Our Mission

Creating a new standard for mental health and wellness in the Catholic Church by providing services and resources based on the integration of faithful Catholic anthropology with sound psychological science to help people become who God created them to be.

Become Who You Are.

These words from St. John Paul 2 have echoed in my heart since I first heard them in 1997 at World Youth Day in Paris. My journey has taken me from being a student in the classroom of Peter Kreeft to a Franciscan Friar with Fr. Benedict Groeschel, and eventually to earning a doctorate in Clinical Psychology in 2012 before forming the CatholicPsych Institute. 

I formed CatholicPsych to empower people to become who they are by providing services and resources that integrate authentic Catholic anthropology with sound psychological science...

Read More About The CatholicPsych Institute

You can now access a team of the very best.

Trained in the full Integration of an authentically Catholic anthropology and the very best psychology you will find, our world-class team will help you reach your goals in the most efficient and faithful way possible. 



The CatholicPsych Team


Gregory Bottaro, Psy.D


Dr. Bottaro is a clinical psychologist and founder of the CatholicPsych Institute. He received his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the Institute for the Psychological Sciences, a graduate school in Arlington, VA that integrates Catholic philosophy and theology with sound, empirically validated psychology.

Before his degree, Dr. Bottaro discerned a religious vocation with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (CFRs). He lived four years in the Bronx, serving the poor in the tradition of St. Francis of Assisi. He learned how to discern God's voice and live a life in service to others.

Six years after leaving NYC as a friar he returned as a psychologist. The CatholicPsych Institute began there in 2012 and has since grown to 5 offices with 12 therapists serving clients around the globe.



Bryan Violette, Psy.D


Dr. Violette completed his doctoral degree in clinical psychology at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences. His dissertation research focused largely on developing a specific psychotherapy designed to address the struggles of contemporary men within the framework of a Catholic anthropology.

Dr. Violette first discerned his call to study psychology while studying theology at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, CT, not far from his hometown of Wethersfield. Combined with his volunteer work serving the underprivileged in local impoverished areas and learning firsthand how devastating mental illness can be to family life, Dr. Violette was impassioned to attend to the growing need for professional care from a Catholic standpoint.

Dr. Violette has worked for four years as a general practitioner at Catholic Charities and the Institute for the Psychological Sciences. He provided professional care to populations in Arlington, Virginia and Denver, Colorado. His therapeutic interventions at these sites included individual, family, marital, child, and group therapy. He also spent a year at the Washington D.C. Superior Court assisting troubled urban youth whose psychological struggles entangled them in the court system.

Areas of Expertise

  • Individual Adult Psychotherapy
  • Men’s Issues
  • Adolescent Issues
  • Marital Relationship Enhancement
  • Sexual Addiction


Gerard McNicholas, Psy.D


Prior to formally studying psychology, Dr. McNicholas worked as an educator for Long Island Teen Freedom, a federally-funded youth development program focused on abstinence-based education and sexual integrity training. He went on to study Mental Health at Franciscan University of Steubenville, and during this time, devoted himself to intensive psychological and spiritual formation as a member of the university’s Priestly Discernment Program. After completing his undergraduate degree, he was employed as a behavioral specialist, and provided treatment to individuals with autism spectrum disorders and other intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Inspired by the pillars of teaching, research, and therapeutic treatment, and in pursuit of academic excellence rooted in the tradition of the Catholic faith, Dr. McNicholas went on to complete his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.) at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences. Throughout his clinical training, he has had the opportunity to serve children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families within a variety of treatment settings, including community mental health, private practice, and inpatient psychiatric hospitals.

As a doctoral candidate, Dr. McNicholas provided treatment to an outpatient population of children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area. He facilitated a group therapeutic curriculum aimed at creating organizational strategies for managing family stress within a private practice setting. Dr. McNicholas also provided treatment to those suffering from both acute and chronic mental illness within private inpatient psychiatric hospital settings; first, at the Psychiatric Institute of Washington (PIW) in Washington, D.C., and then at Friends Hospital in Philadelphia, PA . During this time, Dr. McNicholas conducted individual therapy, group therapy, psychological assessment, and family sessions on adolescent, adult, and geriatric units.

Areas of Expertise

  • Individual Adult Psychotherapy
  • Loss of Meaning and Purpose
  • Marital Relationship Enhancement
  • Narrative Therapy
  • Child Centered Play Therapy


Emily Dowdell, Psy.D


Dr. Dowdell is a psychologist-trainee currently practicing and working toward  licensure. Dr. Dowdell received her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D) from the Institute for the Psychological Sciences, a Catholic graduate school in Arlington, VA. Dr. Dowdell has always had an interest in the arts and sciences. Prior to pursuing her doctorate, she operated an independent wedding photography business and worked as a freelance graphic designer. Her prior experience working closely with couples preparing to celebrate and capturing the intimate moments of their wedding day fostered an appreciation for the breadth of human experience and the ability to serve as a witness. Similar to wedding photography, psychotherapy offers an invitation to humbly enter into and witness the experiences of another.

