About Us

Free Workshops Presented by Hartford Family Institute

Hartford Family Institute (HFI) has been a cutting edge Psychotherapy and Training Center since 1969. The Psychotherapy created and practiced here is a combination of in-depth body emotional work, energy healing, shamanic spiritual healing and trauma work. It is called HFI Body-Centered Psychotherapy and is often referred to as HFI THERAPY. Hartford Family Institute has evolved into Hartford Family Institute’s Center for Psychotherapy & Healing Arts, (HFI), which provides this unique psychotherapy and counseling, but also offers healing in many other therapeutic modalities. All practitioners at HFI share a common belief in the healing effect of aligning our energy. We also share a common vision and concern for people’s emotional, physical and spiritual well-being. HFI training programs, under the direction of the founding partners and associates, include certification programs, advanced psychotherapy training for established counselors, therapists, healers, and practitioners in the healing arts, a master’s degree, as well as a full range of healing and psychotherapy modalities. We have expanded over the years to become a community of five Partners, four Associates and many Independent Practitioners. In addition to our primary location in West Hartford, CT., the Founding Partners have educational and training sites in Kansas City, MO. and New York. For 21 years we also had training programs in Germany.

Publications by HFI Partners

Looking to rent space for your psychotherapy or healing arts practice?

Join us at Hartford Family Institute, a community of psychotherapists and healing arts practitioners.

To learn more, email info@hartfordfamilyinstitute.com or call David Gilroy at 860-236-6009

Transforming Relationships: Come As You Are
(Please call us at 860-236-6009 to purchase)

by David and Donna Gilroy

Hartford Family Institute’s Center for Healing Arts consists of five core partners, three associates and numerous Independent Practitioners. We are a community of Psychotherapists, Energy Healers and other Healing Arts Practitioners who have joined together to enjoy a collegial atmosphere, to learn from one another and to co-market our practices. We share a joint vision about counseling, psychotherapy and healing and meet regularly to discuss our similarities and differences. Each independent practitioner is a sole proprietor of their own private practice. There is no supervisory connection between the Partners, Associates and the Independent Practitioners.

Many people at the Hartford Family Institute’s Center for Psychotherapy & Healing Arts help to create and nurture our community. Come meet us.

Founding Partners

Stuart Alpert, Psy. D, LCSWStuart Alpert, Psy. D, LCSW

Co-Founder of Hartford Family Institute’s The Center For Healing Arts
Co-Creator of HFI Body-Centered Psychotherapy

Stuart is a Co-Founder of Hartford Family Institute’s Center for Psychotherapy and the Healing Arts and the Co-Creator of HFI Body-Centered Psychotherapy. He has authored two books, What To Do Until Enlightenment, Healing Ourselves… Healing the Earth, and Roads Back In Time, Seeing The Invisible and Healing The Impossible.

Stuart truly cares about people and brings his caring to each therapy session. He believes in people’s ability to heal themselves emotionally, physically and spiritually. Through the years his spiritual and mindfulness practices have deepened and become a part of the psychotherapy, teaching and supervision that he does. “My strength is in my ability to experience the multi-dimensional nature of emotion and energy and understand how we organize our bodies in relation to trauma. I use this understanding in the service of my client’s healing.”


Naomi Lubin-Alpert, Psy. D., LMFTNaomi Lubin-Alpert, Psy. D., LMFT

Co-Founder, The Center For Healing Arts at The Hartford Family Institute
Co-Creator of HFI Body-Centered Psychotherapy

Naomi has developed original understandings of emotional trauma and the bonding process that she brings to each therapy session and to her teaching in their training programs.

“I feel privileged to have been a part of the healing process of many people. I see the mystery and awe that is my life’s work and feel gratitude to have been given this gift. I feel blessed that I can read the messages that each person’s spirit brings to me as they enter my office. I am able to intuit and conceptualize personality and spiritual dysfunction in a unique way. This is what led me to co-create HFI Body-Centered Psychotherapy with my partner and husband, Stuart Alpert.”


