Meet Our Counseling Staff: Kennesaw Counselors
Dr. Juanita E. Brigman, Ed.D., LCSW
Dr. Juanita Brigman is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Georgia who has over 10 years of clinical experience both hospital and community based. She earned her Bachelor’s in Psychology and Master’s of Social Work from the University of Maryland. She provides individual and family counseling using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, modified Parent Child Interaction Therapy, and Mindfulness practice. She conducts and utilizes the results from child, adolescent, and family assessments to improve overall outcomes to better serve her clients. She has extensive training and research in early childhood mental health issues (Autism Spectrum, ADD, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder), teen depression, and multicultural counseling. She also provides trauma focused therapy with adults, teens, and youth. Her passion is seeing individuals and families grow and thrive despite life's challenges.
- Depression/mood disorders
- Adjustment issues
- Behavior management
- Life stressors
- Family therapy
- Social/Emotional Dysregulation
James Mann, LMFT
James Mann is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Georgia with 10 years of clinical experience. He earned his Master of Science degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, CA. He specializes in the treatment of individuals, couples, and families struggling with various mental health conditions. James serves client population ages ranging from 5 yrs. old to 65+ yrs. of age.
As an LMFT, James has received extensive clinical training working with various types of relationship distress. This could range from communication breakdown within the couple/family or infidelity and co-parenting. He treats the individual and family with a holistic approach to treatment looking at the broad picture considering the physical, mental, emotional, behavioral, and spiritual domains of a person’s well-being. He also treats depression, anxiety, mood disorders, ADHD, addictions, and personality disorders.
As a nine-year Navy Veteran of the U. S. military, James also works extensively with military families struggling with PTSD and soldiers serving multiple deployments. He has experience in helping survivors of ritual and cult abuse stemming from mind control and programming. Additionally, he is trained in Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, an evidenced-based approach to treating children who have suffered extreme child abuse. He is also a member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists and the Georgia Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.
Nerissa Pratt, LPC
I am a Licensed Professional Counselor that has been practicing for 16 years. During that time period, I have been a therapist in a variety of settings including; community based services, military installations, and private practice. Within those settings, I provided counseling services to military service members and their families, teens, adults, families, and couples in the following areas:
- Depression and Bipolar Disorder
- Marriage/Couples issues
- Self-image and Self-Esteem Issues
- Teen Issues; Peer Pressure,
- Parent/Child Relational Problems
- Personality Disorders
- Anxiety Disorders
- Anger and Stress Management
- Dual Diagnoses
- Social skills
- Family issues
- Military adjustments and struggles
I strive to support and empower my clients in a non-judgmental and welcoming environment. I believe that by using the strengths you already have and building on them, we can help you navigate through the challenges that are preventing you from the living the life you want to. My theory is that if you can learn to challenge and replace any irrational thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs, it will enable you to experience the change you are striving for. In addition, I believe in a holistic approach that incorporates the health of the mind, body, and spirit.
Although I am Certified in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, I utilize a blend of therapy modalities which incorporate the best practice from Cognitive Behavioral, Dialectical Behavior, Solution Focused, and Motivational Interviewing. I believe in an approach that is holistic, eclectic, and guided by the individual needs of my client.
I would be more than happy to speak with you and give any more information you may need to determine if I would be a good fit to help you get to where you want to be.
Kimberly Wilson, LCSW, Psychotherapist
Kimberly M. Wilson is a solution-focused therapist with ten years experience in mental health and substance abuse treatment. She earned her Master’s Degree at Kennesaw State University. Kimberly is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor.
Kimberly uses CBT and REBT along with Mindfulness Exercises, Expressive Therapies, and Art-Based Interventions when applicable. She also incorporates the healing power of humor, when appropriate. Kimberly specializes in Prenatal & Postpartum Counseling, Addressing Unhealthy Habits, Improving Self-Assessment & Self-Care, and helping individuals who feel they are “stuck”. In the therapeutic process, Kimberly provides special attention to the specific issues and needs of the following populations: Adolescents, Young Adults, Middle Adults, Older Adults, Parents with Children Ages 0-5, and Artists/Musicians. Kimberly’s primary goal is to partner with you as a change agent; to help you feel comfortable in your own skin and confident in each step you take towards your desired change.
My area of specialties include:
- Postpartum Depression
- Prenatal Counseling
- Fertility Issues
- Substance Use
- Adolescent Anxiety
- Coping with Change
- Stagnancy and Depression
- Older Adult Issues
Lisa Mustillo, LCSW
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who believes that a warm, supportive and collaborative therapeutic relationship is the cornerstone of successful psychotherapy. I received my Masters in Social Work from New York University and completed post-graduate training in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy. Most of my experience has been working in community mental health clinics which led me to specialize in providing compassionate psychotherapy to individuals suffering from traumatic histories, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.
My goal as a psychotherapist is to provide you with a safe space to discuss, explore and examine painful thoughts and feelings that keep you from living a peaceful life. I practice in a client-centered therapeutic style which means that I adapt my style to best serve the needs of the clients I serve. With compassion and warmth, I help my clients gain an understanding of the underlying causes of their depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. I help clients cultivate insight into the emotional pain that negatively affects their functioning, and assist in the development and implementation of healthy coping strategies that naturally lead to improved functioning and peaceful living.
Some of the areas that I specialize in are:
- Low-Self Esteem
- Sexual Abuse
- Relationship Struggles
- Adjustment and Transition
Sarah Ansari, LPC, CCH
I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC 008061).
- I received a Bachelor's degree from Georgia State University in 2006.
- I have a Masters in Community Counseling from Argosy University in 2010.
- I am trained intensively in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).
- I am a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist (CCH).
