Team

Meet our staff! Our creative, friendly team, each with their individual gifting, is here to welcome and assist you on your journey. Our counseling staff is professionally licensed to practice therapy in New York State.
Yvonne Banks

Yvonne Banks

Executive Director
Chelsea Quarshie, LCSW

Chelsea Quarshie, LCSW

Clinical Director
David Willert

David Willert

Therapist
Erin Andrade, LMSW

Erin Andrade, LMSW

Therapist
Hilary Grooms, MFT

Hilary Grooms, MFT

Therapist
Jennifer Kavanagh

Jennifer Kavanagh

Therapist
Paul Hurley, LCSW

Paul Hurley, LCSW

Therapist
Jodie Bader

Jodie Bader

Accounting Manager
Pam Nitto

Pam Nitto

Office Manager
Elizabeth Cremean

Elizabeth Cremean

Receptionist/Intake Coordinator
Kathy Bader

Kathy Bader

Receptionist
Amy Berns

Amy Berns

Therapist

Yvonne Banks

Executive Director

Qualifications/Certifications:

Master’s Degree in Multidisciplinary Human Services /Concentration in Not-For-Profit Leadership. I am a NYS Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor- Master Counselor and am certified in Trauma Counseling. My clinical experience and organizational leadership include being responsible for overseeing multiple sites and developing programs to support healing utilizing my leadership skills, educational foundation, and wide experience for over 30 years. I have worked with those bound in addiction, struggling with mental health issues, and primary need issues.

Why Therapy?

Sometimes the burden is too much to carry or understand on our own. We need each other. When our body hurts we see medical doctors, when our mind, emotions, or spirit hurts therapists are here to aid in the healing process. There is no shame in needing help.

Fun Fact:

I love the sunny outdoors and enjoying activities from fishing and scuba diving to bow hunting, hiking to the mountaintops or watching and listening to the birds with morning coffee.

Life Verse:

Luke 1:37, “For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Chelsea Quarshie, LCSW

Clinical Director

Counseling Specialties:
As a mental health therapist, I work with adults, adolescents, and children from a trauma-informed and human rights perspective. I specialize in working with individuals struggling with various subtypes of anxiety, depression, and life adjustment(s).
Qualifications/Certifications:
I am a graduate of the University at Buffalo’s School of Social Work and currently practice mental health care as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). My professional training includes the following areas: Trauma-Focused Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Solution-Focused Therapy, Mindfulness, and Mind-Body Connection.

Why Therapy?
I am here to help individuals and families increase their understanding, discernment, and coping skills in the midst of life’s stressors. The therapy room is a safe space to explore, consider, and begin to resolve concerns that arise. My hope is that my clients feel encouraged and equipped to make meaningful and lasting changes as they grow mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Fun Fact:
One fun fact to share about myself is that I am a dancer. I have been dancing since I was four years old. After growing up at a local studio, I carried on with my studies in college as a dance major. I have taught dance and exercise classes to youth and adults in the community over the years.

Life Verse:
“There is a time for everything, and everything on earth has its special season.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

David Willert

Therapist

Counseling Specialties:

As a clinical mental health therapist, I work with adults from a trauma-informed and person- centered perspective. I specialize in working with first responders, individuals struggling with life adjustments, anxiety (and phobias), crisis, trauma, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Qualifications/Certifications:

Prior to becoming a clinical therapist, I spent 12 years as a police officer for a town outside of Buffalo, NY. I spent 6 of those 12 years working as a Crisis Intervention Officer as part of my agency's mental health intervention team. After deciding to pursue my calling to the field of mental health, I retired early from the police force to obtain my Master of Science degree, and I am a graduate of Canisius College’s CACREP accredited Clinical Mental Health program. I am practicing mental health care as a prospective Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC-P). My professional training includes the following areas: Psychoeducation, Psychoanalysis, Behavioral Therapy, Trauma-Focused Therapy, Crisis Intervention, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy, and Humanistic Therapy.

Why Therapy?

I became a clinician to help individuals understand their thoughts, moods, and behaviors. My desire is to help others process and handle their emotions and/or situations regardless of how big or small they may seem. I am a firm believer that you don’t have to be diagnosed with a mental health disorder to benefit from therapy. I am also a firm believer that licensed clinical counseling and faith can simultaneously exist when it comes to healing. I prioritize making sure all my clients feel safe, trusted, and respected. I come to the counseling field with both academic knowledge and professional experience. As a police officer, I discovered I was able to best serve the welfare of others by addressing their mental health needs, and I continue that mission by working with individuals experiencing biological, social, environmental, and/or psychological issues.

