Meet the Team
LCSW, CST, CSE, ERYT, RPYT, RCYT
Heather Simonson is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and AASECT Certified Sexuality Educator and Sex Therapist and was voted as Long Island’s Best Sex Therapist. Heather’s education and experience in both counseling and health education, combined with her knowledge of integrative therapeutic techniques enable her to employ a truly holistic perspective of healing. She draws from both eastern and western practices in her powerful work with clients providing individual, couples and family counseling for people of all ages and abilities.
Heather helps her clients connect with their personal strengths and utilizes a holistic approach to bring the body, mind, and spirit into balance. Heather specializes in sexual and reproductive health, relationships and intimacy, parenting and pre/postnatal transition issues as well as mood disorders. She is also a Yoga Alliance Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (ERYT) receiving both her 200 and 500 level training as well as her 85-hour Children’s Yoga teacher certification from Always-At-Aum. Heather learned that she was pregnant with her son during her YTT which was the best gift she could have asked for. Due to her in-depth experience while pregnant and discovering the power yoga has on wellness during pregnancy, the quality of birthing and ability to parent she subsequently decided to further her work in reproductive health and earned an additional certification in prenatal yoga from the Integral Yoga Center. Birthing her children with the gift of yoga propelled her into making it part of her life’s work to share these tools with expecting parents. Heather then received certifications in fertility yoga and opened The Yoga Womb, a Yoga Alliance approved 85-hour Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training, to provide teachers with the confidence and skills to teach both pre/postnatal yoga. Heather’s journey continued as a healer by becoming a Reiki Master and truly making it her mission to empower others to live the life they deserve and to embrace and connect with their bodies and themselves with pride.
Heather has a rich variety of professional experience that rounds out her clinical practice. She is a nationally known trainer and counselor in the areas of sexuality and youth development and the co-author of “EMPOWER NOW!” an innovative holistic workshop and journal article for empowerment in life skills and sexuality for youth. Heather facilitates sexual development and puberty education workshops throughout Long Island and as a parent herself, she is inspired to help other parents talk about these important topics. A nationally-known expert in the field of sexuality education and, Heather has created a comprehensive series of programs and trainings to give parents, as well as educators the skills to bolster their connection and enable them to talk openly and honestly about the tough stuff.
Heather is ready to help anyone that is committed to “sea-ing” change within themselves and finally get the life they have always dreamed of.
Kari Gruber is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a decade of experience working in community-based mental health clinics for some of the area's largest health and human service agencies. It was in these spaces where she was able to work on refining her approach to therapy, which is rooted in deep listening, empathy, curiosity, and non-judgement.
It is very easy to feel overwhelmed, stressed, and unbalanced in the world that we live in. It is also very easy to become disconnected from ourselves and our own wants, needs, and strengths due to the many roles we find ourselves in and perhaps play for others. Kari's practice is centered on the premise that healing and sustainable wellness are nurtured through regular connection to our physical, mental, energetic, and spiritual selves. She believes in creating a space where one can feel safe and take time to identify and connect with vulnerable experiences, beliefs, and emotions as well as the innate resilience that lives within all of us.
Kari helps in navigating anxiety, depression, loss, low self-esteem, and challenges that can arise within major life transitions. She works with young adults and adults, and has experience working with adolescents, families, and groups. Her practice is informed by multiple schools of thought including Psychodynamic Therapy, Humanistic Therapy, and Cognitive Therapy.
Kari works on her own pursuits in mindfulness and meditation regularly, and enjoys bringing these aspects into her practice as well. She feels privileged to be able to walk alongside others on their path towards their most authentic self.
Samira Le Benz
Samira has worked as a licensed social worker in a variety of settings for over 18 years. Her aim is to help people live their best lives by overcoming their past traumas and family of origin issues. She has extensively worked with individuals with mood disorders, substance abuse issues, relationship problems, and unhealthy coping mechanisms throughout her career.
Samira is highly compassionate, empathetic, insightful and eager to help people overcome their life challenges. She graduated from New York University with a master's degree in Social Work in 2003 and has experience with adolescents, teens and adults. She is also a tarot reader and level two Reiki healer.
DPT, Physical Therapist
Ariane Amsz, PT, DPT, was born and raised in New York City. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College in 1993 and her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from New York University in 2004.
