About Our Team
We are a committed group of people who demonstrate our values of compassion, thoroughness, and results-orientation in everything we do. Feel free to contact us at any time and we will be happy to help you.
MICHAEL MCMANUS, LICSW, MSW
Michael McManus, MSW, LICSW is President and Owner of McManus Counseling. He is a mental health therapist with a passion for helping adults, children, youth, and families. Over the last 20 years, Michael has served children and families in Massachusetts through various past positions in the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF), as the Director of Training and Technical Assistance in the Office of Foster Care and Adoption at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and in private practice. His background in social work and his experience as a foster and adoptive parent inform his work. Michael is also a Senior Associate with MJ Henry and Associates, a practice-based education and consultation firm that specializes in education and consultation services for individuals and organizations working to support children, youth and families, especially those who have experienced adversity. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Sociology and Psychology at Becker College and frequent lecturer in the social work program at Wheelock College.
Michael earned his bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Ithaca College and his Masters in Social Work from Springfield College. He is licensed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW), the highest level of certification for social workers.
LAUREL HEMMER, LICSW
Since becoming a Social Worker in 1995 my love has been working with children and their families. I believe all people have the capacity to grow and change in positive ways. Life presents all of us with challenges and struggles and one of our goals in life is finding ways to face our problems, challenges, hopes and fears with positivity, openness, support, and, yes, hard work.
In the fall of 2005 I was introduced to the world of play therapy and have become a Registered Play Therapist. Although this is not the only model I use with children and their families, it is prevalent in how I work. Children’s natural language is play and therapy can be difficult. Using a language they understand is extremely helpful in creating opportunities to support children in facing their struggles and in working towards their goals.
John Dwyer, LICSW
A graduate of Boston College Graduate School of Social Work, John has a myriad of experiences in social work from nursing homes (geriatric and specialty homes, ventilators, and TBI) to hospice to counseling children and adults. John is the father of 4 children ranging from 26 to 15 years old and uses all of his life's experiences to shape his practice.
John current accepts: Blue Cross Blue Shield, Beacon Health Options, and Medicare.
Kelly Gratton, LMHC
After graduating from Assumption College in 2003 with a Masters Degree in Child and Family Counseling, I had the unique opportunity to be the clinician in a UMass-led research project studying how to reduce and prevent the suspension and expulsion of preschool age children from community-based settings. My time spent there had a wonderful impact on me and I continued to peruse more knowledge and skills to help children and families throughout my professional experience as a clinician earning my LMHC, and continuing to be involved in various research projects where I learned a variety of evidence based skills to support my work. Most notably would be the extensive time I have invested in learning Child Parent Psychotherapy and Trauma Informed Cognitive Behavior Therapy used to treat children who have experienced trauma. I have had the privilege of reducing barriers to treatment by being available in a variety of setting such as outreach offices located in low income housing complexes, inside of schools, and within a traditional office setting. While young children and families has always held a special place in my heart, my work as an outpatient clinician over the past sixteen years has allowed me to expand my skills and experience to work with individuals throughout the lifespan continuum.
I have always held to my belief that no two individuals are exactly alike and use that philosophy to make sure I am educated and well trained in a variety of practices and techniques as a therapist. I am trained in and use any number of techniques as needed in treatment including but not limited to child parent psychotherapy, cognitive behavior therapy, dialectic behavioral therapy, parent child interactive therapy, social skills training, and parent training techniques. I look forward to the opportunity to assist you in choosing the treatment approach that will be the right fit to help you and your family in achieving your goals.
Kelly currently accepts: Blue Cross Blue Shield, Beacon Health Options, and Medicare.
Vanessa Muscente, LICSW
Full Bio Coming Soon!
Ms. Muscente specializes in older children, adolescents, adults, and older adults. She has expertise in behavioral therapy, couples therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and treats a wide range of mental health conditions. She holds a MSW from Boston College and has over 5 years experience treating complex clients across multiple settings.
Vanessa currently accepts: Blue Cross Blue Shield, Medicare, Beacon Health Options, and Medicare. Please call the office to make an appointment.
RICK MCMANUS, MSW, MPP
Rick McManus, MSW, MPP is the Vice President of Operations for McManus Counseling. He is a seasoned administrator with over 20 years experience managing and directing complex health and human service systems. Rick oversees all billing, finance, and administrative issues for McManus Counseling.
Rick earned his bachelor's of social work from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois and his Master of Social Work and Master of Public Policy degrees from the University of Michigan.