Melissa Amaya, LCSW, CCTP
I have a strong personal commitment to working with couples. I believe it essential for couples to have supports available whether it is for issues that arise during dating, engagement or marriage. Relationships are hard work but they shouldn't be exhausting. One key question I have always found helpful is to ask yourself if having this person in your life offers more happiness or more pain. The reality is that issues will always arise in relationships. It is how we handle them and the role we play that determines whether or not the relationship is in our best interest.
I believe that having been in relationships with the wrong people in the past is not always a bad thing. Sometimes we need to see or experience these types of partners to realize that person is NOT what we are looking for or what is really in our best interest so that when the right relationship comes along we have the objectivity to really value and treasure that relationship.
It is REALLY hard to believe that true love and deep honest commitment to someone exists if you have never experienced it, but to settle for anything less will only block you from the opportunity to truly know happiness, intimacy and fulfillment.
Life can be confusing. I assist with decreasing anxiety, depression turmoil and confusion. Together we can identify ways in which your life and relationships can be more fulfilling, enriched and rewarding. I can assist in addressing and removing the barriers preventing you from a life and relationship filled with passion, satisfaction and richness.
I am EMDRIA approved to provide Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)
Jessica Diokno, MS, RMHI
Do you overthink situations, maybe constantly rerun situations in your mind or have difficulty managing your emotions?
As your therapist, my focus is to create a warm and safe space for you to grow as an individual. Working together, we might explore emotions, addictions, relationships, anxiety, depression, or any other challenges that can be affecting your life. There are times when we need help to feel more confident and balanced in our lives to become our best self. Let’s explore, connect, improve, and maybe even cry in therapy!
Jessica graduated with her bachelor's degree in Psychology from Saint Leo University and her master's degree in Psychology with a concentration in clinical mental health counseling from Nova Southeastern University. Jessica has had experience with inpatient crisis settings and group therapy with populations from children to geriatrics. Ultimately, Jessica’s desire is to help you reach a place of freedom and peace, where you can begin experiencing incremental yet impactful improvements to your overall wellbeing.
Ray Castiglia LMHC
I have been working in the Mental Health field for almost 20-years. I have worked with both adults and kids. My experience includes providing counseling at a Baker Act Facility, assisting individuals struggling with substance abuse, working in an Employee Assistance Program, doing in-home counseling, and providing Telehealth Counseling. I have a Masters Degree from Nova Southeastern University and a Bachelors in Criminology from the University of South Florida. My counseling approaches include Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Wellness Recovery Action Plan, and Client Centered Interventions.
Curtis Mavor LCSW
Born and raised in the Greater Toronto (Canada) area, I came to Florida in 2003. Upon graduating high school, I entered the US Army where I was active duty for five years and completed two tours of duty in Afghanistan. Following my military career, I knew that I wanted to devote my life to helping individuals and the community. I completed my undergraduate degree at Saint Leo University and received a Master of Social Work from University of South Florida.
I believe that all individuals are unique and require an individualized approach to counseling. I work to build a connection of trust and understanding with each individual. I believe that “life is a team sport and working together make it better.”
As a father of two girls, I understand the importance of empathy and allowing space for personal growth. When not working I can be found at lacrosse games or gymnastic classes with my girls.
Marla McQuay, Ed.S., Registered Mental Health Counseling Intern
Greetings! I am a solution focused personal development coach and counselor committed to impacting the lives of others by providing tools for success and assisting individuals, couples, and families in reaching their counseling goals. The theory that I implement in my counseling sessions are Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Solution Focused Therapy depending on the needs of my client.
I currently work as a coach and counselor to students in a college setting, but my career spans over 20+ years working as a school counselor and effectively helping children and their families deal with a variety of issues that happen throughout our life span. The tools I use often include bibliotherapy for all ages. I also find value in offering group therapy for children and adolescents.
As an educator, mentor, coach I am here for whatever type of support you need to refresh, recharge, and to help you gain confidence.
Eric Schavae, Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern
My treatment philosophy is rooted in the belief that therapy is a safe and supportive space where clients can explore their innermost selves and behaviors without fear of judgment.
With this belief, I prioritize my client's comfort and pace as I introduce evidence-based techniques, through a unique treatment plan that is developed to their unique needs and goals.
