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Greater Essex Counseling Services NJ
Mr. Elie DeFranca

Mr. Elie DeFranca

As Executive Director, Elie DeFranca, LCSW,LCADC, DRCC has worked as a clinician supervisor and a clinical director in the field of substance use for over a decade. Elie has a Master’s degree in Social Work from Rutgers University in NJ. He has worked treating recovering adults, adolescents, and their families from addiction and emotional problems as a licensed addiction professional and a licensed clinical social worker.

Mr. Robert Jenkins

Mr. Robert Jenkins

Clinical Director, Robert Jenkins states  “Life is unpredictable. At any time we may become the victims of crime, disaster, illness, or addiction. Frequently the changes we inevitably face in life result in anxiety, depression, anger or stress. As many of these problems occur within the context of relationships, in therapy I focus on the influence of past relationships, events and environments as well as on current beliefs, relationships and feelings to encourage growth, positive behavioral change, happiness and meaning in one’s life.”

“I use a strengths-based approach to help people remove the obstacles that prevent them from reaching their full potential. In addition to treating anxiety, trauma, depression, and relationship issues, I specialize in treating particularly difficult issues specific to victims of crime and offenders including addictions, anger management, PTSD, sexual assault, gang involvement, and community reintegration. I also conduct anger management and trauma groups.”

“I am a graduate of New York University, a New Jersey Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Clinically Certified Supervisor, Divorce Mediator and life coach. I have worked in the social services field over 22 years and have a broad range of experience working with troubled adolescents, adults, couples and families.”

Lionel Anicette

Lionel Anicette

Lionel Anicette, MD works with our facility to provide medical services to patients including but not limited to physicals, blood work for liver function testing and referrals for medication assisted treatment. Dr. Anicette manages a group of physicians who work closely with GECS to also provide APN services to our patients.

David Alabi

David Alabi

David Alabi, DNP provides psychiatric evaluations and medication monitoring services to our patients. Patients are assessed in a specialized session and a report is prepared detailing any appropriate mental health diagnoses and treatment recommendations, including prescription medications. Patients prescribed medication as a result of a psychiatric evaluation at GECS will be scheduled to return for brief sessions to ensure consistent and appropriate use of therapeutic drugs.

Ms. Nicole Guarducci

Ms. Nicole Guarducci

As Administrative Director, Ms. Nicole Guarducci provides supervision of all front end administrative staff. Her responsibilities include all patient referrals, intake scheduling and coordination of treatment between our staff and referral sources. She maintains the office roster, opening and closing of cases, upkeep of the group schedule, counselor patient lists and patient attendance sheets. Ms. Guarducci is also a CADC providing assistance to the clinical staff with individual counseling sessions, treatment planning, contact with referral sources and writing monthly reports. She has a full understanding of Case Management and assesses each patient’s needs and refers them, as needed, to other programs as necessary.

Mr. Keith Williams

Mr. Keith Williams

Mr. Keith Williams is a CADC and helps supervise CADC interns. He maintains a full caseload of patients providing individual counseling sessions, treatment planning and the ability to maintain contact with referral sources and write monthly reports. He has a full understanding of Case Management and assesses each patient’s needs and refers them to other programs as necessary. Mr. Williams, along with Ms. Guarducci provide treatment to our patients referred through Drug Court. Together they attend weekly case management meetings as well as court proceedings. Mr. Williams also maintains a close professional relationship with DCPP and the patients referred by them.

Mr. Thomas Wright

Mr. Thomas Wright

Mr. Thomas Wright understands, communicates, and promotes the purpose and value of substance abuse facility group therapy. He conveys knowledge about substance abuse and holds meetings as scheduled in order to set the tone for appropriate behavior of the group through empathy, humor, and openness. Mr. Wright provides ample opportunity for group members to have access to resources and other available services while moderating patient sharing during group discussion to keep the group within appropriate limits and assess when a group member needs more help than the group can provide and refer that person to the appropriate staff member. Mr. Wright is also a CADC Intern running group counseling sessions and maintains a caseload in which he is responsible for treatment planning, case management and individual counseling. Mr. Wright has complete knowledge of the 12 Core Functions. Mr. Wright works very closely with Essex County communities. He works with churches and schools providing treatment education and resources. Mr. Wright received a Community Service Award from the City of Orange for his work with the schools and community.

Ms. Loretta Scales

Ms. Loretta Scales

As Intake Coordinator, Ms. Loretta Scales admits new patients through NJSAMS via an initial evaluation to determine treatment level of care. She verifies insurance and schedules patients for treatment. Ms. Scales is also a CADC Intern running group counseling sessions and maintains a caseload in which she is responsible for treatment planning, case management and individual counseling. She has complete knowledge of the 12 Core Functions. Ms. Scales also works closely with the Hyacinth Foundation who provides HIV counseling and testing; STI/STD screening and treatment; care and treatment support; social and emotional support; and prevention services.

Mr. Bruce Abdullah

Mr. Bruce Abdullah

Mr. Bruce Abdullah maintains a full patient caseload with complete knowledge of the 12 Core Functions. He runs group counseling sessions, provides individual counseling, writes DAP notes and treatment plans. He is knowledgeable and familiar with NJSAMS. Mr. Abdullah maintains constant contact with referral sources and writes monthly reports. He has a full understanding of case management and the ability to assess a patient’s needs and refer them to other programs as necessary. He maintains documentation consistent with working toward CADC qualifications including hours requirements and testing.

