Our Professional Staff

John Lieberman, MA, Executive Director

“I want people to do more of what they love to do,” John Lieberman said when speaking about his new position as Executive Director of The New York Center for Living. “I am committed to helping NYCFL continue to thrive, to grow and to succeed as an adolescent and young adult intensive outpatient treatment service. The New York Center for Living is a clinically driven program that provides comprehensive treatment to individuals and families in a 12-Step, abstinence-based model. The foundation of my work and expertise in the treatment industry mirrors that of NYCFL and I am proud to represent the program and further its growth as it continues to impact the lives of many people.”

John began his career in the treatment industry in 1985 at age eighteen, following his own extended stay in a treatment and recovery center where be began a life of sobriety. Over the past 32 years, John has held many positions within the treatment industry at several reputed facilities. During the past 14 years John has been the Director of Operations, the Group Home Administrator and the Chief Operating Officer at Visions Adolescent Treatment Centers. John was a major force in the success and growth of Visions during his years there. He describes, “When Visions started, there were six beds and one program that dealt with dual diagnosis and substance abuse. Currently, there are twenty-eight beds and five different programs, including the first private sober recovery high school, and the first licensed extended care treatment for adolescents in the state of California.”

John holds a Master’s degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and chooses to focus his skills specifically on improving company culture by maximizing staff and individual assets within an organization. John is committed to helping clients and their families heal and recover from the damages of addiction and co-occurring disorders and recognizes that NYCFL staff can create this kind of stability needed to achieve that goal. John added, “ I love to facilitate the magic that happens when many individuals, coming from different backgrounds and cultures, all work together for the good of the clients and their families.” “I am looking forward to working with Elizabeth Kabler, the Founder and Chairman of the Board of Trustees; she works tirelessly to promote NYCFL. I also am eager to work with the Board of Trustees, to spend time with the staff, and to continue to learn more about the Center, its clients and their families,” he added. One of the goals he has for NYCFL is to have it “become a voice for teaching, training and leadership in New York for professionals, families and educators who are working with those struggling with substance abuse and addiction.”

John and his wife, Cindy have relocated from Southern California to Westchester County and are looking forward to experiencing season changes and East Coast life. John is quickly becoming an expert in the art of commuting to Manhattan and can already tell you where to find the best cups of coffee in the city.

Marianne Chai, M.D.

Marianne Chai, MD is board certified in general and child and adolescent psychiatry and is board eligible in addiction psychiatry and integrative and holistic medicine. She completed her residency training in general psychiatry at New York University, followed by fellowships in child and adolescent psychiatry at the New York University Child Study Center, and addiction psychiatry at New York University Medical Center Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse.

Dr. Chai earned her Doctorate in Medicine from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and her Bachelors of Arts from Barnard College of Columbia University. Dr. Chai holds clinical instructorships at New York University’s School of Arts and Sciences, where she develops and teaches an undergraduate course in Complementary and Alternative Mental Health, and at the School of Medicine, where she supervises general psychiatry residents in child and adolescent clinical work. Dr. Chai maintains membership in The American Psychiatric Association (APA), The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), and the American Medical Association (AMA).

Kristin Thomson, LMFT

Kristin is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a background in both inpatient and outpatient treatment of substance abuse. Prior to joining the New York Center for Living Kristin worked at Daytop Village, where she managed the Intensive Outpatient Program and engaged families, couples and individuals from diverse backgrounds in addressing addiction and recovery as well as co-occurring disorders. Additionally, she facilitated numerous outpatient groups at The Addiction Institute of New York at Roosevelt Hospital. Kristin completed her traineeship at Summit Malibu, an inpatient substance abuse treatment facility serving patients with dual diagnoses issues and their families.

Kristin practices from a family systems perspective and integrates psychodynamic, cognitive and dialectical behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing and 12 Step techniques in working with clients and their families. She earned her MA in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University and her BA from Barnard College of Columbia University.

Peter Newland, CASAC

Peter’s twenty-five years of experience in the field of chemical dependency first began at Phoenix House as a Case Manager working closely with adolescents. With a breadth of experience as a clinician, supervisor and administrator, as Director of Adolescent Services at Phoenix House Peter supervised peer groups, multi-family groups and individual sessions. At Harlem East Life Plan, Peter helped develop a chemical dependency program which assessed and treated individuals with the goal of abstinence from alcohol and drugs. At Realization Center, Peter was the Coordinator of Adolescent Services, co-facilitating family groups, peer groups, and family workshops.

Peter has conducted numerous seminars and presentations to schools, parent groups, hospitals, and mental health professionals. Topics have covered substance abuse and teens, detecting early warning signs for a teen in need of an intervention, how to engage a teen and his/her family in treatment, and strategies for long term recovery.

