Serving New York’s Mid-Hudson Region since 1994


The Step One Staff

The Administrative Team

Roger Spool, LCSW-R

Executive Director/CEO

Roger Spool, LCSW-R co-founded Step One in 1994. Roger previously worked as a Social Work Supervisor for a 200 patient, 2 year alcoholism day treatment program, Clinical Director of an inpatient alcoholism rehab program, and Program Director of an outpatient alcoholism day treatment program. Roger is a graduate of The School of Visual Arts, SUNY Empire State College and the Hunter College School of Social Work.

Roger's vision of substance abuse treatment was different from main stream protocols. So Roger began working towards his dream of opening a NYS OASAS licensed program to provide the kind of services he believed were most effective to the treatment of alcoholism and chemical dependency.

In 1988, Roger and his wife Lilyan opened Child & Family Guidance Center in New Paltz, NY. The Center provided substance abuse treatment as well as mental health services. The Center grew quickly and within a few years had a staff of 27 full and part time clinicians and community based treatment in four Mid-Hudson communities. The Center's substance abuse services grew until in 1994 the substance abuse component had to split off and became Child & Family Guidance Center Addiction Services, Inc. The program, now located in Highland, NY, was named Step One.

In the first thirteen years of operations, Step One opened programs at St. Cabrini's residential program for adolescents, The Children's Home of Kingston, the Northeast Center for Special Care, and an additional freestanding clinic in Ellenville, NY.

Roger has Spent over 30 years of his professional career committed to helping individuals and families heal from the ravages of chemical dependency. Roger feels that his greatest accomplishment is gathering a team of committed professionals to manifest his vision and provide treatment to those in need.

Chris Dennehy, LCSW, CASAC

Clinical Director/Program Director—Highland

Christopher Dennehy, LCSW, CASAC has been the Clinical Director of Step One since 2003.

Chris is a graduate of Fordham University School of Social Work and has Post Graduate training in Gestalt Psychotherapy with an undergraduate Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Montclair University. Chris earned his Certified Alcoholism Counseling (CAC) in 1996, holds an International Chemical Dependency Certification and is a Credentialed Alcohol & Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC).

Chris has worked in supervisory positions since 1994 and direct clinical work in substance abuse and mental health treatment since 1988. His work has included Network Adolescent Program, Valley Hospital, Fair Oaks Hospital, Von Ost Institute, The A.K. Bean Foundation, Nyack Hospital, and Craig House Hospital in New York. Chris has a small private psychotherapy practice in New Paltz, NY. Chris is also the Director of Training of the Hudson Valley Counseling School in Newburgh & Fishkill, New York for professionals seeking their CASAC certification. Chris is also an adjunct professor at Marist College.

Chris is committed to providing the most comprehensive, effective, up-to-date clinical response to substance abuse and the people afflicted by this disease. Chris has spent the majority of his lifetime dedicated to creating compassionate, honest, client centered therapeutic environments for individuals in personal crisis.

Erin Brunette, LCSW, MA

Program Director—Ellenville

Erin Brunette is a licensed clinical social worker who works as the Program Director at Step One in Ellenville, NY. She has over 8 years of experience in the social work field, specifically with the chemically dependent and co-occurring populations. She developed a passion for working with chemically dependent persons when she interned at the Ulster County Mental Health Department in 2002. She has been practicing clinical work at Step One since 2005 with a specialty in working with women in the Day Intensive Outpatient Program. She was promoted to Social Work Supervisor in 2010 and then promoted to Program Director in early 2012. Erin Brunette holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the State University of New York at Albany and both a Master’s Degree in Sociology as well as a Bachelor Degree in Liberal Arts from the State University of New York at New Paltz.

