High Quality Mental Health & Addiction Services
For over 70 years, it’s been our mission at Bleuler Psychotherapy Center (BPC) to provide high-quality, low-cost mental health services to children, adolescents, adults, couples and families in Queens and the greater NYC area. Due to community needs, we extended our services to include alcohol and substance abuse addiction treatments through the formation of Bleuler Chemical Dependency Recovery Services (BCD). Our BPC and BCD programs are fully licensed respectively by the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) and the New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS). Our commitment to and investment in expanding our service offerings allows flexibility to meet the varying needs of our clients – giving them the best mental health and substance abuse treatments possible.
Accessible, Collaborative, Results Oriented
To achieve our mission, we are driven by values that work to assure that our services have the most successful impact on overall health and wellness.
We provide our services because we care about the health of each member of our community and assuring that we can improve the quality of life in terms of how our clients feel both emotionally and physically, as well as how they function at work, in school, at home or in other housing, with family, and with others.
At BPC, we are dedicated to engaging those in need as soon as possible and continually working together collaboratively for as long as needed on issues important to our clients. We offer walk-in hours and encourage same day access.
Our approach is to engage quickly and sensitively, to focus on solutions, to develop collaborative treatment plans, and to treat the whole person. As part of the continuum of health care, BPC will coordinate care with physical health providers as needed and with consent.
At BPC, results and outcomes are important. We want our clients to feel positive about themselves, the struggles they may have, and the improvements they make.
While we provide over 65,000 sessions per year to members of our community, customer satisfaction is a renewed area of focus for us as we realize that coming for help is not always easy. Although technically a community-based clinic, we strive to provide a private, confidential, and warm setting and experience.
BPC will always strive to be an accommodating and flexible provider that our community trusts to deliver premier behavioral health services.
Quality Mental Health Services, Over 65 Years & Counting
BPC is the oldest freestanding not-for-profit outpatient facility in Queens and Long Island. Located in Forest Hills, Queens, the organization serves patients from many areas of New York City and prides ourselves on employing a multi-lingual staff reflective of the diverse communities that we serve.
BPC was founded in 1949 by Dr. Gerard Chrzanowski, with the intention of lowering the cost of psychotherapy and increasing its reach to a broader consumer base. Dr. Chrzanowski was both a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. He was a student of Carl Jung and Swiss psychiatrist Dr. Eugene Bleuler (pronounced bloy-ler).
Dr. Bleuler was particularly interested in applying psychotherapy techniques to new populations in new ways. He introduced the terms “schizophrenia”, “ambivalence” and “autism” to psychiatry, and he was one of the first to adopt the belief that seriously mentally ill individuals could attain more normalized lives. The central goal of his treatments was to guide patients towards more productive, gratifying and fulfilling futures, and to make daily life more enjoyable.
Under the guidance of our volunteer Board of Trustees, BPC continues to achieve Dr. Bleuler’s goals today by offering a pleasant, safe and supportive environment within which quality individual and group therapy, psychiatric, and support services are provided.
Over the last several years, BPC has experienced remarkable growth in terms of our number of patients, the number and type of services provided, and the diversity of our clinical staff. We attribute the success to the organization’s combination of modern efficiency and commitment to personal relationships and working collaboratively with our patients. As we move forward, we will continue to focus on enhancements to customer service and the utilization of technology to improve the patient experience.
Steven J. Helfand, Psy.D.
CEO / Executive Director
Dr Steven J. Helfand is a NYS licensed psychologist with a history of directing Mental Health programs in corrections and community settings for over 20 years at county, city, and state levels. Dr. Helfand has served as Executive Director of Bleuler Psychotherapy Center since 2015 overseeing both the licensed OMH and OASAS programs. Most recently, he held the position of Senior Vice President of Operations for Correct Care Solutions, overseeing mental health and health services in city and county jails throughout the east coast. Dr. Helfand is the former: Statewide Director of Mental Health for all Connecticut jails and prisons, Deputy Director / Acting Director of Mental Health at Rikers Island jails, Director of Forensic Mental Health at Nassau County Correctional Center, and Director of Mental Health / Health Service Administrator at the New York City Department of Juvenile Justice.
In the service of advancing community behavioral health sustainability and innovation, Dr. Helfand is currently a the Co- Chair of the NYC DOHMH Regional Planning Consortium (RPC) Advisory Board, member of the RPC Provider Steering Committee, Co-Chair of Board of Directors of Behavioral Health NYC (BHNYC), and serves as a Vice President of the Federation of Mental Health Services. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Pace University, NY where he teaches Forensic Psychology at the graduate level.
Dr. Helfand has extensive experience and documented success in policy development, program development, staff training, and implementation secondary to federal (Department of Justice) and local consent decrees / settlement agreements related to the provision of mental health care. He is well versed in mental health standards and regulatory issues and has developed systems for the assessment and treatment of the mentally ill as alternatives to incarceration and segregation. He has also worked successfully to reduce uses of force with the mentally ill, and has championed programs for community linkage.
