Julie Wilcox, LCSW
Julie Best Wilcox is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has over 15 years of clinical experience. She received her masters degree in Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her undergraduate degree in Social Work from Baylor University.
Julie provides therapy for adolescents, couples, families, and adults, providing both expressive (art, play) and talk therapy techniques. Julie specializes in working with disorders such as Bipolar, ADHD, Anxiety, Depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Additional areas of clinical focus include alcoholism and drug addiction, and self-harming behaviors. Julie is able to perform substance abuse evaluations for both private and court ordered clientele.
An area of particular passion involves Julie’s work with couples and families including those considering and healing from separation and divorce. Julie has been trained under Gottman in couples therapy and has expertise offering support to parents with children experiencing emotional and/or behavioral challenges. Additionally, Julie has several years of forensic experience, working closely with attorneys to provide case testimony in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
Julie believes that respect for individual uniqueness is paramount to the therapeutic process. Working from the framework that therapy is a partnership between an individual and their counselor Julie prides herself on offering the individuals she serves the opportunity to resolve issues and learn more effective ways to manage life's stresses, anxieties and adversities
Julie is also pleased to offer supervision to Licensed Eligible Clinicians and seeking clinical licensure as Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) in the state of Virginia. The approach in supervision is collaborative and supportive! You can expect to grow your awareness, conceptualization and administrative skills-all vital to your success as a professional counselor. Supervision meetings are offered in both individual and group formats. Instruction is designed to be exciting and thought-provoking.
When not working, Julie enjoys time being active with her family and dogs.
Kristen Lee, LCSW
Kristen Lee is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who obtained her undergraduate and graduate degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. With over 10 years working in the mental health field, she has provided a wide range of therapeutic services to children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families from diverse backgrounds and cultures. Kristen enjoys empowering clients to learn more about themselves and achieve their desired goals.
Kristen works with children as young as 3 years old utilizing a variety of play and expressive therapy techniques. Kristen also has expertise addressing the particular needs of adoptive and foster families. Being a Certified Trauma Practitioner, Kristen has a unique skill set to help clients of all ages address issues of trauma and/or abuse.
Kristen has a passion for helping couples and families improve communication, establish healthy boundaries, move through conflict, and establish authentic relationships. She is also experienced in dealing with issues around parenting, co-parenting, divorce, and separation. Kristen also has extensive experience working with military service members and their families, including Veterans. In 2017 she received the Serving Our Veterans Behavioral Health Certificate.
Kristen enjoys building rapport with clients, and to be able to support their changing needs over time. She utilizes a Person Centered approach in her therapy, in order to utilize the best therapeutic approach for each individual client. She is able to use a wide variety of therapeutic approaches including play therapy, expressive therapies including narrative therapy, Cognitive Behavioral therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and the Gottman method.
At home, Kristen enjoys spending time with her family, watching VCU basketball games, and walking her dogs.
Based on your experience, can outpatient therapy be effective with children and adolescents who have been diagnosed with Asperger's Disorder?
What does your first session look like with clients and families who come to you looking for support?
What 4 tips would you offer to couples looking to counseling as a last resort to saving their marriage?
2. Be honest.
3. Be realistic.
4. Be willing to take responsibility and change yourself.
How can counseling help children and adolescents coping with parental separation and divorce?
What types of interventions have you seen work well with young children?
What 3 terms best describe your personality style as a Therapist?
Melanie Black, LPC
Melanie works with children and adolescents having difficulty managing stressors associated with family life. She is able to assist caregivers in developing parenting and coparenting plans that align with the needs of their child(ren). She specializes in trauma recovery, grief and loss, anxiety and depression.