Donna R. Baker-Gilroy, Psy.D.,LPC

Donna R. Baker-Gilroy, Psy.D.,LPC

Donna’s life has been greatly enriched by doing the work she loves. Her trainings and experiences as a Nurse, Medical Technologist, Psychotherapist, Energy Healer, Mother, and Grandmother have led her to believe that we each possess the potential for healing and living our lives as authentically and fully as possible, in tune with the subtle energies and vibrations within and around us. In order to experience this we need help in discovering the ways this natural process may have been interrupted or stopped. We need to understand and appreciate how the patterns we developed for survival may now be the very patterns that keep us from living to our full potential.

In Donna’s work as a Body Centered Psychotherapist she feels passionate about helping individuals and couples make these discoveries and develop new patterns that support their lives more fully.

Donna and her husband David provide therapy and workshops for couples in conflict. They have developed a specialty that combines psychotherapy with a Buddhist form of conflict resolution called “Beginning Anew.” They wrote a together titled Transforming Relationships: Come As You Are. This is written as a guide for couples and as a model for therapists who work with couples.

As a Master in the Usui System of Reiki Healing, Donna works with clients to support and activate their innate healing abilities as well as conducts trainings in the practice of the Usui System of Reiki Healing. This hands-on healing art is a gentle, non-invasive, non-verbal way to support the integration of mind, body, and spirit and is a powerful complement to psychotherapy.

David Gilroy, Psy.D., LPC

David Gilroy, Psy.D., LPC

David has been a therapist since 1985. He is fascinated with the healing of people and relationships, and with the power inherent in people free to be themselves. He works with individuals and couples and trains psychotherapists in the HFI Professional Training Program.

David and his wife Donna wrote a book, Transforming Relationships: Come As You Are, about conflict resolution and growth in relationships. In this book they integrate the practice of mindfulness and couples therapy. They conduct one-day workshops for couples who want to express appreciation, take responsibility and clear the air with each other.

Sylvia Gingras-Baker, MA, LMFT

Sylvia’s life-long interest in how people relate to one another is what led her to become a therapist. Her initial training was in family therapy where she learned, among other things, simple, basic concepts which can help all of us have more rewarding relationships. Later she received training in body-centered Gestalt therapy which helped deepen her work with individuals, couples and families. In more recent years, she has become involved in meditation and mindfulness practice.

While all of this training and more is basic to her clinical work, being able to integrate her life experience as a wife, a mother, a daughter, a grandmother, a sibling, a friend and a business partner is equally important in Sylvia’s work.

Sylvia wants to tell those who are suffering in their lives, “there is hope and there is help. Things can get better with proper support, work and commitment.”


Donna Berman, PhD

Donna Berman holds a Ph.D. from Drew University in Religion and Social Ethics. An ordained rabbi and Executive Director of the Charter Oak Cultural Center, she is interested in the connections between spirituality, psychotherapy and the arts. Donna graduated from Hartford Family Institute’s professional program in 2010  and has been an assistant trainer, working with Naomi Lubin-Alpert,  for the past nine years. Donna began at HFI in 2000 in the Human Relations Program and that experience changed her life.  That is why she is thrilled to be the new director of HRP.

Dori L. Gatter, Psy.D., LPC

Dori is a licensed professional counselor and a practicing therapist since 1994. She is a graduate of the Hartford Family Institute Body-Centered Gestalt Therapy Training Program and is Co-Director and a trainer in the Human Relations Training Program.

Dori brings extensive experience working with individuals, couples, children and families. Dori works with people in a therapeutic approach that provides a way for people to embody their emotions and truly work with the physical, emotional and spiritual dimensions of their issues, leading to fulfilling relationships and more satisfying lives.

As each individual is unique, so should be the treatment. Dori is trained in a broad spectrum of therapies with include but are not limited to: Body-Centered Gestalt Therapy, Hypnosis and Reiki. Currently, she specializes in working with anxiety and depression, relationship difficulties, family of origin issues, trauma resolution, parenting, and life coaching. For more information please check out her website at www.drdorigatter.com.

David Hovey, Psy.D., LPC

David’s practice is grounded in the belief that we each possess unique inner wisdom that can lead us to healing. He holds deep empathy and respect for those beginning the healing process. David believes in the healing power of laughter and often uses humor as a counterbalance to the natural intensity of the therapeutic process.

