It’s not about us
We still feel its important for you to know who we are and what we do
Meet The Team
We believe its “takes a village” for a community to thrive. Our team took their experiences in education and life and together made Collaborative to tackle even the most toughest of challenges.
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Maria Pietruszka, MS, LMHC, CASAC-T
Maria (She/Her) was born in Poland and migrated to NYC at the age of 3. She was raised in Brooklyn and carries that as a badge of honor.
Maria attended Hunter College where she graduated with a degree in Sociology. She then attended LIU Brooklyn and obtained her Master’s in Mental Health Counseling in 2017. During her time at LIU Brooklyn, she was the campus representative for the American Psychology Association Division 35 Society for the Psychology of Women. Maria was involved in hosting events that help spread awareness for feminist research, theory and education to understand and improve the lives of girls and women in all their diversities. This helped Maria develop her passion towards working with women and women’s issues.
After graduation, Maria was hired as a full time substance abuse counselor at Outreach, where she completed her internship for graduate school. She worked with adults to help them reach their goals in recovery. Maria implemented harm reduction techniques to help promote a more inclusive and realistic approach for treating substance use disorders. She is determined to approach all her clients by meeting them where they are and empowering them to meet their treatment and therapy goals.
After 3 years, Maria was promoted to Program Coordinator where she was responsible for running Restart Academy, a Department of Education alternative high school for students with substance use and behavioral issues and an after school program for outpatient services for adolescents. Maria enjoyed working and advocating for adolescents and young people. She guided them through different life transitions like: finishing high school, coping with peer pressure and preparing for the next chapters of their lives like college or full time employment.
Maria also supervised new counselors and her approach was always to empower counselors and teach them listen to their “clinical gut”.
Maria is driven by social justice and participated in movements for Black Lives Matter, women’s rights and animal rights. Her approaches in therapy display her commitment to provide an empathic, compassionate and judgement-free space where people from all walks of life can address their emotional issues, life transitions and meet their therapy goals.
When she is not in session, Maria teaches as an adjunct lecturer at Hunger College. She teaches courses like Drugs and Society and the Sociology of Mental Health. In her free time, Maria loves to re-watch “The Office”, spend time with her two cats Rajah and Stella and try new vegan recipes.
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