Joseph Mutz, MS, RD


Joseph is a Registered Dietitian who completed his graduate degree at NYU, receiving his Master’s in Clinical Nutrition. Joseph believes food and nutrition are the foundation of physical and mental wellbeing. Through his practice Joseph has found that an individual’s daily food choices have the ability to prevent chronic disease, elevate mood, improve concentration, enhance sleep, and promote overall well being. Joseph’s goal is to educate individuals in making more nutritious choices.

Joseph advocates for a minimally processed, nutrient dense diet. Joseph works as a dietitian for the United States Department of Veterans’ Affairs and holds an undergraduate degree in Nutrition and Food Studies from NYU.

Kristy Fitzgerald, LMFT

Primary Therapist

Kristy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with (insert # of ) years of recovery experience working with adolescents, young adults, and their families. Kristy earned a BA from Florida State and an MS from Mercy College before beginning her career at Outreach House, applying her belief in the importance of early intervention to working with adolescents in a residential, inpatient treatment community, gearing clients towards developing the foundations of sobriety and essential relapse prevention skills. At Realization Center’s outpatient program, Kristy spent five years developing a diverse, multifaceted counseling philosophy integrating elements of Bowenian theory, narrative and structural therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, and seeking safety techniques. Kristy applies all of these skills to all of her clients at the Center, meeting them where they are while collaborating towards healthy, constructive goals, enhanced insight, and indispensable coping skills to serve them well after their graduation from treatment.

Jared Morganstern, LMSW

Primary Therapist

Jared received his MA in Social Work from The Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, and his BA in Psychology from SUNY Geneseo. Prior to joining our team, Jared worked as a clinical therapist at Catholic Charities and Neighborhood Counseling Center. From 2004-2014, he was a residential habilitation specialist at YAI National Institute for People with Disabilities. At the New York Center for Living, Jared serves as a primary therapist and provides intensive individual and group therapy, focusing on developing productive relapse prevention skills, nurturing insight, improving interpersonal communication and strengthening family relationships. Applying years of experience and a variety of therapy modalities including cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, play therapy, supportive counseling, and mindfulness techniques, Jared engages the community in the recovery process and serves as a dedicated mentor for our staff, clients and alumni alike.

Laura Berman, MSW, CASAC-T

Intake Coordinator

After receiving her MSW and CASAC-T from Fordham University, Laura cut her teeth in the recovery industry at Hazelden Betty Ford and Comprehensive Family, followed by (insert number of years) at Casa Bella and Visions Adolescent Treatment Center. At the New York Center for Living, Laura applies her passion for helping young people by leading therapeutic group sessions, conducting intake assessments and working with members of the multidisciplinary team to determine the appropriate level of care necessary for all incoming clients.

Rachel Light, LCSW, CASAC-T

Primary Therapist

With over seven years of experience in the field, Rachel provides both individual and group therapy to adolescents and young adults through a combination of motivational interviewing techniques, cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, family systems and psychodynamic therapy. Prior to joining NYCFL, she gained valuable experience as a psychotherapist at Carmichael Psychology private practice, and completed extensive trainings at STAR Health Center SUNY Medical Center, Aging in America Community Services, and the Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training, before spending four years as an addiction counselor and coordinator of the Professionals in Recovery program at the Realization Center in New York. Rachel holds a MSW from New York University’s Silver School of Social Work and a BA from New York University.

Amy Burns

Director of Outreach and Business Development

As Director of Outreach and Business Development, Amy has been integral to New York Center for Living’s development since its inception in 2009. Amy draws from her thirteen years of experience in business and finance as the Vice President of Investment Banking at Merrill Lynch, as well as her extensive knowledge of the addiction treatment industry to spearhead NYCFL’s progress as the leader of adolescent and young adult addiction treatment in New York City.

Prior to the New York Center for Living, Amy worked as a Certified Interventionist, Case Manager and the Executive Director of a national treatment organization.

Jonathan Rauch, LMSW, CASAC-T, CIP

Business Development and Outreach Coordinator

As business development and outreach coordinator (for CFL), Jonathan cultivates strategic relationships with professionals and facilities who work with adolescents and young adults in the fields of addiction and recovery, making them aware of the unique programs and mission that CFL offers. He conducts a variety of outreach activities and organizes monthly workshops at CFL that feature speakers recognized as leaders in their field of expertise.

Prior to joining the CFL team, Jonathan was the national director of marketing and business development for a Florida Treatment Center. Early in his career, he worked at a leading west coast treatment center facilitating intake operations.

In addition to having his LMSW, Jonathan is a Board Certified Intervention Professional, serves on the board of AIS, and is respected as a highly skilled and effective interventionist.



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