Fun Fact:

I love playing the drums and have played for over 15 years. I currently play drums on the worship team at my church. I believe music can be a great therapeutic tool, regardless of genre (sometimes music portrays feelings when words won’t do). If I am not with my family or at work, you can almost certainly find me behind a drum set somewhere.

Life Verse:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Erin Andrade, LMSW

Therapist

Counseling Specialties:
Hello! I specialize in working with children beginning at age 5 through young adults struggling with a variety of issues including anxiety, depression, anger, stress, trauma, grief and loss, and adjustment struggles. I utilize modalities of treatment such as Play Therapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Mindfulness, and Motivational Interviewing. It is my goal to educate clients about mental illnesses and teach the necessary techniques and coping skills to help clients better manage their symptoms and work toward deeper healing.

Qualifications/Certifications:
I am a NY State Licensed Master Social Worker, and I am currently working toward obtaining my NY State Licensed Clinical Social Worker certification. I obtained my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a minor in Sports Ministry from Houghton College in May 2014. I received my Master’s Degree of Social Work from The State University of New York at Buffalo in May 2018. I have been practicing in the psychotherapy field since 2018. I utilize therapy modalities of Play Therapy, Solution Focused Practice, and Motivational Interviewing. I have received certifications in Biblical Counseling, Youth Mental Health First Aid USA from the National Council for Behavioral Health, and Distance Teletherapy.

Why Therapy?
My strong desire to help and encourage people on a deep, relational level to work through their various problems has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. I decided I wanted to become a counselor to help people gain healing, peace, and success through their struggles. Just as God loves us unconditionally and meets us right where we are, I seek to shine this same care toward my clients by meeting them without judgment where they are in their various situations. It is my goal and honor to help my clients find peace, healing, hope, and possibly even joy amidst the storms of life.

Fun Fact:
I have travelled to 10 countries through my experiences with the On Goal and Chicago Eagles soccer ministries, the Greater Buffalo Youth Orchestra, and the Go Ed study abroad program! Some of my favorite and most interesting places I have been to include Brazil (also where my husband is from), Rwanda, Qatar, the United Kingdom, and the European cities of Vienna, Salzburg, and Prague! I especially love going on soccer ministry trips with my friends where we use the game of soccer as a platform to share the good news of Jesus Christ!

Life Verse:
One of my favorite and encouraging passages in Scripture is Philippians 4:4-8 (NIV):

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Hilary Grooms, MFT

Therapist

DESCRIBE WHAT YOU DO FOR WORK:
I am a Marriage and Family Therapist, who holds a BA in Social Work from Buffalo State College and a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Medaille College. I work with couples addressing issues including conflict resolution, communication challenges, betrayal, and intimacy issues. I also work with individuals struggling with anxiety, depression, stress management, and self esteem.

WHAT QUALIFIES YOU TO DO THAT?
I work to create a safe, accepting space in the therapy room for clients to explore complex issues. I know that beginning therapy can be challenging, and for this reason I work to establish a transparent, trusting relationship with my clients. I have a client-centered approach that puts emphasis on empowering my clients to address patterns of behavior that may be ineffective or unhealthy. I draw from a variety of theories with particular emphasis on emotion focused cognitive behavioral, and solution focused interventions to help my clients open their perspectives for a more healthy life.

WHY IS THERAPY IMPORTANT TO YOU?
I feel that therapy is important because therapy can help clients to gain a fresh perspective to the issue that they may be dealing with, as well as offer a better understanding of their own emotions. In time, therapy can promote one’s self-esteem, relationships, and outlook on life.

HOW DO YOU LIKE TO SPEND YOUR FREE TIME?
In my free time I enjoy reading spiritual self help books, taking walks with my husband, and spending time with my grandchildren.

SHARE A FUN FACT ABOUT YOURSELF!
I have a puggle name Zack, and a cat named Midnight, who after 4 years are still not friends.

SHARE A SCRIPTURE VERSE OR QUOTE THAT HAS IMPACTED YOUR LIFE:
Romans 8:28 – “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Jennifer Kavanagh

Therapist

Counseling Specialties:
I specialize in Racial Trauma, general trauma; college age/young adulthood life issues; and relationships. I used several techniques, including Cognitive Behavioral, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Internal Family Systems, and Motivational Interviewing. My goal is not only to help you heal, but to also help you understand the counseling process.

Qualifications/Certifications:
I have a masters in Human Services Counseling: Marriage and Family; post masters certificate in Mental Health Counseling; Advanced Diploma in Christian Life Coaching. I've received training in Progressive Counting which is a trauma resolution therapy and I've also been trained in Motivational Interviewing.

Why Therapy?
Because when I asked God to send me to help broken families, this is where He sent me.

