A Fresh Start Therapy is a locally owned progressive behavioral and mental health counseling practice located in Washington, D.C. Focused on individual self-improvement, we believe that no matter the struggle, our clients can achieve a better tomorrow.

From a child’s behavioral issues in school to a relationship or family conflict, our experienced staff will get to the root causes and prepare clients for a positive future.

Along with self-pay options, we work with various public and private insurance providers to ensure you or your loved ones get the attention you need and deserve.

Please note: This page contains photos of some of the team members of A Fresh Start Therapy. They are pictured with their families and stakeholders from their communities.

A Fresh Start Therapy specializes in addressing:

  • Depression
  • Mood Disorders
  • Eating Disorders
  • Child and Adult ADHD
  • Grief
  • Anger Management
  • Peer and Domestic Relationships
  • Spiritual Development
  • Employment Issues
  • Women’s Issues
  • Medical Challenges
  • Educational and Behavioral Problems in Children and Teens
  • Coping with New Family Dynamics

A Fresh Start Therapy uses a wide range of treatment methods, including:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)
  • Motivational and Life Coaching
  • Play Therapy
  • Trauma Therapy

About the Director

Ebony N. Lea, LICSW, LCSW-C, MBA has been helping children, adults, and families in the D.C. area since 2003.

As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Ebony has been a counselor, clinical program staff supervisor, and a front-line advocate for youth mental health. She’s received specialized training in child abuse and neglect, trauma systems therapy, and play therapy. Ebony is a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP). Somatic experiencing is a trauma-based therapy that focuses on processing trauma by exploring sensations in the body. She completed the training in 2.5 years through the Somatic Experiencing Training Institute (SETI) in 2020.

Ms. Lea graduated from the University of Maryland Baltimore, receiving a Master’s Degree in Social Work with a dual concentration in nonprofit management and clinical practice. The University also honored her with the Mark Battle Scholarship, awarded to students demonstrating leadership in the nonprofit sector.

Ms. Lea incorporates her diverse professional experience in administration, community organization, and clinical services into A Fresh Start Therapy’s daily practices. When she’s not busy helping individuals and families achieve a higher degree of mental health, Ms. Lea enjoys exercising, traveling, and spending time with family. Ebony has daytime and evening availability on varying days throughout the week. Feel free to call 844.957.3794 to schedule.

Team Members

Bret Zdanowicz

Clinical Supervisor

Bret Zdanowicz is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) in Washington, D.C., and New Jersey. Bret graduated from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, where he obtained both his graduate degree in Social Work and his undergraduate degree in Sociology.
Bret has over 14 years of experience in a variety of settings and with a diverse clientele, including both long-term and brief interventions. Bret has experience working with diverse populations in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Bret also has experience providing individual and group therapy to both children and adults. Bret has primarily focused his work with the most underserved populations; particularly the homeless population; economically disadvantaged; individuals with severe mental illness diagnoses; and substance abuse issues.
Bret incorporates a variety of therapeutic approaches with an emphasis on problem-focused treatment. Bret’s therapeutic styles include cognitive-behavioral therapy, play therapy, person-centered therapy, motivational interviewing, trauma therapy, and mindfulness therapy. During his free time, Bret enjoys remaining active and spending time with his wife and daughter.
Bret currently has evening availability.

Asha Henson


Asha Henson, LGSW is a Master’s-level social worker who specializes in supporting adolescents and adults through challenges associated with body image, interpersonal relationships, identity development, and parenting. Asha combines a culturally competent, intuitive, and holistic approach with evidence-based therapeutic interventions such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), person-centered, and solution-focused Therapies. Asha is currently under the supervision of Bret Zdanowicz.

“I am not your mother’s therapist. I seek to create an intimate, relaxing, and judgment-free environment for true self-exploration and evolution. Having overcome life-altering transformations of my own combined with an almost decade of experience supporting individuals, families, and communities, I have cultivated a specialized intervention style that caters to each client’s specific needs and goals. In addition, I enjoy incorporating some metaphysical elements (such as astrology) but only if you are into that sort of thing.”

Asha completed her Master’s of Social Work in Mental and Behavioral Health from the University Of Maryland in Baltimore, MD, and received her Bachelor’s in Psychology from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. She has been trained in cultural competent therapy, trauma centered care, CBT, strengths-based and person-centered approaches. She is currently pursuing a certification in Astrology.

Leah VanderMark

Lead Psychotherapist

Leah VanderMark is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker located in Washington, D.C., and an Independent Contractor at A Fresh Start Therapy. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Michigan and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Columbia University.

Leah has worked as a social worker in a hospital setting for the past 7 years. She specializes in helping clients adjust to their illness, navigate new diagnoses, and cope with chronic pain and emotional burden. Leah also has experience working with individuals who suffer from anxiety, adjustment disorders, and depression.

Leah incorporates a variety of therapeutic techniques including cognitive behavioral therapy, family-systems therapy, and mindfulness. She uses a strengths-based approach that supports self-determination and self-discovery. She hopes to help you live life as your most authentic, true self.

In her free time, you can find Leah walking her 3-year-old golden retriever, traveling to see her family and friends or reading inspirational books. Some of her favorites include Becoming by Michelle Obama, Untamed by Glennon Doyle, Educated by Tara Westover, and Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown.

Blason Early


Blason Early is a Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW) in Washington, D.C. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Salem State University in Salem, Massachusetts. She has a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Blason is under the supervision of Ebony Lea, LICSW.

Blason has over 5 years of experience working in a variety of settings. She specializes in trauma work through the use of Cognitive Behavior Therapies (CBT), such as Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TFCBT) and Dialectic Behavior Therapy (DBT).

When working with children and adolescents, Blason incorporates play therapy, art therapy, and music therapy. She believes that every child is capable of being the best version of themselves with the right support and resources.

Blason enjoys spending time with her family, going on walks, reading, going to the beach, and learning new Afrobeats dances.