David has always had a passion for helping people improve their lives. Through his own inspiration and years of studying the Human and Spirit behavior, he developed techniques to make significant Upgrades in all areas of life. He is living proof that you can live your dreams.

He brings more than 20 years of business experience to his work as a therapist, which has led him to understand that therapy should be focused and produce results. The ultimate goal is improvement in one’s quality of life.

David has been working with individuals, couples, children and groups for fifteen years. He also currently serves as a trainer for Human Relations Training Program at Hartford Family Institute.
David possesses a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Fordham University a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from Antioch University New England and a Doctorate of Psychology from the Graduate Theological Foundation. He graduated from the Hartford Family Institute Body-centered Gestalt Therapy Program.

He can be reached at (860) 966-7790. www.drdavidhovey.com

Denise M. Soucie, MACP, LPC

Denise M. Soucie, LPC is a bright and energetic therapist who carries a deep passion for her work. She began her career over 15 years ago working with children who lived in therapeutic residential facilities. She is certified in Body-Centered Gestalt Therapy, and has trained in many modalities including sand tray therapy, trauma and neurobiology, wilderness therapy, and play therapy. She is a trainer for the Hartford Family Institute’s professional and human relations programs. She has a diverse practice which includes work with medical complexities, trauma, anxiety, depression, and sexual abuse.

She believes that each person holds all that they need in order to heal. She enables individuals of all ages to uncover their personal power and learn to use it for their life instead of against it. One of her guiding principles is that whatever the “dysfunction” is that brings a person into therapy, needs to be understood. In understanding how and why this “dysfunction” has served them, the clients can learn to make healthier choices.

Office Managers

Loyda Rosner, Office Manager

Loyda brings her efficient style and outgoing personality into the mix. The staff at HFI already feel that she has been with them forever and she has become a welcome and important person in their team.

Independent Practitioners

Beverley Blass

Beverley Blass has been working in Alternative Health for over 35 years, opening her own center in NYC in 1984, and adding a center in West Hartford, CT in 2004. She is a graduate of HFI’s Professional Training Program in Body-Centered Psychotherapy and now offers services of her own there. Her field of experience includes working with the brain, the heart and the gut. Beverley has studied Body Guided Imagery with Dr. Gayle Peterson, and extensive work with colon hydrotherapy, massage therapy, energy work, herbology, nutrition, and holistic pre- & post-partum care. She continues to explore consciousness by continuing to develop her own intuition and staying open to all that is possible within. Throughout her career, she has been a mentor, guide and therapist to people in all walks of life both in the United States and abroad. Beverley is here to listen deeply and help guide you to live a healthier and more mindful life.

(860) 206-1129       www.BeverleyBlass.com

Susan Dorfman

The work of healing has been Susan’s life path. As a child she was highly sensitive and empathic, acutely attuned to the feelings of those around her. This sensitivity has served me well in my clinical practice. She was also drawn early on into the world of nature and found refuge there. The cathedral of nature sheltered her and continues to offer refuge to her heart and soul.

Susan owes much of her own healing to her training in Body-Centered Gestalt Psychotherapy, exposure and immersion in meditation for the past 20 years, time spent in the woods, at the ocean, doing herbal apprenticeships, working to create sanctuary gardens, and her work as a potter. She takes seriously the need to spend time in the places which nourish our souls. During these times of immense global change it is even more important to nurture oneself and to find a channel of connection to oneʻs spiritual path. Part of her work is to assist people in finding their own unique connection to the place of passion and creativity in their lives. Lack of this connection is often reflected by feelings of emptiness, depression, grief, addiction and illness.

After many years of training in Body Centered Gestalt Psychotherapy, Susan decided to pursue a Masterʻs Degree in Counseling Psychology from Lesley University. She chose Lesley University because of its commitment to issues of diversity and Social Justice. While working towards my Masterʻs degree, she read much evidence-based research on the efficacy of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) as a method for resolving trauma. EMDR is a process of bilateral stimulation to the brain which has been shown to help process trauma. She completed a 6-month training in EMDR through Boston University and utilizes it with many clients. Susan also offers EMDR as an adjunctive therapy for clients working with other practitioners.

