If so, then you are in the right place and we are so glad you have found us!
We get it. We have been there. We at Breathing Space do not do it alone and you don't have to either!
We are here to offer support and guidance as you own your one true life.
We want to walk with you as you dip your toe into the swell of emotion or dive right into the depth of yourself.
We begin where you are and move toward balance through your conscious connection with all levels of yourself. We work with you to gain insight and understanding about your life and offer tools to help you seek balance.
Our aim is to help you get to the underlying belief structures that are causing disturbances in your life. We want you to sink in and listen to your body. To that voice that has been silenced. To the space where YOUR truth lies.
We believe that everyone can heal and thrive in their lives. That means YOU!
We welcome your struggles with body image, prenatal and postpartum issues, grief, anxiety, difficult transitions, mid-life challenges, and trauma.
In addition to insight-oriented talking therapy, we invite you to consider the use of art making, movement, role-playing, writing, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique or tapping), and other body-centered modalities in your process of healing.
The therapists at Breathing Space support your journey of self rediscovery and teach you to honor your inner wisdom. May our work together open your heart and ignite your spirit so that you can begin to live your best life!
Rachel Bender, LMHC, NCC, ACS
Rachel has her BA in Psychology from the University of Rochester, a MS in Counseling Psychology from Chatham University and is a New York State Licensed Mental Health Counselor, National Certified Counselor and Approved Clinical Supervisor. Working in a variety of community based programs and mental health settings, she has experience working with adults of all ages and diverse backgrounds, including older adult populations aged 65 and over.
Rachel’s therapeutic style is a blend of person centered, trauma informed and interpersonal therapy techniques, which allows her to provide a safe, calm, and supportive space in therapy sessions. The focus of her work with clients has included those experiencing anxiety, depression, stress, bereavement and those processing change, loss and navigating life transitions. She strives to help clients observe and identify areas for improvement through a holistic lens in order to encompass overall wellness including mental, physical, spiritual, social and emotional health by making sustained changes over time.
· Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), New York State
· National Certified Counselor (NCC), The National Board for Certified Counselors
· Approved Clinical Supervisor (ACS), Center for Credentialing and Education
· Post Master’s Certificate Program in Clinical Supervision, New York University
Lyndsey Masters, LMHC
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers or They/Them/Theirs
Languages other than English: N/A
State(s) Licensed: New York, Florida
My Focus Areas
Relationship Diversity | Whether kink, poly, open relationships, consensual non-monogamy, or any space in the vast world of relationship orientation is validated and valued.
Family of Origin | Figuring out how to manage complex childhood timelines and parental dynamics is often translated into “people-pleasing” into adulthood.
Sexual Health | While not a formal sex therapist, I hold the space for frank, honest, and valuable conversation about what is - or is not - happening in the bedroom.
LGBTQIA Affirming | Where differing sexual orientations, gender identities, and non-binary/gender non-conforming individuals are celebrated and acknowledged for their individuality.
Forensics | With an in-progress MS in forensic psychology, I am acutely aware of the unique challenges individuals who have experienced incarceration and marginalized groups can experience.
Adolescents & Young Adults | Adolescence and young adulthood is a stressful time of development and transition.
My Ideal Client
2021 - Anticipated graduate Northcentral University, Scottsdale AZ | Masters of Science in Forensic Psychology
2015 - Graduated St John Fisher College, Rochester NY| Masters of Science in Mental Health Counseling
2012 - Graduated St John Fisher College, Rochester NY| Bachelors of Science in Psychology
State of New York | License Number: 009742
State of Florida | Florida Telehealth License Number: 589
Kink Aware Registered Professional with the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom
Member: New York Mental Health Counselors Association since 2018
Member: International Association for Correctional and Forensic Psychology since 2019
Human Sexuality and Kink/Alternative Lifestyle Guest Community Educator- Corning Community College
Kink Aware Registered Professional with the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom
Rainbow Mapping: April 2021
Mindfulness and Modification Therapy for Impulsive Behaviors: April 2021
Telehealth for Mental Health Professionals: March 2020
Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP): March 2019
Karen Ristoff, MS, LMHC
Karen has her B.A./Psychology from Columbia College, M.S./Mental Health Counseling from SUNY Oswego, and is a Nationally Certified Counselor. She is also a Certified Holistic Health Coach from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, NYC. Working in a variety of mental health settings, including private practice and clinic work in downtown Syracuse, has exposed her to many different kinds of experiences within the sanctity of the counseling room. Her main focus is on creating a safe haven filled with unconditional acceptance, so that the client can experience a therapeutic relationship that fosters the process of deep healing, at a pace that is comfortable for them.
