Mark Sisti, PhD – Director & Founder
Mark Sisti, PhD is the founder and director of Manhattan, Brooklyn & Suffolk Cognitive-Behavioral, PLLC. He is a graduate of Hofstra University, a licensed psychologist and a adjunct professor at Yeshiva— Ferkauf University, Department of Clinical Psychology. Dr. Sisti is a Diplomat, Certified Cognitive Therapist & Trainer within The Academy of Cognitive Therapy. He is also a peer-reviewed trainer in a more contemporary experiential CBT called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). His advanced training in cognitive therapy was under the tutelage of CBT master clinician, Robert Leahy, Ph.D., at The American Institute for Cognitive Therapy, where Dr. Sisti was formerly the Associate Director.
Dr. Sisti has extensive experience with anxiety disorders through his work at Freedom From Fear, a nationally recognized anxiety and mood disorder advocacy organization, where he was formerly the Director of Cognitive Therapy and where he also participated as a Certified Cognitive Therapist in research trials for N.Y.S. Psychiatric Institute & Columbia Presbyterian. He has also supervised doctoral interns from both Yeshiva-Ferkauf and Hofstra Universities and is a volunteer adjunct clinical supervisor for Yeshiva University Graduate School of Psychology. He trains various mental health experts and professionals in CBT, mindfulness based CBTs, such as ACT, and has presented trainings and symposia for the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, Association for Contextual Behavior Therapy and Suffolk County Psych Assoc. He has also given numerous seminars and trainings on ACT and other mindfulness based CBTs. Dr. Sisti is also a published author on cognitive therapy, mindfulness, ACT, and Compassion Based Therapy, and Functional Analytic Therapy (FAP).
As a committed life long learner, and in an ongoing effort to keep up with state of the art CBT and its newest developments, he has committed himself and his staff to ongoing supervision and training in, “third generation” CBTs and mindfulness informed CBT, e.g., DBT, FAP, Compassion Informed Therapy and ACT. He has extensive training and experience with ACT through its founders and leaders, Dr. Steven Hayes & Kelly Wilson. Additional ACT experience comes through being a past president of the NYC chapter of ACBS (Association of Contextual Behavioral Science) ACBS-NYC, and founder of Long Island ACBS, a local ACT affiliate, ACT training and peer study group. He has also trained repeatedly with master third generation clinicians such as; (DBT)Dr. Marsha Linehan & Compassion Focused Therapists (Dennis Tirch, Tara Brach & Christine Neff/Chris Germer). He has also trained and given trainings in “interpersonal” CBTs such as FAP with Drs. Mavis Tsai & Bob Kohlenberg, along with completing a one year relational psychoanalytic training at the Mitchell Institute for Relational Psychoanalysis. He is also founder & president of The “Long Island-CBT Network (www.LICBT.org)”, a LI based professional CBT/EBP networking & dissemination organization as well as being on the board of Suffolk County Psych Association. Dr Sisti, also incorporates the mindfulness insights he has garnered as a life long practitioner of TM (Transcendental Meditation), Ashtanga Yoga, and Aikido 1st Dan into his life and work.
Maria Steblai, Psy.D. – Staff Therapist
Maria Steblai, PsyD., is a senior founding member of Suffolk Cognitive Behavioral beginning in 2004. Dr. Steblai’s long tenure at our center has made many patients and their families consider her a life long mental health resource. She obtained her doctorate from Hofstra University, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa. Dr. Steblai obtained her initial clinical training in cognitive-behavioral therapy at Hofstra University.
Her clinical experience at North Shore University Hospital has given her invaluable expertise working with the most intense of crises in peoples lives and the opportunity to work as a team with medical/psychiatric professionals. Additionally her ongoing experience working as a certified school psychologist within several Long Island School districts, gives her broad experience with both children, adolescents, adults and families. We are very fortunate to have a professional with this much experience with childhood and adolescent disorders on staff. Her specialties include, cognitive-behavioral Therapy, ADHD, eating & body image disorders, and children-adolescent disorders. She has presented her research at psychological conventions on; attention & hyperactivity disorders (ADD & ADHD), eating disorders and body image disorders. She regularly conducts groups, workshops and seminars on ADHD, eating disorders and adolescent trauma.
Rachel Klechevsky, LMSW – Staff Therapist
Rachel Klechevsky received her Masters of Social Work from NYU and her Masters of Human Sexuality Education from Widener University. She has practiced psychotherapy since 2012, using a variety of comprehensive approaches including CBT based narrative therapy and third generation CBT based existential therapy. These varied skills coupled with her experience with grief work and relationship difficulties, make Rachel an excellent choice for clients who are also struggling with grief, depression, anxiety disorders (panic, phobias, PTSD, etc), as well as other mood disorders.
Rachel also has a specialty in sex therapy and sexuality. She has a special interest in working with relationships, whether straight, LGBTQ and/or non-monogamous and with individuals or couples who are dealing with sexual dysfunction, sexual identity concerns and/or general relationship stresses.
Sarah Levinson received her JD in 1993 from Columbia University School of Law and is currently an MSW candidate at SUNY Buffalo. She brings to therapy career counseling expertise from her prior career as an attorney and legal recruiter, with a focus on professional decisions and transitions, office politics and executive-level management strategy. She understands difficult personalities, high stress environments and hierarchical power dynamics. Sarah has also developed a specialty in ACT and CBT therapy for anxiety disorders (panic, trauma, social anxiety, agoraphobia, OCD, body image and eating disorders) and mood disorders. Sarah’s expertise in exposure/experiential based CBT/ACT is particularly relevant for anxiety disorders that have not responded to conventional intellectually based interventions and traditional talk therapies. Sarah has a specialty in relationship dynamics across a wide variety of relationship structures, including parenting, navigating the complexities of modern dating, long term relationships and open relationships. She excels at relational matters of communication, intimacy, sexuality, consent and infertility. She has significant experience working with couples. She has led monthly relationship discussion groups for nine years. Sarah has also created and facilitated various workshops, panel discussions and interviews. She works with adults of all ages and adolescents, and is experienced with neurodivergent, alternative, LGBTQ and consensual non-monogamy communities.
Rebecca is the office manager and is an expert problem solver, working to ensure that everything runs smoothly from billing and bookkeeping to insurance filing. If you have any sort of question or problem with logistics, you’ll likely be referred to Rebecca and she’ll be more than happy to solve your issue and support you in any way she can! Rebecca loves helping others and will be glad to assist you. Rebecca has a BFA from New York University in Theatre and Child and Adolescent Mental Studies. In addition to helping at NYC Cognitive Behavioral, she also is an executive and personal assistant for a number of other clients.
Shelli Trager – Intake Coordinator
Ms. Trager is the intake coordinator at Suffolk Cognitive-Behavioral, she is often the first person to meet and greet patients who call the center for information. With a call to the center, she will be more than happy to answer any general questions about the center. Ms. Trager has worked for mental health professionals and their patients for decades and has in that way gathered a wealth of invaluable experience in helping patients to make difficult decisions around starting therapy and answering general mental health FAQ’s (frequently asked questions). Ms. Trager also manages the calendars and appointments of our staff, and will patiently guide patients through the complex process of initial screening and referral. In addition, to her work at SCB, Ms. Trager is an entrepreneur, with a BS in Education, from The University of Connecticut. She manages her own multi-faceted medical business by helping other mental health professionals with all aspects of office management, information Technology, etc.