Our Staff

Our staff therapists place deliberate emphasis on a holistic approach: mind, body and spirit. In a peaceful, homelike atmosphere, therapists at SCC make clearer the steps, and help point people toward reachable goals. Our therapists are highly trained and experienced counselors with a minimum of a Master's Degree and are state licensed.

Amanda Holbrook, MA, LMHC, NCC - Family and Community Outreach Coordinator

Amanda is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who has experience working with children, teens, adults and couples in a variety of clinical settings. She has successfully worked with clients struggling with a variety of concerns including: depression, anxiety, trauma, relational concerns and adjusting to life transitions. She maintains a passion for working with those struggling with marital or family relationship issues including the grief and loss associated with miscommunications, separation and divorce. Amanda is a Christian and, at the client’s request, will incorporate scripture and Christ-centered approaches into therapy; she has also received specialized training in specific Christian approaches to marital therapy. She earned her Masters in Community Counseling from Regent University in Virginia. Throughout her education, Amanda engaged in specialized classes, trainings, and field experiences in the areas of couples and family therapy to best support her goal of empowering individuals and couples to improve hope, contentment and communication throughout their relationships. Amanda believes that positive change is possible and strives to empower individuals, couples and families to take the steps toward achieving this in their lives. 

Gail Wernsing, LCSW-R

Gail is a Certified Social Worker, licensed in New York State, who provides individual therapy at the Center. She specializes in the area of alcoholism and other addictions, and related recovery issues, as well as anxiety, depression and issues specific to aging and loss.  Gail received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Syracuse University.

James Davis, Ed.D, LMHC - Executive Director

Jim Davis has over twenty years of experience working with a diverse population including children, adolescents, and adults.  Jim grew up in Utica and started his college career at Mohawk Valley Community College.  He then transferred to the State University at Albany and completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree with a Certificate of Advanced Study in Counseling.  In December of 2013, he graduated from the Sage Graduate School, Esteves School of Education, with a Doctorate in Educational Leadership.  He is a Certified School Counselor and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the state of New York.  Jim has presented workshops and trainings on topics that include Cyberbullying, Teenage Behavior, Healthy Relationships, Substance Abuse and Addictions, Decision Making, and College and Career Planning.  Jim believes that all people have the ability to learn and grow from their connections with others and through a conscious desire to change for the better. To Jim, counseling is a journey guided by the counselor and directed by the client.  His personal goal is to provide a positive supportive environment to facilitate healthy change and success in ones life.

Rose Klingmeyer, LMHC

Rose is a nationally board certified counselor who specializes in brief solution-focused psychotherapy. She has a Certificate of Advanced Studies from Loyola University in Pastoral Counseling, and a MS in Counseling from Loyola University. Her training includes: Brief Solution-Focused Psychotherapy, Eye Movement Desentization Reprocessing (EMDR), Critical Incident Stress Management, Dual Diagnosis/Co-Occurring Disorder, Alcohol and Drug Certification. She creates a calm and caring environment for her clients.

David G. Schlaegel, LCSW-R

Dave entered service with the Samaritan staff as a Consultant in 2016.  A graduate of Trinity International College, Deerfield, IL, Dave went on to earn his MSW from Syracuse University School of Social Work. He completed his training with internships in Social Work at both St. Luke’s Memorial Hospital Center and the Office for the Aging. Dave was previously employed as therapist with the Family Support Counseling Program at Herkimer Area Resource Center, Herkimer, NY.  While there, David was a preschool evaluator, as well as, a counselor to consumers and their families.  Dave’s Christian theological background has prepared him to incorporate principles of scripture into therapy when requested by clients. David embraces a Biblically based theology that provides him with a complete model with which to treat the whole person, “spirit, soul & body”. 

Robert Christman, Psy.D.

Robert comes to the Samaritan Center following a broad based career in pastoral work, counseling, and education.  He was received a Master of Divinity from St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida, a Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling from St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida, and a Psy.D. (Doctor of Psychology) from Carlos Albizu University, Miami Campus.  His internship was at Goodman Center for Psychological Services in Miami FL.  His post-doctoral residency was at Henderson Behavioral Health, a community mental health agency in Broward County, Florida.
Currently a licensed psychologist in New York, he has worked with those who have a chronic mental illness, substance use disorders, depression, and anxiety.  His work was in government and non‑profit agencies.  Additionally, he is a human service professor at Mohawk Valley Community College.  He is a member of the American Psychological Association.   He previously held licensure as a Mental Health Counselor in the state of Florida.
He believes strongly that a healthy person is able to balance a life that includes body, mind, and spirit.  As a practitioner, he sees growth in the area of mental health as needed for growth in the spiritual dimension of a person’s life. 

Deborah Rowlands, LCSW-R

Deborah completed her undergraduate degree at The Pennsylvania State University, and obtained her Masters in Social Work at Marywood University in Scranton Pennsylvania in 1986.  She has been providing therapeutic counseling supports to adults, adolescents, children and families in the Utica Area for the past 30 years.  She currently works full time for the Utica City School District and has part time hours with Samaritan Counseling.  Ms. Rowlands counsels individuals and families to acquire the skills need to resolve social, emotional and behavioral concerns.  She enlists interventions from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and solution oriented therapy to assist clients in reaching identified goals and a state of personal well-being and inner peace.

Denise Brown, LCSW

Denise completed her under graduate studies at Utica College of Syracuse University earning a bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 1997.  She completed her Masters in Social Work at University at Albany. Denise has worked in the Mohawk Valley serving people with intellectual disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, family issues, substance abuse, and mental health issues for the past twenty years. She incorporates Cognitive Behavior therapy, Dialectical Behavior therapy, Motivational Interviewing therapy, and strengths based approaches to her practice.

James Davis, Ed.D, LMHC, Executive Director
Janice Powers, BA, Office Manager