Welcome to Essex Wellness Center’s Holistic Services. We are proud to introduce our experienced team of practitioners who can help guide you to optimum health and happiness.

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Betty Hamilton is a registered nurse, has her Master of Arts in Experiential Health and Healing and is a certified hypnotherapist. Betty has spent 40 years as a registered nurse at Yale New Haven Hospital. She became interested in complementary healing while getting a master’s degree in Experiential Health and Healing from the Graduate Institute in Bethany, CT. Her passion and results for hypnosis inspired her to open her private practice dedicated to helping and healing people through hypnosis and Reiki.

Hypnosis for Health offers hypnosis for, but not limited to:

  • Smoking cessation
  • Weight reduction
  • Stress reduction
  • Regression
  • Increasing self-esteem
  • Sleep disorders

Decreasing anxiety before surgery/procedures.

Comer Rudd-Gates has been a practicing Registered Art Therapist and Licensed Professional Counselor for over 25 years. She specializes in depression, anxiety, trauma, eating disorders, body image and the role of creativity in healing. Comer is a staff therapist with Gateway Counseling and has a private practice in Guilford, Connecticut. Previously she maintained a private practice in Atlanta, GA and worked as a group therapist for Ladder to the Moon, an intensive outpatient eating disorders program. Comer is the curator of an art exhibit Hungry Souls: Nourishing Ourselves through Art, Co-Executive Producer of the film Bodyspeaks: Finding A Voice through Art Therapy and the Executive Director of the Allasso Foundation: Change, Creativity and the Healing Image.


Dana Krete earned her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine and Masters of Acupuncture at National College of Natural Medicine in Portland Oregon. In addition to her in-depth knowledge of Naturopathic and Chinese medicine she also has a background in health and fitness as a personal trainer, fitness instructor, triathlete and Division I college scholarship athlete.

As a naturopathic physician, Dr. Krete uses a multidisciplinary approach to treatment including acupuncture, Chinese and Western herbs, homeopathy, nutritional supplements, and especially enjoys providing nutritional counseling. Staying true to the roots of both Chinese and Naturopathic medicine, every patient is treated as a whole person and as an individual. She enjoys treating patients of all ages and, as a mother of two, she is very happy to see children in her practice.

She has experience treating a vast array of medical conditions from colicky infants and children with ear infections to autoimmune conditions, diabetes and mood issues such as anxiety and depression. She has a particular interest in treating hormonal imbalances including PMS and menopause, digestive disorders, fatigue, anxiety, depression and insomnia, and also musculoskeletal pain including sciatica, low back and neck pain. With her great interest and knowledge in nutrition and fitness, she also works with patients whose primary goal is weight loss or optimizing wellness.

Dr. Krete uses various methods of diagnosis in determining which treatments will be best suited for each patient. This includes a detailed history during your visit, physical exam, and lab studies and imaging if indicated. Dr. Krete uses many of the typical labs you may have done in a conventional medical setting, but also will determine if more in depth testing is applicable to your case. For example, nutritional status testing, food intolerance testing, salivary cortisol testing, digestive health panels, neurotransmitter testing, and hormone panels, among others. These lab tests are accurate and scientific, yet not offered in most other medical settings. Dr. Krete’s goal is to help her patients find and treat the cause of her their health issues rather than just treating symptoms.


Debbie Sodergren is an Energy Medicine Practitioner and owner of Up Vibrations, LLC. Debbie graduated from the New England School of Metaphysical Studies in 1998, is nationally certified as a Reiki Master Teacher and is certified to teach Metaphysics and Meditation.

Debbie has a deep understanding of the body, mind and spirit connection. Her philosophy of healing is based on the client being taken care of with traditional allopathic medicine along with alternative healing modalities to ensure that the individual’s whole self is being maintained and balanced. To this end, Debbie has trained extensively in the human energy field in areas of chakra balancing, vibrational medicine, channeling, death and dying, meditation, infinite possibilities mindset, and others.

