Meet Our Practitioners
Lauren Altchiler, Ph.D
Lauren Altchiler Ph.D is the founder of “The Mindful Connection of LI.” The evolution toward the launching of this center grew slowly and organically, originating from her intention to have a mind-body center back in her college days. Through over 25 years of experience working as a Clinical Psychologist, and the culmination of life experience raising her daughters, overcoming autoimmune issues, and being attuned to the struggles of our ever-changing society, her inner voice grew stronger as the lessons, mentors, and like-minded practitioners presented themselves. Welcome to The Mindful Connection of LI! May you find it a place to connect to your inner wisdom, peace, and community.
Lauren is a Clinical Psychologist who received her doctorate from Hofstra University in 1992. She has been in private practice in Merrick since 1994, providing individual psychotherapy and group stress management workshops with a cognitive-behavioral orientation. Dr. Altchiler applies a holistic approach to diagnosing and treating patients, with the understanding that mental health issues are non-specific symptoms, just like a fever, which have a variety of possible root causes that must be determined.
There is no magic pill! Each patient is a unique puzzle. Dr. Altchiler works with patients to identify their own personal paths, guiding with new ways of thinking, coping, relating to others, understanding root cause issues, and connecting and nurturing themselves. The focus is on restoring balance within the complete individual - mind, body, and spirit. Individual psychotherapy, mindfulness, breath work and meditation, stress management workshops, and gut health workshops are all part of Dr. Altchiler’s approach to wellness.
Lauren treats adults and young adults. She’s not in-network with any insurance company, but accepts out-of-network insurance and handles all patient billing.
Through her own healing journey, and her many years as a gluten and dairy-free eater, Lauren created a blog and Instagram called “Crazy For Yuca” where she shares personal recipes and tips for healthy eating and living. Yuca (a.k.a cassava) is a wonderful substitute for wheat, which can be made into anything typically made from wheat. Feel free to follow her accounts.
Mental and physical symptoms provide opportunities for incredible personal growth that may bring unexpected gifts… if you’re willing to take the journey.
Lauren can be reached at 631.513.2921 or at TheMindfulConnectionLI@gmail.com
for more information or to make an appointment.
Kristin Hafke, LCSW-R, CASAC
Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor
We all need a space to be ourselves. I want to provide you with that space to learn and grow on your personal journey. It is in this space that one can see their full potential and set aside barriers from internal and external stressors. I truly love what I do and know how valuable this process is. Are you struggling with phase-of-life transitions, relationship concerns, anxiety or depression? Are you or a loved one questioning the extent of their alcohol or substance use? This can all seem overwhelming. Let me help you with the first steps.
Building our connection is paramount, leading us into a range of modalities depending on your needs. I have extensive experience working with adolescents, young adults and adults dealing with trauma, substance abuse and all areas of mental health. I have been able to assist clients in their quest for fulfillment.
We cannot change our past, we cannot predict our future, we can only be here in this present moment. I look forward to hearing from you!
In network for United Healthcare, Oxford, Cigna, and Oscar insurances. Accepts out of network and sliding scale patients as well.
Years in Practice: 20 Years / License: New York / 070891
School: Stony Brook / Year Graduated: 2001
Contact Kristin Hafke, LCSW-R, CASAC at 516-308-2188 or
Addiction * Alcohol Use * Anger Management * Codependency * Coping Skills * Depression * Divorce * Emotional Disturbance * Family Conflict * Grief * Obsessive-Compulsive (OCD) * Parenting * Peer Relationships * Relationship Issues * School Issues * Self Esteem * Trauma and PTSD * Women's Issues
Lauren Johnson, LCSW, LMFT
Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist
Lauren Johnson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), an AASECT-Certified Sex Therapist, and a Certified EMT.
Lauren sees young adults and adults. She has been in private practice for over 8 years helping couples and individuals with their sexual issues, relationship conflicts and their desires for improved communication and intimacy. Lauren also helps clients with depression, anxiety, and PTSD (primarily with first responders).
Lauren is a collaborative therapist who works with clients’ strengths to explore the behaviors, thoughts, communication patterns, and interactional patterns that are associated with the problems presented. After a thorough initial assessment, she works with clients to clarify goals and identify resolutions to the presenting issues.
Lauren accepts BCBS and Aetna insurance, as well as self paying clients.
Lauren can be reached at 347.699.7382 or at
Julie A. Rose, LCSW-R
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Julie A. Rose is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW-R) who has been working with children and families for over 30 years. Julie earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from SUNY Albany. After working in Foster Care and Preventive Services, Julie earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work at New York University. Julie also studied at The Long Island Institute for Modern Psychoanalysis.