Melanie enjoys working with Millennials struggling with anxiety, stress and life transitions. LGBTQI needs is an additional area of clinical focus. She has a special interest in helping clients with vocational and career counseling needs. Melanie offers a 3- Stepunseling Service: Career Counseling Service:
- Assessment which includes administration of evidenced based personality and career planning inventories
- Development of a career planning goals and objectives
- Cover Letter and Resume development
Melanie enjoys teaching clients mindfulness meditation techniques social and coping skills. She is open to integrating clients' various spiritual and religious beliefs into the therapeutic process. Pet Therapy will be incorporated as a treatment intervention by Melanie Black, LPC. The therapy dog’s name is Luna and she is a Coton de Tuléar. Pet Therapy can benefit clients of all ages. Pets provide physical and mental health benefits including lowering blood pressure, reducing anxiety, providing comfort and decreasing depression Luna and Melanie are a registered therapy animal team through Pet Partners, a national animal assisted therapy organization
At home, Melanie enjoys dancing,hiking, crafts, and spending time with her family, friends and her dog Luna.
What is your approach to working with young children and families?
Why are you passionate about offering counseling and coaching services to Millennials?
How do you integrate Luna and pet therapy into sessions?
What 3 tips can you offer parents of a youth is questioning his/her sexuality?
Education yourself. Navigating these topics can be confusing for many families. Find educational resources you can trust online and in your community to learn more about what your child is going through. In addition, each child is different, and it will be important for you to listen to your child and learn what is going on with them.
Make sure your child is physically and emotionally safe. While it may seem that our culture is more accepting of differences than it used to be, children who are questioning their sexuality can still be targets for bullying and harassment. Make sure that above all your child is safe emotionally and physically.
What does your initial session with clients involve?
Kirby Patmon, PMHNP-BC
Kirby Patmon, MSN, PMHNP-BC is a nurse practitioner who obtained psychiatric training and education from University of Virginia. She has 10 years of nursing experience and uses this to help guide her practice in treating mental health conditions. She has been a psychiatric nurse practitioner since 2011 and believes that medication management is a helpful tool in treating symptoms, but not the only method in helping individuals improve their mental health. Her treatment philosophy includes a comprehensive and multi system approach to wellness. The philosophy is used to help individuals reach an optimal level of functioning and includes in-depth initial assessments, health education and promotion strategies, collaboration with therapist, stress management tools and supportive counseling.
Kirby works with individuals 18 and older and specializes in the treatment of mild and major depression, Bipolar Disorder and Personality Disorder. She also has expertise in treating anxiety disorders to include, post traumatic stress, obsessive-compulsive, social anxiety, and panic attacks. Kirby welcomes the opportunity to work with individuals suffering from complicated grief and adjustment disorders that frequently accompany loss or major life changes such as divorce, relocation and job change.
When away from work, Kirby enjoys spending time with family and friends, trying new restaurants and running.
What are three terms that best describe your personality style as a psychiatric nurse practitioner?
What does your initial assessment look like for clients who come seeking psychiatric services?
What interventions work well for clients suffering with depression and/or anxiety disorders?
Tell me about your passion working with clients who suffer from mental health conditions
Chelsi Simmons is a licensed professional counselor and certified rehabilitation counselor, received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology from Longwood University, and completed her master’s degree in counseling from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Chelsi has an extensive background in the mental health field providing a wide range of therapeutic services to individuals, couples, and families from diverse backgrounds and cultures. Chelsi specializes in individual and family therapy for trauma, depression, anxiety, relationship issues, and situational stressors (Attention Deficit Disorders, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Depression, Anxiety).
Chelsi has expertise in working with children and adolescents who have experienced abuse and/or trauma (physical, emotional, and sexual) which includes expertise in infant mental health, defined as children 3 years of age and younger. She also has a passion for marriage and family counseling including work on building authentic relationships, open communication patterns, and healthy boundaries. She has helped clients with issues surrounding relationships, separation and divorce recovery, parenting and co-parenting. Chelsi welcomes the opportunity to work with couples who have experience or are at risk for emotional or physical violence in the relationship.
Chelsi uses a person centered approach to therapy incorporating her training in psychotherapy as well as evidenced based practices, specifically utilizing cognitive behavioral techniques. Chelsi’s style promotes the development of a genuine rapport with her clients engaging in a warm, collaborative, open, and authentic exchange. It is her belief that the presence of a solid therapeutic relationship is essential to any journey toward self-discovery and healing. Evening and weekend availability is designed to accommodate the working family.
