Mary Dobson, LMFT, CEDS
Founder & Executive Director
Ms. Dobson is an internationally-recognized expert in treating eating disorders and weight-control issues, and the founder and executive director of LIFT Wellness Group. She founded LIFT in 2010, and has since provided highly effective, warm, and personalized care to patients across the Tri-State area, helping over a thousand individuals overcome disordered and emotional eating, anorexia, bulimia, orthorexia, avoidant and restrictive food behavior, binge eating disorder, compulsive eating, over-exercise, and body image dysmorphia. Ms. Dobson is the only mental health practitioner in Fairfield County certified as an eating disorder treatment specialist through the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals.
For over a decade, Mary Dobson has honed and developed her proprietary clinical dossier, working adeptly with a diverse range of presenting issues, including a) intrapsychic difficulties like anxiety, depression, and self-esteem, as well as b) interpersonal challenges such as parent-child relational issues, couples conflict, and marital dissatisfaction. Using her patented LIFT methodology, Ms. Dobson has amassed an impressive case history of individuals who have efficiently overcome entrenched relational and behavioral patterns. Clients who have worked with Mary report a level of immediate comfort, fresh insights, breakthroughs from deeply entrenched patterns, and newfound solutions to long-standing dilemmas.
Ms. Dobson began her career in research as a part of the CT Women’s Health Project at Yale University, where she co-authored work on the influence of pre-natal depression and attachment on adolescent and young adult women. She received her masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from Fairfield University, where she was a member of Psi Chi and Phi Betta Kappa. Ms. Dobson is among the only MFT’s in the country to obtain post-graduate certification in the provision of family-focused school-based mental health services, making her a unique asset as an advocate for children and families working to receive fair and appropriate educational assistance and accommodations due to a mental health related educational disability.
Prior to forming LIFT, Ms. Dobson served as the founding director of two national eating disorder facilities, where she spearheaded interdisciplinary clinical teams providing dietary, pharmacological and medical interventions to children and adolescents. Ms. Dobson draws from an extensive collection of overwhelmingly successful clinical outcomes, spanning over a decade. She utilizes a multifaceted approach that includes cognitive behavioral therapy, insight based therapy, family-based treatment, play therapy, psychodynamic, and narrative therapy.
Ms. Dobson was the founding president of the CT Chapter President of the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals. She has worked as a regional school consultant on adolescent issues and lectures to area students on bullying, self image, academic performance, time management, and perfectionism. One of Ms. Dobson’s many passions includes helping children and families navigate through pivotal periods of transition with open communication, mutual respect and good physical and mental health.
Ms. Dobson has been interviewed in the local media, including several appearances on the Trevor Crow Show, and as a guest contributor to WFSB news on mental health issues. Ms. Dobson’s articles on bullying have been published in The Fairfield Minuteman.
Jennifer Ayers, LCSW, MA, DBT
Jennifer obtained her MSW specializing in mental health and substance abuse from the University of Connecticut's School of Social Work. In addition she holds both a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Psychology from Central Connecticut State University.
Having worked at New York Presbyterian Hospital in White Plains, NY for 9 years as well as Weill Cornell's Mobile Crisis Team, she has direct clinical experience working with adolescents and adults struggling with a variety of mental health issues including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, and psychotic disorders. Her ability to connect and comfort as well as her ability to tolerate and work with more acute issues such as suicide, psychosis, and trauma assist her in building strong therapeutic relationships with clients.
In addition to her clinical work, Jennifer has built strong relationships with local and national treatment programs over the past 6 years and can assist families and individuals in navigating mental health resources.
Jennifer's focus is person centered but follows an attachment psychodynamic approach that is strength based and incorporates aspects of DBT, CBT, and Motivational Interviewing. In addition she takes an integrative holistic view to her clients that takes into account the whole person: mind, body, and spirit.
Jennifer is working on certifications in complex trauma, clinical neuroscience and sensorimotor psychotherapy.
Megan Freyer, MA, LMSW
Megan joined the LIFT Wellness team in February of 2017. In that time, she has cultivated a word-of-mouth referral base for her unparalleled ability to join and accommodate with clients of varying ages and presenting problems. Megan feels passionately about the need for client-centered, strengths based practice that utilizes the therapeutic relationship to empower clients to move closer toward their goals, while simultaneously advocating for them in whatever ways possible.
Megan has experience using Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Play Therapy, as well as other evidenced based treatment modalities. Megan also likes to teach and encourage clients to use mindfulness techniques as a basis for helping them recognize and effectively manage difficult emotions, encouraging them to discover and utilize effective coping skills. Megan works collaboratively with clients to tailor treatment plans to the individual and provide the highest quality client-centered care.
Megan received her Masters in General Psychology from the New School for Social Research and a Masters in Social Work from Fordham University. She also has a Certificate in Child and Adolescent Trauma Training from the National Center for Trauma and Social Work Education.
Jessica Lepera, MA, MFT
Jessica is a marital and family therapist with advanced certifications in Gestalt Therapy and Evidence Based Practices. Jessica provides individual, family and group therapy, implementing a systemic and context-driven lens.
Jessica is passionate about helping individuals to improve self-worth so they may better enjoy every aspect of their lives. She has extensive experience working with eating disordered clients, and runs a binge eating disorder track for clients looking to build confidence and increase motivation.
Jessica utilizes motivational interviewing and solution focused interventions to create short term goals that help clients take one small step at a time. She utilizes humor and ice-breakers in her work with children and teens to create an environment that is natural and authentic.
Jessica received her Bachelors degree from Southern Connecticut State University in Psychology, and her Masters Degree from Southern Connecticut State University in Marital and Family Therapy.
Laura Geronemus, LMSW
A graduate of Fordham University’s Masters Program in clinical social work, Laura specializes in treating individuals who have experienced trauma, as well as those who suffer from eating disorders and disordered eating. Her time working with adolescents in residential treatment settings have helped her develop a unique sensitivity to issues of poor self image and stressful life transitions. She is also experienced in addressing co-occurring disorders such as depression, anxiety, and other diagnoses that impact wellbeing.
Laura’s goal in working with clients is to create an honest and nonjudgmental environment where individuals can feel safe to explore the ways in which they can heal from painful experiences. She strives to help clients let go of maladaptive coping strategies, build supportive relationships, improve communication, and develop positive feelings of self worth and fulfillment. Laura draws on several evidence based models such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Somatic Therapy.