About Us

Mindful Medicine was founded by Dr. Michael Barness, MD, to provide a more personal and multidisciplinary approach to mental health care. Understanding that medication is just one piece in the puzzle, Mindful Medicine emphasizes the role of therapy, mindfulness and lifestyle considerations to empower individuals to improve their wellbeing and create permanent change.

In order to focus on quality over quantity, Mindful Medicine does not participate in any health insurance plans. By freeing ourselves from the insurance-based model, we can dedicate more time to our patients and recommend the most effective courses of treatment without outside interference. As a result, Mindful Medicine is able to fulfill our commitment to providing greater accessibility and more compassionate, personalized care tailored to the unique needs of each patient.

Meet the Team


Dr. Michael Barness, MD

Dr. Michael Barness is a board-certified psychiatrist. He has a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Pennsylvania State University and a Doctor of Medicine from Medical University of the Americas. Dr. Barness completed his psychiatry residency with the University of Nevada School of Medicine.

Dr. Barness previously worked as the Medical Director at GenPsych Livingston where he treated adolescents and adults. He was also the Vice Chairman of behavioral health within the Atlantic Health System as well as Medical Director for inpatient psychiatric services with RWJ Barnabas.

Dr. Barness is also a husband and a father of two. He enjoys cooking, traveling, and has been an avid New York Jets fan since he was a child.

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Samara Barness

Sam is the Director of Practice Operations at Mindful Medicine. She oversees the daily operations, plays a leadership role in the Mindful Medicine initiative approach, handles all marketing, events, and social media, and assists in the office and with phone coverage when needed.

Sam has over 15 years of event/operational experience. She has a bachelor’s degree in Business with a concentration in Marketing from Pace University. She enjoys spending time with her family, working out on her Peloton, and spending time at the beach.    

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Hana Dolan Haar, LAC

Hana is a Licensed Therapist specializing in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). She previously worked as Executive Assistant/Office Manager to our founder, Dr. Barness.

Hana’s true passion is helpings patients overcome mental illness. She has dual Master’s degrees in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Guidance Counseling from the College of St. Elizabeth. She earned dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Elementary Education and Psychology from Rider University.

Hana is an animal lover and enjoys listening to music on her free time. She also enjoys learning and expanding her knowledge in the field of psychology. Hana is currently accepting new patients ages 15 and up. 


Dr. Shirley Messina, DNP, PMHFNP-BC, MSN, MA, RN, CSN

Shirley Messina is a Board-Certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner certified in both New Jersey and Florida. Shirley obtained her first Masters in Psychological Services from Kean University, followed by her second Masters of Science in Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing from Monmouth University.

Shirley just recently earned her Doctoral Degree from Monmouth University. Her expertise and experience have come from many different settings, including special education, school settings, detox facilities, child/adolescent inpatient/outpatient, as well as crisis intervention. Her experience and training include various mental health conditions such as Depression, Anxiety, Mood Disorders, Schizophrenia, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Attention-deficit/hyperactivity Disorder.

Shirley has been employed in the Mental Health field for over 10 years. Providing psychological and medication evaluations, she focuses on building a therapeutic relationship with her clientele to promote healthy and effective care throughout their treatment while also navigating them through life challenges and stressors

Dr. Christelle Cousseillent, DNP, APN, PMHNP-BC

Dr. Christelle Cousseillent, DNP, APN, PMHNP-BC

Christelle Cousseillent is a Board-Certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner certified in New Jersey who cares for individuals, couples and families. She completed her undergraduate studies at New Jersey City University and her Doctoral degree at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

Her expertise and experience have come from many different settings, including psychiatric and medical emergency room services, crisis intervention, psychiatric inpatient/outpatient services across the lifespan, pediatric home healthcare, nursing home facilities, as well as child and adolescent intensive outpatient treatment. Dr. Cousseilllent takes a special interest in treating children and adolescents alongside their families. Her experience and training include various mental health conditions such as Depression, Anxiety, Mood Disorders, Schizophrenia, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Attention-deficit/hyperactivity Disorder.

In addition to her work at Mindful Medicine, Dr. Cousseillent also treats children and adolescents at GenPsych Livingston enrolled in the partial care hospitalization and intensive outpatient treatment (PHP/IOP). Dr. Cousseillent has specialized in the mental health field for over 5 years and has been in the medical field for over 10 years. Dr. Cousseillent focuses on building a therapeutic relationship with her patients and family using evidence-based practice to provide patient-centered, population specific, and quality care.