Healing happens through opening a channel to the heart, through being attuned and caring towards our own internal states of being and all of our life experiences. She can assist you in doing this in an environment of safety and gentleness. She works with issues of anxiety, trauma, grief and loss, ptsd, self esteem, spiritual meaning, creative expression, relationship challenges and divorce.

Susan continues to place her focus on integrative methods of healing (Body-Centered Gestalt Psychotherapy, EMDR, Reiki, and mindfulness), while staying grounded in the foundation of an attachment based clinical framework. Susan is currently studying Chinese Medicine and creating gardens for healing and sustainability.

The Greek root of the word “Psychology” makes reference to the care of the soul. Susan’s practice of psychotherapy is truly “attending to the care of the soul.” Though not an easy path to choose, it is a path with heart, meaning, and greater self-awareness which ultimately leads to a more fulfilling life. Susan is passionate about her work and loves to assist others. She welcomes the opportunity to meet with you. Susan can be reached at 413-329-6942.

Individual Sessions: $150
Couples Sessions: $175

Background experience: M.A. in Counseling Psychology Lesley University, May 2009, B.A. in Psychology and Studio Art, University of Vermont, May 1985, 7 years of training in Body Centered Gestalt Therapy, EMDR levels 1 & 2 completed June 2008, Reiki levels 1 and 2, EFT level 1, Beginning and Advanced Apprenticeships in Herbology, Medicinal Aromatherapy Certification, Certified Angel Therapy Practitioner with Doreen Virtue, Two years of training in Healing Science with Barbara Brennan

David Hadden, J.D., M.P.C.

Life Coach

As a Life Coach, David partners with individuals and couples to examine and help resolve issues of concern and curiosity. Examples might be improving a relationship, relieving stress or anxiety, navigating a transition, making a difficult decision, addressing work-place concerns, finding deeper meaning in one’s occupation, opening to greater intimacy, or exploring a pathway to greater energy and excitement. These are topics that may be practical or emotional in nature, or quite often a combination of both.

David employs a body-centered approach, grounded in principles of mindfulness and positive psychology. The process is collaborative, creative and thought provoking. David invites his clients into subject matter and depth only to the extent the client is willing to venture. The goal is to empower the client to discover the next step that is right for them. Trust and safety lie at the heart of effective coaching. Candor, gentleness and humor are essential ingredients.

David is a graduate of Hartford Family Institute’s Professional Training Program in Body-Centered Psychotherapy, a program in which he now assists in teaching. He has a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Counseling from Graduate Theological Foundation, and has been trained by MentorCoach, LLC, a coach-training program accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF). The latter has included life coaching ethics and skills, body-centered coaching strategies, practical application of positive psychology principles, and serving clients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Prior to his work as a Life Coach, David counseled law clients for 33 years as a partner in a Hartford-based law firm. He attended college at Harvard University, and received his law degree from The University of Virginia School of Law. He and his wife have raised three children, and lived in the Hartford area for over 35 years. David likes to be outdoors whenever possible, and enjoys hiking, studying and periodic travels.

David’s office is at Hartford Family Institute, 17 South Highland Street in West Hartford. He may be reached at dhadden@rc.com or (860) 559-5894.

George Herrick

Life Coach, Recovery Coach, Shamanic Coach, Personal Growth Consultant

Over the last 20 years, it has been George’s privilege and pleasure to help countless people to bring out the very best in themselves. His mission is that anyone who wants a better life should be able to have the opportunity to receive the guidance they need to achieve it. He has been blessed with great teachers, healers and support in his life, and his work is to pass on the gifts he has received from them.

Life Coaching is a relationship of partnership and collaboration. You define your goals or dreams, examine your options, make your decisions, and take action; George provides a foundation of accountability, strategies and skills, fresh perspective and on-going support to help you achieve or exceed the results you desire. He takes a holistic approach to coaching, understanding that what is experienced in one area of life has an impact on every area of life.