Fun Facts:
I went tidal bore rafting in the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia

Life Verse:
I don't have a life verse, but the first verse I learned was John 3:16, I wasn't even a Christian when I learned the verse, but it has always stuck with me... That God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son, that whomsoever should believe in would not perish, but have everlasting life.

Paul Hurley, LCSW

Therapist

DESCRIBE WHAT YOU DO FOR WORK:
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). At CCM of WNY, I work part-time as a therapist with teenagers, young adults, and adults. I also work part-time as a Licensed Community Therapist, working with teenagers and young adults in the community.

WHAT QUALIFIES YOU TO DO THAT?
I have a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of New York at Buffalo. I continually take classes and attend seminars to keep current on best practice completing courses and certifications in both counseling and in Christian Ministry.

WHY IS THERAPY IMPORTANT TO YOU?
Therapy is important to me because I believe that a therapist may provide a fresh perspective on an issue or a situation in your life. It helps having an unbiased perspective from a professional where you are assured complete confidentially.

HOW DO YOU LIKE TO SPEND YOUR FREE TIME?
In my free time I enjoy spending time with my wife and my family. I also enjoy engaging in different sporting activities including basketball, running and kayaking.

SHARE A SCRIPTURE VERSE OR QUOTE THAT HAS IMPACTED YOUR LIFE:
One of my favorite Scriptures is Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for I the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Jodie Bader

Accounting Manager

Job Specialties:
I have provided bookkeeping and financial services to Christian Counseling Ministries for over 5 years.

Qualifications/Certifications:
I am a Certified Public Accountant and received my certification in 1991.

Fun Fact:
I like traveling to warm, sunny places in the winter months.

Life Verse:
John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.

Pam Nitto

Office Manager

I joined the Staff of Christian Counseling Ministries as the Office Manager in 2017. I bring over 15 years of Administrative Office Management experience. I enjoy being able to serve and interact with both the staff and the clients. I strive to not only handle the day-to-day Office Administrative duties, but to make sure the clients feel comfortable and welcome when they walk through our doors.

Fun Fact:
I love being outdoors whether camping, gardening, or just walking the dog.

Life Verse:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28 (NIV)

Elizabeth Cremean

Receptionist/Intake Coordinator

Qualifications/Certifications:
Bachelor's Degree in Communicative Disorders

Why Therapy?
Our emotions are an important part of how God made us. Similarly, to how a physician is needed when our bodies have problems, our mental and emotional well-being sometimes needs the help of a therapist.

Fun Fact:
I really enjoy passion fruit bubble tea and reading.

Life Verse:
Psalm 27:4 - “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple”

Kathy Bader

Receptionist

In this fast-paced and fallen world, it is easy to feel lost and unloved. Christian Counseling
Ministries provides a way to point people back to the truth. We all struggle! I have seen people
change because of CCM. People who come in broken and empty, often leave light-hearted
and full of joy. I thank God for all the counselors that are here. I see the work of the Holy Spirit in
them and I give glory to God for what they do.

Fun fact:
I'm a science geek and love to ballroom dance with my husband, Bob. I have five grown
children and soon to be, three grandchildren who are a source of great joy.

Favorite quote:
“God keeps His choicest wines in the cellar of affliction”
Charles Spurgeon

Life Verse:
One of my favorite verses is from Philippians 3:12-14

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to
take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to
have taken hold of it, But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is
ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in
Christ Jesus.

Amy Berns

Therapist

Counseling Specialties:

Hello! My name is Amy and I work with adults who have struggled with a lengthy exposure to stress that has led to mental health difficulties, like anxiety or depression. I can also help couples to develop a more secure bond and have vulnerable conversations without pushing anyone away. I am very comfortable working with individuals who are dealing with chronic illness and those who are experiencing complicated grief.

Qualifications:

I am a licensed masters of social work here in New York, under supervision to acquire my clinical license. I earned my masters at Indiana University where I stayed to be a hospice social worker for many years. I moved to the east coast where I provided case management and mental health services to patients, couples, and families living with chronic illness or traumatic injury.

Why Therapy?

There is a strong spirit of hopelessness moving across our world . It alienates, isolates then steals the joy from every person it touches. I come along side my clients as a mature believer who has advanced training in mental health but also understands spiritual attack. We all need lifting up sometimes. We all are broken in some painful way. But a very wise survivor of trauma once said to me, "broken glass is so beautiful when the sun shines through it". God has a plan for each of us and I choose to help people pursue the peace that is promised to us.

Fun Fact:

I come from a family where food is love. My grandmother met every hardship, every heartache, and every disaster with a solid 4 pound butter milk lemon pound cake. Baking is not the answer to every problem but it reminds me of a very important truth in life. The beauty is that even when you mess it up it's still delicious.

Life Verse:
Deuteronomy 31:6, "Don't be afraid, the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you or forsake you".