2440 M St. NW Suite 314, Washington, DC 20037
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Mental Healthcare in Washington, D.C.


Staff Information

We feel that certain characteristics are indispensable in our staff. The most important of these is that the professional performs this work because she or he truly cares about people. A good medical doctor or therapist must have the ability to truly empathize with the problems of each patient, must be willing to go the extra mile when necessary, and must demonstrate the same degree of concern for each patient that the doctors or therapists themselves would like to receive if she or he was the one seeking help. Our staff does not view their work as just a business, but as a passion; they each derive their satisfaction from helping people.

The second important characteristic is that our staff members be knowledgeable in their particular subspecialty. We expect each staff member to be on the cutting edge of advances in this rapidly growing field. Continued self-education is essential. Our ability to use treatment techniques must be equal to the best that the mental health field has to offer.

The third characteristic that you will find in each staff member is conscientiousness. Attention to details, investigation of all diagnostic and treatment possibilities, and responsible follow-up to meet the needs of a patient promptly are key components of being “conscientious.”

In order to provide a treatment plan that can address the individual complexities, the Center assembled a comprehensive range of medical doctors, therapists, and services. Each staff member not only has an excellent general knowledge of the mental health field and the work of other practitioners at the Center, but each doctor and therapist also has an area of expertise. This allows a patient to be treated by a doctor or therapist with an in depth knowledge in a particular type of therapy or problem and a range of experience dealing with that problem that usually cannot be equaled by a general practitioner. We therefore try to match you with an expert in the field. Since some individuals may have several types of problems or benefit from several different approaches, at times several staff members may be working together on a case.

We have an appreciation for the importance of team work and the ingredients that make it successful, such as a mutual respect for each team member's strengths and frequent communication among the staff.

To learn more about some of our staff members, please continue reading or contact our office to learn more about our services.


Bernard J. Vittone, M.D.

Dr. Vittone — Mental Healthcare in Washington, DC

Voted Washingtonian's Top Doctor 2017 and 2018
Click here for Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Vittone was born and raised in a small town in Western Pennsylvania. His father was a coal miner for ten years before working his way out of the mines to become a judge and then president of a bank. His mother was a professional artist. Dr. Vittone attended Georgetown University where he majored in Psychology and was inducted into Psi Chi, the Psychology Honor Society. From there he attended Georgetown University School of Medicine where he was in the top ten percent of his class, was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha (the National Honor Society of Medicine), and received an award for Outstanding Achievement in Microbiology. He then did a year of postgraduate training in Internal Medicine, another year of training in Ophthalmology, and completed a Psychiatric residency at St. Vincent's Hospital and Medical Center in New York City. He went on to a two year Fellowship in the research of Anxiety Disorders and Bipolar Disorder at the National Institute of Mental Health. Upon completion he became a Guest Researcher at NIMH for eleven more years. Dr. Vittone is Board Certified in Psychiatry and Neurology, and is also a Board Certified Forensic Examiner.

Dr. Vittone started the National Center for the Treatment of Phobias, Anxiety, and Depression in 1985. As its Director, he has guided it into becoming a clinic known for its top quality clinical care. Dr. Vittone has published many articles in medical literature and has frequently appeared on TV, radio, newspapers, and magazines as a nationally recognized expert. He has been repeatedly recognized as a Washingtonian Magazine Top Doctor and Top Therapist.

Dr. Vittone's philosophy emphasizes compassion and cutting-edge expertise. He truly cares about his patients and individualizes care to their needs and preferences. He treats his patients with great respect, is non-judgmental, warm, down-to-earth, and tries to inject a little humor when appropriate. He collaborates with his patients, attaching great importance to their preferences as to treatment options. He feels that every individual is special and he does his best to make them feel that way.

Alvaro Guzman, M.D.

Voted Washingtonian's Top Doctor 2017 and 2018
Dr. Alvaro Guzman is a compassionate and effective psychiatrist highly skilled in treating mental health patients. He is knowledgeable and capable in the psychopharmacology and psychotherapy of Mood and Anxiety Disorders. His interpersonal and communication skills are a plus. These assets allow him to work efficiently and empathically with his patients. He continually adds to his knowledge base by staying on top of established and evolving biological, psychological and social sciences, and the application of this knowledge to patient care. Dr. Guzman has demonstrated a commitment to carrying out his professional responsibilities. His reliability, ethical principals, sensitivity and curious mind make him a warm and caring therapist.

Dr. Guzman's rich and varied clinical experience goes well beyond his formal Psychiatry training at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington D.C. His interest in research began at the NIH and continues now at the School of Medicine at the University of Maryland. His commitment to clinical work with minorities and his studies in social issues has helped him to gain a better and deeper understanding of the human condition.

Currently, Dr. Guzman is the Deputy Director of Andromeda Transcultural Mental Health Clinic, a multicultural center that focuses on an under-served population in Washington D.C. Also, he is Clinical Assistant Professor of the Psychiatry Program at University of Maryland in Baltimore.

Dr. Guzman is a Board eligible diplomat of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He is fluent in English and Spanish.

Teodor T. Postolache, M.D.