Some of these techniques include mindfulness, narrative therapy, motivational interviewing, non-directive play therapy, and solution-focused therapy. I have found that these approaches can be particularly effective in helping clients in all aspects of their life.
I most recently I have been working with families and children to process trauma and mend relationships to create healthier parent child dynamics, with early childhood therapy and parenting support.
Falon Fonoti, LMHC
I am a helper at heart and I have worked in the mental health field for over ten years. I am passionate about helping people be their best selves and live their best lives. I enjoy working with adolescents and adults to help with through anxiety, depression, life changes, relationship struggles, etc. I also work passionately to support families to successfully navigate through the struggles of adoption as an adoption competent therapist. I have had many successful years as a Clinician and am happy to help!
I provide a strength based approach and operate using evidence-based practices to help clients reach their goals.
Courtney Tyson - Registered Mental Health Intern
Hello! My name is Courtney Tyson and I’m a RMHCI here at As We Grow Counseling. I am a firm believer in the inherent potential that every individual has to grow into the best version of themselves. However, I know that everyday stressors, such as fear, trauma, societal expectations, grief and regrets, can be obstacles to that growth. As a trained mental health professional, my role is to understand your perspective, to help you navigate life’s challenges, and to give you the tools, resources, and support you need to become the best version of yourself. Fostering your growth as a person and offering you empathy and support as you overcome mental and emotional barriers is a responsibility that I take very seriously. I am excited to begin this transformative journey with you.
I received my master’s degree at the University of Central Florida where I studied how to be a competent and ethical mental health counselor. Additionally, I have a bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology from the State University of New York. Learning about different cultures, faiths, cuisines, and worldviews is a passion of mine. I use this open-minded approach often in my work as a therapist, and foster a safe and inclusive therapeutic environment for everyone. I worked as a school counselor for many years, where I assisted children and teens dealing with anxiety, depression, behavioral concerns, anger management, and low self-esteem. In my five years of experience in mental health, I’ve used cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, solution focused brief therapy, play therapy, family therapy, and couples counseling to assist my clients with any number of issues. I hope we get the chance to work together!
Marni Wonderley, LMHC
Licensed Mental Health Counselor
I am an experienced school counselor with 25+ years in the public-school system. During those years, I have helped children and parents navigate through anxiety, depression, divorce, family changes, traumatic and various other life experiences. Adolescents and children often handle events different than adults. I use an eclectic approach when working with both. The tools I use often include art, sand, and play as those are less threatening, than having to “talk” about what is happening.
In addition to working with adolescents and children, I am available to consult with parents going through the diagnosis and evaluation process with schools.
As an educator, I am aware of the mountain of stressors that teachers, administrators, counselors are faced with day in and day out. If you are an educator and your cup is about to overflow, please take time for you, and schedule an appointment to come and talk.
Kasey Clark MA, RMHCI, NCC
Seeing clients thrive when I know how far they have come is one the greatest joys of my professional career. Therapy is a partnership and I feel so grateful to be chosen and trusted with the opportunity to use my skills and knowledge to help heal. I work with adults, children, couples, and families and believe that there is no one path to mental and relational health and well-being. I will adapt to you and your needs to get you on the right track whether your challenges are depression, anxiety, grief, relationship struggles, work struggles, or just feeling overwhelmed and lost.
I have a MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX, as well as a MA from Columbia University in New York City. I am EMDR trained, treating adult clients who have experienced trauma. I have 9 years of experience in the field of education, including work in special education and with refugees. I recently worked as a Registered Behavioral Technician implementing Applied Behavioral Analysis protocols with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in home and clinic settings. Lastly, I have been an advocate for mental health as a National Alliance on Mental Illness volunteer, facilitating talks and workshops on mental health since 2019.
Tristan Ramsay LMHC
My name is Tristin Ramsay, I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. I received my Master’s of Science in Mental Health Counseling at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY in 2017. I have been a practicing counselor ever since. I have experience working with many different populations as well as with children, teens and adults. I have worked in treating anxiety, depression, interpersonal difficulties, life changes, adjustment difficulties, grief and loss and behavioral issues. My approach is to meet people where they are and offer support and guidance. I emphasize a Person Centered Approach, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness and Solution Focused Therapy.
