Our Team


Anthony Polito, LCSW, LCADC

Executive Director

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

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 and contented 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 I help my clients draw on these strengths to realize the lives they want for themselves. I seek to elicit the changes that people want for themselves and assist them in exploring the best ways to reach their goals.

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 to get better.  

I hold both Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor designations and a master's degree in Social Work from Rutgers University.


Lee Ann Cianci, LPC, LCADC, ACS, CCS

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.


Danielle Nebesni, LCSW, LCADC

Staff Clinician

Danielle is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug
Counselor who earned her master’s degree at Kean University and her Bachelor of Arts
at Colorado College.

Her experience includes community-based non-profit outpatient settings and intensive inpatient community settings working with ages 5-21 and adults.

She specializes in working to empower clients and their families who are experiencing relational or other obstacles like trauma, loss, mood disorders, anxiety, panic, self-esteem issues, and substance use issues. Her multidisciplinary approach includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Motivational Interviewing and Positive Psychology Theory (PPT).


Victor Perez, MA, LAC

Staff Clinician

Victor is a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC), bilingual in English and Spanish, who works with adolescents and adults dealing with substance use and mental health issues. He has a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling from Kean University.

He operates from a humanistic and dialectical  behavioral therapy (DBT) orientation and specializes in working with adolescents to help them develop resiliency skills such as optimism, self-efficacy and general life skills. Consistent with Ascend Treatment and Wellness Center’s philosophy, he incorporates techniques from positive psychology theory (PPT) into his practice. 

Victor is a Licensed Associate Counselor (LAC) and is actively pursuing his license as a Professional Counselor (LPC). He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and Spanish from Drew University.


Tiffanie Everard

Admissions Coordinator

Tiffanie is responsible for the daily operations of Ascend Treatment Center. Tiffanie oversees scheduling, billing, client relations and general office matters.