Growing Minds’ Philosophy

“Working together to help our children develop the roots to grow and the wings to fly.”

Growing Minds offers expertise in social-emotional development; specializing in early childhood through adolescence. We believe that change and personal growth occur when parents feel understood and empowered while, at the same time, children feel accepted and connected. It is our mission to deepen your insight into your child’s behaviors and inner world. Growing Minds provides mindful, intentional, and specialized parenting strategies to both manage challenges and highlight your family’s unique strengths. We integrate evidence-based methods that focus on the whole-child through individual, family, and group therapy modalities, along with collaboration with schools, specialists, and community resources.

Meet Our Team

The team of clinicians at Growing Minds includes highly experienced clinicians with a range of backgrounds and expertise.

Orly Zimmerman-Leizerov, LCSW-C

Child and Family Therapist

301-235-9927 ext 1

Orly is a highly experienced therapist, providing clinical and therapeutic services to children and families. In addition to the individual setting, Orly leads social skills groups and provides preschool mental health consultations, as well as coaching and training for teachers and parents, including kindergarten readiness assessments and intervention. She has over a decade of experience working with children and families with a wide range of mental, social and physical abilities. Her approach combines the holistic, mindful and strengths-based approaches to assessment and intervention. Orly specializes in the early childhood age-group and has specialized training in CBT, play and expressive therapies, anger management, anxiety, depression, OCD, grief and loss, ADHD and ODD. Orly holds a Masters degree in social work from the University of Maryland as well as a Masters in Developmental Psychology and Communication from George Mason University. She has extensive experience in developing and providing training for teachers and parents.

Orly can also offer therapy in Hebrew.

Jill Jerome, LCSW-C

Child and Family Therapist

301-235-9927 ext 2

Jill has over a decade of experience in working with preschool and school-aged children in a variety of capacities including special education and therapeutic classrooms, therapeutic foster care, preschool consultations, social skills groups and outpatient counseling. She finds that the most effective way to connect, communicate, and create change with any child is through movement and playfulness. Jill has a particular passion for working with families with young children in various dynamics including siblings, parent-child, and parent support. Jill’s role at Growing Minds includes child and family therapist, social skills and K-ready play skills group facilitator, preschool consultant and teacher trainer.

Jill holds a Master’s degree in Social Work (MSW) from Rutgers University, has completed post-graduate coursework in Early Childhood Mental Health, and has specialized training in play therapy methods to incorporate interventions for behavioral issues, grief and loss, anxiety, depression, ADHD, OCD and Autism Spectrum Disorder using integrative approaches of child-centered play, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Sandtray, Filial Play and Parent-Child Relationship Enhancement.

Dr. Stanley Fagen

Child Clinical Psychologist, Social Skills Therapist

301-235-9927 ext 3

Dr. Fagen is a well-known community leader of social skills therapy groups. He has widespread experience in school, hospital and clinic settings promoting success for youth struggling to make and keep friends. Dr. Fagen models a child- centered, strengths-based approach which creates a trusting relationship allowing for practice and coaching in desirable behaviors and correction of social mistakes. With more than twenty five years conducting these groups, Dr. Fagen has found that children and adolescents can gain the confidence, knowledge and skills for developing positive relationships. He has demonstrated that effective social skills therapy groups can help overcome discouraging past experiences of social frustration or failure and initiate an optimistic identity as a socially valuable person.

His background includes positions as social skills therapist for the Jewish Social Service Agency; school psychologist, supervisor of special education training and director of staff development for Montgomery County Public Schools; associate director of the Hillcrest Children’s Center-Children’s Hospital Psychoeducational Institute; and chief child psychologist for the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Dr. Fagen established and led the social skills therapy program for JSSA, and directed the Inservice for Mainstreaming Program and Special Education Parent Information Center in MCPS. He has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, a B.S. in Psychology from Brooklyn College. and a Certificate in Group Therapy from the Washington School of Psychiatry, His many publications include books and manuals on teaching children self-control; behavior management; individual and group counseling; promoting successful mainstreaming; and helping parent’s enhance their child’s social progress.

Laura Szabo, LCSW-C

Child and Family Therapist

301-235-9927 Ext: 4

Laura Szabo has over a decade of experience working with a diverse range of children, adolescences, and their families. She specializes in helping school-age children and teenagers navigate anxiety, depression, peer issues, family conflict, disruptive behaviors, ADHD, grief and loss, and issues related to early adolescence. Laura combines a strengths-based perspective with her clinical training to provide her clients with practical problem solving tools. She uses creative techniques to help children with their expression of emotion and use of positive coping strategies. She believes that successful healing begins with a strong therapeutic relationship, and strives to provide an empathic and non-judgemental space for her clients and families. Laura also has experience conducting workshops for parents and developing training programs for physicians. Laura holds a Masters degree in Social Work with a concentration in Interpersonal Practice from the University of Michigan. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Rochester.

Daniela Nogales, LCPC

Child and Family Therapist

301-235-9927 Ext: 5

Daniela is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who specializes in group therapy for girls and tweens. She is experienced in facilitating therapeutic groups with a special interest in building self-esteem and confidence, managing stress and navigating peer relationships. Daniela understands the pressures and challenges girls face as they grow and believes in the importance of empowering girls with tools and strategies in a fun and safe environment.

Daniela uses an integrative approach; incorporating Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), mindfulness and expressive techniques in order to engage group members. Daniela strongly believes in working collaboratively with parents in order to establish and maintain change.

Daniela obtained her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Loyola University Maryland. She has completed post-graduate coursework in CBT techniques for working with children and adolescents with anxiety, as well as specialized training in Child-Centered Play Therapy (CCPT).

Daniela can also offer therapy in Spanish.

Buzz Leizerov

Therapy Dog in-training

Buzz is a 4 year old Shipoo. She is hypoallergenic and is sweet and patient. She loves working at Growing Minds and greatly enjoys being held and pampered by children. Buzz enjoys welcoming everyone into the office with a sniffing nose and a wagging tail. If you or your child are nervous around dogs, please let your therapist know so arrangements can be made for Buzz to do her paperwork instead of greeting you at the door. Buzz can be available for petting and doing tricks for treats with adults and children. She might be available to join your session, too!