Recovery Coaching helps you release the bonds of addiction, self-defeating habits, codependency and self-limiting beliefs so you can have a satisfying, successful and fulfilling life. George uses the coaching process described above, combined with various recovery models that can help each person grow in the way most suited to him or her. Among those models are 12-step, cognitive behavioral skills, rational-emotive behavioral skills, dialectic behavior skills and body-centered gestalt therapy. He has over ten years of experience working in substance abuse treatment centers with clients and their families.

Shamanic Coaching is an energy-centered, holistic process that works to heal the wounds that limit the free flow of the life force. George studied and apprenticed in the U.S., Peru and Bolivia, gaining expertise in a wide variety of shamanic practices. Certified in level II Reiki, and experienced in chakra energy work and other healing processes, he brings an eclectic blend to the traditional roots found in this oldest of healing practices.

“You have all the potential for success and satisfaction you need already inside of you; my job is to help you identify, transform and resolve the obstacles and limiting beliefs that can get in the way.”

Contact Information:

Elizabeth Kincaid-Ehlers

Elizabeth likes to work with people who are interested in being fully present in their own lives, or who were before something happened. She likes to help people make sense of themselves, and become both responsive to and responsible for their lives. She experiments with treatment approaches and will use anything that works. As she listens to personal stories, she pays attention to the language of the telling that might help individuals hear and understand themselves. Together you can begin to figure out where your plots veered out of order so that you might now choose different directions and live toward different endings.

Over the years Elizabeth has attracted creative and/or sensitive individuals, young and old, male and female. Her practice includes, but is not limited to, teachers, writers, singers and other musicians, actors and gifted adolescents. Her life has been greatly enriched by doing this work. She feels passionate about helping people come fully into the present and being there with them. In this way she can help people discover what binds them to the past or what causes them to obsess about the future, keeping them from being fully alive in the life they are living now

Elizabeth was born in Michigan and has lived in Georgia, Northeastern New York State, Ohio, Italy, Illinois, Western New York State and England, and has settled in Connecticut. She has also traveled around this country and Canada, missing only two provinces and one state. She taught at the University of Illinois, Rochester Institute of Technology, The University of Rochester and The Eastman School of Music before coming East as a visiting writer-in-residence at Trinity College. While retraining in order to practice psychotherapy, she taught at the West Hartford Branch of the University of Connecticut, served in the Writer-in-the-Schools project, and waited tables at Timothy’s Restaurant on Zion Street. In earlier days, she cut stencils and cranked the mimeograph machine for the Cathedral of St. Philip in Buckhead, Ga.; wrote newspaper columns and worked as printer’s devil for the Buckhead newspaper; sold movie tickets and bargain basement shoes, typed forms for the Georgia Department of Education one whole long, hot summer; answered “Dear Davison’s” letters and calls for an Atlanta department store (now a Macy’s branch); lived-in as mother’s help to a big, young family to pay college room-and-board; wore hats as Women’s Editor for the now vanished Troy Record; and tried managing the Alumni Office at Oberlin College in Ohio.

For a long time Elizabeth was married, working, raising children and going to school. Then she became divorced, and worked, raised children and went to school. She earned a B.A. from the University of Michigan; an M.A. from the University of Illinois; a Ph.D. from the University of Rochester; countless post-graduate hours from other institutions; certificates from Hartford Family Institute and the International Institute for Visualization Research and a license as an M.F.T. She has four grown sons and seven grandchildren. “Lucky for me, some of them live nearby.”

For additional information or to find out about Elizabeth’s publications, please click on merganserpress.com or elizabethkincaid-ehlers.com.

Contact: Please call (860) 236-6009

Sara Laughlin, MS, Life Coach

Sara believes that at our very deep and meaningful core we know what we want; that we intuitively possess the wisdom to grow and expand into a meaningful life of our own design.

Sara has learned the many ways in which this simple natural process of self unfolding can be diverted, manipulated, lost , bullied, shamed, broken, confused or usurped. Often we are left at the point where we doubt our own ability to trust and believe. Such a loss is tragic, but does not have to be permanent.

Sara is a trained and certified graduate of the Hartford Family Institute’s Body-centered Gestalt Therapy Professional Program. This type of psychology embodies transformation of self and through such transformation an ability to feel fully alive in a supportive, nurturing and mindful environment. Tears and laughter are welcome.