Voted Washingtonian's Top Doctor 2017 and 2018
Teodor Postolache is a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Maryland in Baltimore and on the clinical faculty of Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C. For two years, Dr. Postolache has led the Psychopharmacology Consultation Services of the DC Department of Mental Health & St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C., consulting on very complex cases and teaching residents and medical students.

Dr. Postolache currently treats anxiety and mood disorders, complicated by abundant transmeridian travel, in employees from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and helps elite athletes achieve their full potential through non-pharmacological means, such as alignment of circadian perk performance with competitive demand. A graduate of the Clujnapoca Medical School in Romania, Dr. Postolache completed postgraduate studies in Medicine at the Vienna General Hospital (Vienna, Austria) and Broussais Hospital (Paris, France) and his residency training in Psychiatry at Beth Israel Medical Center (New York, NY), the Manhattan Campus of Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Postolache is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Recognized as "Best Therapist" in the Washingtonian Magazine in the area of "Seasonal Affective Disorder".



Freda Smith Vittone, LPC

Freda Smith Vittone is a Board Certified Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor (LPC). She has worked at the National Center since its inception in the 1980s. Freda has learned much from the early staff here, and as a result, is considered an expert in the treatment of anxiety.

Freda tailors her treatment of anxiety and mood disorders using a combination of therapy models. While utilizing a strong Cognitive-Behavioral base, she is also trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). In addition, she also has extensive training in Ego State Therapy. EMDR and Ego State Therapy are very effective in the treatment of trauma, which often manifests in anxiety and mood problems. Freda especially enjoys treating people who suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) as well as individuals who have developed phobias including social phobias and agoraphobia. She has devised a combination of solutions-oriented strategies, while often weaving in EMDR and Ego State techniques, which allows people to overcome these problems in a relatively short period of time.

Freda also enjoys working with couples and families, as well. She has found that the same nuts and bolts approaches she uses in the treatment of anxiety and depression are also useful in helping people deal with relationship problems.

Paula D. Atkinson, LICSW

Paula D. Atkinson is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) in Washington, D.C. providing psychotherapy to adults and young adults with difficulties in the areas of eating disorders, negative body image, compulsive behaviors, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, and self-esteem. Her style integrates principles and practices of psychodynamic theory, self-psychology, mindfulness, transpersonal psychology, cognitive-behavioral techniques, and interpersonal work. She supports her clients in the development of self-compassion, and in releasing what is unnecessary. The feedback from clients is that her style is relatable, warm, compassionate, and authentic.

Paula is also a registered yoga instructor at the highest level, teaching yoga classes and serving private yoga students for over 12 years. She uses yoga practices and meditation tools to treat anxiety, depression, destructive thinking, negative body image, and compulsive behaviors. Paula holds a Master's in Social Work from Hunter College School of Social Work in NYC. She is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and the Greater Washington Society of Clinical Social Work. She has worked with a diverse spectrum of clients in a variety of clinical settings including an inpatient Eating Disorders clinic, New York City's Department for The Aging, a homeless shelter for teen mothers in the Bronx, an outpatient substance abuse clinic, The Kolmac Clinic, and private practice. Paula also teaches courses at the George Washington University in the Health and Wellness Department in Yoga & Healing and Weight & Society where she was awarded instructor of the year in 2004.

Rebecca Marcus, Psy.D

Rebecca Marcus, Psy.D. is a licensed clinical and school psychologist in Washington, D.C. She received her B.S. in Human Development from Cornell University with concentrations in adolescence and social and personality development. She then received her doctorate in School and Clinical Psychology from Yeshiva University in New York where she conducted research on eating disorders in young adults. Dr. Marcus has experience working in schools and mental health clinics with adults, parents, families, and youth dealing with a range of issues including depression, anxiety disorders, trauma and PTSD, relationship difficulties, mood disorders, adjustment disorders, ADHD, and divorce. While working in schools she conducted comprehensive psychological and psycho-educational assessments with children and adolescents and worked with children dealing with developmental issues, educational difficulties, and social, emotional, and behavioral challenges. Her approach to therapy is integrative, combining cognitive behavioral, supportive, family systems, and insight-oriented approaches. Dr. Marcus' collaborative, empathic, and flexible style takes into consideration the needs of each individual.

Stephanie Preller, LICSW

Stephanie Preller is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) in the District of Columbia. Stephanie is a graduate of New York University’s Social Work program. She has extensive experience working with culturally diverse clients in a variety of clinical settings, including inpatient and outpatient mental health clinics, as well as a partial hospitalization program for individuals suffering from eating disorders and other co-occurring mental health issues. Stephanie has experience conducting individual, group, and family therapy with clients struggling with stress/anxiety, mood disorders, trauma, eating disorders, body image issues, and relationship and adjustment concerns. She truly believes in the power of the mind-body connection and she is also a certified yoga instructor. Therefore, when clients are interested, Stephanie incorporates yoga and mindfulness/meditation into her therapy sessions.
Stephanie takes a strengths-based and integrative counseling approach and works collaboratively with each client to help them identify and work towards their personal goals. She modifies her therapeutic interventions, incorporating principles from psychodynamic theory, cognitive-behavioral and dialectic-behavioral therapy, and mindfulness, to meet each individual’s needs. Stephanie strives to create a calm and non-judgmental environment where clients can explore and work through clinical issues in a safe place.