Dena studied Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Johns Hopkins University. She has experience working on a wide range of clinical and life problems. Through evidence based interventions, such as CBT, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Brainspotting, DBT, Dialectal Behavioral Therapy, and Mindfulness techniques, Dena has a way of helping you stay grounded in the present while you explore and express your struggles. She specializes in the treatment of anxiety, depression, ADHD, and helping individuals navigate relationship or divorce struggles. She is passionate about helping individuals find their voice, become more assertive, increase self-esteem, and find their path in order to  start working on their life goals.

Prior to working in a private practice setting, Dena gained a great deal of experience working at an intensive outpatient setting providing therapy to adults, adolescents, and children. And prior to working in the mental health field, Dena graduated from Towson University with a Bachelors degree in Elementary and Special Education. She spent eight years as a Montgomery County Public School educator at a National Blue Ribbon School. She has experience coaching high school adolescents, teaching, working with students with special needs, as well as consulting parents. 

Dena Alalfey, MS, LCPC


In her free time, Dena enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, and son. 

"I am eager to provide you with compassionate support as you express and explore current struggles, expand your awareness of internal and external obstacles, and support you as you pave the way towards deep and lasting change. Take a look at range of services we offer for both individuals and groups, and our blog for resources and skills for coping with stress, anxiety, depressions and mental health struggles you may be facing."



Sarah completed her Master's degree in Counseling Psychology at Loyola University Maryland.Sarah has been trained to provide Integrative Treatment of Complex Trauma, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Child-Centered Play Therapy, and Gottman Method Couples Therapy.


You will sense Sarah's gentle and compassionate demeanor the second you meet her. Some of the concerns that Sarah can help adolescents, adults, and children address include depression, anxiety, low self esteem, eating disorders, trauma, attachment disorders, self-harm, adjustment disorders, negative self-image, panic attacks, and interpersonal difficulties.


Prior to working at A Step Forward, Sarah spent a few years teaching English in Korea. She then went on and gained a great deal of experience treating children & adolescents by providing therapy at The Care Clinic of The University of Maryland Medical Center. Additionally, Sarah provided behavioral therapy at The Theodore House in Baltimore to adults overcoming substance-abuse. She has also gained experience providing in-home services to adults with Bipolar Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, and Schizophrenia. She enjoys helping parents implement positive parenting techniques as well as treat attachment concerns.

Apart from therapy, Sarah enjoys painting, hiking, and traveling with loved ones. She is incredibly passionate about helping others to realize their strengths and achieve their best possible lives.

Sarah Ofrecio, MS, LCPC


Laurie graduated with a Masters in Clinical Social Work from The Catholic University of America.

She has training in a variety of interventions including CBT, DBT, and mindfulness and uses a

strength-based approach in order to assess what modality will work best for each individual


Prior to joining the team at A Step Forward, Laurie worked as a Care Coordinator in wraparound

services throughout Montgomery County, as well as a school-based Mental Health Therapist at

a school for students with social, emotional, and behavioral disorders.

Through these services, she's gained experience working with clients of all ages, both in individual and family settings, and specializes in anxiety and depression, ADHD, eating disorders, trauma, and family/relationship dynamics.


When Laurie is not working, she enjoys reading, going to football games, and spending time

with her husband and daughter.

“Through joint collaboration and exploration, we will work to heal wounds, identify your

personal strengths, and develop new coping skills unique to you.”


Laurie Weitzman, MS, LCSW-C


Dr. Miriam Elizabeth Bowman, PhD, LICSW, LCSW-C


What our Community Thinks

Dr. Miriam Elizabeth (Beth) Bowman, earned her doctorate in Social Work at the Catholic University of America, in Washington, D.C. She is also currently a professor in the Master of Social Work Program within the Social Work Department at Gallaudet University.

She enjoys applying techniques of expressive therapies including play therapy, art therapy, and trauma-informed yoga. She has experience working with adults, adolescents and children, but primarily focuses on work with children and adolescents in clinical practice. 

Prior to working at A Step Forward, she was a former District of Columbia Child Welfare Social Worker and Supervisor for nearly 10 years, during which time she provided clinical crisis intervention and supervision with a trauma-informed focus.


As a mother of two teenagers, Dr. Bowman enjoys spending time with her son and daughter whenever they are not out with friends or watching YouTube videos. She loves baking with her daughter and gardening with her son. She is a strong advocate of self-care, as a former child welfare worker and long-time single mother, and enjoys long walks with girlfriends, yoga and mindfulness practices, and napping whenever possible!

**Dr. Bowman is fluent in sign language.

We have 5/5 stars from 20 reviews on Google. 

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We're "HIGHLY RECOMMENDED" on Alignable.

We received The Best of 2019 Gaithersburg Award.

We received The Best of 2020 Gaithersburg Award.

(240) 994-2274

Contact us for a free 15 minute phone consultation! I'd love to hear from you.

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