Outside of counseling, Chelsi enjoys spending time with her family and going to the beach.
Jessica L. Soule, LCSW
Jessica L. Soule is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who provides individual, couples, and family therapy for children, adolescents, and adults. She received her master’s degree in Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Mary Washington University. Jessica has extensive experience treating children and families for issues such as ADHD, behavioral issues, school performance issues, anxiety, and trauma. In addition, Jessica specializes in helping parents learn strategies to assist children through difficult life changes such as divorce and separation, grief and loss, moves, and other stressful periods. Jessica has treated children as young as 1 year old, but also specializes in treating adults, with particular focus on depression, anxiety, trauma, and relationships. Jessica enjoys helping adults work through past traumas, face current stressors, and reach their full potential, whether at work, at home, or in relationships with family, children, or significant others. Another area of particular interest is work with service members and their families. Jessica has first-hand knowledge about military life and is passionate about serving those who serve.
Jessica believes in utilizing an eclectic approach based on the unique needs and goals of each client, but some of her most frequently used approaches include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, mindfulness, and family systems work, along with play therapy for younger clients. Jessica never stops marveling at the resilience of her clients, and often utilizes a strengths-based approach to help her clients tap into and increase their resilience.
Jessica has worked in a variety of settings, including hospitals and residential treatment program, but the bulk of her experience is in office and community-based therapy. She has conducted research on suicidal ideation, and is an adjunct professor for bachelors and masters-level social work programs. Jessica speaks Spanish fluently, and is able to provide therapy in Spanish.
In her free time, Jessica enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, exercising, and catching up on some of her favorite series on Netflix.
John Sears, Ph.D.
Dr. John Sears offers psychological testing for children, adolescents and adults. Dr. Sears offers personality and neuropsychological testing for childhood and/or Adult ADHD. His psychological assessment services are designed to identify the underlying causes of difficulties with emotional control and impulsivity, chronic problems sustaining healthy interpersonal relationships, academic and job performance related concerns. They also provide data necessary for accurate diagnosis of behavioral health conditions, medication protocols and effective treatment planning. Dr. Sears also performs educational testing to include learning disability assessment, as well as, cognitive testing often used for private school admission. Dr. Sears is able to perform fitness for duty and readiness for retirement evaluations.
Dr. Sears offers individual and family counseling and coaching services for adolescents and adults. Dr. Sears specializes in treating a wide range of psychological issues to include clinical depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder(s), post-traumatic stress disorder, personality disorders and gender identity issues.
Dr. Sears is a Department of Transportation substance abuse professional. He specializes in private and court-ordered substance abuse assessment and treatment. An additional area of particular passion includes parenting capacity evaluation, collaborative divorce counseling and the development and monitoring of co-parenting contracts for juvenile and family courts.
Dr. Sears earned his undergraduate degree in biology and pre-medicine at Transylvania University, and his master’s and doctorate degrees in counseling psychology from the University of Kentucky. Dr. Sears has practiced clinical psychology since 1986. He has been certified in the state of Kentucky, licensed in North Carolina and has been licensed to practice clinical psychology by the Virginia State Board of Health Professions since 1994.
Activities of enjoyment include fresh water and deep sea fishing and camping with his family, touring historical sites and national monuments, watching professional football and college basketball, and reading fiction and nonfiction novels.
Jenny Warne, LCSW
Jenny Warne is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who completed her graduate studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has had extensive training and experience in individual, group, couples and family counseling. An area of particular passion includes work with young adults with a wide variety of presenting concerns including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, spiritual and religious questioning/seeking and LGBTQ identity issues. Additional areas of focus include self-injury, trauma and sexual assault recovery.
Jenny has many years of hospice experience. She welcomes the opportunity to work with those in need of grief and bereavement counseling. Jenny also has expertise working with the primary caregivers for persons with chronic and/or terminal illness. She is experienced in the provision of treatment services for older adults facing phase of life issues.
