About Us

We are a locally run and family focused program offering a concierge style approach to addiction treatment.  Nestled in the privacy and beauty of Great Falls, Virginia, we are here to help. Our boutique substance use treatment program offers a personalized, discreet and comprehensive path to healing. We prioritize the well-being and privacy of our clients, treating the whole person with compassion and understanding. We offer evidence-based treatment programs as well as equine therapy, yoga, art therapy and acupuncture. We will be at your side as you recover in body, mind and spirit.

Elizabeth Fernandez, LPC

Clinical Director

Liz Fernandez serves as the Clinical Director at Great Falls Wellness, overseeing all clinical services for the organization. Liz holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Human Development and she is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Liz has nine years of clinical experience, including individual and group therapy. Liz has extensive experience treating individuals suffering from mental health and substance use disorders and has worked in partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and outpatient settings. Liz is trained in Motivational Interviewing and CBT, and has extensive experience with both DBT, Solutions Focused, and Person Centered practices.

Christie Lavin

Director of Operations

Christie Lavin brings years of organizational management and leadership experience to Great Falls Wellness as well as business, strategy, and marketing skills.  She has been an active member of the Great Falls community for many years and has been involved with several local civic organizations and non-profit causes.  Christie has worked with women in recovery for over a decade and has a deep knowledge and understanding of both the language of recovery and trauma work. She is particularly interested in the mind-body connection and formulated the holistic program that Great Falls Wellness offers in order to serve that purpose.

Ailish Riggs Dermody, NCC

Resident In Counseling

Ailish Riggs Dermody is a trauma informed therapist and works with adults with a focus on grief and loss, trauma, 12-step recovery, relationship issues, anxiety, and emotional regulation. In addition to her work in traditional therapy settings, Ailish is a certified Equine Facilitated Psychotherapist and proud mom to Whiskers, her Mustang, and co-facilitator for her equine therapy sessions. Ailish has an M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marymount University and has completed certifications in Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy, Trauma, Grief and Loss, Equine Behavior, and Prolonged Grief.

Dr. Ioana Marcus

Equine Therapist

Dr. Ioana Marcus and Equibliss Psychotherapy is partnering with Great Falls Wellness to offer equine assisted psychotherapy groups. Dr. Ioana Marcus founded Equibliss Psychotherapy in 2013 to support clients with trauma, anxiety, depression and eating disorders through working with horses. Ioana is also a counselor educator who has taught graduate clinical mental health counseling courses for a decade, is a published author, an approved clinical supervisor and has presented at numerous national professional conferences in the past 16 years.  Equibliss grew into a close-knit community of therapists and horses committed to providing a safe space for connection, healing and growth to their clients and the community. The Equibliss herd of wonderful horses includes two off track thoroughbreds and a formerly wild mustang at their lovely cozy barn nested in the beautiful Great Falls. 

Heather Hagaman

Yoga Therapist

Heather Hagaman is a Trauma Informed Certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT)  and holds a MA in Psychology from Marymount University.  She has been a pioneer in the field of yoga and addiction recovery. This emerging field utilizes Trauma Informed Yoga (TIY) to help people move beyond addiction, complex PTSD, Anxiety, or Depression and start to build fulfilling lives. She utilizes trauma awareness, psychotherapy and yogic tools to help clients self-regulate and make healthy decisions for themselves while abstaining from substance use.  By creating a non-judgmental and confidential environment, she helps clients feel safe as they begin to heal and recover.

Sair Lazzaro

Art Therapist

Sair Lazzaro (they/them) Is a consultant Art Therapist for Great Falls Wellness, running clinical art therapy groups and workshops. They graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2018 with a B.Phil in Neuroscience & Psychology, and from GWU in 2023 with a MA in Art Therapy. They are currently pursuing licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor and Board-Certified Registered Art Therapist. Sair specializes in substance use recovery, adolescent populations, neurodiversity, and the LGBTQ+ community. In addition to their clinical experience, Sair has eight years of experience as a cognitive neuroscientist, where they explored human cognition and treatment of psychopathology with emergent neuroimaging technologies. Sair is trained in Visual Arts Psychotherapy, Motivational Interviewing, and CBT, and practices as a person-centered therapist with attention to existentialist concerns. Their methods focus on augmenting talk psychotherapy with creative arts approaches to enhance cognitive flexibility and emotional well-being.