In addition to working in private practice, Julie has worked with children in the school setting at both the elementary and high school levels. The expertise gained from both the clinical and academic settings enable Julie to work with adolescents in a unique way. Julie provides individual and group counseling for adolescents to address school related issues and other personal circumstances that interfere with the individuals’ wellbeing. These issues may include school avoidance/phobia, poor social skills and low self-confidence/esteem. The ability to develop and maintain relationships is critical to social and emotional growth and development. For some children, these skills do not come naturally. Through individual and group sessions, Julie focuses on improving verbal and non-verbal communication skills in a relaxed and nurturing environment. The adolescents gain confidence and develop skills to navigate their world with greater joy and ease.
Julie is a trained POPPA clinician who works with Members of Service (Police Officers and Firefighters) and their families treating symptoms of depression, anxiety, relationship and parenting issues.
Resilience is essential to overcoming life’s obstacles. Stress frequently diverts us from our goals. Using a strength based, analytic approach, Julie helps patients develop self-awareness and the ability to master life’s challenges. My aim is to enhance the wellbeing of clients through a comprehensive assessment and individualized treatment plan in a relaxed and nurturing environment.
Julie accepts GHI and Empire NYSHIP Insurance.
Julie can be reached at 516.880.4831 or JRoseLCSW@Yahoo.com for more information or to make an appointment.
Samantha Schlussel, LCSW, CASAC
Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor
Samantha Schlussel, LCSW, CASAC, is a Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work who provides psychotherapy to adolescents, young adults, and adults.
She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor who received her Master’s Degree from Fordham University.
Samantha specializes in the treatment of depression, anxiety, addictions, and relationship issues. She treats individuals, families, and couples with a cognitive behavioral therapeutic approach.
Samantha’s experience working in an outpatient substance abuse agency, an outpatient mental health clinic, and the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District has helped shape her ability to provide uniquely individualized treatment.
Samantha can be reached at 516.458.7782 or for additional information or to make an appointment.
Functional Medicine Practitioner
Michael Gruttadauria, DC, DACAN
Dr. Michael Gruttadauria is an internationally renowned clinician who has been serving his profession and patients from around the world since 1992. Dr. Gruttadauria began his quest to be the best clinician he could be as a Doctor of Chiropractic. This training, coupled with his lifelong pursuit of sports and bodybuilding, allowed him to gain a holistic perspective on health which he brings to each and every patient.
He holds Board Certification in Chiropractic Neurology through the American Chiropractic Neurology Board and is on the Advisory Board of Functional Medicine University.
Dr. Gruttadauria blends his background in nutrition, neurology & sports medicine with years of post doctorate training in Functional Medicine and lifestyle management. He cross-trains his studies to provide a comprehensive and unique approach to his patients’ care. He has most recently taken courses in bio and neurofeedback in Princeton, NJ. He has participated in the postdoctoral program for Traumatic Brain Injury, and has completed advanced studies in the diagnosis and treatment of vestibular disorders through the Carrick Institute for Postdoctoral Education. He is able to assist in the non-pharmaceutical treatment of these conditions in all age groups. He has worked with numerous high school, college and professional athletes in their quest to maximize their neuromusculoskeletal system, and has assisted in their recovery from injuries.
He has worked alongside an integrative psychologist and neuropsychiatrist to develop a comprehensive approach to treating patients with chronic fatigue, anxiety and depression which has been incredibly successful.
His role as CEO and Director of The Optimum U allows him to take people from wherever they are in their healthcare journey to a place of vibrant health and happiness through lifestyle modification, diet, functional medicine, exercise and positive thinking.
Dr. Mike has appeared numerous times in television interviews on healthcare topics such as MTHFR, migraines, depression and autism.
Michael A. Gruttadauria, DC, DACAN Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist
Dr. Mike can be reached at email@example.com or 516.351.9372
Mindfulness Meditation Instructor
Rev. Hildur Palsdottir, Ph.D, RMT
Mindfulness Meditation Instructor, Reiki Master
Hildur is a certified mindfulness meditation instructor, ordained interfaith minister and Reiki Master Teacher. She offers private and group mindfulness & meditation training, as well as Reiki healing and spiritual counseling. She will assist and encourage you to shed harmful habits and cultivate a healthy mindset that balances your nervous system and needs.