Debbie believes that in order to grow and make changes, a person needs guidance and coaching from an experienced Mentor on what to do next in order to achieve their goals. She continues her pursuit of knowledge through continuous education and trainings with notable experts in her field such as Carolyn Myss, Dr. Bernie Seigel at the Graduate Institute, Dr. Norm Shealy, Suzanne Evans, Margaret M. Lynch, Amanda Moxley and with Mike Dooley, author of ‘Notes from the Universe’ and “Infinite Possibilities, the Art of Living Your Dreams!”.

Debbie incorporates her training and certifications in energy medicine modalities of body, mind & spirit to offer the best blending of tools to give her clients a holistic and empowering approach in managing their wellness. She teaches classes in Meditation & Awareness and Infinite Possibilities- the art of creating a life you love. Debbie has co-facilitated an empowerment VIP 1 Day event known as Dancin with the Universe.

Upcoming Workshops at Essex Wellness Center:

Introduction to Meditation and Awareness

28 Main Street
$125/4 weeks

Come and learn how to meditate and what that means. Many people keep saying “I can’t meditate…I have a hard time quieting my mind”. In this course, you will learn how to relax your body and begin to control the mind through easy visualization exercises. Always using a gentle guided meditation in each session, the instructor will offer useful tools that you can use at home to enhance a sense of well-being and peacefulness. The art of “letting yourself go” can be learned. Going beyond beta level into the alpha level has benefits which include: clarity, more energy, better physical being, better breathing, stress reduction and a developed sense of mental awareness. Wear comfortable loose non-constricting clothing. You may bring a pillow to sit on. Bring water to hydrate. Note taking and journaling are encouraged and handouts will be given during the lecture part of class.

Infinite Possibilities: The Art of Living Your Dreams

$150/4 weeks

This 4 week workshop series led by certified Infinite Possibilities Trainer, Debbie Sodergren, you will empower you to create the highest degree of happiness, confidence and success in your life by redirecting your limiting beliefs and thoughts. Based on the book of the same name by Mike Dooley, this program is fun, up-beat and energizing. I will be teaching this class in a 4 week setting. Here is an example of a 4 week/2 hour workshop:

  • *Week One: Introduction to Infinite Possibilities Workshop -Thoughts Become Things
  • *Week Two: Beliefs and Emotions
  • *Week Three: Taking Action, Instincts and Hunches, Dreams and Desires, Faith and the Magical Universe
  • *Week Four: The Meaning of Life and Moving Forward in your New Life!

This 4 Week Course will allow you to realize how special YOU are; that every life is meaningful; that we are all here to learn that dreams really do come true and that imagination is the gift that can bring love, health, abundance and happiness into our lives. There could be no better time than now, at this crossroads in history, to discover the truth about who you are, and all that you can be, which is the purpose behind “Infinite Possibilities: The Art of Living Your Dreams” program.

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Ellen is an accomplished Executive Leadership/Personal and Professional Life Coach with 20+ years diverse Fortune 500 industry experience specializing in Strategy and Innovation, M&A (Mergers & Acquisitions), Process Engineering, Organizational Design, Culture, and large-scale Change Initiatives.

An accomplished coach with a comprehensive corporate and executive background, Ellen understands the complexities and challenges that individuals face, meeting clients where they are in powerful conversations through a resonant voice of experience.


  • Certified ICF Leadership Coach with advanced training in Adult Development, Team Coaching, and Organizational Development.
  • Graduate of Georgetown University, Executive Leadership Coaching Program
  • MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Stanford Graduate School of Business, Executive Education Program: Leading Change and Organizational Renewal (LCOR)

Executive leadership coaching involves working with clients towards specific professional goals. These include career transition, interpersonal and professional communication, performance management, organizational effectiveness, managing career and personal changes, developing executive presence, enhancing strategic thinking, dealing effectively with conflict, and building an effective team within an organization. As an Executive Coach, Ellen excels at working with individual executives and leadership teams to illuminate the potential for transformation: inviting curiosity, joy, and enthusiasm to play big. She succeeds as an authentic, collaborative partner who acts with integrity to coach clients to move beyond current boundaries with clarity of intentions, objectives, and values to achieve extraordinary results. She’s a PossibilitarianTM, a conversation partner, a vision builder, and a value shaper who has deep behavioral insights and an innate ability to connect with others. Helping leaders become unstuck, becoming his/her optimal self, she extends invitation to explore possibilities and growth through self-reflection, reframing priorities, and inspiring new insight through alternate lenses of focus and creativity, helping clients focus on leadership presence, blind spots, and behaviors.

