About Legacy Counseling
The mission of Legacy Counseling, LLC is to provide meaningful, purpose–driven action, our legacy for tomorrow. Legacy provides therapeutic services to individuals and families utilizing a holistic approach that recognizes both the person and their core needs. Our core values at Legacy are what we call the 5 C’s:
Compassion, Care, Credibility, Competence and Cultural diversity and sensitivity.
Meet Our Founder
Mala Deodhari-Beni, LCSW
Mala is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) who believes life should be something one fully engages in and sees therapy as a uniquely potent tool to accomplish this. Therapy in its purest form should remove barriers and free constraints to assist one to embrace the best life has to offer. Mala is a double alum of Rutgers University where she obtained her Bachelor's Degree in English Literature from Douglass College and her Masters in Social Work.
Her experience consists of work with elders as a Certified Dementia Practitioner to young adults, adolescents and children coping with trauma, terminal illness, chronic mental and behavioral health needs. Mala has extensive experience providing Psychotherapeutic services as an Inpatient Clinician and Case Manager at both Carrier Clinic and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital as well as Social Work Director of Nursing Home/Sub-Acute Rehab. These experiences have provided her with opportunities to engage individuals of various socio-economic and cultural backgrounds with varying needs.
Mala utilizes her platform with Legacy Counseling, LLC to actively guide and support the 15+ Clinicians that work within Legacy to assist the communities they serve towards identifying and understanding the treatment process, interventions, goals and strategies. Her service to the community sits upon a foundation of effective, evidence-based treatment interventions that are culturally competent and strength based. Her scope encompasses Clinicians, Case Management Organizations, Family Members and Community partners. Mala is dedicated to continuing to assist the Legacy families and communities of New Jersey to maintain stability and achieve personal goals by providing compassion, support and solutions. She refers to all youth as her children because Mala feels that all children are ours and it is our responsibility to protect them. She truly believes and attempts to embody the proverb, “it takes a village to raise a child.”
Meet Our Family
Davendra "DJ", CFO/Controller of Legacy
Davendra "DJ" serves as the Chief Financial Officer/ Controller of Legacy Counseling, LLC. He oversees all matters pertaining to financial records, payroll, bookkeeping and documentation, assistance on developing and establishing expansion efforts, recruitment and retention of staff, staff development and training opportunities, reporting and assessment metrics, and other duties. He has built a hybrid career. He currently serves as a Senior Accountant for a pharmaceutical company that specializes in infusion therapy. He has held several roles concurrently with Rutgers University- Newark. He had served as the Assistant Director for the Student Life and Leadership Office where he was responsible for the coordination and facilitation of new student programs and on-boarding, campus-wide programs and advisement of student organizations.
Prior to that, he worked for 4 years with the Educational Opportunity Fund Program at Rutgers where he served as the Program and Academic Coordinator and had a caseload of almost 700 students. He also has experience working with Rutgers Future Scholars, the Cooperman College Scholars Pre-College Program, the Upward Bound Pre-College Program, the RU-NEXT Pre-College Program and the Braven Leadership Program. His entire experience focuses on developing and bridging the gap for urban youth regarding economic and education equity while taking a holistic approach to their growth. Prior to transitioning to higher education, he has several years of experience in the Corporate Finance and Private Accounting sector. His experience is within corporate taxation- state and federal; asset management controllership and reporting; internal audit and compliance; financial planning and forecasting; and internal markets and risk. He also created a small management and business consulting company for his clients, he focused on small business growth and efficiency and financial effectiveness and compliance. He is an EOF and Honors College alum of the Rutgers Business School and the Rutgers School of Criminal Justice. He is also soon to be an alum of the Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration. DJ is actively pursuing his C.P.A. designation and intends completion by 2023.
