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About Us


At The Empowerment Opportunity we believe the zone of proximal development continues throughout the life span and it is never too late to learn healthier and happier ways of living. 

About Dr. Mary McCluskey

Dr. Mary McCluskey earned her MSW from Columbia School of Social Work and her doctoral degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania School of Policy and Practice. She has been practicing clinical social work for over fifteen years and has a certification in psychodynamic psychotherapy from The American Institute of Psychoanalysis. She has taught social work at  the University of Pennsylvania, Fordham University and Simmons College. She has also taught psychodynamic therapy at the American Institute for Psychoanalysis (AIP) and a practice course for the AIP program in China. She has also been a clinical group supervisor for this program. 


During the height of the pandemic, Mary also volunteered as a clinical supervisor at The Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMCH). Currently, she teaches social work at New York University Silver School Social Work. 

Prior to becoming a social worker, Mary worked as a conference director creating curriculums and marketing over 100 national and international education conferences in a variety of industries, as well as leading the law firm management educational division. This experience gives her a unique understanding of the business world and the various stressors that professionals face. She has worked in both corporate and university employee assistance programs offering comprehensive assessments, short-term counseling to employees, couples and families, providing crisis intervention and making appropriate treatment referrals. She also provided corporate seminars on "Managing a Work-Life Balance", "Enhancing Communication Strategies", "Positive Parenting Skills" as well as leading crisis and grief management groups. She employs coaching as both a therapeutic modality (if appropriate) as well as a stand alone for those who are not interested in therapy but are looking to meet specific life goals.

Mary has worked in a variety of social work settings including public hospitals and family advocacy centers where she served as a child protection coordinator and public educator, as well as a child, adolescent, and family therapist. She is a trained rape crisis and domestic violence advocate and worked for many years in an outpatient trauma treatment center doing long term therapy as well as assessments of new clinic clients. She both enjoys and is comfortable working with very diverse populations.

Mary is passionate about the prevention of child abuse and her current research interest is in studying the effects of interpersonal trauma on the mind and body. She is also interested in working with adolescent girls around issues of self esteem and with first-time pregnant women to help enhance healthy attachment and bonding.

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About Alena Kwong

Alena Kwong is a licensed master social worker (LMSW) and integrative psychotherapist. She received her Masters of Social Work from New York University’s Silver School of Social Work. Alena comes from a holistic nutrition and wellness coach background and is also a certified yoga teacher and Reiki Master. As someone who has immersed in her own healing journey with the use of mindfulness practices of yoga, meditation and spirituality, she firmly believes in the interconnectedness of the mind, body, soul and spirit to one’s state of healing and wellness.


Alena strives to provide a safe and nurturing environment for her clients to reflect and grow in. Her therapeutic style is emotionally attuned, authentic, non-judgmental and intuitive. Alena holds each and every client with unconditional positive regard and honors to meet clients exactly “where they are”.  She works collaboratively with her clients to create personal tools for empowerment and change, assisting clients in developing new narratives for themselves  to build more healthy, meaningful and fulfilling lives.Alena will also provide support in guiding you to unravel different parts of your experiences in order to develop a greater understanding of yourself. Alena believes in her clients’ own capacity and potential to grow and transform. Her clients leave her sessions feeling heard, seen and understood.

Alena specializes in working with clients with anxiety, depression, body image,self esteem and food related issues, work/stress related burnout, abandonment and attachment issues in relationships, trauma, first generation and acculturation experiences, working with high sensitive person and nervous systems, international students, perfectionism tendencies and lifestyle/wellness coaching. Alena uses a combination of treatment techniques and insights from Psychodynamic theory, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT), Attachment Theory, Internal Family Systems (IFS), Motivational Interviewing and wellness coaching. She also offers holistic modalities such as mindful breathing and yogic breathwork exercises as well as sound bowl healing in her sessions to help bridge mindfulness and relaxation as part of the therapeutic process.

About Nicoleen Prince-Burrell

Nicoleen Prince-Burrell is a licensed therapist (LMSW) who earned her Master of Social Work degree from New York University’s Silver School of Social Work. As a therapist, Nicoleen enjoys working with clients from diverse backgrounds on issues such as stress management, depression, anxiety, and helping to improve general well-being. Nicoleen utilizes a variety of approaches and modalities including psychodynamic theory, cognitive behavior therapy, and mindfulness. She guides clients to increased self-awareness and acceptance to move towards the changes that they seek.


Prior to becoming a therapist, Nicoleen worked on both the buy side and sell side as an investment analyst in the financial services industry. She understands the human dimension and intricacies of being a working professional, including coping with workplace dynamics and stress, which can lead to mental health issues.  


Nicoleen received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business, with a Finance concentration, from Boston University and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

About Molly Bagli

You're concerned about  your child's mental health, but you are NOT alone.  As a parent, you might often second guess your choices and wonder if you are doing the right things to help your child. Maybe you are worried because you feel like mental health issues are getting in the way of your child’s ability to make and maintain friendships or enjoy things other kids their age enjoy.  Maybe you think your child could use a boost in self confidence and self-esteem or some additional social skills support. 

 Molly Bagli, LMSW graduated from New York University School of Social Work.  For the last two years, Molly has been working in school settings directly helping kids from kindergarten through 12th grade, as well as their parents. She has worked one-on-one with children, as well as run groups that help address various developmental issues including coping with emotions, making friends, and dealing with stress and conflict.   

As a child and adolescent therapist, Molly’s goal is to help create a safe space for her clients  and to help  identify and focus on their strengths while simultaneously developing strategies to address areas that might be of concern to both parents and children. Molly’s clinical partner on the child and adolescent team is Dr. Mary McCluskey, author of the children’s book, The Leader of the Parade.  Dr. McCluskey specializes in assessment and diagnosis and will do the initial intake session with your child.  She will collaborate with Molly on the best treatment approach based on your child’s unique needs. Molly has a proven track record of making kids feel at ease and getting them to express themselves in healthy ways. Molly will work closely with you and your child to meet specific goals that you have helped to formulate. Having a team of therapists working for the betterment of your child will offer you more security, peace, and ultimately less worry. You don’t have to do this alone.

Play to hear part of the book...

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NEW YORK, /PRNewswire/ -- Dr. Mary C. McCluskey, LCSW is the owner of a group practice in New York City called The Empowerment Opportunity LCSW PLLC and an educational company named enCOURAGEment INK. LLC. Dr. McCluskey recently published a book called The Leader of the Parade: An Adlerian Educational Tool for Caregivers and Teachers: An Illustrated Children's Book and Activity Guide. more...

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