Coaching Outcome Goals:

  • Achieve measurable business results while promoting personal development and renewal through enhanced leadership effectiveness, emotional intelligence, resilience and presence
  • Enhance team-based leadership, building upon an executive’s capability to balance declarations with consensus, manage relationships; enroll others in shared vision and management of planning processes
  • Build collaborative teams and create synergies in team-based environments with a focus on shared purpose, accountability, goals and commitment
  • Create sustained execution results through deeper personal awareness of internal beliefs and behaviors and their outward impact on the environment

Pricing: Executive coaching engagements are available on-premises and/or conducted at the individual’s place of employment, over the phone or Skype. Please call for availability, custom engagement design, and pricing options.

Peer Coaching Network – Currently taking applications

Boutique coaching network for woman executives seeking proven practices, big ideas, bold vision and a trusted peer-network. An invitation to nurture, reward and play – to temporarily retreat to a spa-like environment in historic downtown Essex, CT. Sharpening one’s leadership presence and effectiveness through care and compassion of self first. Meeting as a small group of 8-10 members who meet monthly to share challenges and concerns in a sacred space governed by confidentiality and trust. An organically whole philosophy that supports and strengthens each domain of life from business, personal, family and community – creating optimal balance and results. Focusing on the power of extraordinary story, we’ll explore deep learning through peer exchanges where business leaders share success stories that can be leveraged to address current issues and build winning solutions for continued growth and empowerment.

Liz Hale-Rose, Mindfulness

Elizabeth is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (MSW, Smith College, 1994) who specializes in treating mood and anxiety disorders and has a special interest in integrating mindfulness into clinical work and self-development. She has studied Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) for depression relapse prevention with Zindel Segal, PhD, and has studied many additional relaxation and meditation practices. She has extensive teaching experience.

MBCT is based on the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, developed by Jon Kabat Zinn in 1979 at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Research shows that MBSR is enormously empowering for patients with chronic pain, hypertension, heart disease, cancer, and gastrointestinal disorders, as well as for psychological problems such as anxiety and panic. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy grew from this work. Zindel Segal, Mark Williams and John Teasdale adapted the MBSR program so it could be used especially for people who had suffered bouts of depression in their lives.

The UK National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) has endorsed MBCT as an effective treatment for prevention of relapse. Research has shown that people who have been clinically depressed 3 or more times (sometimes for 20 years or more) find that learning and practicing MBCT skills helps to considerably reduce their chances that depression will return.

Joanna Crowell Essex Wellness Center Therapist

Joanna Crowell, NCC, LPC, LADC is certified by the National Board of Certified Counselors. She holds a Master of Science in Community Counseling from Southern Connecticut State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Communication.  Joanna is an experienced Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor. She has written and provided lectures on treating addiction.  She is certified as an Addiction Counselor and carries a certification in  Medication Assisted Therapy by the Connecticut Certification Board.  Joanna works as the clinical supervisor at the Middlesex Hospital Psychiatric Day Treatment Program overseeing eleven clinicians that work with people suffering from problems and complications with mental illness and behavioral health.  Joanna encourages and inspires her therapy clients to achieve personal growth through facilitating the recovery process and offering support to help people find solutions for the problems that they are experiencing.
Joanna is on the Yale University faculty and she supervises medical students during their psychiatry rotation at Middlesex Hospital.
Joanna is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR helps trauma survivors reprocess disturbing thoughts and memories, providing profound and stable treatment effects in a short period of time. It ameliorates symptoms of both acute and chronic post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Joanna is also trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) a therapy that provides clients with new skills to manage painful emotions and decrease conflict in relationships. DBT specifically focuses on providing therapeutic skills in four key areas, mindfulness, emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness and distress tolerance.
Bachelor of Arts in Corporate Communication concentration in Marketing: Central Connecticut State University
Master of Science in Community Counseling: Southern Connecticut State University
Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor: State of Connecticut
Licensed Professional Counselor: State of Connecticut
Medication Assisted Treatment Specialist: Connecticut Certification Board
Certified Addictions Counselor: Connecticut Certification Board
National  Certified Counselor:  National Board for Certified Counselors

Dawn Swope Health Coach

Dawn received her BA from John Carroll University in 1991. In 2011 she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. During this time Dawn directly experienced the power of food as medicine. This experience impassioned her to become a Health Coach in order to help individuals live a happier, healthier, longer life.