Life is ever changing and I am a firm believer that everyone would benefit from counseling in all of life transitions. Whatever transition you are going through I am here to help guide you, whether it is a new job, new baby, a move, new relationship or any change that is difficult. I have always enjoyed helping people find their way through life, especially in our unpredictable and ever changing lives.
Joanne Brabham, M.A.
Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern
You’ve made the decision to get help for yourself or your child but choosing the right therapist can be challenging. One of the most essential factors is finding someone with knowledge and experience who you can trust to effectively make a difference.
As a seasoned school counselor, I bring over 20 plus years of rewarding experience working with individuals, ranging from preschoolers to adult learners. Over that time, I have helped facilitate positive changes with a multitude of challenging issues. I have also come to recognize that establishing an honest connection and focusing on strengths are two of the most important elements in a successful therapeutic outcome. Whether the issue you are facing is addressing relationship problems, learning difficulties, grief from loss, or adjusting to challenging life changes, it’s important to be heard and understood. The success of treatment depends on the collaborative relationship that is formed during our time together. This focus produces a positive mindset, which in turn helps build the best qualities and taps the inner strengths needed to improve one’s resilience to life’s challenges.
My therapeutic approach is both humanistic and goal-oriented. I place a strong emphasis on the importance of overcoming feelings of discouragement, and use a combination of Solution-Focused, Strength-Based, and Adlerian Therapy. I specialize in working with children, adolescents and adults experiencing difficulties with depression, anxiety, ADHD, as well as emotional behavioral issues in school and at home.
There is no “one-size fits-all” treatment, but I will help you or your child work towards gaining a sense of accomplishment and belonging in order to achieve happiness and satisfaction. I look forward to meeting you and working together towards your goals.
April Hall, LCSW
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I received my Bachelor's Degree of Social Work and Criminal Justice through Concordia University of Chicago. Fun fact, I played college basketball which has taught me to fight through adversity, determination and leadership. I traveled to Europe, more specifically, England to start my Master's Program in Social Work where I also gained experience working with Military Communities and Sexual Assault Survivors. In recent years, I have worked with children and families in various settings. I am versed in conduct disorders, crisis intervention and severe/persistent illness. No two people are the same. That’s why the approach that I take in my services is highly-personalized and refined to fit the exact needs of my clients. Believe in your inner badass. Let's do this!
Samantha Benenati, Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern (she/her)
So, you've decided to get into therapy for yourself! Yeah! You have entered in to the therapy room and nervous about whether the therapist will be able to get down to your level to understand what you are currently going through. I can help!
I believe in the approach of sitting with the client and providing empathetic understanding towards their issues and life hurdles. We as humans can struggle with numerous stressors and find it difficult to plan how to tackle them. As a therapist, I work with the client to provide the most individualistic approach to their life struggles. Also with a laugh or two thrown in!
Born and raised in Florida, I earned my undergraduate degree in psychology at the University of South Florida and received a Master of Scene in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at National Louis University. I have worked in community mental health centers seeing a variety of different ages, case management, and crisis stabilization treatment. In all those fields, I strive to help others and recognize how much their mental health affects all areas of their lives. I have worked with adults and adolescents in treating anxiety, depression, relationship issues, life transitions, hopelessness, difficulties with ADHD, grief and loss, and self-compassion.
I am happy to help on this exciting journey, let's tackle this together!
Lisa Meintzinger LCSW
Do you find yourself recreating maladaptive patterns in relationships, whether that be at work, socially or romantically? Finding yourself connecting with the same personality types only with different faces? Do you ever wonder why?
The reason most of us to this very same thing, is due to early childhood experiences that created dynamics within our thoughts, feelings and behaviors that keep us manifesting similar exchanges. We hold beliefs that attract certain types of people because as uncomfortable as it can feel - we are used to it!
I can help. Through reviewing early childhood experiences, we can identify the maladaptive patterns you've picked up, and develop a plan of action to create new life patterns that are more rewarding. This can help you to feel more in control of your life, reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, and help you in becoming more present and aware for those you love.
