The Institute for Psychiatry & Counseling
The Institute for Psychiatry & Counseling

Our Team and Medical Staff

We pride ourselves on our friendly and professional staff. Our therapists are certified at the NJ state and national levels. We regularly attend seminars and conventions to ensure that our work is informed by the most current and advanced psychoanalytic methods.

Mercedes A Paine, MD

Co-founder and Medical Director 


Mercedes A Paine, MD is a Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatrist with over 30 years of experience and a diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology. She recieved her medical degree from Pontificia Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra and completed her training at New York State Psychiatric Institute, Columbia University, Department of Psychiatry. Her approach to patients is characterized by an integrative understanding of biological as well as psychosocial and environmental factors. She incorporates psychotherapy, pharmacological management as well as other individualized  approaches in treating each patient as a whole person. Her approach is strongly influenced by the belief that the mind, body & spirit work best when in concert. 


Dr. Paine specializes in the diagnosis, treatment & management of Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD, Disruptive Behavioral Disorders, Mood Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, Eating Disorders as well as Schizophrenia & Personality Disorders.  Dr. Paine provides ongoing consultation & clinical support services to schools and child study teams.


Dr. Paine is an intuitive, empathic & compassionate physician who is skilled at recognizing maladaptive patterns of behaviors and emotions. Towards a mutually defined goal, Dr.Paine is dedicated to assisting the patient throughout the therapeutic process.



Heidi Flax, MA LPC LMFT

Co-founder and Clinical Director


Heidi Flax is a NJ state-licensed  marriage & family psychotherapist with a degree from New York University, who has been working with families, children, adolescents, adults and couples for over 30 years. Many people begin therapy to work towards moving aside obstacles or issues that prevent movement forward, whatever that looks like to is all individual. 

In her work with families she connects especially well with struggling adolescents/teens. As many families enter treatment in crisis, they require help to move towards developing clearer, realistic goals. The diversity of having worked in mental health, education & private practice has helped adopt a versatile approach to treatment.

In her practice, the mind-body connection is fundamental for growth and the use of relaxation, yoga and hypnotherapy as tools offers success in decreasing stress & anxiety & developing goals. It is important to know how to incorporate certain mindful techniques to increase self-awareness.


Cathy Gilio, LCSW


Cathy Gilio is a licensed clinical social worker with a graduate degree from New York University. She is an experienced clinician with over 20 years of practice in a variety of settings, including schools, treatment facilities, hospitals, partial care and substance abuse centers. In her current practice, she specializes in treating children as young as age 3, adolescents and families. 

As an EMDR trained therpaist, Cathy has expertise in working with trauma and anxiety.

In her work, an understanding of the connection between mind and body is addressed with the use of mindfulness techniques, Somatics Experiencing, Sensory Motor Therapy & Relaxation.

Cathy brings to the relationship  a warmth &  sense of humor which fosters a safe, nurturing envirnment for healing.

Annamaria Palante, LCSW


Annamaria Palante graduated Montclair State University with a dual undergraduate degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice . She then obtained a Master’s Degree in Science and Social Work from Columbia University.Annamaria provides both individual and group therapy for children, adolescents and adults and treats a variety of emotional and behavioral disorders including ADHD, Anxiety , Depression , Chronic Illness, Autism and Grief. 

Mary Huss Zetelski, LCSW


Mary Huss Zetelski is an LCSW with over 20 years of experience working in schools, medical settings and private practice. Utilizing  hypnotherapy , internal family systems and post partum support, Mary helps children, adults and seniors facing life's transitions from birth to death. As a certified  supervisor for interns and social workers , Mary also assists in preparing towards licensing and SW hours. Holding certifications in EMDR, Bowen Family Systems, Grief Therapy & an advanced certification in Hospice & Palliative Care, Mary helps facilitate healing from trauma, loss and illness through individual  family and group therapy.

Juan Carlos Morel, LSW


Juan Carlos Morel is a licensed Social Worker who specializes in Trauma-Focused Therapy with adolescents and adults . Juan Carlos works with  victims and perpetrators of Domestic Violence, challenging belief systems that normalize abuse to create healthy relationships and behavior changes . 

He is trained in different therapy modalities including CBT, and EMDR and has experience working with adolescents and young adults with special needs. Using a strength based approach and employing techniques to help individuals explore and develop a sense of hope and empowerment , Juan Carlos uses each individuals traits and abilities to transcend life’s challenges . 

Juan Carlos brings energy, positivity and spiritual healing within the therapeutic experience providing a safe & nurturing environment and  is passionate about baseball, basketball, reading, music and the beautiful development of mental health.

Laura Robinson, LCSW


Laura Robinson, LCSW obtained her MSW at NYU and has been working in the field of social work for over 25 years. As a psychotherapist/counselor, Laura has worked in a variety of settings includng public and private organizations, offering her the opportunity to  work with a diverse population. As a highly experienced individual, group and family therapist, Laura strives to empower her clients and meet them where theyu are in life utilizing a variety of treatment modalities. Laura is NASW certified to supervise Social Workers looking to obtain their LCSW.

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