Dr. Richard Bernstein, MD - Psychiatrist
“Dr. B” is a board certified psychiatrist who was a career faculty member at the University of Vermont School of Medicine and an Attending Psychiatrist at Fletcher-Allen/UVM Medical Center, where he directed the Psychiatry Residency Training Program, the Inpatient Psychiatry Unit, and the Outpatient Services Program. He has served as an examiner for the American Board of Psychiatry, a reviewer for the American Journal of Psychiatry, and as President of the Vermont Psychiatric Association. Currently, Dr. B serves as a Physician Member of the Vermont Board of Medical Practice as well as Vice President of the Board of the Richmond, VT Rescue Service. He joined Spruce Mountain Inn as our in-house psychiatrist to keep himself busy after his retirement from UVM, and deeply enjoys his work with our residents and staff. He and his wife are the proud parents of four children and seven grand-children. For fun, he writes stories, cuts wood, plays golf and is struggling with the cello.
Karen O’Hara, MS - Psychotherapist
Karen has been a psychotherapist since 2002. She began her work at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, where she also earned her master’s degree from Loyola University Maryland. She spent 5 years working in Johns Hopkins’s partial hospitalization program and provided individual and family therapy in its outpatient department. A native Vermonter, Karen moved back to Vermont in 2005 where she worked for 7 years as a clinician/case manager with at-risk youth at Ch.O.I.C.E. (Changing Our Ideas Concerning Education) Academy. Karen has been a valued member of the clinical team at Spruce Mountain Inn since 2011. Karen’s approach to working with residents consists of a balance between pushing them to do the necessary therapeutic work and providing them the sense of comfort and safety in which to do so.
She is trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing), IFS (Internal Family Systems), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), OCD, and trauma interventions including CPT (Cognitive-Processing Therapy). Karen is passionate about animals, loves to knit and teach others how to knit, and enjoys spending time with family, especially when she can get out and ski – either on the water or on the snow.
Jim Hessler, MSSW - Case Manager/Family Therapist
Jim came to Spruce in 2014, with extensive experience working in mental health and developmental services. He earned his MSSW at the University of Wisconsin Madison in 2004, where he participated in a pilot program promoting independent living for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Jim brought the program to Vermont in 2006 and coordinated its implementation and development through the Howard Center in Burlington, VT, before coming to Spruce Mountain. When not in the office, Jim can be found on the soccer field, getting slivers in his wood shop, or trying to keep up with his two young boys.
Sarah Watkins, MSW - Case Manager/Family Therapist
Sarah joined the team in Spruce Mountain Inn team in 2008. Sarah has a diverse background in clinical and experiential work in various parts of the country, including serving as a Program Coordinator and Lead Instructor for Outward Bound in Florida, Unit Director for the Boys and Girls Club of America, and as a mental health and substance abuse counselor on an Indian reservation in Taos, New Mexico. Sarah is DBT Certified and her work experience includes case management and advocacy for victims of domestic violence and directing a camp program for children with cancer and their families.
Sarah hiked the long trail prior to moving to Vermont. She is the now a mother of three and thus has no “spare” time, but she loves to be outdoors enjoying Vermont’s amazing natural resources.
Gordon Maynard, MSW, LICSW - Psychotherapist
Gordon joined Spruce Mountain Inn having spent his career as a clinician in a variety of settings. During his many years of working with young adults, Gordon developed a deep understanding of disorders such as PTSD, anxiety, substance use, depression and insomnia. His treatment background includes training and expertise in Prolonged Exposure and Cognitive Processing for trauma, CBT for insomnia, anxiety and depression as well as ACT for PTSD, depression and anxiety. Gordon understands what a difficult time it can be for individuals who suffer a mental health crisis and understands, too, that their families suffer alongside them. He appreciates how a mental health crisis can interfere with a person’s life, and his goal is to help guide his clients toward successful life management and independent living.
Gordon earned his B.A. in social work from Trinity College of Vermont and his M.S.W. with an emphasis on family therapy from McGill University in Montreal, QC. He is a native Vermonter who grew up on a dairy farm and spent several years in the construction industry prior to returning to school. He and his wife have three adult children and two granddaughters.
He enjoys hiking with his wife and dog, woodworking, and kayaking Vermont’s beautiful lakes and ponds.
Lynn Rockwell, M.Ed - Parent Coach
Lynn is one of Spruce’s most senior staff, having served as a Clinical Case Manager here for more than 17 years prior to “retiring” into her current part-time role as Parent Coach. Her experience spans not only her work here, but extensive work in educational and community-based programs as well. Lynn holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from the University of Vermont. In 1991, she received the Vermont Department of Mental Health’s Individual Award for her outstanding contributions to the field of mental health. Lynn enjoys travel, small farming projects, community racial justice activities, and especially spending time with her grandchildren and family.
Tom Novak, MBA - Career & Education Development Coordinator
Tom holds a BA and MBA from Temple University, where his Master’s studies focused on Human Resource Administration, before completing Doctorate of Education coursework in Vocational Education. He brings more than 20 years post-graduate professional experience in career services and academic advising, most recently serving as the Director of Career Services for Saint Joseph’s College in Standish, Maine. In his free time, Tom enjoys reading memoirs and the daily newspaper and spending time with his wife and son. He credits golf with making him a happy human being.
Michael Kucserik, MS, LADC - Addictions Counselor
Michael joined Spruce Mountain Inn with over twelve years of experience in individual and group counseling. His expertise comes from having spent more than a decade working with young adults in various treatment settings. In 2011 Michael left his post as a school counselor to accept a Field Instructor position with Adirondack Leadership Expeditions, a wilderness therapy program, where he worked with at risk youth. He later joined the Brookhaven Treatment and Learning Center team in Vermont and subsequently began his work as a substance abuse counselor in his own private practice. Michael empathizes and understands that, for people who struggle with addiction, life can seem out of control. He also believes that with help and support, recovery is possible. Along with being licensed as an alcohol and drug counselor, Michael’s educational portfolio includes a B.A. in psychology and a M.S. in counseling. In his spare time, Michael enjoys spending time with his wife and two young boys. He’s an avid bowler and enjoys riding his bike whenever he can.