Jenny approaches clients with compassion and acceptance. She takes a collaborative approach to therapy, starting with where the client is and facilitating movement towards client-centered goals. Jenny primarily works from object relations theory, which examines how people experience themselves and others based on relational history. She also utilizes motivational interviewing and aspects of dialectical behavioral therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy as appropriate. Jenny recognizes that each person is unique in his/her experience of the world, and tailors her approach to each client.
Outside of counseling, Jenny enjoys spending time with her husband and their two kitties. She loves to read, entertain friends and family, attend live theatre, and is enjoying being a first-time gardener.
Why are you so passionate about working with women who have histories of trauma?
What types of trauma recovery do you specialize in treating?
How do you approach working with teens who are self-harming?
Can you offer 3 tips for parents of teens who self injure?
- Do not respond with negative judgment or shaming statements, as this will likely increase the self-harm.
- Tell your child you love them and that you are sorry they are hurting.
- Understand that this is different from a suicide attempt, and that it is most likely your child trying to cope with his or her feelings.
How do you define codependency?
What types of treatment goals do you think are important for someone to overcome codependency?
How do work with clients who are dealing with substance abuse issues and do not want to take a 12-Step approach?
Why do you recommend counseling for those who are grieving?
Lisa Bessette, LCSW
Lisa Bessette, a licensed clinical social worker, completed her undergraduate and graduate studies from the College of William and Mary and Virginia Commonwealth University respectively. With over 10 years of experience she has provided counseling to individuals, couples, groups, and families. Lisa’s clinical experience has involved work in multiple settings including community mental health, private practice, and inpatient hospitals.
Lisa specializes in the treatment of adults with personality, mood and thought disorders, as well as those struggling with relationship and substance abuse issues. She has extensive experience in working with individuals who struggle with depression, anxiety, adjustment and mood disorders and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. Lisa has helped clients with issues surrounding relationships, separation and divorce recovery, parenting and co-parenting, ADD/ADHD, grief and loss, panic, and anger management. Lisa also welcomes the opportunity to provide counseling support for the families and loved ones of those suffering from chronic mental illness.
Though her preferred treatment modality is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, her therapeutic approach is a collaborative one that is based on the development of a strong, genuine rapport with her clients. Motivational Interviewing and Narrative Therapy are also techniques Lisa frequently utilizes in her therapeutic work. Lisa is skilled in the use of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy which has proven very effective in work with individuals with certain personality disorders.
Lisa has made her home in Richmond for the past 15 years, but has lived in Michigan, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and Virginia. She is a parent to four adult children and a grandparent. In her free time she enjoys reading, art, online shopping and her dogs.
Jenny Prewitt, LPC
Jenny Prewitt is a licensed profession counselor (LPC) and Nationally Certified Counselor with over 10 years experience in the mental health field. Jenny holds membership in the American Counseling Association (ACA). She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy with a concentration in psychology from Randolph College (formerly Randolph-Macon Woman's College), in Lynchburg, Va and Masters of Education in Community Counseling from the University of Tennessee Chattanooga. Jenny specialized in child and adolescent therapy during her graduate studies and residency.
Jenny’s professional experience includes the provision of clinical services in both residential (milieu) therapy and outpatient practice. She works with individuals, couples and families. Jenny also specializes in group therapy.
Jenny’s clinical specialties include Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Anxiety, anger management and grief and loss. She has expertise in trauma recovery, specifically healing from childhood physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Jenny accepts patients as young as six years of age. She is able to evaluate and treat Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder presenting in both children and adults. Jenny welcomes the opportunity to assist couples as they work through premarital issues, as well as, more chronic challenges associated with fidelity, sexuality and balancing relationship care with the life demands. She is passionate about working with children and families around separation, divorce and coparenting. Working with children and adults diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, specifically, Asperger’s, represents another clinical subspecialty.
Jenny understands that making the decision to contact a therapist can be difficult for some. Her goal is to make the process as welcoming as possible. She works in an extremely relaxed, informal manner that is collaborative in nature. Jenny uses humor regularly in her therapy sessions and takes every possible measure to ensure that her office is a safe place for clients to freely laugh, cry, or express anger as they need.
