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Everyone from the unit secretary, to the therapists and doctors play a role in experiences of the young adults that come through the program. Here's your chance to meet the team that makes up the Young Adult Program. Find out why helping young adults matters to them, how they handle stress.
Erin Ursillo
Erin Ursillo, LMHC, Program Manager

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Erin earned her BA in psychology from University of Rhode Island. She worked for three years in Maryland as a service coordinator for young adults with developmental disabilities. She started working at Butler as a counseling intern in 2009 while working on her master's degree in clinical mental health counseling. Her internship brought her a wealth of direct experience and knowledge in both individual therapy and group psychotherapy in an inpatient setting. After graduating with her master's degree from Adams State University, She joined the Department of Social Services at Butler Hospital as a per diem clinician and shortly after, started as a full-time social services clinician on Delmonico 3, Butler's adult inpatient unit. During her years on the inpatient unit, she worked with countless patients and families helping them become educated about mental illness and connecting them to much needed community resources.

Personal Statement
As a licensed mental health counselor for the State of Rhode Island, I am excited to make the transition to the Young Adult Partial Program in hopes that my team and I will make a significant impact on the education, treatment and healing of young adults and their families in our community. The age group that we are targeting for our program is important to me because I understand how difficult life transitions can be during the shift from adolescence to adulthood. I believe it is important for patients to know that they do not need to navigate changes, challenges or hardships on their own.

How do you relieve stress?
I feel very strongly about the impact of exercise on my mood. I make it a point to include running, stretching and weight training in my schedule several times a week. I notice a huge difference in my mood and my ability to function when I can’t get to the gym.

Sharon LS. Shepard, MD, Program Physician Program Physician
Sharon LS. Shepard, MD, Program Physician

Dr. Shepard completed adult residency training through Brown University in 2000 and a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry in 2002 at Boston Children’s Hospital, affiliated with Harvard. She has been an attending psychiatrist at Butler since 2002. In addition to working on Young Adult Partial, she is also an attending child psychiatrist on the Inpatient Adolescent Unit at Butler. Dr. Shepard also works in the consultation program, doing evaluations as requested by local pediatricians.

Personal Statement
I am very interested in this population because as a child psychiatrist I have a strong interest in families and family dynamics, and being of transitional age is a time fraught with pressures as the young person is figuring out how to move out into their own adult life. This is complicated by mental health issues, which either continue or emerge at this stage of development. This is a time when many young people fall out of treatment, as they work to navigate the mental health system. I am dedicated to helping these youth successfully make this transition into adulthood, and I think our program is a start to helping accomplish this goal.

What Inspires You?
I am inspired by the principal of Tikuun Olam, which comes from Jewish tradition. According to this principle, if you save one person, it is as if you have saved the whole world.

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Kaitlyn Farrell
Kaitlyn Farrell, Occupational Therapist

Katy holds a master’s degree in occupational therapy from Worcester State University, and served as a student intern on the inpatient intensive care unit at Butler Hospital in 2014. She spent two years as an occupational therapist working with older adults in physical rehabilitation before returning to Butler to pursue her passion of working in mental health, a key motivation for pursuing a career in occupational therapy. She incorporates a holistic mind and body treatment approach to her therapy. This includes assessment and treatment related to medication management, meal planning, and anxiety management in order to maximize the independence and safety of each individual in his or her home setting.

Personal Statement

Since beginning my journey as an occupational therapist, I always knew I wanted to specialize in working in the mental health field. When I found out I would have the chance to work with the young adult population, I felt enthusiastic about getting to help individuals who are going through life stressors that I recently went through myself. I think this gives me an understanding of life as a young adult that helps me reach a more relatable level with this age group. I have a strong belief that my knowledge related to life skills and coping strategies can help each individual become more functional in his or her daily life.

How do you relieve stress?

After a stressful day, I always need to work through that stress with some form of exercise. I like cycling, running, and attending different workout classes. I’m also a firm believer in the benefits of spending time outdoors. I love going for hikes and being in the fresh air. Spending time with my dogs Winnie and Hazel also helps!