Ariane has extensive training and experience in orthopedics, geriatrics, neurology, and women’s health. Since May 2007, Ariane has taken several courses in myofascial release (the John F. Barnes approach), which has since become her passion. Ariane is an expert myofascial release therapist. She is fluent in French, and German, and is proficient in Spanish and Italian.
Ariane is a National Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA certified), a certified Arvigo Maya Abdominal Therapist, and holds certifications in: Yoga / ISHTA (500 Hour/Integrated Science of Hatha, Tantra, and Ayurveda), Mat Pilates, Reiki (Level II practitioner), and BodyTalk.
Cindy Brahms is a compassionate and gentle Certified Sound Healing Practitioner, bringing her warmth and kindness in creating a safe space for clients to receive Vibrational Sound Therapy (VST). Cindy has been studying sound healing, chakra meditation, mindfulness, and breath work for several years with seasoned teachers in their fields. Cindy is also a Certified Somatic Therapist (Level 1), trained in Transformative Touch (TT) Somatic Therapy. This healing modality uses gentle touch and talk in order to create deeper personal awareness and discover the wisdom and messages of one’s own body, reduce stress and strain, connect to self; mind-body-heart-soul, and to be able to move forward in one’s life with greater ease and freedom. You are welcome to schedule a 15-minute free consultation to learn
more about either service. www.cbwellbeing.com
Prior to her current wellbeing work, Cindy was a dedicated professional in non-profit management with volunteer and homeless services over the past two decades. Her giving and intuitive nature of wanting to help others serves her well in this practice of offering Sound and Somatic to others for their own stress reduction and self-healing journey. Cindy is a long-time resident of Long Island where she and her husband raised their family, now 3 young adults off on their own. Her senior dog Maya, a Tibetan Terrier, keeps her busy and grounded, and Maya loves to chill when the bowls are played.
Susan is a Certified End-of-Life Doula having graduated from the International Doulagiver Institute under Suzanne O’Brien, RN. A CEOLD is a trained non medical practitioner who cares for the emotional, spiritual and physical needs of the terminally ill and their caregivers. As such, Susan is trained in the most common disease processes and what to expect in each stage as well as the best symptom management to acquire a peaceful and comfortable end of life. She is proficient in living wills, advanced directives, legacy projects and personal eulogies. She is trained to hold vigil, create a sacred space, patient advocacy, forgiveness and making peace with oneself and loved ones before end of life. As well as alternatives to the traditional practices of burial, funeral and wakes.
Susan has been in the pharmacy profession for over 30 years, often times being called on to help with elderly patients’ medication regime and peace of mind. From a large family, Susan is at ease with people of all ages, but feels a special connection to the very young and the elderly. A mother of four, she has a deep spiritual understanding as well as a grounded and peaceful countenance. It is important for her to elicit laughter, comfort and connection with all those she comes across.
Having battled both breast and colon cancer, as well as undergoing chemotherapy, radiation and several surgeries, among them a subtotal colectomy, she has personal understanding of patient care and dignity, as well as life, death and everything in between. She strives to encompass integrity, wisdom, empathy and compassion in all she does. After surviving cancer, she found a deep desire to be of service to those who require altruism, understanding and dignity the most. More importantly, She will be there as much or as little as needed to guide the patients and their loved ones through the stages of end of life with humanity, comfort, grace and dignity.
Kate Finnick has a Doctor of Naturopathy, a Master of Science degree in Clinical Counseling and is a certified Reiki Master and Meditation Instructor. She is also a certified School Counselor and has worked with young people as a guidance counselor for 23 years.
Kate began her practice as a mental health therapist however she soon realized that it is when we pay attention to creating balance in ourselves (body, mind and soul), we are able to experience our lives fully and thrive instead of merely surviving day to day. She returned to school to study additional modalities of holistic and natural health and since 2005 has made the focus of her holistic counseling practice helping individuals live their best lives by working with the triangle of wellness: Mind, Body and Soul. When these three parts are in balance, we experience optimal wellness, peace and happiness.
