Solutions' Leadership

Melissa Ortiz, MS, LPC
Melissa has a Master’s degree in Psychology, and is a Licensed Professional Counselor.  She has been in the mental health field over 15 years and her background includes working with a variety of organizations including Wheeler Clinic, Wellmore Behavioral Health and Continuum of Care.  Melissa has experience providing clinical and case management services to adolescents and young adults within school systems, community support programs and residential programs. Her background includes 4 years of experience in administration as the director and later, clinical director, of multiple residential and crisis stabilization programs, which provided crisis intervention, case management, psychosocial rehab and employment services to the co-occurring mentally ill population. Melissa was also formally certified as a staff trainer for Therapeutic Crisis Intervention through Cornell University. She has conducted other workshops ranging from Verbal De-Escalation, Assessing for Suicidality Using the C-SSRS, Staff Development and Program Evaluation, and Conflict Resolution.  She is a skilled group facilitator and experienced in program evaluation and development.


Caroline Bensam Finley, LCSW

Caroline is the Program Manager of Solutions EAP.  She previously served as the Program Manager of the Early Childhood Consultation Partnership (ECCP®) where she helped to manage operations in both Connecticut and Maine.  She began her work with Advanced Behavioral Health CT in 2011.   

Caroline is a graduate of Southern Connecticut State University where she earned a Master’s degree in Social Work. Her professional experience includes over 25 years of clinical work as a licensed clinical social worker across various specializations in the behavioral health world.  This includes supporting both child and adult populations, spanning several levels of care, to include outpatient and partial hospitalization programs.   Within these, Caroline has provided services in multiple modalities to include individual, family and group psychotherapy, as well as intensive crisis intervention. She has additionally maintained a private psychotherapy practice for 20 years.  Within Connecticut communities, Caroline has also worked with youth services and volunteer mentorship programming through the years. 

Gwen Kesten, Ph.D.
Program Coordinator, Middlesex Hospital EAP/Solutions EAP

Gwen is a clinical psychologist who joined Solutions EAP in 2002 through a joint venture with Middlesex Hospital.  Previously she worked at Manchester Memorial Hospital for 9 years directing adult outpatient behavioral health services.  In that capacity, Gwen had direct clinical responsibilities as well as administrative oversight and community liaison functions.  She has 16 years of clinical experience working with children, adolescents and adults.  She has coordinated crisis services, worked with anxiety disorders, sexual dysfunction, eating disorders, and perimenstrual problems.  Gwen has conducted a number of workshops for businesses, local PTOs, and healthcare organizations on Burnout, Stress Management, and topics related to clinical syndromes such as depression, anxiety, personality disorders, and sexuality.

Leila M. Shepard, M.Ed., LPC, C.A.G.S.
EAP Counselor, Solutions EAP

Leila received her undergraduate degree from Connecticut College and graduate degrees in counseling and marriage and family therapy from Boston University and Southern Connecticut State University, respectively.  She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and worked in various capacities at United Community and Family Services for 34 years.  She is a former member of the Board of Director of Natchaug Hospital and the Southeastern Connecticut Women’s Network.  Leila provides training, consultation, trauma response, and counseling services for Solutions in the Groton office.

James J. Archambeault, MA, LADC
EAP Counselor, Solutions EAP

Jim is a seasoned, substance abuse and mental health counseling professional.  He has a Master’s Degree in Psychological Sciences from CCSU and is a State of Connecticut, Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC).  Prior to joining the staff at Solutions EAP; Jim provided clinical and administrative supervision in various capacities, including as Director of Outpatient Services at SCADD, Inc. (New London and Norwich); as Clinical Director for BHcare, Inc. (Branford); and as Director of the Co-occurring Rehabilitation Unit at Blue Hills Hospital (Hartford).  In addition to being a veteran counselor and administrator; Jim has been an adjunct faculty member at CCSU for the past 20 years, teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses in the Psychological Sciences and Counselor Education & Family Therapy Departments. Jim’s counseling approach combines the clinical best practices of Solution-focused Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Twelve Step Facilitation. Jim is a skilled evaluator, ensuring that clients are provided individualized counseling and referral to other levels of treatment when necessary.

Laina Braasch, LCSW, CEAP
EAP Counselor, Solutions EAP

Laina is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 23 years of experience in the mental health and addiction field. Graduating with honors from both schools, Laina received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Westfield State College and received her master’s degree in Social Work from Rhode Island College.  She has experience providing support services to adolescents and young adults within school systems, community support programs and residential programs. She has seven years of experience in Addiction services, providing both didactic and therapeutic group and individual counseling. She has 6 years of experience in administration as a program director and supervisor in a community mental health agency, which provided crisis intervention, case management, psychosocial rehab and employment services to the chronically mentally ill population. Laina has been trained in CISM and has twelve years of experience as a crisis clinician in an emergency room setting, completing crisis evaluations, risk assessments, crisis counseling and disposition formulation working closely with staff and community providers.