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dandelion psychotherapy, pllc

psychotherapy and counseling for families and individuals

Our Therapists

Erika Bugaj, MA, MSW, LICSW

Director & Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker/Psychotherapist

Erika Bugaj is a licensed independent clinical social worker practicing in Washington, DC. Erika has many years of experience as a social worker and therapist, and three years of experience as a teacher. She has held social work positions helping adult survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence; meeting the complex needs of homeless families with young children; and providing counseling and resources to families receiving care on the inpatient pediatric units of a teaching hospital. After finishing her undergraduate degree at Syracuse University, Erika completed a two-year commitment with Teach For America, teaching second grade in DC Public Schools. She holds a Master of Teaching, Elementary degree from Trinity Washington University, and a Master of Social Work, Clinical degree from The Catholic University of America. Erika completed the Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Training Program at the Washington School of Psychiatry in 2013, which is a two year postgraduate certificate program for mental health professionals specializing in providing therapy with children, teens, and families. She resides in Washington, DC with her children and rescue dog.

Erika participated in a Train-the-Trainer program with Mary’s Center called “Maternal Mental Health Champions”. The goal of this program is to provide knowledge of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders to the Washington, DC community. Contact Erika to bring this free training to your group.

Check out Erika's profiles on other websites:

Lisa McLish, JD, MSW, LICSW

Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker/Senior Psychotherapist

Lisa McLish is a licensed independent clinical social worker practicing in Washington, D.C. A former practicing attorney for seventeen years, Lisa came to the realization that her passion and interest was working directly with people on issues that were impacting their lives and decided to pursue a career in social work. In 2009, she earned her MSW in Clinical Social Work from Catholic University. Lisa particularly enjoys working with adolescents, pregnant and post-partum women, adults and couples. Prior to private practice, Lisa worked in schools and with the Infants and Toddlers Program in Montgomery County, Maryland. In her work, Lisa has assisted homeless children and families, children with intellectual and neurodevelopmental disabilities, victims of abuse and neglect, as well as children, adolescents and adults with anxiety and depression. In addition to her MSW, Lisa has also completed the two-year Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy training program at the Washington School of Psychiatry, was a training Fellow in the Leadership in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) program at Children’s National Medical Center and has advanced training in Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy through the Beck Institute. A long-time resident of Washington, D.C., Lisa lives with her husband and their three children and spends any free time training for running races and volunteering with her children’s schools and sports teams. 

You can read an article about Lisa here: Lisa McLish: Trading Contract Law for a Life of Social Work

Check out Lisa's profiles on other websites:

Psychology Today

Liz Buchanan, MSW, LICSW

Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker/Psychotherapist

Liz Buchanan is a licensed independent clinical social worker, who has been practicing in Washington, DC for over five years. Liz received her MSW from University of Maryland, School of Social Worker specializing in Maternal, Child, Adolescent, and Family Health. Liz currently works for District of Columbia Public Schools with children who have a variety needs including defiant behaviors, ADHD, executive functioning challenges, developmental delays, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and learning disabilities. Prior, Liz administered psychological assessments and provided counseling services to adults with complex needs including substance abuse, depression, anxiety, and life adjustment issues. Liz is committed to trauma informed care and uses attachment-based frame work. When meeting with Liz expect to be met with honest, compassionate care, that is goal oriented and individualized to your family needs.  In her free time, Liz enjoys working out, traveling, and spending time with her loved ones.

Check out Liz's other profiles here:

Psychology Today

Jamie Alongi, MSW, LICSW

Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker/Psychotherapist 

Jamie Alongi is a licensed clinical social worker who has been practicing in Washington, DC for over five years. Jamie received her MSW from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she received her Certificate in School Social Work. Jamie currently works for District of Columbia Public Schools as a school social worker. She works with students with many different needs such as learning disabilities, ADHD, anxiety, depression, social skills deficits, executive functioning difficulties and more. Before earning her MSW, Jamie was a 5th grade teacher in Charlotte, North Carolina for four years through Teach For America and received her Graduate Certificate in Elementary Education at University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Jamie has experience utilizing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and believes in the importance of the client-therapist relationship. When she’s not working, Jamie enjoys spending time with her husband and dog, exercising, and listening to podcasts.