Ms. Nicole Wilkinson

Ms. Nicole Wilkinson

“There is no greater agony, than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya Angelou

Nicole Wilkinson, Licensed Associate Counselor, I believe that as individuals, we encounter events that leave us searching for a reset button, solid ground, and a sense of hope. In those moments of uncertainty we begin to unravel the details of an untold story of our lives, which is desperately seeking for understanding, clarity, and peace. I am a firm believer that once we begin to explore our true self, explore underlying events that affect us present day, and begin to write a new narrative, change is inevitable. When we recognize, the capabilities we have and normalize the positive outcomes of seeking help, the question becomes: With the right support, how willing are you to put in the work to discover purpose and meaning?

As a former educator and true believer, I have come to understand that we are all uniquely designed and need to be met where we are. Upon, entering the field of counseling, I have worked with a variety of populations: from children displaying challenges with emotional regulation and expression, adolescents who are seeking a sense of self, while also adjusting to new norms, as well as, adults who are working towards confronting emotional disturbances, anxieties, and depression. In addition, I have supported victims of domestic violence in processing trauma; encouraging the “fight” that will one day lead to the light at end of the tunnel. Currently, I am working with individuals who are ready for change, want to regain control, and no longer want to allow addiction to dictate their next move.

My therapeutic approach is person centered. I believe in the power of a therapeutic partnership. My goal is to strive to empower, support, and walk alongside you as we reach self-awareness. I utilize Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy, and Reality Therapy during treatment. However, I will modify therapeutic sessions to meet your individual needs.

We have all been called to fulfill a higher purpose. Let’s discover yours together.

Ms. Sherry Pena

Ms. Sherry Pena

Sherry is a compassionate person who has a passion for helping others. She is a bilingual (English/Spanish) CADC counselor with over 15 years of experience counseling patients in individual or groups sessions. Sherry is responsible to educate her patients on treatment options, methods and techniques to ensure they understands the therapeutic dynamic of our program. She maintains a full caseload of patients providing individual counseling sessions, treatment planning and the ability to maintain contact with referral sources and write monthly reports, conduct therapeutic groups.

Ms. Johanna Ortiz

Ms. Johanna Ortiz

As Administrative Assistant, Ms. Johanna Ortiz assists the Administrative Director at the front end with patient referrals and intakes, greeting patients while signing them in and out of the facility, answering phones and directing callers to the correct staff member or taking phone messages as appropriate. Ms. Ortiz also assists the Managing Members in coordinating repairs to the facility and keeping the facility stocked with supplies. She was a former patient with Greater Essex Counseling Services and now is key member of the Alumni Program.

Mr. Derek Mobley

Mr. Derek Mobley

Mr. Derek Mobley joined our team in October 2021 as a CADC Intern, who maintains a full patient caseload with complete knowledge of the 12 Core Functions. He facilitates group counseling sessions, provides individual counseling, creates patient progress notes in DAP format and treatment plans. He is knowledgeable and familiar with NJSAMS, as well as Patagonia Electronic Health Records. Derek maintains constant contact with referral sources and writes monthly reports. He has a full understanding of case management and the ability to assess a patient’s needs and refer them to other programs, as necessary. Derek is a former patient and now an alumni within the program. Derek has an Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice, Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts, and Derek has completed his hours and courses as a CPRS (Certified Peer Recovery Specialist). He maintains documentation consistent with working full time towards his CADC qualifications including hour requirements and testing.

Mr. Will Linton

Mr. Will Linton

Mr. Will Linton provides laboratory services through Truetox Laboratories. Laboratory services include monitored urine drug screens as well as oral and instant testing services. Breathalyzer tests to confirm alcohol intoxication are also available.

Mr. Glenn Burgess

Mr. Glenn Burgess

Mr. Glenn Burgess provides all our laboratory services through Truetox Laboratories. Laboratory services include monitored urine drug screens as well as oral and instant testing services. Breathalyzer tests to confirm alcohol intoxication are also available.

Mr. Chris Vadas

Mr. Chris Vadas

Mr. Chris Vadas joined the GECS team in 2019 as CFO/Managing Member. Chris brought with him his exceptional business skills which allowed for both the expansion and addition of programming. Chris has helped elevate the quality of care provided to our patients. Chris also runs groups helping patients with finances and credit.

Ms. Katy Linton

Ms. Katy Linton

As CEO/Managing Member , Ms. Katy Linton opened Greater Essex in 2007 along with her Mom, Betsy Guarducci. Together they created a program dedicated to family-oriented treatment. Katy has dedicated herself to hiring qualified compassionate staff and providing a safe and healthy environment for all.

About Greater Essex Counseling

Greater Essex Counseling Services, LLC provides patient oriented programming Mondays through Saturdays in our downtown Newark office. GECS offers two treatment program tracks: Outpatient Drug & Alcohol Counseling (OP), as well as Intensive Outpatient (IOP) services; and Anger Management group sessions which satisfy the New Jersey State Mandate. The Greater Essex staff are dedicated to providing family oriented treatment while maintaining a superior standard of care. Our goal is to help each patient become happy, healthy and whole in all aspects of life.

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