Who We Are
We are a unique collection of eccentric and effective professionals who pride ourselves on being real people. We offer the highest quality services to those motivated enough to seek help. People who choose to work with us are seeking real change.
We practice client centered counseling that increases a person’s skills, insight, and ability to manage their emotions. Our goal is always to empower our clients to create a better life for themselves and their loved ones.
Our motto is "We like stuff that works."
We are down to earth people who don’t judge and won’t tell you how to live your life. You tell us what you need; we’ll help you get it.
Jim LaPierre, LCSW, CCS
Jim is Higher Ground's Executive and Clinical Director. He holds a Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work, and has over twenty six years of combined experience as a dual diagnosis clinician, clinical supervisor, and crisis interventionist. Jim also writes a popular blog, Recovery Rocks, for the Bangor Daily News. Jim offers a dual diagnosis/recovery group every Tuesday.
Chelsea Mucciarone, LCSW
Chelsea holds a Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Maine. She works with both children and adults. She enjoys utilizing client-centered techniques that take from cognitive-behavioral, solution-focused, and attachment therapies. She works with clients from an empathic perspective and seeks to build meaningful therapeutic relationships in order to assist in the processes of change and growth.
Michael Gingras LCPC
Michael holds a Master’s degree in clinical counseling from the University of Maine and has been working in the Bangor area as a therapist for the past 2 years. Michael works with a wide range of client populations with a clinical focus on children/adolescents. Michael is trauma informed and incorporates an eclectic mix of interventions to therapy including: Play therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Solution Focused Therapy. Michael is always adding to his collection of therapy materials including a growing collection of toys, stuffed animals and psychoeducational children’s books. Michael is an avid gamer and believes wholeheartedly in ones personal development through games and problem solving activities.
Dan Robbins, LCSW
Dan holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Maine and has been working in the Bangor area as a therapist for over five years. He utilizes cognitive-behavioral and solution-focused methods in his work with individuals across the life span. He has particular specialties in working with people with anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and Autism. Dan holds the belief that building and maintaining supportive relationships is a cornerstone of a healthy life.
Carmine Leighton, LCPC
Carmine is a mental health counselor who is passionate about exploring the role of creativity in therapy, healing, and self-empowerment. She often hears, “I can’t even draw a stick figure!” Yet in her experience, many of these same folks go on to discover creative depths within themselves that serve as vital tools in their own healing.
Collaborating with people to tell their stories through expressive arts (visual art, drama, dance, music) provides new and often-surprising results. Creative activities have been proven to facilitate healing from trauma, provide stress relief, release the capacity for self-expression, and encourage empowerment and recovery.
Making comic books is her own form of self-care, and her art has been published in magazines and social media.
Carmine collaborates with teens and adults individually, or as part of couples and group therapy, on needs ranging from trauma and substance use recovery to mind-body wellness. Carmine welcomes LGBTQI+ clients of all ages.
Justin Umel, LCSW
Justin is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) who has worked in the Bangor area as a psychotherapist since graduating with his Master's Degree in Social Work in 2010 from the University of Maine. Justin believes in the inherent worth, strength and autonomy of the person in their environment which has led him to use an eclectic mixture of traditional and non-traditional modalities. As an avid traveler and lifelong martial artist from a multicultural household, Justin takes a holistic approach that is sensitive to the “mind/body/spirit connection” of the individual. He specializes in working with teens and adults to empower themselves in addressing issues related to trauma and identity.
Emma Swift, LCPC-C
Emma holds a masters degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Husson University and currently works as a Licenced Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC-c). She has worked for Higher Ground for many years in several capacities including mental health case management and addiction counseling. She works with individuals across the life span to provide support with mental health, addiction, trauma, relational and psychosocial challenges that may create barriers for achieving and sustaining overall wellness. Emma utilizes a variety of therapeutic techniques including Cognitive-Behavioral-Therapy, Rational-Emotive-Therapy, Solution-Focused, and Play Therapy techniques. She aims to empower her clients, build resiliency and make progress towards their individual goals. Emma employs a person-centered approach and she strives to build a strong therapeutic alliance.