Dr. Dowdell completed her supervised training over the course of five years in a variety of settings. She began her training at Community Support Services in Gaithersburg, MD working with adults and adolescents with severe developmental disabilities and autism spectrum disorder. Here, Dr. Dowdell worked closely with several patients to help them develop social skills and enhance their abilities to complete tasks of daily living through group therapy to promote successful community life. Dr. Dowdell went on to work for Phoenix Houses of the Mid-Atlantic in a residential substance use treatment program for adolescent females in Arlington, VA. At Phoenix House, Dr. Dowdell engaged in family therapy sessions, individual sessions, and group therapy with a focus on substance use and relapse prevention to support young females in recovery.

Following these placements, she completed her second year of training in outpatient psychotherapy at the Institute for Psychological Sciences Center for Psychological Services, working with individuals, couples, and families and conducting psychological assessments. Dr. Dowdell also assisted with assessments for Clergy in an assessment-focused summer externship with Fountain of Life, a Catholic private practice in Falls Church, VA. Dr. Dowdell continued her third year of training on an assessment-track at the Psychiatric Institute of Washington, a private psychiatric hospital in Washington, DC. At PIW, Dr. Dowdell worked with individuals with severe mental health concerns including psychosis, trauma, and depression.

Most recently, Dr. Dowdell has spent the last two years in Maine, completing her pre-doctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship at the state psychiatric hospital, Riverview Psychiatric Center, in Augusta. At RPC, Dr. Dowdell supported a multidisciplinary treatment team in treating patients with severe and persistent mental illness through group and individual therapy, comprehensive psychological assessment, and staff consultation.

Dr. Dowdell has witnessed, in all of her training placements, the undercurrent of interpersonal trauma in psychological difficulties and has focused much of her independent reading and research on treating trauma from an interpersonal perspective.

Areas of Expertise

  • Trauma and Dissociation
  • Self-Injury and Suicidal Ideation
  • Substance Use and Co-occurring Disorders
  • Personality Assessment
  • Vocational Assessment for Religious Discernment


Teresa Violette, LPC


Teresa Violette completed her MS in Clinical Psychology from the Institute for the Psychological Sciences. 

Teresa’s faith formation started at an early age. Raised cradle Catholic, she had her first major experience of the Lord’s tangible and real presence while in high school. During her Sophomore year, she felt His call to pursue a true healing path, centered in Him and His Church. In following this call, she chose to complete her BA in Theology and Psychology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, going on to get her MS in Clinical Psychology from the Institute for the Psychological Sciences. Both academic institutions emphasized the integration of true Catholic theology, philosophy and psychology.

Teresa completed her supervised training at the Catholic Diocese of Arlington VA, serving families transitioning from homelessness to self sufficiency. She provided marital therapy, child and adolescent therapy as well as adult group psychotherapy.

She now is working with CatholicPsych Institute fulfilling her call to provide psychotherapy formed by, rooted in and centered on Jesus Christ and His Holy Catholic Church.

Areas of Expertise

  • Parenting Consultation and Play Therapy
  • Individual Adult Psychotherapy
  • Adolescent and Children Issues
  • Drug and Alcohol Substance Use
  • Family Therapy


Sean Faulkner, LMHC, LPC


Sean Faulkner completed his MA in Counseling, specializing in Addictions, from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. Sean is a convert to the Catholic faith after being raised in a devoutly Christian home. Born in Japan to parents who served as missionaries, Sean was aware of Christ’s love to the whole world from a young age. It was much later, while studying to be a counselor at a Protestant Seminary, that Sean sought truth from a variety of sources including Catholic priests, scholars, and close friends.

He eventually discovered that the fullness of truth resides in the Catholic Church that Christ established and he joyfully & proudly entered this Church on Easter of 2013. He is now passionate about allowing the truth and love of Jesus to help transform people’s lives through Catholic mental health counseling.

Sean received supervised training at NorthPoint Professional Counseling in Michigan under the supervision of a Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist (CSAT) who helped individuals and married couples overcome the trauma incurred from sexual addiction. Sean provided therapy to individuals, couples, and groups who struggled with the following challenges: addiction, anxiety, depression, bi-polar, trauma, low self-esteem, identity, marital, relational, communicational, and career development needs.

Areas of Expertise

  • Individual Adult Psychotherapy
  • Men’s Issues
  • Adolescent Issues
  • Relationship Enhancement
  • Sexual Addiction
  • Spiritual Issues


Sandra Czybora, LMHC


Sandra Czybora is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor trained from a pastoral perspective at Fordham University. She also holds an MA in Psychology from Duquesne University where she learned existential, humanistic and psychodynamic approaches to therapy, building upon her undergraduate studies in existentialist philosophy at Stony Brook University. Sandra completed her supervised training serving clients at Stony Brook’s Counseling and Psychological Services and at CatholicPsych Institute.