Dr. Cousseillent enjoys going on tropical beach vacations and spending time with her friends and family. She is passionate about her work in mental health and brings much expertise and value to the Psych-Mental Health specialty.

Rachel Ramos

Rachel Ramos, PA-C

Rachel is a Certified Physician Assistant who is certified in New Jersey to provide psychiatric services for individuals of all ages. She completed her undergraduate degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology at Kean University and her graduate degree in Physician Assistant Studies from Seton Hall University. 

Rachel has trained and worked in a variety of settings including inpatient hospitals, patient home settings and in a school district. She has a particular interest in working with children and adolescents. She has worked with children as young as 5 years old and realizes the importance of receiving caring psychiatric services as soon as necessary. Rachel understands the critical role a family plays in children’s psychiatric care and focuses on building a strong therapeutic relationship between the provider, the patient and the family. She has extensive experience in treating psychiatric illnesses such as Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and many others. She strives to provide the best patient-centered and up-to-date psychiatric care possible! 

In her free time, Rachel enjoys volunteering with a Youth Group where she leads a group of adolescents in community service projects for an underserved population. She also is a musical director for the group and loves to put on musical productions. She is passionate about helping others and hopes to provide comprehensive care to all her patients. 

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Arielle Coutinho, LCSW

Arielle Coutinho received a bachelor’s in Psychology from Touro College and graduated with a Master’s degree in Social Work from New York University. Arielle is currently a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) who specializes in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive Behavioral therapy (CBT).     

Arielle enjoys art and utilizes her creative background in her individual and group therapy sessions. Arielle is no longer accepting new patients and currently only seeing patients via telehealth. 

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Majin "MJ" George, LPC, NCC

MJ earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from William Paterson University and his master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Caldwell University. MJ is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a multi-faceted approach to counseling. MJ was the Adult Clinical Coordinator for Dialectical Behavioral Therapy at GenPsych, PC in Livingston, NJ. He is certified in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and also utilizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Gestalt Psychology, and Existential Counseling. He believes that counseling is meant to be practical and is committed to engaging in effective problem-solving solutions with his patients. MJ has worked with patients as young as 5 years old and as old as 80 years old. Currently, he is accepting patients 18 years and older for therpay. MJ also administers the weekly DBT Group Therapy workshops at Mindful Medicine. 

MJ has spent years working in the mental health field through Homecare, Residential, Intensive Outpatient, and Partial Care/Hospitalization levels of care. He believes in having a service mindset and is committed to making the most of the privilege he has in working collaboratively with his patients. He has taken his passion for service further by training other Clinicians in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy to increase the potential for positive outcomes in treatment for as many patients as possible.

In his personal life, MJ is an avid listener of music; he’ll be listening at almost any time he is not directly engaging another person. He also enjoys spending time with his family, especially his 2 puppies, whom he often refers to as “the kids”. He and his Wife are self-proclaimed foodies who love to take date nights to new eateries and compare notes on what they have while taking the time to be present with one another.

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Ayse Worrall

Ayse is the Executive Assistant/Office Manager to our founder, Dr. Michael Barness.  Ayse brings a unique cultural perspective with her fluency in both English and Turkish. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Ramapo College with a major in Psychology and a minor in Substance Use Disorders. Throughout her career, Ayse has conducted international research on cross-cultural moral values and administered various group therapy sessions.   

Beyond her professional commitments, Ayse has a deep passion for animals, possesses a natural talent for forming personal connections, loves to travel and cherishes quality time with her family! 


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Michaela McElroy

Michaela is the Personal Assistant to the Nurse Practitioners, PAs and Therapists.

Michaela has had a passion for helping others her entire life. She got her Bachelor of Arts in Individualized Studies at Fairleigh Dickinson University where she majored in Hospitality management which furthered her desire to helping others.

When she is not playing with her dog or watching a movie with her husband, she also enjoys playing sports, especially basketball and softball.

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    Our Office



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    Business Hours

    Monday – Thursday:
    9:00 AM - 7:00 PM

    9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

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    1200 Morris Turnpike
    Suite 3005
    Short Hills, NJ 07078