Dina Yacoubagha, LMSW-cc
Dina holds a Masters in Social Work from the University of Maine. Dina has worked with women who are victims of domestic violence and understands the impact of childhood trauma on individuals’ mental and emotional health and their future choices as well. Dina uses an eclectic approach when working with clients including Cognitive Behavior Therapy, solution-focused and trauma-focused approaches, in addition to Strengths Perspective. Dina believes each individual has intrinsic traits. She strives to highlight and build on these traits when working with clients. She also believes building trust and expressing compassion and empathy are key to establishing an effective therapeutic relationship with clients and achieving a positive outcome.
Miranda Fearon, LCSW
Miranda holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Maine and has worked in the Bangor area as a mental health and dual diagnosis clinician for 7 years. She works with individuals across the life span to provide support with mental health, addiction, trauma, relational and psychosocial challenges that may create barriers for achieving and sustaining overall wellness. Drawing from a variety of therapy approaches including strengths based, cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, solution focused, as well as holistic wellness, she works to empower clients to build resiliency and make progress towards their individual goals and make positive changes in their lives. Her approach is person-centered and she strives to build a genuine therapeutic relationship to support recovery and healing.
Abbie Foresteire - LCPC-C
Abbie holds a Master's Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. Abbie has worked for many years in a variety of social services settings, and brings with her vast experience working with a range of diverse populations. Abbie uses a trauma-informed person-centered treatment, as she believes that each individual is the expert in their life. She is trained to work with individuals seeking support for mental health as well as co-occurring disorders.
Shannon Charette, LCPC-C
Shannon is a graduate of Husson University's Clinical Mental Health & Counseling Master’s Program. She completed her Bachelor’s Degree at UMA-Bangor, majoring in Mental Health & Human Services concentration in Addiction Studies. Shannon has an extensive history working with the following populations: at-risk & homeless youth, domestic violence & sex trafficking victims &/or survivor’s, Substance Use Disorder, DEEP & MAT Counseling, Shannon’s therapeutic approach is tailored to the needs of the client through Person-Centered, CBT, Solution-Focused, MI & Psychodynamic Approaches, to include increasing resilience & empowerment while decreasing stigma & isolation. Shannon is very introverted, loves to read & collect books & comic books.
Jesse Call, LMSW-CC
Jesse holds as a Masters Degree in Social Work. He has been living and working in the Bangor community since 2010 and has worked as a behavioral health professional since 2015. He has experience working with adolescents and adults in mental health inpatient settings as well as providing outpatient intervention across an array of populations. He utilizes mindfulness, interpersonal connection, and humor in treatment and has a passion for collaboration to do work that is meaningful to the client. Jesse works within the modalities of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Object Relations Therapy, and Motivational Interviewing. He enjoys the performing arts, cooking at home, hiking, and gaming.
Misty Beylerian- CADC, MHRT-C
Misty holds a bachelors degree from UMA Bangor in Mental Health and Human Services. She is MRHT/c certified and CADC licensed. Misty is currently providing substance abuse services and case management at Higher Ground Services. She has hands on experience in the field with an array of life experiences that help her provide the best services she can for her clients. Misty enjoys helping people navigate systems in order to live happy healthy lives. Advocacy is very important to Misty and she enjoys meeting people where they are at and helping her clients find and use their voice.
Haley Beem, LCPC-c, LADC, CCS
Haley holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Husson University and has worked in the Bangor area as an addictions counselor and dual diagnosis clinician for several years. She works with individuals across the life span to provide support with mental health, addiction, trauma, relational and psychosocial challenges that may create barriers for achieving and sustaining overall wellness.
Drawing from a variety of therapy approaches including strengths-based, cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, solution focused, as well as holistic wellness, she works to empower clients to build resiliency and make progress towards their individual goals and make positive changes in their lives. Her approach is trauma informed and person-centered and she strives to build a genuine therapeutic relationship to support recovery and healing.
