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
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.

Lydia Ziegler, MSW, LCSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Lydia believes it is important to understand a person’s environment and circumstances when engaging in a new therapeutic relationship. She incorporates techniques from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) into her practice with adults and adolescents. She most recently worked with victims of child abuse, intimate partner violence, and sexual assault in Baltimore, Maryland as a trauma therapist before moving to the Hampton Roads region. Lydia received her Master of Social Work (MSW) from Washington University in St. Louis and holds clinical licenses in Virginia and Maryland.

Kim Fisher, ATR, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor

Kimberly has been a Registered Art Therapist since 2001 and is currently working towards her license as a Professional Counselor in the state of Virginia. 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 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. Together she will provide a safe place to explore thoughts, ideas, and feelings, while collaborating to develop effective tools and techniques to handle life challenges. She is a member of the American Art Therapy Association and owner and principle instructor of Hands on Art, teaching and conducting creative art workshops and classes throughout Virginia Beach.

Chelsey Leggett, LPC, RPT, NCC
Licensed Professional Counselor

Chelsey began her career as a school counselor, working with a beautifully diverse blend of children and families, many impacted by poverty, military deployment, immigration, family conflict and learning/academic challenges. Inspired to help individuals at a deeper therapeutic level, Chelsey obtained her LPC and RPT and built a private practice where she utilizes a client-centered, psychodynamic, integrative approach in working with all ages. Chelsey provides individuals and families a therapeutic environment of safety, peace and hope where they can begin to heal, grow and thrive. Areas of special interest include family of origin issues, co-parenting, attachment, trauma, mood disorders, grief/loss and life transitions. Most recently, Chelsey was practicing in the D.C. Metro area and was a featured guest speaker at Second Saturdays workshops.

Mary Portner, M.A., RIC
Resident in Counseling

Mary is a counseling resident at Cova. She obtained her Masters in Professional Counseling from Liberty University, and is working towards licensure as a Professional Counselor. 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.

Jenny Pfeiffer, M.A., RIC
Resident in Counseling and Certified Relationship and Life Coach

Ms. Pfeiffer’s approach to therapy and coaching 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.

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.

Heather Longoria, M.A., RIC
Resident in Counseling

As a resident in Counseling in the state of Virginia, Heather is working towards her License to be a professional counselor. She is passionate about connecting people with their true calling to pursue healing, uncover hope, and to walk in Freedom! Her background as an artist, educator, and counselor in both a school and community setting offers a unique avenue of connection to her clients. Heather counsels collaboratively with her clients through a theoretical approach grounded in Psychodynamic theory, which offers her clients insight and understanding into their challenges, and REBT therapy, which offers her clients practical tools for change. Additionally, she offers alternative holistic therapeutic methods such as the use of art, music, mindfulness, nutrition, nature, and spirituality. Heather counsels individuals and couples of all ages yet has a special passion for working with teens, young adults, and women. Possible areas addressed in counseling include (but are not limited to); ADHD, anxiety, depression, relationships issues, identity issues, phobias, addictions, and pre & post-partum women's issues.

Martha Wiles, M.A., RIC
Resident in Counseling

Martha is a resident in counseling with a passion for working with adolescents and adults dealing with depression, lack of motivation, anxiety, suicidal ideation and self injury, self-esteem issues, LGBTQ issues, complex trauma, and personality disorders. Martha strongly believes that nothing is too awful to talk about, and that people deserve to know, discover, and tell their own unique story. Martha uses an integrated approach to counseling, drawing from a Person-Centered foundation built on empathy and genuineness, as well as utilizing both Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy to offer practical application tools for daily life. Martha also utilizes interventions such as mindfulness and creative expression through art during sessions.

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.