Summer training program at the Five Towns Wellness Center


A new training program is being offered at the Five Towns Wellness Center in Cedarhurst this August. Dr. Sara Schwartz Gluck, the clinical director of psychotherapy who has a Ph.D. and is a licensed social worker, will lead the program that is geared towards mental health professionals who treat children and teens.

The wellness center’s program is filling up fast as it is limited to 12 participants. It will be divided into four sessions that span two seven-hour days on Aug. 21 and

Parent interviews, the assessment process and building a rapport is covered in the first session. Sharing an evaluation with parents and working with them on a treatment plan is the second session.

Treatment-Play/Art Therapy focuses on using art and play therapy methods and the final session offers insight into explaining the cognitive behavioral therapy technique to children, based on an article Gluck wrote. Lectures, case presentations, question/answer opportunities, role-play and breakout groups are part of the training.

“I thought of the idea of starting a formal program so that people could come and learn the things that we do here that we’ve found to be effective so that they can feel more confident with their own work, have less burnout and be more effective with helping their own clients,” Gluck said.

Gluck founded the wellness center in May 2014 after recruiting three other colleagues, Dvorah Levy, Karen Herrmann and Motti Shanet, all licensed social workers, who had all previously been working individually.

The center, which treats up to 200 patients offers treatment for children, adolescents and adults that include an assessment and a plan based on an individual’s needs. For children specifically, play and cognitive behavioral therapy are combined to facilitate the treatment process. “Play is a great way to get kids to feel like they can express what’s going on,” Gluck said.

Clinical observations for school environments, multidisciplinary collaboration with various professionals, such as psychiatrists, and psychometric testing are also used to determine what therapy would work best for children and adults during a 45-minute session. There are six clinicians that collaborate. Patients come from referrals and word-of mouth.

With recent progress in raising awareness of mental health issues in this country, Gluck, said, “the demand for therapy is so large.” By increasing awareness of these issues, the shame that can go along with it is reduced. She has found that parents in the Five Towns area are proactive and “want their kids to have every advantage possible.”

Warning signs of potential mental health issues for children and adolescents, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, include feelings of anger or worry often, inability to sleep or eat, isolation from others, alcohol and/or drug use and harming her/himself.

Michal Simon, a social worker who has been on Gluck’s child treatment team for a little over a year is excited about the training program. “I find that our practice is unique in the individualized care we give to each client,” she said, “I think that Sara has a lot to give to whoever can come to the training.”

For more information about the Five Towns Wellness Center and the new training program, visit