Sandiya, Human Resources Director
Sandiya is a Rutgers University Alumni with Bachelor’s degrees in Business Management and Labor Relations. She started her journey with Legacy Counseling LLC as an Administrative Coordinator, where she played a pivotal role in the agency’s expansion over various counties across Central and Southern New Jersey. As Legacy grew, Sandiya added Billing Support to her role and worked closely with Molina Medicaid and now Gainwell. She then became the Human Resources Director and supported the Legacy Team’s seamless transition to Tele-Therapy during the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Her direct work with Legacy’s outstanding Therapists and Behavioral Assistants has fostered the development of a diverse, dynamic team that is able to render the highest quality of care to the client population. Sandiya continues to be an asset to Legacy Counseling LLC as the agency expands into Group and Outpatient Therapy.
Outside of her professional role, Sandiya has been married for six years and is a rockstar Momma to two brilliant daughters. The potential for growth and balance both professionally and personally is an attainable goal when working with the Legacy Team!
Sallyanne, LCSW, LCADC, Clinical Director
Sallyanne is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC) who has worked with youths and adults with co-occurring diagnoses. She graduated with a Bachelor’s in Sociology and a Master’s Degree in Social Work and has accrued more than 12 years of experience leading, managing and supervising professional staff in social services and addictions. From humble beginnings as a student intern in the residential substance abuse arena, Sallyanne evolved and became the Director of Admissions and Co-Occurring Services. The knowledge and skill set she developed then led her to accept a position as a Clinical Supervisor at an outpatient adolescent substance abuse program. Sallyanne continued to be an enthusiastic learner and earned certifications in: Strengths and Needs Assessments, School of Social Work, Arc Grow, Trauma-Focused CBT and Motivational Interviewing.
Through the application of appropriate clinical interventions and meaningful support, Sallyanne is able to serve youths and families in crisis as an advocate and guide to help her clients navigate difficult and often dangerous, emotionally draining situations. Sallyanne knows all too well that life poses many challenges along the way and utilizes a mixture of mindfulness, cognitive behavioral approaches and Trauma-Focused CBT to create a calm, emotionally supportive therapeutic environment. Her goal is to help her clients develop the tools they need to make healthy changes and choices to attain mental health and wellness.
Tara, Outpatient Clinical Director, LPC
Tara has been practicing as a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Rehabilitation Counselor for over 20 years. Her top priority is to meet your mental health needs and provide support through difficult life transitions. Conditions such as anxiety, stress, relationship issues, depression, grief, parenting and coping with disabilities can cause people to lose their vision. Tara works with her clients to find healthy ways to cope and find freedom from negative thoughts, fears, stress, grief and trauma through implementing coping skills such as positive self-talk and self-care to help change thought patterns and address cognitive distortions. She enjoys working with adults and families using an eclectic mix of evidenced-based techniques to help her clients live their best lives!
Tara’s philosophy is: “You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be able to master change rather than allowing it to master you.” A fun fact about her is that she loves fall and everything pumpkin spice!
Jamill is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 25 years of experience as a Mental Health Therapist. He received his Master’s Degree from the University of Southern California and completed additional certifications in Motivational Interviewing and Problem Solving Therapy. He also completed his certification in Arc Grow from Rutgers university which he actively uses when applying a Family Systems Approach in therapeutic practice. He is currently pursuing his Doctorate with Liberty University.
During his years of professional practice, Jamill has worked in outpatient facilities and has done extensive work with individuals who are suffering from alcohol and/or drug addiction. He specializes in working with the male population and has a propensity for treating clients with traumatic experiences such as abuse, neglect and domestic violence. In addition, he supervises LSW’s who are pursuing clinical hours towards their license. His style is one that is encouraging and supportive, allowing clients a safe space to comfortably address their needs. He strongly believes in each individual’s ability to make the necessary changes to improve the quality of their lives and their interpersonal relationships.
Donna has been working in the Social Work field since 1992. She started her career working at a drug rehabilitation center in Newark before moving on to work with older teens who were aging out of the DYFS system and needed access to services to assist with the transition. Her next phase was working for UMDNJ at a School Based program providing individual, group and family therapy. For the past 21 years, Donna has been a School Social Worker and a Child Study Team Social Worker providing services to children and their families. She enjoys working with children and families by helping them to develop new routines, improve their communication skills and foster a better understanding of one another.
