Earn strictly private therapy through community volunteering

People Helping People Helping People

Our Mission:

Volunteers In Psychotherapy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing affordable and truly private psychotherapy for the community, in exchange for volunteer work clients donate to the charity of their choice. You, the client should decide how long you will continue in therapy: Not an insurance company that profits by cutting the length of therapy.


VIP was granted the Award for Distinguished Psychological Contribution in the Public Interest by the Connecticut Psychological Association and also received award recognition from the American Institute of Medical Education.

Board of Directors:

Ann Bracken received her BA in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Towson University and her MS Ed. In Communication and Learning Disorders from Johns Hopkins University. She has worked as a speech pathologist and teacher in public and private schools, community colleges, and the University of Maryland College Park. Her post-graduate work includes a diploma in drama in education from Dublin’s Trinity College, journal instruction training from The Center for Journal Therapy and poetry therapy training from The National Federation for Biblio/Poetry Therapy . Ann serves as a contributing editor for Little Patuxent Review, and co-facilitates the Wilde Readings Poetry Series in Columbia, Maryland. She volunteers as a correspondent for the Justice Arts Coalition, exchanging letters with incarcerated people to foster their use of the arts and with Mad in America by helping to facilitate poetry events. Her three books of poetry take on the topical issues of family secrets like depression and alcohol abuse, the challenges of teaching, and the stories of the men and women hidden away in our nation’s prisons. Her latest book, Crash: A Memoir of Overmedication and Recovery, explores mother-daughter experiences of mismanaged care for depression and chronic pain, and tells the multi-generational story using primary source records, journal entries, and current medical research.

Leonard DupillePh.D., our President, received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Duquesne University where he began his academic career as a Teaching Fellow. He has been teaching a wide variety of psychology courses at various institutions for 15 years, and has received an award for teaching excellence. In addition to his work as an academic, he has held clinical positions at Northeastern Family Institute and The Institute for Family and Life Learning and where he was involved in conducting individual, group, and family therapy. He came to Manchester, Connecticut in January 2001 and is currently a tenured Full Professor in Psychology at Manchester Community College.  He resides with his family in Windsor.  He is committed to teaching as a vehicle for student growth and transformation.

Cindy Hadge has used her experiences overcoming childhood trauma to become an internationally recognized educator providing training and consultations to mental health providers, worldwide who are looking for innovative ways to approach suicide and voice-hearing. She is also passionate about developing and facilitating healing spaces and workshops for families whose loved ones are not responding well to the current mental health system’s offerings. As Lead Trainer of the Wildflower Alliance, Cindy has keynoted a variety of conferences. 

Liz Halla-Mattingly VIP’s Secretary, received her MSW from the University of Connecticut School of Social Work with a focus in Administration. Liz began her career at the Sexual Assault Crisis Service (SACS) of the YWCA New Britain, where she worked for 8 years. Liz started out at SACS working in Prevention Education and as the Adult Advocate, where she saw firsthand the importance of confidentiality for survivors and their loved ones. She then worked as the SACS Volunteer Coordinator for five years before becoming the Food Ministry Coordinator at the Universalist Church of West Hartford. She currently works as the Development Associate at Gould Farm, a residential therapeutic farm in the Southern Berkshires for adults with serious mental health and related challenges. Liz and her family also live on the farm and participate in community meals and events alongside the farm’s guests, other staff, and their families. Previously they had lived in New Britain for roughly 12 years.

Dr. Evan Pitkoff, our Treasurer, received his B.S. in psychology from Brooklyn College, attained two Masters degrees (one in Special Education) from N.Y.U., and a Doctor of Education in educational administration from Teachers College, Columbia University. He spent the first ten years of his career in the New York City High School division, serving in Brooklyn as a special education teacher and coordinator, and eventually becoming assistant principal at Erasmus Hall High School. He came to Connecticut in 1988 and has served in the following positions over the past two decades: Principal of New Britain High School, Assistant Superintendent of the Hamden Public Schools, Superintendent of Schools for Region #10 (Burlington and Harwinton) and Superintendent of Schools in Newtown. He is newly retired from the position of Executive Director of Cooperative Educational Services (C.E.S.) in Trumbull, Connecticut, a regional educational service center covering the sixteen districts of lower Fairfield County. He has presented workshops and written journal articles in numerous areas of education. He is an active member and Past President of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (C.A.P.S.S.).

Linda Scacco, Ph.D., VIP’s Vice President, is a licensed clinical psychologist who currently teaches undergraduates in the Psychology Department at the University of Hartford where she is also the Coordinator of Undergraduate Internships. Besides having a Ph.D. in Child Psychology from St. John’s University in New York, she has a Master’s degree as well as a 6th year degree in School Psychology from Southern CT State University. Linda has taught courses in the Psychology of Gender, Adolescent and Adult Development, Abnormal Psychology, Multicultural Psychology and the Psychology of Prejudice. She enjoys incorporating into her courses contemporary issues as they relate to the particular class content; and loves having meaningful and lively discussions with her students. Linda has also worked as a school psychologist and in independent practice. For fun, she likes to read, travel, cook, knit, do creative writing and swim. Born in Waterbury, she lives with her husband in West Hartford and is the mother of three adult children.

Richard Shulman, Ph.D., our Past President (now ex-officio) and ongoing Director, is a licensed Clinical Psychologist.  He founded VIP after roughly a decade’s work at Hartford Hospital – Institute of Living, where he had provided psychotherapy and had supervised and trained psychologists and other therapists at the outpatient clinic.  That clinic primarily served Hartford’s poor or uninsured population.  He continues to serve as a volunteer on the Institutional Review Board of Hartford Hospital – Institute of Living, which oversees ethical and informed consent issues in psychiatric and medical research.  He previously worked at the Children’s Outpatient program of Wheeler Clinic, and served as Psychological consultant to Nutmeg Big Brothers – Big Sisters.  He was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Wesleyan University before receiving a Rackham First Year Fellowship to attend graduate school at the University of Michigan in Sociology; after which he completed a doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the University of Toledo.

VIP has been awarded grants by:

The J. Walton Bissell Foundation
The Daphne Seybolt Culpeper Memorial Foundation
The Carse Robinson et al Foundation, Fleet Bank, Trustee
The George A. and Grace L. Long Foundation, Bank of America, Trustee
The Jodik Foundation
Ziv Tzedakah Fund (an international charity)
The Maximilian E. and Marion O. Hoffman Foundation
The Ensworth Charitable Foundation, Bank of America, Trustee
The Timothy Mark Capers Foundation
Wild Oats Market
Healthy People 2010 (Yale-Griffin PRC)
The Cottonwood Foundation
The Ahearn Family Foundation
The J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation
The Andrews Company Limited Partnership
The Joseph S. Stackpole Charitable Trust, Bank of America, Trustee
The Sumner Gerard Foundation
Reid and Riege Foundation
The Universalist Church of West Hartford
Radio Shack Neighborhood Answers Grants
Elaine Gorbach Levine Charitable Foundation
Newington Kiwanis Club
The Greater Hartford Jaycees Foundation
The Aetna Foundation
The McPhee Foundation
Temple Sinai of Newington
The Mabel F. Hoffman Foundation, Bank of America, Trustee
The Deupree Family Foundation
Sharon R. O’Meara Fund of The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving
Gerber Life Insurance Company
CT Association of Psychologists – PAC
The Louise and Arde’ Bulova Fund
The Nathaniel B. Field Memorial Foundation
The Caplin Foundation
American Savings Foundation
The Connecticut Psychological Association Educational Foundation
The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving
West Hartford Greater Together Community Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving
The Good People Fund