Karen Conterio - CEO
Karen Conterio is the CEO of the S.A.F.E. ALTERNATIVES® Program. The program was founded by Karen Conterio in 1985 as the first outpatient support group for those who engage in repetitive self harm behavior. Then, in 1986, Ms. Conterio teamed with Wendy Lader, Ph.D. to offer the first structured inpatient program for deliberate self harm behavior.
Ms. Conterio was trained and certified as an alcohol and addictions counselor and is also a certified group facilitator. She is the co-author with Wendy Lader of the book Bodily Harm: the Breakthrough Healing Program for Self-Injurers (Hyperion, 1998) which outlines the S.A.F.E. ALTERNATIVES® philosophy and treatment protocol. Ms. Conterio co-authored research on self-mutilation published in Community Mental Health Journal, ActaPsychiatric Scandinavia, and Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior.
She has given in-services and lectures since 1987 and has done hundreds of radio, magazine and newspaper interviews, including Time, Newsweek, the Sun Times, the Chicago Tribune, Forbes, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Nursing Spectrum, Cincinnati Enquirer, World Talk Radio and Ann Landers (who has frequently recommended the S.A.F.E. ALTERNATIVES® program and 800- DONTCUT® information line in her column). Ms. Conterio has appeared on numerous television shows since 1987 including: CNN; Dateline NBC; Good Morning America; Oprah Winfrey; Phil Donahue; Larry King Live; Women's Entertainment Network-Secret Lives of Women; CBS-2 Chicago and ABC World News Tonight. She was a featured expert on self-injury in the following magazines: Allure; Seventeen; Sassy and New York Times Sunday Magazine. Internationally, both Ms. Conterio and Dr. Lader were interviewed for CAPA (French television), Catholic University of Chile TV Network Corporation and Univision for multiple network programs, Telemundo, and Marie Claire (French). Lastly, Ms. Conterio has served as a consultant for several television and movie scripts including the television series 90210, 7th Heaven, CUT, Channel One News and 2 Lifetime productions (Odd Girl Out and Painful Secrets).
Wendy Lader, Ph.D., M.Ed. - Clinical Director
Wendy Lader, Ph.D., M.Ed. is President and Clinical Director of the S.A.F.E. ALTERNATIVES® Program. Dr. Lader, an expert in women's issues, teamed with Karen Conterio in 1986 to offer the first structured inpatient program for deliberate self-harm behavior. Previously, Dr. Lader was the Director of the Girls Program at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center, and the Women's Program at Hartgrove Hospital in Chicago. She also served as a consultant to the Women's Services program at the Metro YWCA in Chicago (1991-2004) as well as a member on the Illinois State's Attorney's Task Force on Women's Issues (1985-1989).
Wendy Lader earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Nova University in Florida and a M.Ed. in Special Education at Lesley College in Massachusetts. Dr. Lader is an international speaker on self-injury, and highly regarded as an expert in the field. Her workshops and seminars draw hundreds of professionals. Dr. Lader is published and cited in multiple professional journals including: Counselor; Paradigm; Advance for Nurse Practitioners; Counseling Today; Medlife; Ask Dr. Drew; The Brown University Child/Adolescent Behavior Letter and the Medical Tribune. In addition, Dr. Lader filmed a training video on self injury for the American Psychological Association Series 11-Specific Treatments for Specific Populations., ; She is also the co-author, with Ms. Conterio, of the book, Bodily Harm: the Breakthrough Healing Program for Self-Injurers (Hyperion, 1998). Dr. Lader is a member of ISSS (International Society for the Study of Self-Injury).
In addition, Dr. Lader has appeared on TV shows such as The Today Show, Dateline NBC, Good Morning America, The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN, 20/20, Geraldo, The Morning Show, The Shirley Show (Canada), Sally Jesse Raphael, Hour Magazine, Regis, ABC World News Tonight, and A&E Interventions. She has been quoted in numerous print articles, such as the New York Times Magazine, Time, Newsweek, Teen Vogue, Teen People, Cosmo Girl, Today's Christian Woman, Christian Parenting Today, Ask Amy, Seventeen, and Reader's Digest. She has been featured in several medical productions including: WebMD, Associated Press and CBS News Healthwatch as well as a number of documentaries on the self injury.
Michelle Seliner MSW, LCSW - Chief Operating Officer
Michelle has been with S.A.F.E. ALTERNATIVES® for over 7 years, working in a variety of positions. She started as a Clinical Therapist, then took on leadership responsibilities as Program Manager and today is the Chief Operating Officer responsible for the daily administrative and clinical oversight of the company. Under her leadership the program has expanded its services (S.A.F.E. Adolescent Expressions™, S.A.F.E. Choice™, and the S.A.F.E. Clinic), products and locations.
Michelle received her Masters in Social Work from Washington University-George Warren Brown School of Social Work and her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Truman University. Her media appearances include the Today Show, CNN, CBS and FOX News. She has consulted with HBO, A&E, Chicago Tonight, CBS, Women's Entertainment Network, Hourglass Productions and Channel One News on self-injury documentaries.
Prior to joining S.A.F.E. Michelle was in private practice, provided clinical consultation, and was employed as a special needs adoption social worker and an emergency room social worker.
Volunteer and committee membership experience includes the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, National Adoption Coalition, Catholic youth and community organizations, and crisis team counseling (Columbine High School). In addition, Michelle has received the following awards and recognition: Woman of Heart 2007-Cor Jesu Academy; leadership and patient satisfaction awards-Edward Hospital; Social Worker of the Year-State of Colorado; Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Excellence-Denver Department of Human Services; and Canadian Special Needs Adoption Pioneer.