Dr. Helfand is former Board Chair for the Academy of Correctional Health Professionals and, has published book chapters and articles related to behavioral treatment and management plans, and serves as a consultant and expert witness to address those challenges. He is often called upon to assess the functioning of mental health programs and to offer recommendations within the framework of national standards, best practices, and local requirements.
Christopher Alcazar, LCSW
Chief Program Officer
Mr. Christopher Alcazar has over fifteen years of executive leadership experience in behavioral healthcare settings. He has had primary roles in implementing organizational cultures highlighted by qualitative service provision, and well-trained staff communities that offer vulnerable clients a bridge to wellness and self-sustainability.
Mr. Alcazar hasa background in steering organizations to improved outcomes and growth. He strives to implement person-centered treatment and client-first mentalities across all programs. He has a deep commitment to advocacy, diversity, equity, and inclusion. He attributes his success as a leader to an ability to build productive relationships, utilizing a strength based approach to connect well with others. His core professional values are exceptional and integrated client care, staff development, organizational growth, and departmental synergy and collaboration.
Mr. Alcazar has a Master’s degree in Administration and Clinical Practice from the Hunter College School of Social Work. He is a New York State Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). In 2015 he was recognized as an “emerging” executive leader by the Aspen Institute in Colorado, a well-regardedinternational nonprofit organization that promotes theadvancement of values-based leadership.
Director of Administrative Services
Ms. Shapiro joined BPC in July 2015 in the midst of remarkable changes and accelerated initiatives. She has served in an administrative capacity as Executive Assistant for the better part of her tenure at BPC. Ms. Shapiro is responsible for sensitive personnel, legal, financial, and contractual information, and has been a valued thought partner with much involvement in our behind the scenes strategy and decision making. Ms. Shapiro oversees our Human Resources, Front Office Staff, Health Information, and Safety / Maintenance divisions as well as all professional and vendor contracts. Ms. Shapiro champions the coordination of the above to improve the customer and staff experiences as well as assuring that the above services are the most efficient and risk reduced.
Swetha Sankar, MHA
Project Manager / Compliance Officer
Ms. Sankar joined BPC in October of 2019. Since then, she has implemented quality improvement programs such as a translation service, appointment reminder system, and telehealth platforms for video calls to increase reliability and promote high-value care. She champions the COVID-19 workgroup to coordinate staff and patient safety measures during the pandemic including vaccination events and establishment of workflows for a safe and effective return to onsite work. Ms. Sankar also monitors compliance initiatives at BPC, ensuring that documentation and workflow among the clinical team maintains regulatory standards as well as reporting compliance incidents to State Agencies. She coordinates and submits city, state, and federal grant proposals to garner funds for the organization’s expansion of services and COVID-19 relief and also researches and assesses opportunities for BPC to assure sustainability and growth to meet the needs of our community. Ms. Sankar is also integral to building relationships with external partners to facilitate confidential and timely health information exchange, employee satisfaction and wellness, and staff and patient awareness initiatives.
Ms. Sankar earned a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Neuroscience from The University of Texas at Dallas and a Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) from Columbia University.
Sasha Soon, Ph.D.
Director of Intake & Community Relations
Dr. Sasha Soon holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with a history of working in education and behavioral health for over 10 years. Before attaining her doctorate, Dr. Soon completed a master’s degree in Forensic Psychology and worked with the mental health needs of the criminal justice population in Brooklyn and Queens. In her early career as a psychologist, Dr. Soon worked at Queensborough Community College as a counselor and an adjunct professor where she was introduced to formal psychotherapy that set the stage for her current position. Dr. Soon has been employed at the Bleuler Psychotherapy Center for nine years beginning with a position as a clinician and for the last two years as the agency’s Director of Intake and Community Relations. Dr. Soon is currently focused on connecting Bleuler to other community-based organizations in an effort to bring vital services to the agency’s clients as well as promote the reputation of the center. Her team at Bleuler is responsible for promoting open access and rapid engagement to care as well as providing a warm handoff to clinical staff when treatment begins. Dr. Soon has also been successful at bringing mental health awareness to several schools in Queens and is an active member of the Queens County Re-Entry Task force that assists with the reintegration of citizens returning home from incarceration.
Elena Chertina, MA
Director of Billing & Contracts
Ms. Elena Chertina is currently the Director of Billing & Contracts at Bleuler. Having been in the healthcare industry for 15 years, Ms. Chertina serves as a great asset to the agency, with her vast knowledge in billing, credentialing, contracting, insurance plans, and health care networks. During the past 3 years at Bleuler Psychotherapy center, Ms. Chertina has been managing the agency’s medical billing and accounts, assisting clients through the billing process, streamlining billing, collections, and the process of reimbursement for practices. Her department serves as a resource for billing related questions or concerns that clients may have. Furthermore, for more than 15 years she has held supervisory positions in the healthcare industry, to include: Phoenix House Foundation, Allen Healthcare and Visiting Services of NY. Ms. Chertina earned a Bachelors of Business Administration (B.B.A.) with a concentration in management from Kaplan University and a Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) from the University of Phoenix.
