Our clinicians spend over 10 years before they join our practice specializing in evidence-based, cognitive-behavioral treatment for anxiety, depressive and behavioral disorders. You will receive the top of the line and most evidence-informed treatment currently available.
Seeing a specialist vs a generalist will be visible in the results you receive. Treatment takes a shorter time (research shows around 3-6 months vs 2-3 years) and will last longer (5-10 years or more).
Johanna Kaplan, Ph.D. Director and Founder Washington Anxiety Center of Capitol Hill
Dr. Johanna Kaplan is the Founder and Director of the Washington Anxiety Center of Capitol Hill. She is a licensed child and adult clinical psychologist in Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia and Delaware. She earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from The Catholic University of America in 2010 and her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Communications from American University in Washington, D.C. She has been in clinical practice for over 15 years.
Prior to opening the Washington Anxiety Center of Capitol Hill, she worked for four years at the Center for Anxiety and Behavior Change in Rockville MD. She also completed 18 months of post-doctoral training at the Institute of Living/Hartford Hospital at the Anxiety Disorders Center/Center for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy under the direct supervision of David Tolin, Ph.D.
Additionally, she completed a 2-year post-baccalaureate fellowship and a 6-year pre-doctoral fellowship in the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program at the National Institute of Mental Health. Dr. Kaplan has received extensive clinical and clinical-research training in anxiety, mood, and obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders and has completed clinical and research work in private practice, community, counseling center, and hospital-based settings.
Together, she has over 100 presentations/publications in the domain of clinical anxiety in adult, adolescent, and child populations. She has been interviewed for several articles in Parent magazine, parent.com, Romper.com, klicknews.com, the Hillrag.com, livestrong.com and has been interviewed by several local television media outlets. She continues to actively pursue her education in evidence-based treatments for anxiety in these populations.
Dr. Jennifer Meeter Child and Adult Clinical Psychologist Staff Clinical Psychologist, Washington Anxiety Center of Capitol Hill
Dr. Jennifer Meeter earned her Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology at Long Island University - Post Campus, and her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Rochester. Dr. Meeter completed a predoctoral internship at Andrus Children’s Center in Yonkers, New York, where she specialized in the treatment of children, adolescents, and their families.
Prior to joining the Washington Anxiety Center of Capitol Hill, Dr. Meeter completed a two-year clinical postdoctoral fellowship at the Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Behavior Management Clinic via the John Hopkins University School of Medicine. At the Kennedy Krieger Institute, she received specialized training in Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) for children and adolescents with anxiety and mood disorders, and behavioral parent training for children with ADHD, and disruptive, impulse-control, and conduct disorders.
Dr. Meeter’s specific clinical expertise includes the treatment of selective mutism, separation anxiety, specific phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and body-focused repetitive behaviors. She also has expertise in behavioral parent training and behavior management for disruptive behaviors including noncompliance, tantrums, verbal and physical aggression. In addition, Dr. Meeter has experience in treating difficulties related to school, emotion regulation, sleep, feeding, and toileting.
She has experience providing a wide range of behavioral and cognitive behavioral interventions to children, adolescents, and their families, including Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), Habit Reversal Training (HRT), Parent Management Training (PMT), and Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). Dr. Meeter provides individual therapy, family therapy, parent training and coaching, and school consultations. Dr. Meeter often uses live coaching methods to provide children and caregivers with practice and support to promote the skill acquisition that leads to meaningful behavior change.
“I am dedicated to establishing a collaborative, compassionate, and supportive relationship with all of my patients and their families. I believe that caregivers can be great change agents for their children, thus I work closely with parents, using evidence-based treatments to empower them to manage behavioral challenges, improve the parent-child relationship, and support their children’s coping. I value collaboration in the therapeutic relationship, thus I’m committed to understanding families’ goals, and providing the support to effectively meet those goals.”
Dr. Meeter is licensed in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC.
To contact Dr. Meeter please call her at (202) 768-6494
Dr. Anna Villavicencio Child and Adult Psychologist Staff Clinical Psychologist, Washington Anxiety Center of Capitol Hill
Dr. Anna Villavicencio earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at Northeastern University. Dr. Villavicencio completed a pre-doctoral internship at the Boston VA Healthcare System with a major rotation through the Child Psychiatry department at Boston Medical Center/Boston University School of Medicine and a minor rotation through the Brockton VA inpatient psychiatric unit and substance abuse residential program. She then went on to complete a 2-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Hartford Hospital/Institute of Living’s Anxiety Disorders Center/Center for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy under the direct supervision of David Tolin, Ph.D., ABPP. Prior to entering the doctoral program, she provided trauma informed clinical care for 2 years as a master’s level clinician at a Boston domestic violence residential program for women and their children.
