Meet the People of CoVa

Erica Sartwell, MA, LPC, RPT-S
Owner/Clinical Director

Erica is a skilled therapist who helps her clients manage and overcome life’s problems with a gentle approach. Erica counsels children, adolescents, couples and families in need of short term or long term care. She has received training in several areas including Play Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. Erica received her BA in Behavioral Sciences in Austin, Texas and she received her MA in Professional Counseling in Chicago, Illinois, passing the National Counseling Exam and becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor in Illinois in 2001. She received her LPC in Virginia in 2009.

Juan Milla, MA, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor

Juan was born in El Salvador where at the age of 21 founded a rehabilitation center for drug and alcohol addicts. During that time Juan saw the need to become better prepared to help people with traumatic pasts and moved to the United States in 2004 to complete his degree in Counseling at Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA. He graduated with his masters in 2008 and has continued to reside in the Virginia Beach area since then. Since graduating in 2008, Juan has worked both full time and part time as a counselor. During this time he also became involved in a local church where he youth pastored for 7 years and has currently been senior pastor for almost four years. As a pastor, Juan has in-depth knowledge of Biblical principles that can be applied to many areas and challenges in one's life. He also has extensive experience with trauma-related issues and utilizes approaches such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Integration (EMI). In addition, Juan is fluent in both English and Spanish. Juan has a passion to help individuals, marriages, and families live more fulfilling and healthier lives by helping them overcome unresolved issues that hold them back or by giving them coping skills to face present challenges. He believes in providing the safest place possible for clients to share their story and explore thoughts and emotions.

Dr. Rosemary Thompson, LPC, NCC, NCSC, RPT
Licensed Professional Counselor

Dr. Rosemary A Thompson is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor and a Nationally Certified School Counselor. She has extensive experience in working with children, adolescences and adults. Dr. Thompson worked in the public school system which provided her with a rich base for her current work advocating for children to school administration (learn more about that work here).  Dr. Thompson has taught counselor education courses on the university level as well as maintained a private practice for the past two decades. She has also published 12 peer-reviewed textbooks on counseling and psychotherapy. Essentially. "she walks the walk, and talks the talk" from many rich life and professional experiences.

David Bunting, Ed.S., LCSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

David Bunting is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has worked with children, adolescents, and adults in a variety of settings for over twenty years. He employs an eclectic approach tailored to the unique needs of each new client. David believes in building upon people’s strengths in the present with solution-focused goals aimed toward contentment. Offering a holistic approach utilizing systems theory and cognitive behavioral therapy, David provides honest language, along with humor, to genuinely relate to his clients. Helping individuals interpret their beliefs about life, guiding them towards a healthier self and enhancing their relationships with others is all part of the journey. David received his Bachelor of Science in Psychology from James Madison University in 1993 and his Master of Social Work from East Carolina University in 1995. David’s experience in school counseling led him to obtain an Educational Specialist degree from The George Washington University in 2007.

Kim Fisher, ATR, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor

Kimberly is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Registered Art Therapist (ATR). She graduated from Eastern Virginia Medical School - Art Therapy and Counseling Program in 2000 and has experience working with others individually or in group settings with a variety of mental health concerns including, but not limited to, depression, anxiety, substance abuse and recovery, identity, and self-esteem. Kimberly’s years of experience include residential and day school treatment with children and adolescents, art therapy treatment with the military, school-based art therapy groups, and group work with substance abuse and trauma due to abuse. Kimberly uses a Person-Centered and Strengths-Based approach integrated with Art Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Guided Imagery, Psycho-education, and Mindfulness to foster growth and help clients meet their full potential. Kimberly recognizes the power of the therapeutic relationship and will provide a safe, non-judgemental environment to explore thoughts, ideas and feelings. Counseling sessions will be a collaborative effort to develop effective tools and techniques to handle life challenges. She is a member of the American Art Therapy Association, Virginia Art Therapy Association, and owner and instructor of Hands on Art, teaching and conducting creative art workshops and classes throughout Virginia Beach.

Jenny Pfeiffer, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor

Ms. Pfeiffer’s approach to therapy is to help clients identify, understand, and ultimately change the areas in their lives that have contributed to emotional and relationship pain. Ms. Pfeiffer believes that to have the breakthrough we need in a current relationship we must understand our history and how it profoundly colors and impacts us as adults. Once we learn to own our history, it no longer owns us. Ms. Pfeiffer provides a warm and empathetic environment to help clients delve into their pain, discovering extraordinary moments of beauty and profound change. She works with those struggling with childhood trauma, PTSD, complex grief, and the aftermath of sexual harassment. Additionally, she works extensively with couples, weaving through the complex nature of relationships, empowering empathy, resilience, and ultimately an authentic connection that transcends each difficult moment that their particular relationship faces. Ms. Pfeiffer’s primary approach is psychodynamic and psychoanalytic, recognizing that therapy is a journey of self-connection and discovery.