Kelly McLaughlin, LCSW
Kelly is a Clinical Therapist, holding a Master’s in Clinical Social Work since 2006. She is passionate about assisting others in healing, recovery and wellness. Kelly’s approach is interactive, warm and accepting. She practices cultural humility and welcomes people of all ages and backgrounds.
Kelly offers tools that can be used immediately to increase coping, feelings of safety, calm and belonging. Kelly uses trauma informed, strength- based approaches including: Mindfulness, CBT, Solutions Focused Brief Therapy, DBT, and Thera Play. Kelly believes imagination and creativity are key to overcoming life’s challenges. She is patient and willing to collaborate. Kelly works with a variety of conditions, including: Trauma, anxiety, depression, anger issues, addictions, grief and loss, bipolar disorder, eating disorders and autism. In her off time, Kelly enjoys her family and friends, learning, reading, meditation, gardening, visual art, her cats and the natural world.
Rachel Benson, LMSW-cc, LADC, CCS
Rachel graduated in March 2022 with a Clinical Social Work degree from the University of Denver. She also has her license in substance misuse counseling and has worked as a counselor since 2008. Rachel employs an eclectic approach to therapy, allowing the client to be in control. She specializes in Trauma, Substance Misuse, LGBTQ+ issues, and Depression/Anxiety counseling. Rachel works with individuals, couples, families, and groups aged 16+. She believes the most important facet of the counseling process is a positive therapeutic relationship and utilizes empathy and compassion, along with a non-judgmental stance, to facilitate healthy therapeutic relationships with her clients.
Deb McIntrye, LCPC-c
Debra holds a Doctorate in Psychology, M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, M.S. in School Counseling, MBA in Business Administration, and a B.S. in Mental Health & Human Services, with a concentration in Substance Abuse Counseling. She holds a certification in Alcohol and Drug Counseling (CADC), is a Nationally Board-Certified Counselor (NBCC), has a certification in Advanced Trauma Treatment for Children and Adolescents, and is a certified Nutritional and Integrative Mental Health Professional (CIMHP).
While Debra works with clients of all ages and symptoms utilizing a multitude of treatment modalities, her specialty is working with youth exposed to trauma. She also offers an evidenced-based holistic approach to help clients achieve optimal health and wellness while addressing common mental health problems.
Rochelle Dorr, MHRT-C
Rochelle holds a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Husson University and is looking to pursue graduate school for Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She is dedicated to working as a case manager and is willing to jump in heads first to lend a helping hand to better serve those in our communities by providing support and connecting them to resources. She is passionate about working with individuals who are investing in their future and providing the tools to help them live their life to the fullest.
Brigitte, Liz, Melody, Stephanie, Peggy & Noel
The Administrative Team at Higher Ground Services consists of Brigitte, Melody, Lizz, Stephanie, Peggy, and Noel. They take pride in providing a peaceful, safe atmosphere for every client. Brigitte is the owner and the queen of accounting. Melody is the Billing Manager and specializes in insurance related matters. Lizz is the Office Manager. She is responsible for keeping things running smoothly behind the scenes. She loves scheduling appointments and making connections. Stephanie is Melody's assistant. She ensures compliance in billing and Maine Care authorizations. Peggy and Noel will greet you warmly upon entering our office and confirming your appointments. Their duties behind the scenes are too numerous to list. We are proud of all of our people, but our admin staff are the first point of contact for those we serve and everything we do is made possible by them!
Bruiser holds an Associates Degree in stress management. He works with all clients, ensuring that their time at Higher Ground Services is comfortable and that they get the attention they deserve. He'll sniff out any issue beneath the client's surface, ensuring that nothing is missed.
Bruiser accepts all forms of insurance, including Anthem Blue Collar Blue Hankercheif, ear rubs, and treats.
This is Chloe! She is a very friendly purebred Akita who spends most of her days giving hugs and kisses to the community at Higher Ground Services. She loves greeting everyone who comes into the office and playing with her best friend Bruiser. Chloe enjoys providing emotional support to anyone who needs it and to anyone who happens to have treats.
Finn is an emotional support dog who sometimes hangs at Higher Ground with Carmine. She is a friendly, curious, and goofy companion who encourages play and provides unconditional affection.