Check out Jamie's other profiles here:

Psychology Today

Lauren Blackwood, MSW, LICSW

Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker/Psychotherapist

Lauren Blackwood is a licensed independent clinical social worker in Washington, DC. Lauren has six years of experience as a social worker and therapist, and two years of experience as a classroom teacher. She attended the University of Maryland, School of Social Work where she earned an MSW in Clinical Social Work. Her training includes advanced internships in Baltimore City Public Schools and the Department of Veterans Affairs, PTSD clinic. She completed two years of post-graduate clinical supervision at Harford Belair, Community Mental Health Center, providing psychotherapy for individuals with a variety of diagnoses, including depression, executive functioning disorder, substance abuse, anxiety, PTSD, and life adjustment issues. She currently works for District of Columbia Public Schools supporting children and families who struggle with challenging/defiant behaviors, executive functioning skills, social skills, depression, and anxiety. Trained in cognitive-behavioral therapy and systemic approaches, Lauren tailors sessions to meet each patient’s unique needs. She places an emphasis on creating a safe environment where patients feel supported in working towards their therapy goals. In her free time she enjoys practicing self-care activities such as hiking, running, and spending time with friends and family.

Check out Lauren's other profiles here:

Psychology Today

Patrick DiSalvo, MST, MSW, LICSW

Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker/Psychotherapist

Patrick DiSalvo is a licensed clinical social worker who has been practicing in Washington, DC for more than four years. He earned a Masters of Social Work at Catholic University in 2015. Patrick currently works for KIPP DC at one of its high school locations as a mental health practitioner. He helps support students with a variety of needs, such as: mood dysregulation; ADHD, anxiety, trauma, social skills deficits, Autism, and more. In addition to his MSW, Patrick also has a Master’s degree in the Science of Teaching with a focus on special education, and was a Teach for America corps member in New York City. Patrick has worked with youth for 12 years, as a special education teacher, after-school director, and a middle and high school social worker.

Patrick places the upmost importance on getting to know his clients and meeting each person wherever they are at. He enjoys helping clients grow by assisting them in recognizing their own strengths and resiliencies. Patrick has experience utilizing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Cognitive therapy, Strengths-Based therapy, and at times incorporates mindfulness and art into sessions as well. Whatever a client needs to reach treatment goals! In his free time, Patrick enjoys cooking, playing and watching sports, getting outdoors, and spending time with his family and dog.

Check out Patrick's other profiles here:

Psychology Today

Camille White, MA, MS, LPC, NCC

Licensed Professional Counselor/Psychotherapist

Camille White is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Washington, D. C. with over 15 years of experience working with children, adolescents and their families. She currently serves as a professional k-12 school counselor in the District of Columbia Public School system at the middle school level. Her graduate education includes a MS in Curriculum and Instruction from Western Maryland College and a MA in School Counseling from Trinity Washington University. Her background as both a teacher and school counselor has allowed her grow the skills it takes to make strong connections with clients helping them overcome obstacles to their social-emotional well-being and access to success. Some of these obstacles include extreme emotional sensitivity, family separation, divorce, anxiety, identity, and past trauma. Camille offers an integrative therapy approach with a strong skill base in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Narrative Therapy, Solution-focused Therapy, mindfulness and the arts. The needs and goals of the individual client, determines the approach. Clients can expect a safe and nurturing space where they learn to use their strengths to help them grow. Camille lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and three children. In her free time, she is an avid crafter who enjoys knitting, collage art, puzzles and journaling.

Check out Camille's other profiles here:

Psychology Today (Coming Soon!)

Janelle McCarthy, Counselor-in-Training

(Anticipated Graduate Professional Counselor License, May 2021)

Janelle McCarthy is earning her Masters of Arts in Counseling degree at Messiah College. She is completing her practicum at Dandelion Psychotherapy and anticipates being a graduate professional counselor (LGPC) in 2021. Before pursuing her masters in counseling, Janelle spent two years as an elementary special education teacher in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. In this role, she wrote individualized positive behavior support plans, promoted emotional awareness and regulation, and facilitated the use of developmentally appropriate interventions She earned her dual degree in Early Childhood and Special Education at Lebanon Valley College. She incorporates bibliotherapy and mindfulness practices into sessions. Janelle believes that counseling is vulnerable work and does everything she can to convey unconditional positive regard and respect for the client. Outside of counseling, Janelle loves to read, play games with her family, and go for walks.

Zachary Shaeffer, MDiv, MSW, LICSW 

Clinical Social Worker/Psychotherapist

Zack is a licensed clinical social worker working as a therapist with children, adolescents, and adults. A native of California, Zack was a Washington,DC resident for over ten years, before relocating to Seattle, WA. He is very committed to improving access to mental health for kids. Zack specializes in work with children, teens, and college students, but also has extensive experience working with adults and a desire to help people of all ages to improve their mental wellness and function at their best. Zack uses primarily psychodynamic and play therapy modalities, but is knowledgeable about other methods and willing to work with clients' needs. Having received his MSW from Catholic University in DC, Zack is committed to being a lifelong learner, and is currently enrolled in the Child and Adolescent Therapy program at the Washington School of Psychiatry. Zack is a great believer in the benefits of therapy for people of all ages as they cope with stress and seek to better understand themselves and be their best in relationships, at school, and at work. 

You can view Zack's other profiles here:

Psychology Today