Heather Longoria, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor

Heather is a Licensed Profesional Counselor at CoVa in Virginia Beach, with a passion for connecting people with their true calling; to pursue healing, uncover hope, and to walk in freedom from life challenges! Heather counsels individuals and couples of all ages yet has a distinct passion for working with teens, young adults, women, and couples at various stages in their relationship. Heather counsels collaboratively with her client(s) through a theoretical approach grounded in Psychodynamic theory, which offers insight and understanding into life's challenges, and CBT & DBT which offer practical tools for change. As well, Heather offers alternative holistic therapeutic methods such as the use of art, music, mindfulness/ meditation, nutrition, nature, and spirituality. Heather carries additional experience and training in School Counseling and Gottman Method Couples Therapy.

Mary Portner, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor

Mary is a Licensed Professional Counselor at Cova. She joined the team while finishing her requirements for licensure, and continues her good work helping numerous individuals through CoVa. She uses a mobilizing, solution-focused approach to crisis intervention, personal coaching, and recovery processes. Her theoretical standpoint embodies DBT and CBT principles, mindfulness, psychoeducation, philosophical inquisition, exposure/immersion therapy, graduated acceptance therapy, art as therapy, and other creative outlets to animate the mirth of self-understanding. While trying to detangle life’s serious issues, she tries to align with the client a sense of bonding, respect, empathy, perspective, direction, and (comic) relief. She believes that one of the most therapeutic things in life is a laugh.

Jordan DeRidder, M.A., RIC
Resident in Counseling

I'm a holistic counselor, taking into account one's emotional, physical and spiritual well being when helping my clients. I utilize a collaborative approach to therapy; which involves exploring the past and present, and draw upon many different traditional and creative interventions that meet my client's needs. I strongly believe that the therapeutic relationship is crucial for successful therapy, and should involve working together in a non-judgmental, and warm environment. I have a particular interest, and specialized training in working with children, adolescents and adults who are struggling with nutritional concerns, gender dysphoria, transgender issues, and sexual identity. In addition, I also have a passion for helping those who are in emotional pain due to their anxiety, depression, nutrition, existential concerns, and reproductive health/ women issues. I recognize the importance of nutrition and it's impact on overall wellbeing, and have integrative training in nutritional / non-pharmaceutical interventions for anxiety, depression and ADHD.

Brittany O'Brian, M.A., RIC
Resident in Counseling

Brittany is a resident in counseling with a passion for working with adults and teens specializing in eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, binge eating and more), body image, self-esteem, identity, anxiety, depression, women’s issues, pre/post-natal care, personality disorders, and sexuality. Brittany uses a gentle and integrative therapeutic approach grounded in psychodynamic theory and holistic therapy which strongly emphasizes the mind-body-spirit connection. She recognizes therapy as a collaborative process in which a client is the expert of their own life. As an integrative therapist she also utilizes mindfulness, yoga therapy, and nutrition essentials for mental health as interventions.

Caitlin Cavanaugh, M.A., RIC
Resident in Counseling

Caitlin is a Resident in Counseling with a passion for joining with others in their subjective experiences to make desired changes in their lives. Caitlin earned her M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Regent University and is working towards licensure as a Professional Counselor. Caitlin applies a holistic and person-centered approach to therapy, incorporating meaning-centered existential therapy, positive psychology, CBT, and DBT interventions into treatment. She has experience working with children, adolescents, adults, and families in navigating life transitions, severe behavioral and conduct issues, homelessness, depression, anxiety, gender identity, sexual identity, trauma, and relationship strain. Caitlin also has a passion for parenting support for challenging parent-child relationships and has training in Love & Logic parent training. She recognizes that by creating a safe, supportive, and collaborative therapeutic environment, clients can learn to redefine dysfunctional boundaries, to reconnect with a sense of meaning for their lives, and to ultimately make lasting changes in their lives and relationships.