From childhood, Sandra was drawn to Christ through the story of His Passion. Being identified as a writer by teachers throughout her education, Sandra came to understand that God spoke to her as an Author through the medium of story. In experiences of suffering, writing, prayer and healing, Sandra has cultivated a mature faith in the transformative value of affliction, seeing the practice of psychotherapy as a means to help others find Christ in their stories. Integrating philosophy, psychology and theology in her work as a therapist, Sandra uses her knowledge of story to explore the lives of her clients, and seeks to foster healing through the unique encounter of the therapeutic relationship.

Areas of Expertise

  • Individual Adult Psychotherapy
  • Pastoral Counseling
  • Trauma and Narrative Integration
  • Depression and Anger
  • Resentment and Forgiveness


Stephanie Muncy, LMHC


Stephanie completed her MA degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Messiah College. During her undergraduate career, Stephanie studied at Eastern University, which instilled in her a commitment to social justice. Stephanie received a BA in Missions & Anthropology, which led her to study and serve in Uganda, Rwanda, and Mozambique. Prior to pursuing a degree in counseling, she had the privilege of interning in an administrative capacity with a Rwandan reconciliation group that not only assisted Hutus and Tutsis in the radical work of forgiving one another after the genocide, but also healing from their trauma. Through Stephanie’s academic and cross-cultural experiences, she developed an interest and desire to participate in the work of mental and emotional healing.

Stephanie completed two field placements prior to the CatholicPsych Institute. She co-led social skills groups for elementary-aged children and adolescents for a nonprofit organization on Long Island, NY, and provided individual therapy for adults at a Catholic counseling center in Manhattan, NY.

Areas of Expertise

  • Multicultural Therapy
  • Spiritual Issues
  • Scrupulosity
  • Grief
  • Adolescent Issues


Marlen Baiza, MS


Marlen strives to create a safe and empathetic therapeutic environment for individuals to find support in their pursuit of change and growth. Today Marlen is responding to God’s calling to continue to help others through the authentic integration of the Catholic faith and counseling. Marlen is currently serving in a house of prayer for women in New Jersey while serving the poor and going on missions with the spiritual guidance of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (CFRs).

Marlen has worked with foster children and adolescents. She worked for Catholic Charities in Miami, serving traumatized refugee children who came to the United States. Marlen has been providing therapeutic services to adult refugees as well, assisting in family reunification processes. She's counseled individuals with mood disorders, self-esteem issues, domestic violence cases, neglect, plus physical, emotional and sexual abuse trauma, among other conditions.

Areas of Expertise

  • Bilingual: Spanish and English
  • Acculturation Issues
  • Abuse Trauma
  • Child-Centered Play Strategies
  • Individual Psychotherapy


Kirsten Butera, MS


Kirsten Butera holds an MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Divine Mercy University. She completed her initial internship experience with the CatholicPsych Institute and is now continuing her work at the post-graduate level. Working under the supervision of Dr. Bottaro and Dr. Violette, she is eager to contribute to the mission of integrating psychology with the rich Catholic understanding of the human person in order to help others flourish.

Kirsten earned her BA in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville. For three years following, she evangelized university students as a missionary with FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students). Kirsten entered a cloistered monastery and lived for seven years as a contemplative nun. Though she ultimately discerned that consecrated life was not her calling, those years proved invaluable in terms of human and spiritual formation. Moving to the Bronx, Kirsten then spent two years as a lay missionary with LAMP (Lay Apostolic Ministries with the Poor), seeking to meet the spiritual needs of the materially poor. Her experience included pro-life sidewalk counseling and hospital and homeless shelter visitation. With eyes newly opened to the reality of suffering, the depth and resiliency of the human person, and the healing power of presence, a seed was planted to be a channel of God’s love and healing to others through one-on-one relationships. Along the way, Kirsten encountered various Catholic mental health professionals who inspired her. After moving to Rhode Island and marrying her husband, Kirsten decided to pursue the same path.

Areas of Expertise

  • Individual Psychotherapy
  • Women's Issues
  • Infertility


Amy Grace Miller, LPC


After receiving her MA in Counseling from Our Lady of Holy Cross College in New Orleans, LA, Amy Grace gained experience working as a counselor in a variety of non-profit organizations, as well as in a psychiatric hospital, providing group therapy for those struggling with addictions and various mental illnesses. Although she has since taken a detour in her counseling career to pursue non-clinical work, she has maintained her desire to help hurting people find healing in Christ.

Originally from South Louisiana, Amy Grace has lived near Philadelphia, PA since an internship with the Theology of the Body Institute led her there in 2016.

She enjoys drawing and painting, working out, Cajun dancing, craft cocktails, and spending time with her nieces and nephews.


Joanna Nycz-Wasilec, MS


Joanna Nycz-Wasilec has been working as a secretary and virtual assistant to Catholic mental health professionals since 2004.

She received her MS degree from Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland (2002) and completed a 2-year post-graduate program at the Pontifical Academy of Theology, also in Kraków.

She is a full-time wife and mother to Michael Maximillian, Maria Faustina and John Paul.

Get In Touch

Send Us A Message