Through services that can include counseling, meditation, reiki and self love/self-empowerment growth, Kate assists individuals in experiencing improvements in many aspects of their lives including stress and anxiety relief, stronger immune systems, better focus/concentration, increased self esteem and emotional grounding. Through her work with adults and young people, she is dedicated to empowering others to be able to let their inner light shine!
Gail Janicola is affectionately referred to as “The Mommy Mentor”. She has been a pregnancy and birth professional for over 26 years, as an educator, coach, doula, and doula trainer for Long Island Doula Association.
She is the author of The Ultimate Birth Experience – How to Take Control and Choose the Birthing Options That Are Best For You and Your Baby.
Gail is also a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach, and the founder of Moms On Top, an education and coaching resource for parents and parents-to-be. She is an expert on building communication and self-advocacy skills for the safest, most transformational, empowered births. Gail lives in New York, on Long Island, with her husband and Baci, her fur baby. She has 3 grown children who are the light of her life.
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ~Anais Nin
Porsha Johnson is licensed in New York with 3 years of professional work experience. She has experience in helping clients with stress and anxiety, family conflicts, trauma and abuse, & depression. goal is always to work with her clients to create an open and safe environment where thoughts and feelings can be shared without fear of judgment. Taking the first step to seeking a more fulfilling and happier life takes courage. Porsha is here to support you in that process. Her philosophy on healing is that the ultimate goal is to align your mind, body and spirit. Psychotherapy is the most important piece of the puzzle as creating change in the mind is where the healing process begins. Porsha's role as a therapist is to walk with her clients through their journey to discovering wellness and wholeness while gaining the confidence and strength to move to the next stage of the healing process.
Sarina Davis started her journey of movement at the age of two, beginning with dance. Throughout the years she has explored many styles of dancing as well as kickboxing with UFC trainers. In August of 2022 she became certified by the Always at Aum Yoga school.
While teaching yoga, she incorporates physical asanas through creative sequencing as well as practices that strengthen the soul and mind. She creates a positive and open atmosphere in her classes that encourages exploration. Her hope is that everyone who joins her in their practice may leave with a smile on their face and an open heart.
It is pretty simple, live in kindness, let your heart guide the way and walk that journey in grace, acceptance, and gratitude. We will all hit some rough waters, you can either panic and drown or respect your fears and doubts and find a way to ride through these waves with clarity and peace toward your own personal bliss. I made some choices that were not always the right ones but through this practice, philosophy and prayer I have been gifted a chance for a healthier and more fulfilling life and I just want to share it with others. I may not be able to change the world but maybe I could change someone else’s.
Daughter of a hippie, I have been practicing for almost 3 decades and once my two wonderful free-spirited kids were old enough I took the plunge to become an RYT-200 in 2019 to only find a deeper meaning into this practice beyond the asanas. I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing this practice with others ever since.
Tania Wilk is a Usui Reiki Master Teacher, iRest Yoga Nidra II Practitioner, 500 hr Yoga and Mat Pilates Instructor. Her integrative approach to health and wellness is supported by her training in many different modalities.
Always a student first, she holds specialty certifications in Prenatal, Children’s and At-Risk Youth Yoga as well as Health Coaching from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Tania is passionate about helping others transform their lives and heal. By offering her support, encouragement and expertise, she helps you move towards your highest self.
When not on her mat, you can find Tania pursuing her career as a singer/songwriter in the indie folk/pop/soul genre.
Ishita has been practicing yoga for over 15 years. She started with prenatal yoga when she was pregnant with her first son. She fell in love with yoga and never left. She finished her 200 hour teacher training with Always-at-Aum, getting certified in Vinyasa Yoga. She is also certified in Hot Yoga/Bikram Yoga. Ishita regularly practices Hot Yoga, mainly Bikram, Barkan, Vinyasa, Restorative and Yin.
She teaches kids yoga and enjoys doing so with a passion. She believes if the kids start early, they can incorporate the benefits of meditation, asanas and even the philosophy of yoga as they grow into adults.
Yoga has helped Ishita overcome a lot of physical and emotional challenges and she hopes to be able to pass on the knowledge to others. Ishita is very passionate about yoga and she strongly believes that yoga is not just physical practice but also spiritual and mental practice. She believes yoga is limitless and a door to a happier and healthier life. Ishita enjoys taking workshops and trainings to grow in different areas of yoga.
