I am...

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Maria S. Panitsidis, LCSW

 

I am a New York State Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I received my Bachelor's degree in Psychology and hold a Master's of Social Work degree in Mental Health, from Roberts Wesleyan College. I also hold a Master's Certificate in Trauma-Informed Counseling from the University at Buffalo. Alongside my private therapy practice, I am also a Senior Counselor at a local outpatient recovery facility for patients with substance-use disorder.

Pink Lotus Flower

In Buddhism, the blue lotus is the symbol of intelligence, wisdom, and knowledge. It also epitomizes the victory of the spirit over the senses. Always represented as a partially opened bud whose center is unseen, the blue lotus indicates that the enlightenment one desires lies beyond our ordinary sight. 
Rooted in mud, which represents our messy human lives, the lotus rises above and blossoms clean and bright, despite the murkiness below. Comparatively, this signifies our own ability to live within the suffering of the world, while simultaneously rising to a place of purity and wisdom in our own lives.

 

My Specializations include:

  • Trauma

  • Addictions and substance-use disorders 

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Domestic violence 

  • Sexual abuse/assault 

  • Grief and loss 

  • Self-harming behaviors 

  • Relationship issues 

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Pre and Post Bariatric Surgery

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Community Service

I strongly believe that a community is as good as the people who live in it. My parents taught me early in life that we should help people, and that sometimes it’s best to help quietly, simply out of the goodness of our hearts never expecting anything in return. That led me to join the Service Club back in high school. That’s how I fell in love with doing community service. We learned what it really meant to help others and the hope and love that can be spread just by showing up for people. Now, it is important, not only for my career but for my own mental health and wellbeing to be visible in my community and for people to recognize my face as safe and supportive. 

In the past, I have volunteered with many amazing organizations, like Crisis Services, Bivona Child Advocacy Center, Open Door Mission, Foodlink, Ronald McDonald House, Strong Hospital, Alternatives for Battered Women (now Willow Domestic Violence Center,) and American Red Cross

Presently, I sit on the Board of Directors for Hope Dealers BTC Inc, an all-volunteer, community-based non-profit, public charity whose primary purpose is to provide support to anyone affected by substance use disorder, mental health issues, and poverty, including friends and families, through outreach, community service, and education. I am also the Chair of their Education Committee. In this role I am tasked with developing curriculum, compiling data, and creating materials for presentation to community members, agencies, schools, and businesses for the purpose of educating them on substance-use disorders and addictions, and the mental health issues that accompany them. We also offer training on how to manage crisis situations like what to do if someone is experiencing an overdose, how to manage behaviors after suffering trauma, and what family members and friends can do to support loved ones through these types of situations. 

I spend a large percentage of my life helping and supporting others because it’s who I am. It’s just what I do. Helping others helps me and it can help you too. I would encourage anyone willing and able to join some type of volunteer service group and see what happens in your heart when you give back to your community. If you are interested in becoming a Hope Dealer, please visit the website, www.hopedealersbtc.com.