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The People at Tree of Life

David Toplin, MSW, Director

My name is David Toplin, the Director of Tree of Life Counseling. I was born and raised in Philadelphia among a family of Social Workers and somehow, I ended up in the “Family Business”. I went to college in Philadelphia and graduated with a Master in Social Work from Temple University.

In Philadelphia I worked mainly at Public Mental Health Clinics as both a Case Manager and later as a therapist, but I also worked for a while in homeless services and even worked for a City-managed Behavioral Health Managed Care Organization. I was later hired to supervise a large Day Hospital Program which served adults with a variety of needs, both for mental health and substance abuse.

Since moving to Baltimore in 2003, I have worked in a variety of settings and worked for a while at a dialysis clinic, worked as a specialized Foster Care Social Worker for over five years and have also worked at several hospital psychiatric inpatient units.  

I wanted to start a practice founded upon the Social Work emphasis on community service and empowering individuals and communities, helping clients to take use their inherent strengths to create change from within. We are a mission-focused practice seeking to serve those traditionally underserved or who have not been able to access mental health services elsewhere. We offer a pleasant private practice setting where the bottom line is first rate customer service and excellence of clinical services. 

Our Mental Health Group Practice is based on the following core principles:

• Recognition of the inherent strength of those that I seek to serve
• A belief in the power of the individual and the power of change
• Partnering with individuals, community organizations and neighborhood religious organizations to help meet unique needs
• An awareness that change occurs as a process that includes a sharing of ideas where both client and clinician grow towards a more meaningful future
• Empowerment of youth who have been placed into out-of home-care and their birth-families in an effort to work towards successful family reunification


Jeffrey Primak, LCSW-C

Through coaching and counseling individuals, couples, children and families at Tree of Life Counseling, Jeffrey’s professional skills are utilized as a critical and powerful tool for clients to think through aspects of their role in society, at home, and in the workplace and its meanings in their relationships and responsibilities with others. Various psycho-educational disciplines and cognitive behavioral therapeutic practices support and improve client functionality and wellness.

Jeffrey is a licensed clinical social work therapist and professional coach. Aside from his devotion to the Tree of Life Counseling family and the people it serves, he is also the Director and Lead Therapist of Baltimore-based, Mantalk Coaching and Counseling Services, providing private coaching and counseling to men and their families on issues relevant and of concern to men. With over 25 years as a clinician, writer, educator and lecturer he has maintained a private practice in both New York City and in Greater Baltimore. He has held positions as a university faculty member, as well as in clinical and social services settings for both the public sector and private corporations.

His career began in NYC as a case worker serving elderly and disabled populations. While residing in New York Jeffrey served in positions such as Community Social Worker at a senior center, Clinical Social Worker at an inner-city hospital, Lead Clinical Social Worker at a dialysis center, Director of Senior Services at a multi-purpose senior center, and Manager of Clinical and Case Management Services for a large social service agency serving Greater Baltimore.

As a graduate of Adelphi University School of Social Work and Suffolk University School of Journalism, Jeffrey has helped facilitate significant life changes to his clients and those around them. With a tender heart and a heaping tablespoon of humor, keen intuition, and clinical expertise, Jeffrey is able to zero in on what needs to be clarified, shifted or totally over-hauled in an individual to allow greater insight, achievement, and gain real wellness as an attainable goal.


Karen pear, LCSW-C

Ms Pear is a seasoned therapist with over twenty years of direct clinical experience. She Has worked with children, adults and families and in specialized foster care, school and outpatient clinic settings. She excels in working with children with mood, trauma and behavioral disorders, uses play therapy extensively and is well versed in the treatment of children who are selectively mute. 


Jarrell McRea, LCSW-C

Mr. McRae obtained his Bachelors of Science in Psychology and his Masters in Social Work from Morgan State University, and is a licensed clinical social worker and board approved supervisor. Prior to joining Tree of LIfe, Mr. McRAe hasl worked for the Department of Social Services (DSS) in various counties, and supported Private Sector child welfare organizations as well. He began his career supporting research initiatives within the Baltimore City Public School System and then transitioned to a local Residential Treatment Center after obtaining his B.S. in 2007.

Jarrell has practiced as a Masters Level and Clinical Level social worker in variety of settings including social justice and public policy, child welfare and excels in the provision of addiction and Mental Health counseling for children, adolescents, adults and couples. Specific areas of focus include treating victims of trauma, advocating for vulnerable populations and supporting endeavors associated with youth in foster care who identify as LGBT.


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Carroll Parrish, LCPC

Mr. Parrish 


Samkele Vundla, LCSW-C