As a wellness-focused counseling professional, Karen combines mental health therapy with current wellness modalities as a way of supporting transformation. From there, Karen and the client can collaborate and create truly individualized wellness plans that may subsequently empower the client towards reaching mental health and wellness goals. This integrative approach can create an energy cascade that builds upon itself, supporting sustainable positive changes.
While her work lends itself to all populations, she has a strong focus on working with those struggling with chronic stress, difficult or mid-life transitions, fatigue, and self-care; as well as other mental health challenges, including anxiety, trauma, bereavement, and depression.
I am most passionate about being present with others in a way that allows them to feel safe, hopeful, and inspired, while empowering them to manage the struggles that are part of the fabric of their lives. It is my great honor to be doing this work with the brave souls who reach out for support, and I like to believe that I am a walking, talking example that it is never too late to reach for your life. ~Karen
- Certified Mental Health Integrative Medicine Provider (CMHIMP), PESI
- Certified EFT Practitioner (Emotional Freedom Technique/Tapping), International Metaphysical University
- Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, International Association of Trauma Professionals
Meg Tobin, MA, LMHC
NOT CURRENTLY TAKING NEW CLIENTS.
Meg offers retreats, workshops, online classes, and individual or group psychotherapy to encourage conscious connection on all levels – physical, emotional, and spiritual. As a trauma-informed therapist, her philosophy is heart-centered and spirit-filled and she provides a safe place for exploration of all feelings and experiences, whatever they may be. Meg begins where you are, with the truth that within each person lies a pure center. It is your whole, unchanging, perfect, divine, connected core just waiting to be remembered and honored. Meg supports your journey of self-rediscovery and honors your inner wisdom.
Meg uses art, movement, and drama to bring us to our deepest selves. she has worked in a variety of clinical and school settings with adults, adolescents, and children around issues of trauma, body image, grief, and family violence. She helped to write a dating violence prevention curriculum for juvenile justice-involved youth and a bullying prevention program for middle school students.
Meg has presented to human service agencies and at conferences and been a trainer for group facilitators in the areas of eating disorders and grief. Meg has long been involved with theater for change where she co-directed a Syracuse performance of the national play Birth, by Karen Brody and wrote and directed the Reflections Project (educational theater about eating disorders) with a cast who performed throughout Boston, MA, Burlington, VT, New Haven, CT, and Central New York.
Meg is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in the State of New York, having earned her master’s degree in Counseling Psychology with a focus in Expressive Therapy from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. In addition to her state license, she holds the following certifications:
- Certified EFT Practitioner (Emotional Freedom Technique or tapping): International Metaphysical University and additional training with Alina Frank and Craig Weiner of the EFT Tapping Training Institute.
- EMDR Basic Training - EMDRIA Approved
- Certified Level 1 in the Trauma Resiliency Model: Trauma Resiliency Institute
- Certified Clinical Trauma Professional: International Association of Trauma Professionals
- Completed Sand Tray Play Therapy Training Parts One and Two
Maksim (Max) Tsaryk, MA, LPMHC
Max’s style emphasizes a deeper understanding of the whole self. Each client is supported to develop goals that aim to address the root causes of presenting concerns and build life-long skills and balance. Max is skilled at creating a safe and healing environment that promotes a cooperative therapy relationship to explore coping strategies and self-discovery. He implements clinical interventions that respond to individual immediate and long-term concerns. Max believes that what you are going through is important, and he honors the significant courage it takes to engage in treatment.
Max completed his B.A. in Psychology at SUNY Geneseo in Psychology and his M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Medaille College. Max’s experience in a clinic setting includes work around emotion comprehension and regulation, anxiety management, supporting individual around setting and reaching goals, interpersonal communication, and conflict resolution, developing boundaries, building resiliency, overcoming procrastination, relapse prevention, stress management, healthy living, sleep hygiene, symptom management, and overcoming adversity. Max was also born in Belarus Minsk, and therefore, offers fluency in Russian speaking and writing. His history of migrating and serving in the U.S. military enables consideration for diversity and adaptation to change.
