Our Team

Ascend Treatment and Wellness Center

Anthony Polito

Executive Director

I have been in the behavioral health field for over twenty five years and have seen time and time again that addiction and mental health issues are a complex interaction of biology, psychology, environmental influences and social factors. In short, mental health and addiction issues are complicated to understand 

Yet while treating individuals with mental health and/or substance use disorders, I have witnessed the best in the human spirit and have seen countless people develop the skills they need to recover and go on to lead fulfilling lives.

My style of treating both mental health and substance use disorders, as well as their associated problems is rooted in the tenets of Motivational Interviewing (MI), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Positive Psychology Theory (PPT). I seek the inherent character strengths that all human beings possess and help my clients draw on these strengths to realize the lives they want. 

I am a client centered, directive and skills-based therapist.  I believe my role as a therapist is to listen in an emphatic and nonjudgmental capacity and to provide clients with the skills that not only will help them feel better but will enable them to get better.

I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)  and Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC). I earned my master’s degree in Social Work from Rutgers University.

Lee Ann Cianci

Clinician & Community Outreach Coordinator

Lee Ann is responsible for Ascend’s outreach to the community including families, non-profits, health professionals and municipal agencies. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor with over 15 years of experience working with adults and adolescents with substance use and mental health diagnoses.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology and her master’s degree in clinical counseling from Fairleigh Dickinson University, specializing in Addictions Counseling.

Her professional experience includes community-based not-for-profit agencies and hospital-based programs, spanning direct client care, staff and program supervision, program administration and leadership.

Lee Ann’s therapeutic approach is rooted in motivational interviewing (MI) and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Consistent with Ascend Treatment and Wellness Center’s philosophy, she incorporates techniques from positive psychology theory (PPT) into her practice as well. 

Jessica Fewer

Licensed Associate Counselor

Jessica Fewer joined the team as a Licensed Associate Counselor. She also works as an elementary school counselor and has over 3 years of experience working with children, teenagers and parents/guardians.

Jessica earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from James Madison University. She then earned her master’s degree in Counselor Education with a Student Assistance Coordinator (SAC) certification from The College of New Jersey.

Jessica believes that every client is unique with their own set of strengths and weaknesses, and therefore, she incorporates a variety of therapeutic techniques into her treatment approach, including CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), Motivational Interviewing and Person-Centered Therapy. 

Penny Prosperi

Licensed Clinical Social Worker & Alcohol & Drug Counselor

I have worked in the field of mental health and substance abuse for over 25 years.  In that time, I have worked for the State of NJ, hospitals, mental health centers and substance abuse treatment centers.  I believe very strongly in a strength based and holistic approach to working with clients and consider it a privilege to assist people on their path to wellness. I am a graduate of the MSW program of Rutgers, New Brunswick and work as an adjunct professor in Social Work at Seton Hall University, South Orange. 

Adam Matter

Clinical Mental Health Counseling Graduate Intern

As a counselor with a multicultural background based in Egypt and the United States, I recognize the importance of seeking a culturally sensitive therapist: It is frustrating to feel as if your therapist doesn’t understand your unique beliefs and life story. I seek to provide a culturally competent and inclusive environment which can promote growth and well-being. 
My therapeutic approach is rooted in the core philosophies of Motivational Interviewing (MI) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). I also use a holistic approach, combining the core elements of several modalities and using them appropriately with what the client needs. 
I obtained my bachelor’s degree in psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University, and I will receive my master’s degree from there as well in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in December 2024.
I am native and fluent in Arabic and English, and I have a deep understanding of Middle Eastern and Islamic culture.  

Corynn Robinson

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Through my academic background in English Literature, I developed a profound understanding of the human experience. This exploration led me to pursue a more meaningful career path, culminating in my becoming a licensed social worker. My unique perspective allows me to deeply understand human nature and motivation, which allows me to help others navigate the challenges that hinder their path to fulfilling life.

Central to my practice is the belief that every individual deserves to feel genuinely heard and understood. I utilize a variety of therapeutic approaches, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), and Person-Centered Therapy (PCT), to help clients overcome obstacles and achieve their goals.

Through a collaborative and empowering therapeutic process, I am committed to walking alongside my clients on their journey towards self-discovery, healing, and growth.