I graduated from the University of South Florida (Go Bulls!) in 2015. I practiced individual and group therapy at an adult treatment center and became versed in cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and schema therapy. My current and past work experience also includes working with Children and Adolescents. I enjoy working with all ages of Development. I also have experience with crisis stabilization and can help turn crisis in to catalysts for change. There is nothing that I love more than to watch you grow into the person you have always wanted to be.
I look forward to working with you.
Jennifer Emmons Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern
Utilizing motivational and self-exploration tools I love to help children/adolescents/ young adults explore and elevate their self-worth, self-esteem, and self-efficacy. Raised in the Tampa Bay area, I graduated with my BA in Psychology and my MA in Counseling from USF. I started working with children as a teen and decided to make a career out of it! I have been a counselor in the educational world for 16 years and have expertise in working with children/teens and their families navigating mental health, academic, behavioral, and life issues. I have extensive experience in education and the school system, especially with adolescents. My greatest experience is in the areas of ADHD with a focus on executive functioning skills, depression, anxiety, stress management, social skills, and developing effective coping skills. I believe in a client centered approach and draw from a variety of theories and strategies including CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), Solution Focused Based Therapy, and DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy).
As a runner I always strive for a PB (Personal Best) and that is what I aim to help others achieve in life. Defining what your PB is for you/ your child is unique for everyone and the pathway to make progress towards that goal will also vary. My favorite part of being a Counselor is building relationships with my clients to assess their needs and goals while collaborating to discover what strategies work best in order to see the results they desire. I look forward to going on the journey with you/your child to find progress towards your goals and overall well-being.
Cheryl A. Hurley, LCSW
I have spent my entire adult life in “helping” professions, specifically helping those in crisis. In 2011, I became more focused on helping those with significant mental health issues and traumas, such as victims of child abuse, domestic violence survivors, and military veterans and first responders suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
I use a combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Mindfulness to help clients with life’s problems, and to learn coping skills, so they can more effectively cope with anxiety and depression, and whatever life may throw at them.
Making a decision to seek therapy can be scary and stressful, and I feel it is important for the client to feel comfortable in the therapy environment, and to build a strong therapeutic relationship based on honesty and trust.
My experience includes working with adults and adolescents suffering from PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Substance Use. I have worked in both residential and outpatient substance use environments.
I am EMDRIA approved and Shapiro trained to provide Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)
I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Saint Leo University, and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of New England (2016). I was previously a Clinical Social Work Associate and Qualified Mental Health Professional in the State of Oregon, and I am now a Registered Clinical Social Work Intern in the State of Florida.
Taylor Brown, M.S., RMFTI
I am a graduate of UNLV’s couple and family therapy program. I have been active in the field of marriage and family therapy for 3 years. The thing that I love most about it is the emphasis on examining the client’s environment and not just the client and what is in front of me. Systemic thinking is a natural part of who I am as a professional and as a person.
I utilize CBT, narrative, and MI techniques with most of my clients. I also do a bit of emotion focused work. I love working with Individuals, teens and couples because I want to do everything I can to help my clients heal and grow. Everyone needs support at different times in their life and I am here to help give you the support and guidance you may need.
Amanda Renz-Bard, LCSW
My name is Amanda and I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
I graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, with a concentration in Criminology. I completed my Masters in Social Work from the University of Central Florida.
I have worked in the crisis stabilization setting for over a decade, with both youth and adults with behavioral disorders, severe persistent mental illness, and co-occurring disorders. This also included working as a crisis counselor for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. I have experience working with individuals dealing with work related struggles negatively impacting their mental health. And, I was also fortunate enough to spend time working with at-risk young adults as a family support specialist in the Hillsborough County School System.
My training includes dialectical behavior therapy and cognitive behavior therapy, but my approach is often person-centered, strength-based, and solution-focused. Every person is unique! I do not follow a “one size fits all” approach and welcome the opportunity to explore with you the therapeutic style that may benefit you the most. I believe it is important that as a client you feel empowered, safe, and comfortable in a therapy session. I look forward to embarking with you on your path to wellness.
Mandy is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Qualified Supervisor, Master's Level Certified Addiction Specialist, and Certified Victim Service Practitioner. Mandy has over 13 years' experience providing individual, couples, family, and group counseling in a variety of settings with individuals of all ages and backgrounds.