It is Jenny’s belief that many people not only experience stress and anxiety by unfortunate adversities, but also by how they construct their views of reality through the stories they tell themselves regarding the stressful incident. While systematically pulling from different counseling techniques from a wide range of theories, she tends to work most heavily from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness techniques and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). These types of therapies help people overcome irrational, dysfunctional, and unhealthy thought process that tend to add to and prolong emotional strain, trauma, and tension due to a stressful life incident.
Jenny was born and raised in Virginia. When not working Jenny enjoy being outside and staying active. Snowboarding, riding bikes, paddle boarding, basketball and reading are enjoyed hobbies.
Karen Jones, LCSW
Karen Jones is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Karen brings 20 years of experience from the field of children and family services. She will provide a safe and open environment for people seeking clinical support with issues from depression, anxiety, grief and loss, and post-traumatic stress disorder related to abuse/neglect.
Years of working with children and families has prepared her for treating late teens, and adults. Karen specializes in working with families, particularly blended families and couples. Karen works with parents and co-parents on issues relating to childhood behavioral issues, adult mental health issues, and other issues involving family and marital conflict.
Karen has worked in the community and inpatient psychiatric hospitals providing clinical and assessment services for individuals, families, and groups. One of her clinical approaches is based on system theory which guides people to find purposeful connections for healthy functioning. Karen’s treatment perspective values individuals’ goals and works towards maintaining balance in a society that demands more than most of us have to give. She understands the need for people to go on their individual journey towards healing and will encourage them along the way to find their direction and strength. For some it may take a life time of journeys, but quitting is not an option.
On a personal note, Karen enjoys the outdoors, running, sailing and mud obstacle races. She and her husband raised two children and are enjoying time together as empty nesters.
Christie Blaylock, LCSW
Christie Blaylock, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, has been providing comprehensive psychological services for adults, couples, and adolescents for more than 20 years. Christie specializes in the treatment of substance abuse and non-chemical addictions and offers discrete counseling services for those affected by addiction including those is the healthcare field. As a Department of Transportation substance abuse professional, Christie provides substance abuse assessments for employees and employers throughout the Richmond Tri-Cities area.
For individuals, Christie specializes in the treatment of codependency, establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries in relationships such as marriage, dating relationships, and with children and extended family.
You might be right for coaching or counseling in the area codepedency if you:
- Are you unable to find satisfaction in your life outside of a specific person
- Giving support to your partner or family member at the cost of your own emotional, and physical health
- Overfunctioning in your family or work life to “carry the weight” for someone else in your life
In addition to codependency, Christie also has a clinical focus on parenting skills training and navigating through often complicated blended family issues. Christie’s approach most often involves work with the parent(s) of the blended family unit, giving them the tools necessary to bring routine and healthier interactions to their daily lives.
Christie has a master’s degree in clinical social work. In addition, she is a certified addictions counselor. Christie has provided resident instruction for several universities to include Virginia Commonwealth, Regent and South University.
Because Christie recognizes that the fit between client and therapist is essential to success she offers free 15-minute consultations for prospective clients.
Her personal interests include a love for animals, music, the beach, and spending time with family.
Luna, Our Pet Therapy Dog
Luna is a pet therapy dog that works with clients of Thriveworks Chesterfield. She is a Coton de Tuléar. Pet Therapy will be incorporated as a treatment intervention by Melanie Black, LPC. Luna and Melanie are a registered therapy animal team through Pet Partners, a national animal assisted therapy organization.
The Coton de Tuléar is a breed of small dogs named for the city of Tuléar in Madagascar and for it’s cotton like coat. Cotons are cousins of the Bichon and Havanese breeds and legend has it that they survived a ship wreck and escaped to the island of Madagascar off the coast of Africa in the 1600s. The Coton is playful, adventurous and affectionate.
Although generally quiet, Luna can be vocal-grunting, barking, yodeling and making other noises when having fun. Luna has hair that grows instead of fur. She is 4 years old and has lived with Melanie since she was a puppy.
Luna has completed obedience and temperament training as part of her Pet Therapy certification. She loves children and adults. Luna visits the office on specific days and is always under the direct supervision of her handler.