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, becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor in Illinois. She later moved to Virginia and has enjoyed growing her skills and practice in the Coastal Virginia community.

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.

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.

Becca Brown, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor

Becca is a Licensed Professional Counselor who earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Virginia Tech and her Master’s degree in Counseling and Human Development from Radford University. Becca's background includes individual and group counseling with children, adolescents, college students, adults and families. She has worked in a wide variety of settings including residential treatment, in-home and community settings, therapeutic day treatment, case management, counseling in a higher education setting and group private practice. Her style is warm, person-centered and strength-focused, using a theoretically eclectic approach tailored to client needs and goals. Becca welcomes teens (age 14 and up) and adults to her practice at this time.

Brittany O'Brian, M.A., LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor

Brittany is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a Master of Arts degree in Psychology & Counseling. Brittany utilizes an integrative and holistic approach to therapy and wellness. She has an immense passion for working with adult individuals and couples to address relationship and marriage challenges, premarital support, postpartum challenges, anxiety, depression, body image and eating disorders. She utilizes a therapeutic framework that emphasizes trauma-informed and unconscious dynamics, to create greater mindfulness of self in order to harness the ability to heal from within. Brittany has received advanced post-graduate training in eating disorders and mindfulness techniques. She has completed advanced training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy through the Gottman Institute, perinatal mood and anxiety disorders through for the treatment of postpartum challenges, and somatic therapy/EFT (emotional freedom technique, better known as tapping therapy).

Caitlin Cavanaugh, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor

Caitlin is a licensed counselor 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 completed her residency at CoVa. 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.

Jordan Caruana, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor

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.

Alyssa Ross, M.A., RIC
Resident Counselor

Welcome! I strive to make therapy a meaningful experience through providing genuine support, safety, transparency, warmth, humor, and acceptance. I believe in meeting you where you are, and I am committed to working alongside you as you develop positive coping skills to make changes in your life. My approach to therapy is integrative and collaborative. I implement CBT, DBT, and expressive art approaches into my work so that you may develop skills to bring about more immediate shifts in mood and sense of wellness. I carry additional experience/training in EMDR, Play Therapy and Mindful Self-Compassion, in addition to have completed a DBT Intensive Program. I counsel children, adolescents, and adults and have specific interests in treatment of anxiety, depression, trauma, self-esteem, and parenting concerns.

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.

Halyn Archer, M.S., RIC
Resident in Counseling

Halyn Archer received her M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Walden University and is working towards licensure as a Professional Counselor. She believes in the power of the therapeutic relationship and working with clients to create a safe space. Halyn’s goal is to support individuals in developing insight, expanding their coping skills, processing grief and loss, and healing unresolved trauma. She is passionate about working with individuals who seek to make meaningful changes in their lives. She enjoys working with children, adolescents, young adults, and adults who are ready to start their journey toward becoming their best self. Maintaining an integrative approach, she incorporates cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness based practices, positive psychology, play as therapy, and expressive arts. She has additional training and experience in sand tray therapy, animal assisted play therapy, EMDR and dialectical behavioral therapy. Halyn’s therapy dog in training, Zeke, is expected to be available to aid sessions in summer of 2020. It is truly special when individuals allow Halyn to be apart of their lives, and can be vulnerable with her as you walk together in the healing process, whatever that may look like for you.

Nicole Barnwell, M.A.
Resident Counselor

Nicole Barnwell utilizes components of person-centered, cognitive behavior and solution-focused approaches. She understands that everyone’s experiences are individualized and strives to work with her clients in building an environment that works best for them. Using evidence-based techniques, she meets her clients where they are and together develop care that will best suit every client’s needs. Nicole received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and her Master of Arts in Counselor Education from Norfolk State University. She has worked with children (ages 4-12) and parents as a School Counselor in the public school system for six years. She has become knowledgeable about the special education process, educational plans, school and behavioral problems, stress, anxiety, school phobia, issues that children face when their parents deploy in the military, anger management, self-esteem issues, trauma, and other childhood mental health disorders. Nicole also worked as an intensive in-home counselor for over four years with children (ages 5 to 17). During that time, she conducted numerous family sessions and utilized a variety of approaches to assist her clients. Nicole believes that the relationship with the client is the most important part of the process. She desires to build a genuine, empathetic, and warm connection with you to help you build on your current strengths and guide you towards your goals.

Anaiz "Annie" Kendrix, B.S.
Post Graduate Counselor

Anaiz is a graduate of 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.

Kim McClernon
Counseling Intern

Kim is an intern at CoVA and is working towards a Master’s of Mental Health Counseling at the University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky. Kim is also a professor at Tidewater Community College teaching marketing and business. She holds an MBA from Virginia Commonwealth University and a BA from Virginia Tech in Marketing. Kim uses her real world business and teaching experience to relate to and help clients. She also uses varied therapeutic modalities including Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Reality Therapy and Motivational Interviewing. Kim believes that being person centered, relatable and having a good sense of humor connects her to her clients. She uses her past experience to enrich her empathy and motivation to serve children, adults and families in the community.

Sarah Cameron, B.A.
Practicum Intern

Sarah is a graduate student in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at William and Mary. She is committed to providing a safe, non-judgmental environment for clients to explore life’s challenges and complexities. She uses an integrative approach, including evidence-based mindfulness practices to help clients move into lives infused with hope, meaning, and purpose. Sarah is deeply embedded in the military community and is receiving specialized training in military and veterans issues. Her goal is to assist service members, their families, and veterans thrive both during and after service. She completed her undergraduate education at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and is in her final year of graduate work.

Marissa Squillace, B.S.
Practicum Intern

Marissa is a graduate student in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at Antioch University with a focus in trauma, grief, & loss. Additionally, she holds an undergraduate degree in Hospitality & Tourism Management with a minor in Psychology from University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She has a passion for movement as a way for clients to freely express themselves and discover their own unique creativity through dance. Marissa holds a certification in Dancing Mindfulness and hopes to integrate this into her future practice. Further, she is committed to providing a collaborative, safe environment because of the impact she knows it will have on her clients.

Emily Catherine Thomas
Administration

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.