After completing her training, Dr. Villavicencio was a staff psychologist in the outpatient clinic of Bradley Hospital and clinical assistant professor at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University for 6 years. During her time at Bradley Hospital, she provided evidence-based care specializing in anxiety disorders in both Spanish and English and spearheaded the development of the outpatient clinic’s teen anxiety group program. Additionally, she was a clinician in the Mindful Teen DBT program. Dr. Villavicencio then joined Seattle Children’s Hospital as an attending psychologist and clinical instructor for the psychology department at the University of Washington. During her 5 years at Seattle Children’s, she provided clinical care through the Mood and Anxiety Program (MAP) primarily in the DBT program and the OCD IOP. She was also the practicum coordinator for the OCD IOP providing clinical training and supervision to practicum graduate students.
Dr. Villavicencio specializes in the treatment of a wide range of anxiety disorders including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety and specific phobias using cognitive behavior therapy as well as Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). She also specializes in the treatment of depressive symptoms that often accompany anxiety disorders using mindfulness, distress tolerance and emotion regulation strategies. Dr. Villavicencio greatly values working collaboratively with her patients to support them in learning the skills to effectively manage their stress and create more meaning in their lives.
Dr. Villavicencio is licensed in Washington, D.C., Virginia, Rhode Island, Washington State and with PsyPact. Dr. Villavicencio works with children, adolescents and adults via teletherapy or in person.
To contact Dr. Villavicencio, please call her at (202) 768-6494
Dr. Lediya Dumessa Child and Adult Psychologist Staff Clinical Psychologist, Washington Anxiety Center of Capitol Hill
Dr. Lediya Dumessa earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Mississippi State University, her M.A in Clinical Psychology from Western Carolina University, and her B.A. in Psychology from University of Tennessee. She completed her pre-doctoral internship training at Johns Hopkins University Counseling Center. Prior to that, she trained in various settings including specialty outpatient clinics, residential treatment programs, substance use units, and inpatient hospital.
Prior to joining the Washington Anxiety Center of Capitol Hill, Dr. Dumessa worked as a staff psychologist at Johns Hopkins University Counseling Center providing brief therapy, group therapy, and workshops to undergraduate and graduate students. She has experience treating varied presenting concerns, such as depression, anxiety, adjustment issues, disruptive behavior in children, grief, trauma, acculturation issues, interpersonal difficulties, and substance use disorders.
Dr. Dumessa utilizes a wide range of interventions including, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Exposure Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Mindfulness, Parent Management Training (PMT), Trauma Focused CBT, and Motivational Interviewing (MI). She provides treatment in various modalities including individual, couples, group, and family coaching.
“As a therapist, I integrate cognitive-behavioral and humanistic theories, which I find effective in building meaningful therapeutic relationships while simultaneously challenging and restructuring thoughts and modifying relevant behaviors. My personal and professional experiences living in different parts of the world have increased my sensitivity to the differences in how individuals from different cultural backgrounds experience mental health concerns and seek treatment. As such, I am passionate about making mental health resources accessible to a wide range of communities and strive to provide culturally sensitive treatments. I am also interested in examining protective factors that promote resilience in individuals with trauma, and in implementing research about adverse childhood experiences to promote awareness of their lifetime impact.”
Dr. Dumessa is currently licensed in Maryland and Washington DC. She sees patients in person and via teletherapy.
To contact Dr. Dumessa, please call her at (202) 768-6494
Dr. Rachel Lacks Child and Adolescent Psychologist Staff Clinical Psychologist, Washington Anxiety Center of Capitol Hill
Dr. Rachel Lacks is a licensed child and adolescent psychologist. She earned her PhD in Counseling Psychology at New York University, her Master's in Education at Harvard University, and her Bachelor's of Science in Human Development at Cornell University. Dr. Lacks completed a predoctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship at Center for Anxiety in New York, where she specialized in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for anxiety and related disorders.
Dr. Lacks has trained extensively in many areas, employing evidence-based treatments for a variety of presenting concerns. As a post-doctoral fellow and predoctoral intern at Center for Anxiety, Dr. Lacks worked with children, adolescents, and adults using CBT for generalized anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic, specific phobias, social anxiety, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, parent training, trichotillomania and depression. Dr. Lacks also provided Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) to promote mindfulness, emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, and distress tolerance skills.
During her pre-doctoral training years, she trained at Mt. Sinai Hospital in the department of OCD, Tic Disorders, and Tourette's Disorder, treating both children and adults with OCD and/or tic disorders. She utilized Exposure and Response Prevention (ExRP) to teach individuals to systematically approach anxiety-provoking thoughts and situations while effectively managing maladaptive and/or compulsive responses, as well as Habit Reversal Training (HRT) to teach individuals to engage in competing responses to counteract motor and vocal tics. She also received extensive training in working with children with selective mutism during her time at Child Mind Institute and Kurtz Psychology. Dr. Lacks provided both individual and intensive group services to children struggling with selective mutism, using behavioral techniques and collaborative efforts to provide intervention both at home and in schools. While at Kurtz Psychology, Dr. Lacks also received training in Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) to help parents manage child externalizing behavior and improve the parent-child relationship. Additionally, Dr. Lacks worked at the New York University Center for Counseling and Community Wellbeing as a student pre-doctoral clinician conducting psychological assessments for children and adolescents and preparing comprehensive integrated testing reports.
Dr. Lacks strives to teach children and adolescents about the thoughts, emotions, and body sensations they are experiencing, and couples this with cognitive interventions to identify and challenge maladaptive thoughts, behavioral strategies to alter behavioral patterns, and coping/relaxation techniques. Dr. Lacks makes sessions fun, engaging, and appropriately challenging, and works collaboratively with parents/family members, school personnel, medical professionals, and anyone else involved in patient care.
Dr. Lacks will see children and adolescents at the Washington Anxiety Center of Capitol hill via teletherapy. She is currently licensed in Washington,DC, New York, and New Jersey.
To contact Dr. Lacks, please call her at (202) 768-6494
Dr. Jennifer Henderson Adolescent and Adult Psychologist Staff Clinical Psychologist, Washington Anxiety Center of Capitol Hill
Dr. Jennifer Henderson is a licensed clinical psychologist. She earned her PhD in clinical psychology at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences. During her pre-doctoral training years, she worked in various settings with diverse clientele ranging from college students, to those engaged in substance abuse treatment, and military personnel and veterans. Dr Henderson has received extensive clinical training in such evidenced based treatments like Cognitive Processing Therapy, Prolonged Exposure, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), CBT for pain and insomnia, Mindfulness, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.
Dr. Henderson works with adolescent and adult clients via teletherapy. She has a particular passion for helping those struggling with anxiety and phobias, chronic pain, and health concerns like long haul COVID. She prides herself on being a generalist, willing to work with any client struggling through difficult times and especially during significant life events. She is genuine and engaging, and strongly believes in the importance of bringing our true selves into therapy.
When asked to define her approach to therapy, Dr. Henderson describes her approach as being collaborative, solutions-focused, positive, and appropriately challenging. She works closely with her clients to truly understand them from a holistic perspective, encouraging her clients to partner with her in identifying treatment goals and how therapy will unfold.
"Most people turn to therapy when they've been hurting for far too long and have lost hope in feeling better. My job is to help shine a light in the darkness, helping people better understand themselves and understand what's keeping them unhappy. My goal is to help empower people to better manage life's stressors, cultivate meaning, and rediscover joy."
Before joining our practice, Dr. Henderson worked at a Washington state psychiatric hospital, as well as in private practice. She served nearly 15 years in the U.S. Air Force. She is a mother to two children (one in elementary school and the other in high school) and has been married to her college sweetheart for over 20 years. She loves being in the outdoors, playing video games with her children, and snuggling next to her daughter watching scary movies.
Dr. Henderson is licensed in Washington DC and the state of Washington. She also has an active Authority to Practice Interjurisdictional Telepsychology (APIT) authorization granted by the PSYPACT Commission, allowing her to see clients via telehealth in more than 30 states including Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. For a complete list of all states Dr. Henderson can engage in telehealth services, please visit https://psypact.site-ym.com/page/psypactmap. Dr. Henderson encourages prospective clients to reach out to her to determine for themselves if she is a good partner for their recovery journey. To contact Dr. Henderson, please call her at (202) 768-6494.
Dr. Blaise Worden Adult Psychologist Staff Clinical Psychologist, Washington Anxiety Center of Capitol Hill
Dr. Blaise Worden is a licensed psychologist in Connecticut. She earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Rutgers University, and her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin.
