Meet Our Group

ANDREW STANTON, LCSW-C

Andrew Stanton, MSW, LCSW-C received his Bachelors degrees in Psychology and Social Work from Widener University and went on to receive his Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Maryland in 1993. Andrew Stanton received his Licensed Certified Social Worker-Clinical (LCSW-C) in 1995.

His experience includes 25 years of specialization with children, adolescents, and families. Through working in a variety of settings he has developed exceptional skills working with trauma, emotional, and behavioral issues. He has had tremendous success working with clients that have struggled with previous attempts in therapy. He works with individuals, families and couples to help produce positive changes.

Andrew has specialized training and certifications as a Substance Abuse Professional, Certified Clinical Trauma Professional and Hypnotherapist. Through mindfulness and hypnotherapy he has a special talent to help people reach their higher potential in sports, academics and life.

He is also certified in Critical Incident Stress Management and facilitates debriefings and stress management programs for children and adults. He has been a public speaker at professional series at major corporations. He does various in service workshops in area businesses regarding communication, time management, and other Human Resources topics.

Andrew Stanton lives in Columbia, MD with this wife and children.

Rachel Simms, MS, LCPC

Rachel Simms, MS, LCPC, received her Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from Loyola University Maryland and is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC). In addition to working in private practice, Rachel has also worked in community mental health and college counseling centers. Her goal as a therapist is to help her clients build richer, more fulfilling lives.

Rachel has an eclectic approach to counseling, incorporating a variety of methods to meet the needs of each client in an empathic, supportive manner. Techniques she infuses into her treatment include traditional interpersonal process and insight discovery. Additionally, Rachel has been thoroughly trained in “third-wave,” or the newest wave, of approaches to therapy, including Mindfulness-based therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). These therapeutic orientations teach people new skills, and guide individuals on the path toward uncovering and living in line with what is truly important in his or her life.  Ms. Simms believes all of her clients’ stories are unique and will work to individually tailor sessions to meet each person’s distinct needs. 

Rachel enjoys and specializes in the treatment of anxiety, depression, and transitional issues for both adolescents and adults. She works with individuals, couples, and families. 

Kathi L. Kopacz, LCSW-C

Kathi L. Kopacz received her Masters Degree from the Tulane University School of Social Work. In 1997 she completed an advanced training program in psychotherapy from the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy that included studies in comparative theories and three years of clinical supervision. She has been credentialed in Maryland since 1984 at the LCSW-C level and is also a member of the Greater Washington Society of Clinical Social Work.

Ms. Kopacz has worked in a variety of outpatient settings in her years in practice, and has experience working with clients with a wide variety of issues including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse and recovery, relationship issues, adult adoptees, trauma recovery, bereavement, self-esteem issues, and personality disorders. In addition to her work with clients, she has also enjoyed supervising both students and masters-level clinicians in developing their clinical skills. Ms. Kopacz’s training has been traditional, but she has developed her own eclectic style of working that tailors her technique to her client’s individual needs to provide a safe and collaborative environment in which the work can take place.

Ms. Kopacz enjoys and specializes in working in individual therapy with young adults and adults to understand and resolve both current and past issues that are interfering with one’s level of happiness and satisfaction with life. After many years of doing this work, she still considers it a privilege that her clients will let her into their inner lives to effect growth and change.

Elisabeth Chakmakian, LCSW-C

Elisabeth Chakmakian, MSW, LCSW-C received her Bachelor of Social Work from James Madison University and her Master of Social Work from the University of Maryland in 1998. She is currently working towards her Ph.D. from Smith College School for Social Work.

In her 15+ years of experience, Elisabeth has worked with individuals, both children and adults, as well as families and couples. She specializes in several areas including working with children, adolescents, and families. Elisabeth has experience working with the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community. She specializes in the management of depression and anxiety. She has also worked within Child Welfare, Therapeutic Foster Care, and outpatient mental health clinics. Elisabeth also serves as part-time faculty at UMBC in the Social Work Department.

Tomi Schon, LCSW-C

Tomi Schon, LCSW-C received her Master of Social Work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore in 1998. In her 17+ years of experience she has worked with individuals, children, adolescents and adults, as well as families and couples. She has worked in Therapeutic Foster Care and many Outpatient Mental Health Clinics. Tomi as had a vast array of experiences working with people suffering from depression, anxiety and PTSD however, she focuses her work on empowering individuals, on the individual and not just the diagnosis. She also has extensive experience with children in schools and helping families advocate for their children.

Allyson Stanton, LBSW, ALCP

Allyson Stanton has a degree in Medical Social Work with a focus on Gerontology. She has over 20 years experience working with seniors and their families, and is an Aging Life Care Expert.

Allyson has worked with the aging population in nursing and rehabilitation centers, hospitals and assisted living environments. She has functioned as a director of Social Work at various communities, provided consultant Social Work services to skilled nursing homes, and provided care management services to people in Howard, Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties. Having worked in several counties, she has been able to develop an extensive knowledge of resources for seniors.

All of Allyson’s work has been dedicated to the older population and the transitions they may face along with their families. She helps people navigate the health care system, linking them to appropriate resources that enhance their physical, emotional and social well being. She also finds it very important to talk with people about advance care planning and what their wishes and philosophy are regarding end of life care when necessary. Allyson is a support group facilitator with the Alzheimer’s Association and believes in the Hearthstone approach to Dementia care. She is a strong advocate for people living with cognitive impairment, Dementia and/or Alzheimer’s. She believes in always giving them a voice.

Allyson enjoys running, hiking, photography and spending time with her family in Columbia, Maryland.

Kit McFarlane, MSW, LCSW-C

Kit McFarlane, MSW, M.Ed., LCSW-C received her Bachelor degrees in Psychology and Literature from Ithaca College in NY, her Masters of Education from American University in Washington, D.C. and her Masters degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Maryland in 2000. She received her Licensed Certified Social Worker – Clinical in 2016.

For 18 years, Kit worked with families and individuals who are impacted by Huntington’s Disease, helping families and sufferers to adjust to an arbitrary blow in life, to negotiate end-of-life issues and to live a full and meaningful life.

Kit worked for 20 years as a special education teacher for emotionally disturbed children and adolescents in a variety of settings.

Through both experience and education, Kit specializes in working with depression, anxiety, self-esteem issues, and much more. She works through a variety of theoretical approaches including psychodynamic, trauma-informed approaches, including EMDR; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Mindfulness, and others. Kit works with individuals of all ages from childhood to seniors, couples, and families.

Kit McFarlane lives in Ellicott City, MD with her husband and her forever-a-puppy, Minerva. Her daughter and sons are married and live all around the world.

Doria Ahmanson, MSW, LCSW-C

Doria Ahmanson, MSW, LCSW-C earned a degree in Psychology and Biological Anthropology from University of Maryland, College Park and went on to earn her Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

Ms. Ahmanson has experience working with individuals, families and couples. She specializes in working with clients suffering from issues related to anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction, self-esteem and sports performance. Ms. Ahmanson uses both a person-centered and strength-based approach to create a safe place where clients are able to feel empowered and successful.

Ms. Ahmanson has also worked as a Medical Social Worker at area hospitals. She has a wide understanding of the resources in the Howard County area and has a passion for working with individuals going through life transitions related to personal or family illness.