Hildur enjoys public speaking, especially lecturing in schools and community centers about mindful and sustainable living.
Committed to Ecosattva training with One Earth Sangha, Hildur is deeply engaged in her ongoing studies of Buddhist philosophies as applied to modern Western mindset.
In 2005 Hildur received her Ph.D from the Max-Planck Institute of Biophysics, Department of Membrane Biology, where she studied Cellular Bioenergetics. Hildur was ordained as an Interfaith Minister from Sanctuary of Peace and Harmony in 2016, and completed a 200 hour mindfulness meditation teaching certification in 2019 with David Perrin, Ethan Nicthern and Dr. Shante Smalls as her guides.
Hildur worked as a research scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and New York University, Medical School, until in 2017 when she founded Sol Center in Port Washington with Adina Dabija.
To arrange a session with Hildur please contact her at 516.506.2218 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Feel free to join her meditation groups taking place every Tuesday at 12:30 and 6:30.
“In nature, nothing exists alone.” Rachel Carson, 1962
Tricia Amico L.Ac. Dipl. OM is a Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist in the state of New York since 2005, and is Nationally Board Certified in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).
Tricia decided to pursue a career in Acupuncture after discovering the art of Oriental Medicine at the age of 18 while traveling through China. She graduated from Villanova University in 2002, receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, which included studies in Chinese culture. She continued her education, earning a Master's Degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the New York College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in 2005. In 2007, she completed a fellowship from Saint Vincent's Hospital in Manhattan, where she treated a wide range of conditions focusing on Rehabilitation and Fertility.
With over 15 years of experience as an acupuncturist, Tricia has worked alongside a variety of practitioners including chiropractors, physical therapists, massage therapists, psychologists and nutritionists. Through her diverse clinical experiences, she has been able to relate to an individual as a whole.
Her treatment philosophy uses acupuncture, tui na, moxa, gui sha, cupping, herbal nutrition, and Reiki to address the needs of an individual from the root. This treatment not only helps people heal on a physical level, but also on a spiritual and emotional level to bring back balance and rejuvenate a person’s body, mind, and spirit.
Tricia can be reached at 516.445.2907 or at
Acupuncture, Chinese Medicine, Hypnosis, Qi Gong
Adina Dabija is a New York State Licensed Acupuncturist, and is nationally certified in Oriental Medicine by the National Commission for Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. She holds a Clinical Masters Degree from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine and formal certifications in Medical Qi Gong and Korean physical manipulations (Kyo Jung) from the Institute of Classical Asian Studies. Adina is a passionate herbalist, studying herbal medicine with Daoist master Jeffrey Yuen as well as alchemical herbalism. She is also a Certified Hypnotist specializing in inner child healing, along with addictions, depression, anxiety and stress management.
Adina was a founder of several acupuncture clinics, and co-founded Sol Center, an integrative health and meditation center in Port Washington. She has been a volunteer with You Can Thrive Breast Cancer Foundation in NYC for the past eight years, providing breast cancer survivors Qi Gong and acupuncture.
Adina has been teaching weekly Qi Gong, and leading nature walks, at the beautiful Sands Point Preserve in Port Washington since 2018.
A published author, Adina helped many create the experience of bringing back the sacred into their lives. When we nurture the interconnectedness of the web of life and tune in with the flow of nature we heal that broken connection between body, heart and mind that creates pain and suffering in today's society, reconnecting to our true selves and purposes.
Mission and philosophy
"When the root is firm, the branch will flourish” - Chinese Proverb.
My approach is top down (from mind to the body) and consists of reviewing dis-ease history and discussing and implementing a personalized home self care program. Each visit will include a series of body adjustments, fine needles insertion in the body, breathing, combined with visualization exercises and herbal/dietary prescriptions to reinstall the balance in the three bodies - physical, metabolic/energetic and mental/spiritual. Ultimately, my method will trigger a self awakening process – called “immunity” when referring to the body level or “consciousness” when referring to the mental aspect – that will restore and regenerate the self regulating mechanisms in one’s body and life. During the first visit to the office I will go over one’s entire medical history and review any lab tests or other medical records. At that time I will make an individual assessment of what specifically is imbalanced and address the root of that imbalance with diet and lifestyle recommendations. Just as each patient is unique, so too is each treatment unique - no two patients receive exactly the same protocol.
I have a special interest in Inflammation and Degenration, Psychoneuroimmunology, and Neurological conditions.
Adina can be reached at 917.254.8340 or at adina@Sol.Center to arrange for an appointment.