Prior to joining the Washington Anxiety Center of Capitol Hill, Dr. Worden completed a predoctoral internship at Hartford Consortium (University of Connecticut Health Center, Connecticut VA System, and Community Mental Health Services). She then completed a two-year clinical postdoctoral fellowship Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) at the Institute of Living Anxiety Disorders Center in Hartford, CT, receiving specialized training in CBT obsessive-compulsive and related disorders and anxiety disorders and doing clinical research.
Dr. Worden specializes in the treatment of obsessive compulsive, anxiety, and related disorders in adults. She has particular experience with CBT for obsessive-compulsive disorder and hoarding disorder. She has been conducting hoarding disorder treatment groups for the past 10 years and has published a manual on treatment for hoarding disorder. She is the primary investigator on a federally-funded research project examining decision making processes in individuals with pathological anxiety or hoarding behaviors, and served as a clinician on a 5-year clinical trial investigating the neural mechanisms of cognitive-behavioral therapy for hoarding disorder. She has authored or co-authored over 20 book chapters and scientific articles. Dr. Worden specializes in CBT and utilizes a wide range of techniques and treatments such as Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), Mindfulness, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Behavioral Activation, Habit Reversal Training (HRT), and Motivational Interviewing (MI).
“Staying up-to-date about treatment advances and providing the best available treatments is important to me. It also important that we tailor these treatments to your motivational level, circumstances, preferences, and culture. OCD and related disorders, and anxiety disorders, are treatable, even if you have been through some not-so-helpful treatments in the past! In treatment we will work together so that you have less mood and anxiety symptoms, and see functional improvement in your daily life as soon as possible.”
Dr. Worden is licensed in Connecticut and Washington, DC. She only sees patients via tele-therapy.
To contact Dr. Worden, please call her at (202) 768-6494
Dr. Catalina Perez Child and Adult Psychologist Staff Clinical Psychologist, Washington Anxiety Center of Capitol Hill
Dr. Catalina Perez is a licensed clinical psychologist in Washington, D.C. She is a fully-bilingual provider and offers services in English and Spanish. Dr. Perez obtained her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at The Catholic University of America (CUA), with a concentration in Children, Families, and Cultures. While in graduate school, she trained at the Child Development Program, Pain Medicine Clinic, and the Division of Neuropsychology at Children’s National Main Hospital. She also received specialized training in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy and treated young adults at CUA’s Counseling Center.
Dr. Perez completed a pre-doctoral clinical psychology internship in Chicago at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, affiliated with Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. During her internship year, Dr. Perez offered outpatient therapy services through the Mood and Anxiety Program, the Right Start Clinic (early childhood), the Trauma Clinic, and worked with youth with chronic medical conditions. She co-facilitated a child anxiety therapy group and a parent group for young children with disruptive behavior. Dr. Perez also conducted risk-assessments and provided intensive care to high-risk patients.
Upon graduation, Dr. Perez returned to Children’s National Main Hospital and completed a post-doctorate fellowship in Pediatric Primary Care where she provided consultation and therapy to patients ages 0 to 22, and closely collaborated with pediatricians. During her fellowship year, Dr. Perez worked with patients presenting with ADHD, disruptive behavior, anxiety, depression, trauma, suicidal ideation, self-injurious behavior, sleep difficulties, picky eating, toileting problems, learning and developmental delays, chronic pain, and issues related to medical adjustment and adherence. She also provided services to adolescent mothers with perinatal and postpartum anxiety and depression.
Overall, Dr. Perez has a wide range of experience working with children, adolescents and their families. Dr. Perez also enjoys working with adults, especially during important transitional stages in their lives. At the Washington Anxiety Center of Capitol Hill, Dr. Perez treats a range of anxiety disorder, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, and common childhood behavioral difficulties. She employs evidence-based cognitive and behavioral interventions, such as Behavioral Activation, Exposure and Response Prevention, and Parent Management Training. Dr. Perez is a firm advocate of early and preventative intervention and enjoys collaborating with local and international providers to expand access to behavior health services.
“I am a strong believer in family-centered care; caregivers are one of the most important agents of change for children. I strive to acknowledge, understand and respect your family’s cultural beliefs and values, so that together, we may agree on the best interventions that will set your child up for success and align with your family’s practices. I truly hope that through the therapeutic process, you and your child will find greater calmness, balance, meaning, and fulfillment in your daily life.”