While Mandy's expertise is in trauma and complicated grief, she has much experience working in behavioral health crisis, family reunification, severe and persistent mental illness, and addictions. Mandy's approach is holistic, person centered, and strength based.
Mandy is trained in an array of evidence based practices including Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy; and often utilizes Motivational Interviewing and Solution Focused Therapy.
It is Mandy's passion to embark on a journey of wellness with her clients, by hearing their story and finding meaning and purpose of their life circumstances while providing a safe and non-judgmental environment. Mandy believes every person has the capability to live their absolute best, and feels privileged at the opportunity to assist her clients with identifying and expanding on strengths while improving coping skills and communication with others.
Mandy graduated with a double bachelors in Psychology and Criminology from The Florida State University; and a Master's Degree in Vocational Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling from the University of South Florida. Mandy serves as a consult and trainer on topics including compassion fatigue, post trauma reactions, relationship violence, and suicide awareness/prevention. She also serves as a first responder to traumatic and emotionally disturbing crimes and natural disasters through the Florida Crisis Response Team.
Monica Davis, LMHC
Monica J. Davis is a Registered Clinical mental health therapist, she has been in this field for over 5 years. Monica Graduated from Eckerd College with a Bachelor degree in Human Development. She also graduated from National Louis University earning her Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.
Monica is very passionate about her work and she’s a loyal and trustworthy counselor. Monica is also furthering her education by perusing her doctorate degree in psychology at Walden University.
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Qualified Supervisor who has had the opportunity to be of service to others in community mental health for over 2 decades. In addition to providing therapy, I have managed therapists and programs, educated the community and provide clinical training to therapists. I completed a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Eckerd College and received my Masters of Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis, with additional coursework at University of South Florida.
Deja Thompson LCSW
Deja is a compassionate therapist who has a heart for people. She has worked in the social work profession for seven years, with direct practice in child welfare, hospice and palliative care, inpatient facility treatment, and school social work. Deja obtained a Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of South Florida, and a Master of Social Work degree from Saint Leo University.Deja has experience working with children, specifcally adolescents, and families; she has assisted clients with managing anxiety, depression, self-esteem issues, adjustment concerns, trauma, and anger. Deja implements a strengths-based, integrative approach to therapy, some of which are cognitive behavioral, solution-focused, narrative, and person-centered. Deja utilizes techniques such as motivational interviewing, mindfulness, and positive psychology.Deja aims to be a competent professional, upholding ethical standards and principles. She values the dignity and worth of a person and provides a non-judgmental environment for all clients. She believes that a key component toa therapeutic alliance is relationship and collaboration, thus encourages client input during treatment. Deja is ready to support, and empowering individuals on their journey to positive mental health and wellness.
Rachel Wells, LMHC
"Rachael (they/them/theirs) is an empathetic, driven, passionate individual and leader who provides high quality, human-centered therapy from acceptance, EMDR, mindful self-compassion, IFS, and strengths-based models.
Rachael is a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) in the state of Florida and holds the title of EMDR certified therapist and consultant-in-training. Rachael is also a registered yoga teacher (RYT-200) and board certified in telemental health.
Rachael works with populations that include people dealing with domestic violence, sexual abuse, those with borderline personality disorder, the sex worker community, and the transgender community. Their specific specialty is trauma within marginalized communities.
'It is never too late to be what you might have been.' "
Anne Mierzwa-,MS,Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern
Life is full of challenges. Every day can bring obstacles to face. Add in dealing with anxiety, depression, low self esteem, adjustment disorders, or grief, and life may feel unmanageable.
I received my Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from University of Central Florida and my Master’s of Science in Clinical Psychology with a specialization in Counseling.
I have worked with children, teens and adults in an inpatient crisis stabilization setting, as well as, outpatient experience with Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
I have experience in school difficulties (behavior, peer issues, etc.), self-harm, depression, anxiety, ADHD, and conduct disorders. I have professional training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Motivational Interviewing (MI).
My therapy approach is a combination of person-centered and solution-focused. I believe clients have the resources within themselves to change their self-concept and attitudes but may need assistance how to go about it.
Additionally I will help clients consider solutions rather than the past, to set goals and be satisfied with their achievements. I look forward to meeting you.