Front Office Supervisory Staff
Customer Service has been a key area of attention and focus in 2018. With a fully staffed front office team, BPC is open to consumer feedback and strives to create an environment that is comfortable and welcoming to our patients. Our front office staff is led by:
Ms. Frederick has worked at BPC for over 26 years. She is one of the first faces that clients see when they come into the office and has the ability to quickly create rapport with people of all ages. Ms. Frederick brings her years of experience and knowledge combined with her tireless efforts to ensure smooth running of the front office and a welcoming environment.
As an added value to our clients and staff, we provide confidential clinical supervision to all clinicians employed at BPC. Our Clinical Supervisors have advanced credentials and experience and provide guidance and their expertise to clinical staff that foster optimal care and an invaluable learning experience.
Psychiatric services to include, evaluation, medication management, and medical assistance with smoking cessation is offered to our patients in coordination with their psychotherapeutic care. Bleuler is staffed with four psychiatrists who work with both children and adults.
Gary Weinstein, MD
BPC Medical Director
Emanuel Barclay, MD
BCD Medical Director
Board of Trustees
BPC is governed by a dedicated volunteer Board of Trustees committed to the sustainment of quality behavioral health services in our community.
Member, Federation of Mental Health Services Since 1962
Bleuler Psychotherapy Center is a proud member of the Federation of Mental Health Services (https://www.federationmhs.org/). Founded in 1962, the Federation of Mental Health Services is a trade association of outpatient Mental Health and Substance Abuse clinics that advocates for the continuation and preservation of the community-based behavioral health out-patient clinic treatment model.
BPC’s own CEO /Executive Director, Dr. Steven Helfand, currently holds the role of Federation Vice President.
Bleuler Psychotherapy Center is a member of the Queens Chamber of Commerce which fosters the connection of local businesses, develops and implements programs, and advocates for the community’s interests.
We are pleased to work collaboratively with the following agencies for service needs beyond those provided at BPC:
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-The BPC Team
Bleuler’s Safety Precautions in Effect during the Pandemic
We continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation and review guidance from the CDC, Office of Mental Health, and New York Department of Health. As we continue to expand our onsite service delivery in the fall, our office is taking the following precautions to protect our patients and help slow the spread of the Coronavirus:
- Office seating in the waiting room and in therapy/testing rooms has been arranged for appropriate physical distancing.
- Daily Questionnaires and temperature checks for all staff and patients prior to entry to BPC.
- Our staff and patients will wear masks.
- Our staff and patients will maintain safe distancing.
- Restroom soap dispensers are maintained, and everyone is encouraged to wash their hands.
- Hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol are available in the lobby, common hallways, offices, and the waiting room .
- We schedule appointments at intervals to minimize the number of people in the waiting room.
- We ask all patients to wait in their cars or a safe, outside area until no earlier than 5 minutes before their appointment times.
- We ask all to avoid touching surfaces that may have been touched by others to the extent possible.
- Credit card machines, pens and other areas that are commonly touched are thoroughly sanitized after each use.
- Magazines are removed in the waiting room to prevent further contamination.
- The water cooler is removed, and dispensable water bottles will be provided instead upon request.
- Physical contact is not permitted (i.e. shaking hands, hugging).
- Avoid congregating when entering and exiting our office space or the building.
- Staff and patients should only enter and exit designated areas.
- Tissues and trash bins are easily accessed. Trash is disposed of on a frequent basis.
- Common areas are disinfected throughout the day.
- A full cleaning of BPC is provided every evening
- Our building has a dedicated cleaning crew to maintain the lobby, elevator, common hallways, and restrooms.
- Our building HVAC has been modified to include filters that meet or exceed guidelines for COVID practices.
- Our building HVAC system is adjusted daily to increase fresh air flow to meet and exceed standards as set by CDC
- Prior to our expanded Fall opening, all BPC areas have been cleaned and sanitized against Covid-19. The Deep Clean program utilized a “Top to Bottom” approach that insured that all areas and furniture including chairs and carpet were deep cleaned utilizing Spartan cleaning products that qualify to be on the EPA’s List N (Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19)
All in favor of a COVID-19 vaccine, raise your arm! Have you been vaccinated?
A word from the Office of Mental Health’s Commissioner, Dr. Ann Sullivan:
The experience of two employees from Pilgrim Psychiatric Center, Sharon Simpson, Chief of Services, and Deese Jean-Baptiste, Registered Nurse II: