Meet the Team

Therapy should be a safe environment to cultivate change and grow through life’s challenges. 


Our goals are to: 

• Help you identify any hurdles or challenges

• Remind you of your strengths 

•Encourage you to recognize your own wisdom & inner beauty 

• Collaborate with you through every step of the way


We appreciate that we are each unique, + like the variations of different house plants, we all require individualized care. You are your own expect, + we want to help you learn how to nurture yourself. While we can’t control life’s rainstorms, we can teach you new skills + help you to be gentle with yourself while you grow.

Heather Rafanello



Founder, Therapist

licensed in NJ + FL

I am a licensed clinical social worker in the state of New Jersey. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Neumann University, and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Kean University. I have over 9 years working in the field with experience in community non-profits, schools, an eating disorder treatment program, and private practice. 

While I work primarily with individuals, I love family + couples therapy. I use a combination of emotion-focused, strengths based, + solution-focused approaches to provide you with tangible skills, while holding space for you to process through your feelings + create a balanced life. 

My passion is making therapeutic topics relatable, understandable, and maybe even a little bit fun! My favorite 'therapy-isms' are "pay attention on purpose" + "uncomfortable ≠ bad."

Learn more on Psychology Today.

*Check out my Hoboken Girl Wellness articles here

Listen to my podcast: Mind Meets Body & Soul

I am a licensed clinical social worker in the state of New Jersey. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Rowan University, and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Rutgers University. During grad school I worked in an inpatient psychiatric hospital, primarily with children. Upon graduating I worked as a case manager in the New Jersey system of care for a little over a year, while also providing outpatient services at a non-profit. 

Prior to joining Growing Mindset Therapy I provided in home therapy to children and families in Morris County. I have been working in the field for over 8 years with experience in community non-profits, schools, in patient programs, and private practice. 

I strive to help couples, families, and individuals overcome any obstacles they experience. My favorite 'therapy-ism' is “you’re either actively working for something to improve or you’re allowing it to happen.”

Alex Bykowski



 Primary Therapist

licensed in NJ

Amanda Zacharias



 Primary Therapist

licensed in NJ

I am a New Jersey Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) with 18 years of experience. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Bloomsburg University + a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Clinical Health Psychology from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.  In addition to my counseling experience, I have over 10 years of experience as a clinical supervisor + hold my Approved Clinical Supervisor (ACS) credential. 

Over the course of my career, I have worked in several different settings (hospital-based, partial hospitalization/day treatment, + outpatient).  I have treated clients with various challenges including but not limited to depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, trauma, eating disorders, and parenting challenges.

My experience has taught me that what works for one person may not work for another. It’s important for me to go beyond the diagnosis and/or challenge(s) + get to know each client as a person. I utilize an emotion-focused, strengths-based approach to therapy + hope to assist those I work with to better understand (+ not fear!) their emotions. If you are looking for empathic, compassionate, focused, nonjudgmental counseling, let’s connect!

I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in PA and DE as well as a Board Certified TeleMental Health Provider (BC-TMH). I have more than 17 years of experience working with various individuals and populations in the behavioral health field. I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Rutgers University-Camden and a Master’s degree in Clinical-Counseling Psychology from LaSalle University.

I have experience in working with individuals seeking treatment for mood disorders, codependency, substance use disorders, and eating disorders. I have also had success in working with the supporter?s and caregivers of those in treatment or recovery. I fostered relationships with community agencies and treatment programs offering various levels of care.

In practice, I focus on developing and sustaining connections with my clients as we walk the path of healing together toward a full return to living.

Kristin Szostak



 Primary Therapist

licensed in PA + DE

Tortellini Rafanello


Full time napper

While we take every precaution to protect your privacy during sessions, there is only 1 guest who makes appearances. On occasion, you may have the opportunity to meet Heather's fur baby, Tortellini. She has been known to stretch out and nap in the background of some video calls. 

Tortellini is passionate about long walks on the beach, and her love languages are belly rubs + treats.