Along with Sara’s gentle manner and sense of humor, she teaches her clients how to feel empowered. As she affirms each client’s struggles, Sara assists them in creating and bringing forth special meaning and purpose in their lives. Midlife is a time to develop some real passion, and it could be about discovering a new career or a brand new hobby. Her belief is that the midlife stage of development needs to be acknowledged, welcomed, and understood. You work collaboratively to turn these struggles into opportunities

Sara changed the direction of her life in 1999. She decided that seeking out a career that would bring about her aliveness is what she needed at that point in her midlife. In 2005, after completing graduate school and a one-year comprehensive internship as a Mental Health Clinician, she became a Licensed Psychotherapist. Sara understands what this stage of life is all about as she continues to grow and change all the time.

Sara offers a Support/Therapy Group for Midlife Women every Thursday evening from 7:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. Sara can be reached at (860) 561-4021.

Claudia Pina, LCSW, LADC

A warm, genuine and compassionate demeanor characterizes Claudia’s approach. She creates a supportive and nonjudgmental atmosphere where clients can learn to embrace emotions, challenge defeating thoughts and explore life experiences in order to make sense of their dissatisfaction. Claudia works by utilizing effective strategies to assist clients in cultivating greater confidence in their abilities, self-esteem, in creating richer relationships with partners and children, and acquiring more emotional balance and health.

Claudia provides psychotherapy services to adults, couples, families and older adolescents seeking treatment for a range of concerns including drug and alcohol use, lasting effects from trauma, depression, anxiety, sexual and physical abuse, life transitions, women’s issues, codependency and relapse prevention. Claudia has worked extensively in community mental health clinics, inpatient substance abuse units and private practice. She specializes in treating individuals who have experienced trauma and women struggling with addiction.

Claudia is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor who has been working in the field of mental health and addiction services for over 10 years. She earned a Master’s degree in Social Work from Boston College and completed an extensive postgraduate certification in In-Depth Body Psychotherapy and Subtle Healing Energy at Hartford Family Institute. Claudia’s therapeutic style is largely shaped by a background emphazing psychodynamic theory and holistic interventions that integrate Gestalt Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, family systems, meditation/mindfulness, guided imagery, art therapy and inner child work.

In addition to her experience providing psychotherapy, Claudia provides training and supervision to license eligible social workers and graduate level social work students.

To make an appointment please contact Claudia at her office by calling 860-778-8142 or by emailing claudpina@sbcglobal.net.

Sky RobertsDr. Skye Roberts


Dr. Skye Roberts is a Doctor of Acupuncture and Board-Certified Chinese Herbalist, Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner and Reiki Master. She offers a uniquely integrated healthcare approach, treating a wide variety of conditions, with a particular interest in psycho-emotional conditions, digestive disorders, post-stroke rehabilitation, neurological conditions, pain management, endocrine disorders, and women’s health & fertility.

Her interest in Eastern medicine began while working in Asia, for almost a decade.  Extensive travel throughout India, Nepal, and Tibet, exposed her to the rich traditions of Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese medicine, and afforded her the opportunity to experience the benefits first hand. Years later, her passion and personal interest in Eastern medicine transformed into a focused commitment to learning the science behind these ancient traditions.






Chronic Anger


Eating Disorders


Life Transitions

Personal Growth

Physical Pain & Illness



Relationship/Family Issues

Holistic Health and Nutritional Counseling

Life Coaching and Life Change

Reiki Healing

Malaika Sharp

Integrated Movement & Massage Solutions, is a West Hartford Connecticut center that offers a blend of eastern and western healing movement and massage techniques.

Integrated Movement & Massage is operated by Massage Therapist and Martial Artist, A. Malaika Sharp. Mrs. Sharp has been involved in healing and nurturing others for many years. She received her certification and license to practice massage therapy in the State of Connecticut in March, 2007.

Mrs. Sharp practices several massage modalities. One of her goals is to make massage accessible to many people. She believes that it is important to recognize that massage can be a vital component of one’s health maintenance program.