Counseling Services Staff

The Counseling Service is staffed by psychologists, counselors, an administrative assistant, and a part time consulting psychiatrist affiliated with the University. In addition, each year multiple graduate interns and externs contribute to the counseling center staff.

Karen LevinsonDr. Karen Levinson, PhD 
Director, Counseling

Dr. Levinson has been affiliated with SHAC since January 2004, serving as the Assistant Director for 4 years before becoming the Director in the Spring of 2013. She works as a Staff Psychologist, providing clinical services as well as overseeing the Counseling Center and Staff. Dr. Levinson earned her degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Delaware, and is a Licensed Psychologist in the state of Pennsylvania.She has worked in a variety of settings including college counseling (University of Delaware and Temple University), Friends Hospital, and community mental health centers (Northwestern Human Services and Community Council For Mental Health and Mental Retardation).

Gauri SaxenaDr. Gauri Saxena, PhD
Assistant Director, Counseling

Dr. Saxena is a Staff Psychologist at SHAC. She earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from George Washington University in Washington, DC. Dr. Saxena completed her pre-doctoral internship at Santa Clara University Counseling & Psychological Services, and she has also trained at Catholic University's Counseling Center. In addition, she has experience working in hospital settings and community mental health clinics, and has experience in psychological assessment. Dr. Saxena's professional areas of interest include international and first generation students, diversity & multiculturalism, trauma, anxiety, stress management, and identity development, as well as health promotion & disease prevention programming and grant writing. 

Benjamin Barnes, PsyD

Benjamin Barnes, PsyD
Staff Psychologist

Dr. Barnes is a Staff Psychologist at Student Health and Counseling (SHAC). He earned his Psy.D in Clinical Psychology from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) in 2017. He completed an APA-Accredited pre-doctoral internship at PCOM’s Center for Brief Therapy in which he received training in psychotherapy, psychological assessment, and behavioral health consultation. Dr. Barnes has also trained at the Center for Cognitive Therapy at the University of Pennsylvania and has held employment in community mental health as well as wraparound services.  Dr. Barnes has professional interests in sleep disorders, human sexuality, gender identity, ADHD, anxiety, mood disorders, positive psychology, and diversity.

Bryan Peightal, PsyD
Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Bryan Peightal is the postdoctoral fellow at SHAC. He earned his PsyD in Clinical Psychology from Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, PA. He completed an APA-accredited predoctoral internship through the Chestnut Hill College consortium, training at Growth Opportunity Center—a large outpatient group private practice. As part of his clinical responsibilities, Dr. Peightal worked in the Bryn Athyn College Counseling Center. In addition, he has experience working in community mental health clinics and school districts, as well as experience conducting psychological assessment. Dr. Peightal’s professional areas of interest include working with individuals on the autism spectrum, anxiety, depression, and the transition from adolescence to young adulthood.

Alicia MillerAlicia Miller, MPH, CHES
Health Information Analyst

Alicia obtained her Master's degree in Public Health from the University of the Sciences (May 2015) and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.  She manages all aspects of the Student Health Insurance Plan including enrollment, waivers, and education about benefits and accessing services; coordinates counseling center client scheduling and registration; as well as overseeing several health promotion programs, including STI testing and immunization clinics. She has a strong interest in community outreach and, in particular, economic disparities, mental health, sexual health, and adverse childhood experiences.

Teresa Pitchner, DNP, CRNP, PMHNPDr. Teresa Pitcher, DNP, CRNP, PMHNP
Psychiatric Consultant

Dr. Pitcher is the psychiatric consultant at SHAC providing psychiatric evaluation and medication management. Dr. Pitcher earned her DNP from Wilkes University, and her MSN with a focus on psychiatric nursing practice from Drexel University. She has an extensive and varied background that includes physical medicine, education, and psychiatry. Dr. Pitcher’s clinical career has been focused on psychiatry for more than a decade with experience and training in outpatient, inpatient, forensic, and drug & alcohol settings. Dr. Pitcher’s clinical interest include health and wellness among the severely mentally ill, novel approaches to treatment resistant illnesses, and those dually diagnosed with mental illness and intellectual disability.

Counseling Practicum Students

Christina Kuo

Christina Kuo is a counseling practicum student for the 2018-2019 academic year.  She is in the final year of her MsEd  program at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education (GSE) in the School & Mental Health Counseling program.  She graduated from Boston University with a Bachelor’s in Economics and Drexel University with a Master’s in Fashion Design.  Her previous experience includes utilizing creative fiber arts with individuals from different age groups who are recovering from eating disorder, anxiety, depression, anger issues, chronic pain and PTSD.  She believes that developing a combination of positive coping skills, healthy support systems, physical wellness and individual purpose, along with a person-centered approach, can lead to a healthy foundation to thrive.  In her spare time, Christina enjoys going to the movies, traveling, reading, playing the piano and creating fiber arts.  She is currently training her rescue dog Maggie to earn her Therapy Dog Certificate. 

Kassondra BertulisKassondra Bertulis

Kassondra Bertulis is a clinical practicum student for the 2018-2019 academic year. Kassondra is currently a second year Doctoral Student at Widener University. She graduated from the University of New Haven with a B.A. in Psychology and a B.S. in Criminal Justice. Kassondra believes that the exploration in therapy can help a person maximize their inner capacities and improve their overall psychological wellness.  Previously, Kassondra worked with elementary school children through Animal-Assisted Therapy. She also has experience with military veterans through working at the VA. Kassondra’s clinical interests include sleep, trauma, sexuality, anxiety, and forensic psychology.

Marisha VashiMarisha Vashi, MA

Marisha Vashi is a practicum student at SHAC and is currently in her 3rd year of training in the Clinical Psychology Doctoral program (Psy.D.) at Widener University. She has an M.A. in Behavior Analysis from Long Island University. She has also received training in Biofeedback. Her previous practicum experiences include providing individual therapy and running psychoeducational groups at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center; and conducting school-based assessments and helping children develop emotion regulation skills in a K-8 charter school. Her professional interests include anxiety, mood disorders, trauma, health psychology and issues relating to diversity and multiculturism. 


Whitecar Hall
1st Floor, Suite 1200
University of the Sciences
600 South 43rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-4495

Office Hours*

*Clinical hours may differ from office hours.
Student Health
M-F 9:00am - 5:00pm
Wednesday - Extended hours during Fall and Spring until 7pm

Counseling & Insurance
M-F 9:00am - 5:00pm


Student Health
(P) 215-596-8980
(F) 215-5967621

Counseling & Insurance
(P) 215-596-8536
(F) 215-596-7576