David Leicht
David Leicht, COTA/L, Occupational Therapy Assistant

David is a 2013 graduate of CCRI’s Occupational Therapy Assistant program, and holds a BFA in drama from the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. Before joining the Occupational Therapy Department at Butler Hospital, David worked for a number of years at RHD-RI, an arts-based day program for adults with developmental disabilities, where he helped lead a number of highly interactive groups including podcasting, theater, and the improvisational band Hasta Piñata. He was greatly inspired by the incredible joy that clients took in exploring new skills and passions, and the bravery they showed on a daily basis to follow their dreams, even when faced with very real and significant daily challenges.

Personal Statement
I came to the Young Adult Partial Program following work on Butler's Intensive Treatment Unit as a clinician as part of the Unique Needs Program at Butler Hospital. I am very excited to work with the young adult population and continue to develop programming that is relevant and compelling to help them build the skills necessary to navigate the difficult transition to independence.

How do you relieve stress?
No matter what stresses I’m dealing with, I try to keep a good sense of humor and keep things in perspective. I also like to play music, keep physically active with sports, and play games with my children.

Courtney McCarthy
Courtney McCarthy, Program Therapist

Courtney obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in psychology and sociology from the University of Rhode Island. She enrolled in Rhode Island College after working in research for one year, and obtained her Masters degree in social work, with a clinical concentration. She worked for five years at the Women’s Medicine Collaborative as a clinical therapist, providing psychotherapy to women struggling with various mental health issues, with a focus on the perinatal population. In addition to working in the Young Adult Partial Hospital Program, Courtney maintains a private practice through Providence Behavioral Health Associates.

Personal Statement

I enjoy working with the young adult population for a so many reasons. This population is often presented with a number of challenges that can be difficult to navigate as they transition from adolescent to adult. To provide services at such a pivotal time in their lives is very rewarding.

How do you relieve stress?

I find any physical activity helps to relieve stress, including running, fitness classes, and yoga. I also enjoy just relaxing at home with my friends, family, and my puppy.

Mike Petrarca
Mike Petrarca, LMHC, Program Therapist

Mike is a licensed mental health counselor in the State of Rhode Island. He is a graduate of Rhode Island College's Master’s in Agency Counseling Program and received his CAGS (certificate of advanced graduate studies) degree in mental health counseling at Rhode Island College. He has a decade of experience as a mental health professional working with diverse client populations.

Personal Statement
I enjoy working with the young adult population for the opportunity to help shape the lives of perhaps the most important demographic in the community. I enthusiastically joined the program to give back to those who helped me so generously along the way when I was younger.

How do you relieve stress?
Exercise, meditation, a good meal, and surrounding myself with people I can always share a lighthearted moment with.

Kristen Sundin
Kristen Sundin, LICSW, Program Therapist

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Kristen obtained a Bachelor’s of Science degree with a major in psychology and minor in criminal justice from Sacred Heart University. She worked for two years at The Providence Center, as a case manager, where she provided community support services and life skills management to adult clients. Kristen then went back to graduate school, to get a masters of social work (MSW) from Rhode Island College, and started at Butler as an MSW intern and per diem social service clinician. From her intern role, she transitioned to working full time as a social service clinician II, on Delmonico 4 (Butler's Adult General Treatment Unit), where she worked for eight years, before transitioning to this new role as a program therapist in the Young Adult Partial Program.

Personal Statement
I really enjoy working with this young adult population because it is a time of such transition and change in their lives. I want to help them navigate through the difficulties they face. I can remember how hard the transition can be, becoming an adult, and our program can help ease that transition for those that are struggling. It is also a population that under utilizes services, so by having a place that is more geared towards their struggles, we hope that they will become more engaged in treatment.

How do you relieve stress?
I really enjoy spending time with my dog, Charlie and spending time at the beach.