Donna graduated from Montclair State College (now University) with a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Counseling. She then earned her M.S.W. from Rutgers University and became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in 2004. She loves working with people to offer solutions, utilizing CBT techniques to help parents understand their children’s behavior and engaging in deep processing to help youths and their families enjoy a better quality of life.
Cassetta is an aspiring Licensed Professional Counselor (LAC) with a Master’s Degree as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor. She has three years of behavioral science experience with training in identifying client needs and is currently in the process of earning her Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counselor. While she is interested in working with a wide range of clients, Cassetta is particularly passionate about working with children and adolescents. In her previous experience, she worked as a Mental Health Associate where she had direct contact with middle and high-school children in an outpatient facility. This experience taught her that she feels her happiest when she is working with children. Her passion led her to co-creating an Autism Spectrum Support Group for children and adolescents with siblings who are on the spectrum.
As a Mental Health Professional, Cassetta is equipped to work with individuals with a variety of mental health issues, including those who exhibit criminal and antisocial behaviors. Cassetta aspires to fulfill her passion of helping others by working in a role that will allow her to conduct interventions at an early age to help children build healthy and successful futures.
Irlande is a Licensed Associate Counselor (LAC) with a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Her passion is helping others and making a difference in people’s lives. She takes pride in providing each client with genuine care and compassion in therapeutic settings where she utilizes evidence based practices, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, REBT and Person-Centered Therapeutic Interventions.
She previously worked at one of the state’s largest hospitals, where she spent 8 years serving a diverse range of clients from different backgrounds and walks of life. Working with these clients was a learning experience that she aspires to build upon as a mental health professional through her continued practice in the field. Irlande prides herself in connecting with her clients from a compassionate, non-judgemental place which creates a safe, motivational environment in her sessions.
Sulie Rosario is a Licensed Social Worker with over 20 years of experience that understands the impact our experiences have on our journey. Sulie’s use of cognitive behavioral therapy and other trauma based interventions focuses to empower clients with long-term techniques to assist with their wellness journey. Sulie received her Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Bloomfield College and went on to receive her Masters in Social work from Rutgers University. After working with the unaccompanied minor population and human trafficking survivors, Sulie was inspired to continue her education. She recently graduated from Loyola University with a Masters in Children and Family Law.
Sulie began her career in domestic violence over twenty years ago, as well. It was at this time she witnessed clients who were in desperate need for advocacy because of their language barrier or immigration status and would continue to see this throughout her career. Sulie is a certified School Social Worker with experience working in a school district and has provided Intensive In Home Counseling. She also worked in Geriatric health care as a Director of Adult day care and an MLTSS Case Manager. During her time as a Supervisor for the Unaccompanied Minors and Human Trafficking programs, they doubled offering more services to those in need in New Jersey and New York. Sulie is passionate about her work with this vulnerable population and leads as a servant to those in need. She feels it is through the works of compassion, love, integrity and faith, that one may manifest their future.
Maria is a Bilingual Psychotherapist (English & Spanish) with her License in Social Work (LSW) who graduated with her Master’s in Social Work from Rutgers University. She was born in Ecuador and migrated to the United States at the early age of three. As the oldest of her siblings and a first generation student, she has first-hand experience in overcoming the barriers and challenges during major life transitions. Maria discovered her passion for the Social Work field early on in her educational career as she has always been passionate about helping others. Her interest deepened as she learned more about the clinical aspect of social work practice which would allow her to connect with people with diverse backgrounds to enhance their well-being.
Maria’s approach focuses on person-centered treatment in order to best meet the individual needs of each of her clients. Her goal as a Psychotherapist is to create a judgment free, supportive environment in which her clients feel comfortable while developing a therapeutic alliance. She has worked with all age groups and specializes in working with clients who are struggling with Trauma, Anxiety, Depression, Bi-Polar Disorder, Self-Esteem Issues and other emotional difficulties. By applying a combination of integrative modalities - such as CBT, DBT, Mindfulness, and Trauma Informed Techniques - Maria strives to assist individuals who seek out help to learn how to manage emotions and behaviors in order to live their most fulfilled lives.
