therapy, I have worked with a wide variety of populations within community health center settings, as well as residential substance use. Areas of focus include working with individuals who have a dual diagnosis and/or chronic health or mental health conditions, substance use, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, grief, wish to improve relationships, or are dealing with life changes or stressors. In my practice, I draw from a number of treatment therapies including, Brief therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Mindfulness, and Psycho-dynamic therapy.

Nancy F. Gallagher, MA Loss and Grief Counselor Spiritual Director/Companion  – As a Loss and Grief Counselor I see clients who are dealing with issues and emotions that seem to make no sense.  Together we explore the complexities of living with loss and the feelings that accompany that loss.  Loss comes in many forms.  Often we think of loss in terms of losing a loved one to death.  However, throughout the life cycle loss occurs in many ways.  I work with people experiencing loss through death, illness, loss of employment, loss of ones home or living situation, termination of a relationship or any other life circumstance that creates situations of sadness and grieving.  We look for ways to find hope and healing through the grief and sadness. When loss occurs the entire body, mind and soul are affected.  I believe in a holistic approach to grieving and healing and one that offers the client an ability to move through all stages of the grieving process.  After a loss there is a tendency to want to put grieving on the back burner in attempt to get back to “life as usual.”  When grief is put on hold, unresolved feelings of loss continue to weave their way into our lives. I am also a Spiritual Director/Companion and meet with individuals who are interested in moving toward a deeper adult relationship between God and self.   I am trained in Focusing and use this modality with clients who wish to access their bodily felt sense of situations that are often complicated and unpredictable.  Accessing ones bodily felt sense of a situation can be a valuable tool for moving forward.

Christine Lawson, M.Ed., LMHC – I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor that takes a solution-focused, client-centered, holistic approach to counseling. I have been working in out-patient treatment and in public schools for over ten years. I have an extensive background in working with children, adolescents and families who are overcoming trauma or struggling with challenging life circumstances that can often play out in families as disruptive behaviors. I also have worked extensively with adults to overcome anxiety, depression and addiction. I believe in creating a safe, non-judgmental counseling environment in order to work collaboratively with clients to identify goals and explore options that promote healing and support improving on their quality of life.

Frances T. Spillane, LMHC – I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).  Starting from the ideal that we are all creative, resourceful and whole, I work to help clients develop and strengthen their inner resources, resolve mental health challenges and create a life of meaning and fulfillment.  I particularly enjoy working with people navigating life transitions – new careers, second careers, empty nesters, recently divorced and recently retired. My own journey through transitions gives me a deep sense of empathy and compassion, as well as the knowledge that change provides the opportunity to create a richer and more joyful life. My authenticity, compassion and unconditional positive regard for clients supports their honest exploration of their most important issues.

Karen McHugh, Volunteer Substance Use  & Holistic Counselor – I began volunteering at Maria Droste Counseling Services in 2014, and have worked in the field of Addiction Recovery for the past 11 years. I am a trained Alcohol & Drug Counselor currently accruing the hours needed to receive my CADAC license. I am a Reiki II practitioner and a SEDA-certified Acupressure practitioner, as well as a trained Biosonics sound healer. Through these modalities I am able to offer my clients a variety of holistic approaches to healing and recovery. I believe that change and growth are always possible for those who are willing, and I seek to guide my clients to their own inner resources of empowerment and strength.

Denise E. Patts, RMT Energy Medicine Practitioner / Master HealerI am a Reiki Master Teacher and Energy Medicine Practitioner. My desire is to work with you to balance your whole system; mind, body and spirit. Whether you need to relax and restore or are dealing with the effects of such illnesses as Fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, Thyroid or Arthritis, energy work will help support your current methods of healing. I use a wealth of experience and gentle touch techniques to facilitate your inner awareness, re-pattern your energy field and help you to accelerate your own healing.