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Suicide Prevention
- Motivational Interviewing
- LGBTQ and Multicultural Counseling
- Mindfulness, Conversational Hypnotherapy
- Solution-Focused Interventions
- Mental Illness Related Disorders Treatment Interventions
- Max holds a NYS Limited Permit and is working towards completion of his NYS Licensure hours under the supervision of Meg Tobin, LMHC. His services are self-pay on a sliding scale.
Karla Varona, LMHC
Ms. Karla Varona is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) based out of NYC, born in Cuba. Karla is bilingual in Spanish.
Karla received her Master’s in Mental Health Counseling from Education Department at Hunter College in 2018.
Karla has extensive experience working with individuals ranging from childhood to adulthood as well as their families to achieve a happier life overall. Karla also has experience conducting open and closed groups in a variety of settings. Karla’s goal is to encourage and support clients with the necessary tools to empower them to overcome personal obstacles. Karla provides a judge-free zone, a safe and comfortable space, and a trustworthy experience using a person-centered holistic approach to therapy. Karla strives to allow clients to find their authentic selves and increase satisfaction in day-to-day life through healing, compassion, and emotional support. Karla is also certified with NBCC as a National Certified Counselor.
Karla has provided individual therapy to children and adults who are experiencing depression, anxiety, stress management, behavioral issues, family conflict, self-esteem, sexual abuse, trauma, and interpersonal relationships.
Over the years she has found that cognitive-behavioral (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and solution-focused therapy (SFT) approaches to be effective therapy skills.
What makes her happy?
Good foods, the ocean, traveling, bike riding, plants, puppies. She also truly enjoys Yoga, yoga pants, and meditation.
Karla attended The University at Buffalo where graduated with a bachelor's in Interpersonal Communication. A few years later, after working at an in-treatment program with children who have experienced adverse childhood experiences, she decided to embark on a journey to become an LMHC. Since then, she’s continued to work with at-risk young adults and their families in various settings that include outpatient facilities, schools, and foster care agencies.
Karla truly feels honored to have been given an opportunity to embrace such a fragile population and collaborate for better overall wellbeing and positive change in their lives. Kara has strived to continue living in purpose, which she honestly believes is that of helping others become their best and happier selves. She invites you to be excited about your treatment and look at it as an individualized resource available to you and your well-being. Karla strongly stands for her clients. She understands each client’s unique process and individual journey.
She aims to provide a space dedicated to encouraging the mental wellness of all but in particular minority women and girls. There are several individuals that have paved the way and inspired her to treat a variety of disorders and continue to teach her humbly. Needless to say, she respects and wishes to join those also working towards eradicating the stigma of the meaning of therapy within the minority community. Karla looks forward to working with you.
Kate Vulcano, MA, LPMHC
Kate Vulcano holds a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Warner School of Education at the University of Rochester. She is currently working towards completing the New York State licensing requirements in Mental Health Counseling as a limited permit holder at Breathing Space Studio. She will be offering counseling services under the supervision of Meg Tobin, MA, LMHC.
She believes that each person is beautifully different and supports clients to see their strengths. Kate's holistic approach creates a space for each client to live their own truth and explore what is not working in their lives. For Kate, counseling is about having a safe space, someone in your corner, and providing the tools and support people need to walk through life with more ease. Kate's empathy helps create a safe space in her sessions for an individual to express themselves and her non-judgmental approach welcomes and validates clients' needs.
Kate specializes in geriatric and caregiver mental health. She has worked as a mental health clinician in several senior living sites, and she has formally worked with the geriatric population or caregivers for the past 6 years. Personally, she experienced caregiving from a young age and gained a close familiarity with Alzheimer's disease. Kate’s goal is to empower caregivers, empathize, and listen to their concerns while providing resources to help them experience some relief.
Kate’s work with the geriatric community and any type of caregiver holds a special place in her heart. Aging, witnessing loved ones aging, or caring for someone who is ill is not always an easy task, and changes happen quickly. Kate aims to provide support, active listening, and empathy to build a strong therapeutic relationship. Her goal is to empower her clients to speak their truth and to be able to advocate for themselves around relationships, medical issues, and in work situations. Kate utilizes different styles of psychotherapy based on what each individual needs. Kate is skilled in the use of gestalt therapy, interpersonal therapy, and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). Her main style consists of cognitive-behavioral therapy with a bit of person-centered therapy.
- Kate holds a NYS Limited Permit and is working towards completion of her NYS Licensure hours under the supervision of Meg Tobin, LMHC. Her services are self-pay on a sliding scale.