Ishita is a scientist and holds a NYS license. She loves outdoors and enjoys incorporating yoga with nature. Ishita is also certified Reiki practitioner in the Usui method.
Sumati is a Certified Yoga Instructor with a Masters in Counseling. She began her yogic journey at the age of 19. At the time she suffered from migraines, and medication was not working. A family friend suggested she try yoga, and within weeks she noticed the decline in her migraines. Sumati started practicing everyday and also took an interest in a vegan diet and yogic lifestyle. Sumati was quick to learn about meditation, and different styles of yoga. As an athlete she was drawn to Ashtanga Yoga at first and started to notice the quick changes in flexibility, sense of calm and of course the reduction of headaches. Shortly after a year of practicing, she decided to become certified in yoga. Her first instructor had been trained by Integral Yoga and that’s where she decided to lay her roots and foundation for teaching.
Sumati has been teaching since 2003 and has experience teaching Beginner, Intermediate, All Level,Children, Teens, Special Needs, Prenatal, Partner & Advanced levels at locations including libraries, camps, schools and hospitals. She did her Teacher Training at the Integral Yoga Institute in NYC and has also studied Yoga for the Special Needs Child, Prenatal/Postpartum/Labor & Delivery. She is also trained in Thai Yoga massage and is a Reiki Master and interfaith Minister.
Off the mat, Sumati is a full time single mom of a teenage daughter and 4 rescue dogs. Sumati enjoys cooking, hiking, kayaking, time at the beach and rescuing animals. She also has a love for her daughters artwork; which have become many of her tattoos over the years. Sumati takes pride in everything she does; and absolutely loves working with people. When there is “free time,” Sumati is often entertaining her niece and nephew as well as having daughter bonding time watching Netflix.
Currently, Sumati is studying to enter into nursing school to add one more thing into her “bag of tricks” in which she uses to serve the community.
J.D., Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner
Ciara Shea is a Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Juris Doctor, the owner of ORA Nutrition & Wellness, and co-host of The Fiercely Holistic Podcast.
As a Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Ciara provides a holistic individualized approach to health. She teaches women how to fuel their bodies and shift their habits so they can achieve optimal health from pre-conception to motherhood.
Jihan Thomas has been a consultant and practitioner in the holistic wellness industry for over 25 years. A terrible illness in college coupled with watching one of her best friends pass away from cancer at a young age forced Jihan into rethinking what brings true wellness and purpose-filled living. This started her journey into holistic, positive living incorporating both ancient and modern techniques in nutrition, exercise, mindset, essential oils, and dedicated spiritual practice. Jihan is passionate about helping people reach new levels in all aspects of their overall wellness. She is the founder of the TriHarmony Oilers - a worldwide Crown Diamond network of essential oil and natural product enthusiasts - and Living Fierce Club - an online holistic lifestyle training platform that provides affordable wellness & mindset coaching in a thriving, supportive community.
Grace DeBiccari is beyond thrilled to join the staff at Sea Change. She is a Reiki Master Practitioner who has a Masters in Speech Pathology. It was in her 17-year practice with her patients that she found overlapping importance in whole-body healing and mindful corrections in the body systems.
She offers both Private and Virtual Reiki Sessions in a safe, supportive space to allow for deep relaxation, peace, inner connection, renewed motivation, and healing. It is her belief that we can choose happiness no matter our external environment by clearing and balancing energy centers throughout the body and creating an environment of equilibrium and strength. Grace is also a seasoned Speech-Language Pathologist and provides training to improve your business skills, parent training, voice and diction techniques, transgender voice therapy and also baby and me language development classes.
In her spare time, Grace lives on her beloved Long Island with her loving husband and 3 precious children who renew her each day.
Stephanie is a caring teacher inspired to share her passion for kundalini yoga. Using the tools and techniques of this powerful healing modality and motivated by the love of her children, she overcame a decades-long depression and anxiety. She is currently unapologetically enjoying her newfound happiness and endeavors to hold space for others to find their focus and build sustainable calm, vitality and health.
Stephanie recently earned a certificate from SuperHealth in Yogic Science to Break Habits & Addictive Behavior. She leads a free Kundalini Yoga for Recovery offering here at Sea Change on the 1st of every month.