I am an American-Muslim, of South-Asian descent and I’m culturally aware. I understand the challenges families and individuals experience when major life transitions (e.g., marriage, divorce, death, relocating, etc.) happen. I’m also able to relate to people of different faiths, ethnicity, race and background.
I enjoy working with adult and adolescent females (ages 13+) who struggle with suicidal ideations/thoughts, self-harm or bodily harm, depression, anxiety, anger, relationship issues and other life or mental health concerns. The interventions I use are based in DBT but I’m eclectic in my approach.
“I absolutely love and enjoy what I do. My ultimate goal is to help the community in ending mental health stigma. Taking care of your mind is as important as taking care of your body. I understand that talking to a random stranger can be scary; however there are times when we need to talk to someone who is going to be nonjudgmental, empathetic and provide the support we need. I work together with my clients in helping them solve their problems, listen to them and live a life they desire.”
Timothy J. Giannoni, Ed.D., M.S., MBA, LAPC
Enjoying more than 25 years in the human services profession, Dr. Timothy Giannoni has acquired a diverse professional and educational background. Possessing advanced degrees in education, psychology, counseling and management, he has provided support to individuals in both direct service practice and in the management of counseling service organizations. Starting his career in a federally funded employment and training program in Florida serving both youth and adults, he transitioned into management and became the president of nationally recognized adolescent youth develop program serving 10,000 students per year. During his authorship of the Excel Program and years in organizational leadership, he completed extensive research in anxiety and depression management and correlates of effective developmental intervention. Living in North Atlanta during the past 13 years, his career path has taken him back to his first passion — individual counseling.
As a co-owner of the Thriveworks Marietta practice, he brings the followings areas of service expertise:
- Adolescent intervention (extensive clinical/program development experience: conflict/adjustment support to include crisis remediation, anxiety mgmt., depression, at-risk behavior, parental support)
- Adult life change/adjustment (decision making and pervasive anxiety research, eight years of group and individual career and employment counseling)
- Senior support (depression, loss recovery, family relations)
- Male personal growth support (mid-life transition, relationship stabilization, anxiety, anger and impulse management)
Dr. Giannoni believes counseling relationships begin with genuine interest and concern, and are supported by an ever present focus on positive personal growth.
His years of experience have led him to the following conclusions:
- Individuals own their counseling therapy
- Quality individual therapy provides the opportunity to explore issues central to the person in a safe, professional and supportive environment
- Progress or improvement in therapy results from an individual’s personal decision to change or explore new thoughts, emotions or behaviors with the support of another
Dr. G is a down-to-earth, light-hearted guy with an extensive resume and passion for serving others in their time of need. Watch the following clip for his personal/professional introduction.
Rebecca Huls, MS, LPC
Rebecca obtained her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Kennesaw State University, and her Master of Science in Mental Health & Psychological Therapies from Queen Mary University of London. She has over 7 years in the field of mental health and held previous roles as an Assistant Psychologist in the UK, a Behavior Data Analyst with the Marcus Autism Center, and Lead Assessor with Willowbrooke Behavioral Health in Villa Rica, GA. While at Willowbrooke, Rebecca was twice nominated for Employee of the Quarter and established Inpatient programming on Emotional Freedom Technique, Guided Imagery, Meditation, and Yoga.
She believes in a holistic approach to mental health in which traditional therapeutic intervention works best when coupled with appropriate self-care. Her interests lie in women’s issues & female empowerment, trauma, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and helping individuals become the best version of themselves.
Joe Schelling, BSW, CLC, Clinical Coordinator
Joe Schelling serves as clinical coordinator for the Kennesaw, Marietta and Cumming locations. He has oversight of scheduling, intake, reception and other operational aspects of the three practices. He leans on his years of upper management and leadership expertise as he helps grow the practices.
Joe also serves as a Certified Life Coach. He has a passion to help people get from where they are to where they want to be - with primary population men going through career and/or life transitions, those feeling "stuck" and not knowing what to do next and young men who have limited positive male impact. All interactions revolve around client centered goal setting and is focused on helping the client develop the personal goals and objective to help them get to where they want to be. He brings nearly 20 experience in helping people transition to his coaching practice. He has worked in residential settings, hospital settings and community agencies helping parents, teens and young adults at-risk transition into desired settings. He has extensive experience with teens and young adults with developmental and environmental disabilities. Joe has worked in both the clinical and leadership roles. He brings a Christian perspective to all approaches and interactions. As a former youth pastor he has a interest in assisting others through traditionally difficult transition periods of life from a christian perspective
Vanesa Desir, LPC
Vanessa Desir is a licensed professional counselor practicing at Thriveworks Marietta. She has extensive experience working with individuals, families and groups to promote optimum mental and emotional health. Vanessa has worked in the field of counseling and psychology for more than 10 years. She obtained her master's in mental health counseling from Yeshiva University’s School of Psychology in New York City. Her professional career began with researching how parents and their children are affected by substance abuse at The Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She provided psycho-educational therapy to adults struggling with depression due to developmental challenges at the Rose F. Kennedy Evaluation & Rehab Center. She has also worked with children and adults with developmental disabilities within a crisis unit at the Young Adult Institute, in New York City. Throughout her journey around the different facets of counseling, Vanessa has developed a passion for and is well versed in providing individual therapy surrounding life issues including but not limited to:
- Depression/mood disorders
- Adjustment issues
- Behavior management
- Life stressors
- Family therapy
- Women's issues
Her recent experience includes providing counseling to children, adolescents and adults from different cultures, ethnicities and economic backgrounds. Vanessa’s approach to counseling focuses on human development in relational, social and cultural contexts. Vanessa is educated, personable and eager to meet goals set by clients. She is passionate about helping clients become better equipped in dealing with life’s stressors, so that they can live happier and more fulfilling lives.