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.
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 also has extensive experience providing interventions to clients of all ages who have an Autism Spectrum Diagnosis. She facilitates the Autism Spectrum Social Skills Group at Thriveworks, and is also certified to perform the gold standard of Autism Spectrum testing, the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule 2.
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.
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
Joan Plotkin Han, MD, DFAPA, DFAACAP
Dr. Plotkin is a psychiatrist board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in the fields of General Psychiatry and in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. She grew up in Richmond’s West End and completed her undergraduate education in Mathematics at Columbia University. She did her pre-med work at the University of Virginia and received her Medical Degree at the Medical College of Virginia in 1985. She first trained in and practiced Obstetrics and Gynecology, but, as her family grew, she re-trained in General Psychiatry and completed her fellowship training in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, both at MCV. She has been elected as a Distinguished Fellow of both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Her early interests in caring for women and children evolved over the following 25 years of practice to include a very broad range of clinical and psychopharmacologic competence. Highlights have been the care of children and adolescents, including those with developmental and intellectual disabilities, the care of serious mental illness, including psychotic illnesses, bipolar mood disorders, depression, and anxiety. Her work has covered the care of US veterans, addressing PTSD as well as Military Sexual Trauma. She has especially valued her experience working in College Mental Health, addressing academic and identity struggles, gender dysphoria, and LGBTQ concerns. She has extensive experience with personality disorders and suicidality, as well as with Substance Use Disorders and Medication Assisted Treatment and Recovery. Reviews of Dr. Plotkin’s practice consistently find her to be compassionate, non-judgmental, and a good listener.
Dr. Plotkin has recently retired from fulltime practice and will be working with Thriveworks on a part time basis. When not at the office, she enjoys her time with her family, her dog, and her cat, and pursuing her longtime passions of health and wellness, sailing, cycling, and running.
Kylie Wright, PMHNP-BC
As a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner with over 12 years of experience in the nursing field I specialize in treating a wide variety of mental health illnesses. I completed my professional studies at the University of Virginia. Although I am qualified to treat many psychiatric issues, I offer specialized insights in the management of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and Attention Deficit Disorders. I welcome an opportunity to work with individuals around issues related to aging, LGBTQ, and relationship/family problems.
I currently provide medication management for adults (ages 18 and older) providing each client and their family with quality care while providing a safe and therapeutic environment. All intake appointments are 50 minutes and follow up appointments are schedule for 30 minutes in order to provide the best quality care. I offer both medication management and counseling to aide in the recovery process. I incorporate ongoing research about current practices within the psychiatric field to promote prevention and overall wellness. My goal is not only to assist you or a loved one alleviate problematic symptoms but to work toward achieving and/or restoring optimal emotional and behavioral health.
Evening and weekend appointments are readily available to my clients so that I may best support the psychiatric needs of working individuals.
When not at work I enjoy hot yoga, visiting the beach and spending time with my friends, dogs and family.
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 experience 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.
Jeff Whitfield, LPC
Jeff Whitfield is a licensed professional counselor who provides individual, couples, group, and family therapy for children, adolescents, and adults. Jeff received his Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Counseling from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas and his Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Texas Christian University, also in Fort Worth (Go Horned Frogs!)
Jeff is a very experienced counselor and has worked with clients on a variety of issues, including marriage and family conflict and communication, anger and depression management, family of origin issues including abuse and neglect, self-esteem, and post trauma. Jeff combines a compassionate, person-centered approach; which is a very relational, coming-alongside approach; as well as utilizing the tenets of cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Jeff has worked in a variety of settings, including inpatient and residential treatment, as well as private practice and community-based counseling. Jeff also worked 17 years with a missionary agency and provided counseling to missionaries and their families. Most recently, Jeff worked for several years as a Military and Family Life Counselor at Fort Lee, working with service members and their families through the myriad issues this population faces.
In his time away from work, Jeff enjoys spending time with his family, running, being outdoors, cooking, watching football, and being involved with his church.
Susan Larkin, LCSW
Susan Larkin is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who completed both her undergraduate and graduate degrees at Virginia Commonwealth University. With over 20 years of experience she has provided mental health services to individuals across the lifespan to include adolescents, millennials, adults and older adults. She has had experience providing therapy services to individuals, couples, families, and groups. She has extensive experience working with individuals dealing with anxiety, depression, mood and thought disorders, personality disorders, serious mental illness, grief and loss and co-dependency issues.
Susan has worked in both community and inpatient psychiatric settings. She also has experience providing crisis intervention services. She has a long and extensive history of working with individuals with intellectual disabilities, serious mental illness, and co-occurring substance use disorders.
Susan utilizes a wide range of therapeutic techniques to include: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness, Strength’s Based, Solution Focused, Motivational Interviewing, and Dialectal Behavioral Therapy. She believes that many of our patterns of relating and reacting stem from our early life experiences and enjoys assisting individuals in developing new insight and healthy strategies to handle interpersonal relationships and the stresses of daily life. Susan’s approach is one of warmth and acceptance. She believes that the relationship between the client and therapist is key to the therapeutic relationship and strives to provide a safe space for emotional and personal exploration, self-discovery, and growth. Her style is informal, warm, conversational, and authentic.
Susan has evening and weekend hours available. She knows that it can take a great deal of courage to enter into therapy, but believes in the transformative power of the therapeutic process and looks forward to taking this journey of self-discovery, growth, and healing together.
In her spare time Susan enjoys reading, playing with her two cats and her dachshund, spending time with her family and friends, gardening, cooking, and watching movies.
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?
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.