Dawn Swope received her Certification as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in May of 2013. A Health Coach is a wellness authority and supportive mentor who motivates you to cultivate positive health choices. Health coaches work with you to help you feel you best through food and lifestyle changes. Instead of prescribing one diet or way of exercising, a Health Coach will tailor an individualized wellness program to meet your needs. There is no one way to eat healthy. Dawn can work with you individually or in a group.

Dawn will build your wellness program without adding to your overwhelm. Small changes have a major impact on health and wellness. She works with clients of all ages. If you are trying to get yourself or your family to eat healthier but are meeting resistance or you are confused about how, if you just don’t feel your best, if you have difficulty losing weight or keeping it off, if you are just confused about how to be healthy.

Dawn is also the mother of two, business owner, writer, and speaker.

Dawn is accredited with The American Association of Drugless Practitioners, completed the Immersion Course with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in April of 2015, a member of the International Association For Health Coaches, and stays current with Health and Wellness.


Alicia DeMartin is a Fairfield, Connecticut native. Ms. DeMartin received her BS from The University of Vermont and a MS in Oriental Medicine from Southwest Acupuncture College in Boulder, Colorado. Ms. DeMartin discovered a passion for emergency medicine and orthopedics working as a Wilderness EMT and ski patroller at Stowe VT after college. Moving out West to pursue her passion for skiing, horses and an active mountain lifestyle, she successfully utilized the services of an acupuncturist to treat her own orthopedic injuries. Intrigued and healed, she decided to go against the grain of her medical family and enroll in graduate school for Oriental medicine.

Ms. DeMartin owned a private practice in Vail, Colorado for 6 years and has 9 years of experience specializing in pain management and orthopedics. Alicia loves working with orthopedic conditions, arthritis, injuries, pain of all varieties and post-surgical rehab, especially joint replacements. Alicia is currently working towards a Doctorate in Chinese medicine orthopedics and traumatology.

Orthopedics including:
Sports injuries
Musculoskeletal pain
Rheumatoid arthritis
Post orthopedic surgery recovery and pain management
Joint replacements
Joint pain including:
Low back pain
Shoulder pain
Knee pain
Foot pain
Ankle pain
Neck pain
Wrist pain
TMJ pain
Pain conditions including:
Migraine headaches
Abdominal pain
Pelvic and menstrual pain

In her free time Alicia loves downhill, telemark and cross-country skiing, hiking, riding horses, cooking and garden design. She is thrilled to be back in Connecticut and part of Essex Wellness Center.

Brigitta Jansen, MS, CN, practices functional medicine nutrition in Connecticut. Functional medicine nutrition aims to address the root cause of chronic disease instead of just managing symptoms. Brigitta’s nutrition philosophy is to support the body’s innate ability to heal itself, using personalized diet and supplement plans, as well as lifestyle counseling, and other natural therapies. Brigitta enjoys working with a diverse clientele, from individuals of all ages to families.


Brigitta utilizes blood chemistry, metabolic testing, GI panels, food sensitivity testing, genetic testing and hormone testing as well as a thorough diet and health history to determine individual nutrient needs. Her focus is especially on healing the gut using the 5R program, as well as gentle detoxing and rebalancing of nutrient levels. Many chronic conditions have been linked to gut dysbiosis and high toxin levels, including autoimmune disorders, autism, depression, anxiety, skin issues, weight problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer and more.


Brigitta is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of Bridgeport where she obtained her Masters in Human Nutrition. Additionally, she holds a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience from University College London, UK. She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi and the American College of Nutrition. As a nutritionist and longtime local food activist, she is passionate about helping people discover the healing power of real food. In her spare time she likes to do yoga, play music, hike and garden.