The Highland Team

Danna Aitken. LMHC, CASAC

Women's Intensive Treatment Specialist

Meredith Johnson, MA

Co-Occurring Disorder and Trauma Specialist

Meredith Johnson is a primary therapist at Step One in Highland who specializes in working with clients who experience high denial and is also a co-occurring disorder and trauma specialist. Meredith is currently on the mental wellness team and facilitates both the men’s and the co-ed non-intensive process group tracks; additionally she facilitates a Psych-education group. Meredith began at Step One as a graduate level intern in 2011 and was hired as a primary therapist in 2012. Meredith received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and her Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from the State University of New York at New Paltz, and she is currently working toward getting her LMHC. Meredith has previously worked as a supervisor at Oasis/Haven, a crisis counseling and sexual assault counseling hotline and walk-in center.

Warren Hinton, CASAC

Men's Intensive Treatment Specialist

10/2008-3/2011 Substance Abuse Counselor at New York Center for Addiction Treatment.

05/2011-05/2012 Warren was employed as a Substance Abuse Counselor at Restorative Management and DayTop Village. From 05/2012 to the present, Warren has been employed at Step One OASAS Certified Outpatient Facility as a Substance Abuse Counselor. From 2008 through 2013 Warren has continued to attend training and clinical courses and education in the area of substance abuse. Warren received his CASAC certification in April 2013.

Ellenville Clinic Team

Brian Auchmoody, BA, CASAC

Men's Intenseive Treatment Specialist

Brian Auchmoody joined Step One in early 2012. After many years in the building trades, Brian retired from that field to pursue his passion of removing obstacles from the path of men trying to get their lives together through sustained sobriety. His associates degree was earned through coursework in psychology, anatomy, and physiology; he earned his Bachelors degree in Sociology, with a concentration in Human Services. He has CASAC certification in N.Y. state, as well as International Certification and Reciprocity. He has worked with men, women, and adolescents, prior to counseling and eventually being promoted to Asst. Director at a 225 bed male Therapeutic Community.

Brian now runs the Daytime Intensive Outpatient Treatment Men's track in Ellenville, along with facilitating the men's evening outpatient group.

Lori Rotolo, LCAT

Creative Arts Therapist

Lori Rotolo is a licensed creative arts therapist who has worked as a clinician for Step One in Ellenville, New York since 2005. She received her Master's degree in Drama Therapy from NYU and studied for 3 years with the Hudson Valley Psychodrama Institute. Over the past 25 years, Lori has worked primarily with at-risk children and families in both New York and Northern Michigan, in a variety of clinical settings, such as hospital Pediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care units, school districts, early intervention programs, health care facilities and mental health clinics. Since 2005, Lori has been the Coordinator and Chair of the Wawarsing Council of Agencies, a collaborative body of health and human service agencies providing services to the Ellenville/Wawarsing communities. Lori currently works as a Community Prevention Specialist for Ulster Prevention Council, coordinating education and awareness efforts to reduce substance abuse and supporting the development of community coalitions throughout Ulster County. Lori has presented a number of workshops on collaboration and building partnerships between medical and behavioral health providers at New York State CHCANY and Prevent Child Abuse Conferences.

Northest Center for Special Care Staff

Nora Gagnon, BA, CASAC-T

Brain Injury Specialist

Nora Gagnon has been with Step One since 2009. She received a BA in Communications from Mt. St. Mary College in 1989 and worked in the advertising and promotional field until 2007 when she decided to make a career change and work in the field of substance abuse. Nora believes that everyone has the ability to change if they really want to. She feels that recovery is attainable and people do not have to struggle with their addictions if they can make the necessary changes to their behaviors and thought process. Nora completed her CASAC training at Dutchess County Community College. She has worked as a therapist at both Step One’s Ellenville clinic and The Northeast Center for Special Care in Lake Katrine with individuals that suffer from both addictions and traumatic brain injury. Currently, she works full time at the Northeast Center providing intensive and non intensive group treatment as well as individual therapy. Nora also has experience facilitating Men's and Women's groups, Anger Management and Psycho-education groups.

Medical Team

Pamela Zino, RN

Registered Nurse

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