Alexandria is a recent graduate of Monmouth University’s Masters in Social Work program. She completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology with a Minor in Social Work from Montclair State university. Early on in her undergraduate program Alexandria discovered that she was passionate about working with children and families. For a greater part of her life, she found that she was always engaged with youths personally and socially and found a deep sense of motivation to channel this love into clinical work through pursuing her graduate studies in Social Work.
As a Master’s level student, she completed two field placements that broadened her skill set and knowledge base through direct practice with children and families. Her first field placement provided her with the opportunity to work in the substance abuse arena with women and their families. In her second year of graduate school, she completed a field placement at a public elementary school where she worked alongside the Child Study Team. Alexandria gained deep insight and knowledge into the clinical component of social work in schools and facilitated group therapy sessions for a wide range of children on topics such as anger management, stress management and depression. Her goal is to assist people of all age ranges in developing the tools they need to manage emotions and behaviors so they can live healthy, gratifying lives.
Natalie recently graduated with her Master’s in Social Work from Monmouth University. She completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Saint John’s University in 2020. Though she is the youngest in her family, she is the first to attend and graduate college. From an early age, Natalie was certain she wanted to work with children and families and felt fulfilled by helping others. During her graduate school studies, she completed internship placements that allowed her to gain hands-on experience working with both older adults and youths. One of her placements was at a mental health clinic where she worked as an Intake Coordinator. The other was as a middle school Guidance Counselor.
Within her two years of professional experience, Natalie has developed a dynamic sense of versatility by working with various age groups in different areas of social work practice. She has developed her skills in providing support in the following areas: emotional regulation, stress management, depression, suicidality and working with the LGBTQIA+ population. Her immediate goal is to continue to learn, grow and acquire new skills by working with Legacy Counseling so that she can enhance her existing skills and continue to evolve as a Social Worker.
Yanira, Behavioral Assistant
Yanira is a Bilingual (English/Spanish) Behavioral Assistant interning at Legacy Counseling LLC. She was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in New Jersey where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a minor in Neuroscience from Rutgers University-Newark. Community work has been one of Yanira’s passions from an early age. She is currently a graduate student at the Rutgers School of Social Work with an anticipated graduation date of May 2023.
During her short time with Legacy Counseling LLC, Yanira worked her way up to the role of Behavioral Assistant and is responsible for running group sessions for females ages 10-13 years old. These group sessions provide participants with the opportunity to develop different coping mechanisms and skills from the ARC Grow training program in order to promote emotional and behavioral regulation. Prior to joining Legacy Counseling, Yanira worked with children ages 5 to 18 years old with behavioral and emotional regulation difficulties. Yanira aspires to continue to grow in her role with Legacy Counseling LLC and become a DBT Therapist to provide intervention and support to youths, adolescents and adults.
A QUOTE FROM
“In a way, you’ve already won in this world because you’re the only one who can be you.”
Coping with Covid
Legacy has been able to navigate through the Covid-19 pandemic by adapting and evolving both its processes and resources to match what our youths and families have needed. We have leveraged our electronic health records system to assist our Clinicians in navigating and utilizing Tele-psych as well as provide access to our families so that they are able to complete their respective documentation for sessions. We hired and private paid contractors, while adhering to internal and CDC guidelines, to directly interface with families to uphold HIPPA documentation requirements and ensure that families understood their rights to therapeutic interventions during the pandemic. Legacy also leveraged financial opportunities such as assistance loans to ensure our staff stability and the financial resources necessary to maintain Legacy. Legacy focused on enhanced communication and fostering the relationships with Care Managers and Private HMO’s to ensure continuation of services as a means to support Clinicians and families remotely.