Alyssa Ross, M.A., RIC
Resident Counselor

Alyssa Ross received her M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Regent University and is working towards licensure as a Professional Counselor. Alyssa is also currently enrolled in the DBT Intensive Training program and concurrently in process of completing the requirements to become a Registered Play Therapist. She has a passion for working with anxiety, depression, OCD, self-esteem issues, life transitions, parent-child relationships, transgender issues, gender dysphoria, PTSD, and childhood trauma. She has experience working with children, teens, and adults. Alyssa strives to make therapy a meaningful experience through providing genuine support, safety, transparency, warmth, and acceptance. She believes in meeting her clients where they’re at and is committed to working alongside them as they develop healthy coping skills to make desired changes. Alyssa’s approach to therapy is integrative and collaborative. She implements CBT, DBT, mindfulness, and expressive arts so that clients may develop awareness and skills to bring about more immediate shifts in mood and a sense of wellness.

David Watts, B.S., M.A.
Resident Counselor

David Watts received his Bachelors of Science degree in psychology from University of Mary Washington, his Masters of Arts in Counseling, cum laude, and Masters of Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. David has experience working with individuals, couples, families, and groups regarding anxiety and depressive disorders, trauma and stress related disorders, substance use and abuse, psychotic disorders, bipolar disorder, gender and sexuality issues, personality disorders, developmental disorders and identity issues, spirituality/faith issues, and systemic family issues. In addition, he has worked with state and federally mandated clients. David believes change, healing, and wholeness is always possible for those willing to engage in the hard but rewarding work of therapy. He considers it an honor to partner with clients in reaching their goals.

Juan David Mijia, B.S., M.A., RIC
Resident Counselor

Juan David received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and History from William Paterson University and his Master of Mental Health Counseling from Nyack’s Alliance Graduate School of Counseling. He is currently studying to obtain his Master of Divinity from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Juan David served as a pastor for 6 years and specializes in Christian Counseling. He is also currently working towards his licensure as a Professional Counselor and has experience working as an Intensive In-Home Clinician. Juan David has experience working with children, adolescents, couples, and families. He is fluent in both English and Spanish and has a passion for working with minority groups. Juan David believes in a Bible-Centered approach for Christian families seeking counseling, however he also uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for individuals who wish to seek non faith-based therapy.

Halyn Archer, B.S.
Graduate Intern

Halyn is currently working towards her M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Walden University. Her post-graduation goal is to begin the required hours toward becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Virginia. She is fervent about helping individuals with behavior changes, coping skills, improving relationships, and creating life balance. Halyn utilizes Cognitive Behavior Therapy to treat a wide range of issues and to boost happiness by modifying dysfunctional emotions, behaviors, and thoughts. She also uses an integrative approach in order to promote wellness in all areas of life, such as physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual. She will also utilize Play as Therapy and Expressive Arts as therapeutic treatment modalities. Halyn has a passion for working with children and adolescents with depression, behavior problems, eating disorders, panic disorder, anxiety, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, personality disorders and addiction.

Anaiz "Annie" Kendrix, B.S.
Practicum Intern

Anaiz is a graduate student at the College of William & Mary's Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. She has experience working with survivors of sexual assault, human trafficking, and domestic violence of all ages in crisis centers, police departments, and residential programs on the East coast in English and Spanish. Anaiz employs a client-centered, trauma-informed approach to provide culturally competent evidence-based practices that promote healing and help clients reach their full potential. Anaiz recognizes the importance of a strong therapeutic relationship to help clients identify sources of support and provide them with the tools and resources to live their best lives.

Emily Catherine Thomas

Emily Catherine majored in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on English, Psychology, and Social Sciences at Liberty University. She loves words, photography and writing, and is very close to her three younger sisters. She hopes to one day develop a non-profit helping vulnerable children. She has lived in Virginia for the past 15 years, and currently assists with the children’s ministry at First Norfolk Baptist Church. She feels most herself when she is connecting with other people which makes her a great asset to CoVa.

P. Todd Sartwell, MA, ESQ.
Owner, Operations Director

Todd received his BA in Behavioral Sciences in Austin, Texas in 1998, received his MA in Psychology in Chicago, Illinois in 2000 and his JD from Regent University in 2005. He has handled over 1000 cases and has observed first hand the devestating effect conflict can have, even on the party who "wins". As a result of that experience, he is driven to assist clients find solutions through conflict resolution in relationships, employment, litigation and any other area of dispute. He has designed a mediation program through Cova which is solution based, successful and affordable. Todd is also an owner of the Dickerson & Smith Law Group in Virginia Beach.