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.

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 Hull, 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 adults to her practice at this time.

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, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor

Alyssa strives to make therapy a meaningful experience through providing genuine support, safety, transparency, warmth, humor, and acceptance. She believes in meeting her clients where they are and is committed to working alongside them while developing positive coping skills to make desired life changes. Alyssa’s approach is integrative and collaborative. She implements CBT, DBT, and expressive arts into her work so that her clients can develop skills to promote a more immediate shift in mood and sense of wellness. Alyssa carries additional experience/training in EMDR, Play Therapy, Mindful Self-Compassion, Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), and has completed a DBT intensive program. She works with children and adults with specific interests in treatment of anxiety, depression, OCD, trauma, self-esteem, and parenting concerns.

Margaret Campbell, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor

Margaret is a Licensed Professional Counselor who is passionate about creating a safe place for clients to develop self-awareness, process difficult emotions, implement healthy coping skills, create new patterns, accept hard truths, and break dysfunctional cycles. Margaret earned her Masters in Mental Health Counseling from Regent University and is a military spouse. She has experience working with children, adolescents, and adults with a wide range of mental health concerns including depression, anxiety, body dysmorphia, ADHD, adjustment disorder, behavioral disorders, gender and sexual identity issues, grief, trauma, spirituality issues, and relational conflicts. Margaret provides therapy through a person-centered approach where she meets each client where they are with genuine empathy and compassion. Margaret incorporates therapeutic techniques from Gestalt Therapy, Acceptance Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Reality Therapy, and Existential Therapy, and Mindfulness into treatment to assist clients with positive change and healing. Margaret’s hope for all her clients is they leave sessions feeling heard, seen, and truly known.

Halyn Pearson, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor

Halyn Pearson received her M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Walden University and is a Licensed Professional Counselor with CoVa. 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, Zeke, is often available to aid sessions. 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.

David Watts, LPC
Licensed Professional 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.

Sam Conlin, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor

Sam is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Virginia. She graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and a Master of Arts in Counselor Education. Sam completed her residency to become a LPC at a private practice in Roanoke, VA, where she has worked with clients ages 2 years old and up. Her work has focused on working with children in foster care, adoptive families, and kinship families, as well as children, adolescents, and young adults with early childhood and generational trauma. Sam utilizes a person-centered approach, while also integrating systems theory, cultural competency, and trauma-aware practices. As a counselor, Sam has continued to learn and grow by engaging in trainings to become a Registered Play Therapy (RPT). She primarily utilizes child-centered play therapy with young clients as she believes play is a child’s language. Through the therapeutic alliance, Sam creates a safe environment for her clients to tap into their inner resources and resiliency to achieve their counseling goals.

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, M.A.
Resident 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.

Matthew Mullenix M.A., RIC
Resident Counselor

Matthew Mullenix is a Resident in Counseling who has been a practicing clinician in a variety of settings for over fourteen years working with children, adolescents, and adults. He believes that everyone’s life experiences are unique and strives to build upon his clients life journey of leaving behind the old, setting boundaries and moving ahead to a happier, healthier tomorrow. Matt uses a client-centered approach tailored to the unique needs of each individual. He received his Bachelors of Science in Business Marketing Management from Virginia Tech in 2001, intitally working in Retail Management but found his passion for helping people led him back to Virginia Tech where he received his Masters of Arts in Counselor Education in 2007. Matt counseled in Elementary and High School for thirteen years and then transitioned to Community Based Mental Health. He is passionate about counseling all ages, individuals and families regarding anxiety, depression, trauma, stress, substance use and abuse, bipolar, gender and sexuality issues, personality and identity issues, alongside many others. Matt grew up in Virginia Beach and loves all things 7 cities; some of his interests include sports, music, reading, video games and enjoying the beach and outdoors.

Kim McClernon, M.A., RIC
Resident Counselor

Kim believes that therapy (and life) are about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and embracing growth. She strives to treat the whole person and make therapy a personalized experience. Kim recently graduated with her Masters Degree in Mental Health Counseling from 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 Management. Kim is passionate about taking an integrative and holistic approach using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (thoughts/actions), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Reality Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and Art Therapy techniques. 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, teens, adults and families in the community. In her free time Kim enjoys playing tennis (a lot), traveling and spending time with her family and dog, Wilson.

Rachel Sabourin, M.Ed.
Resident Counselor

Rachel is a graduate of William and Mary’s Clinical Mental Health and Addictions Counseling Program. She believes that counseling is a place where clients can overcome issues, make positive changes, and heal. She places an emphasis on the therapeutic relationship and strives to be relatable in sessions. She has experience working with teenagers and adults with a variety of issues such as: anxiety, depression, grief, and substance abuse. She takes an integrative approach to counseling, but utilizes cognitive-behavioral techniques, strengths-based techniques, solution-focused techniques, and psychodynamic techniques to help accomplish your goals!

Sarah Cameron, B.A.
Resident Counselor

Sarah received her M.Ed from William and Mary and is NCC-certified. She has experience with military/veteran populations and understands the unique challenges that military life poses to servicementers and their families. She's passionate about helping people step out of a broad range of mental health challenges that cause distress, including depression, anxiety, trauma, and grief. Sarah utilizes an integrative approach that combines humanistic, existential, and narrative exploration with ACT and other evidence-based approaches and protocols to empower clients to more fully meet life's challenges and move toward their fullest potential.

Stephanie Smith-Durkin, PhD, NCC
Resident Counselor

Dr. Stephanie Smith-Durkin is a former school counselor with nearly two decades of experience working with children and their families in both school and residential settings. She holds a Bachelors of Science in Psychology, Masters of Science in Education with a focus in School and Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and a PhD in Counselor Education. Each of her degrees she earned from Old Dominion University where she is a professor in the Counseling and Human Services department. There, she trains the next generation of school and clinical mental health counselors. She is also a National Certified Counselor. As a counselor, Stephanie utilizes an eclectic approach; bringing in elements from solution-focused, person-centered, cognitive-behavioral, motivational interviewing, and narrative therapy into sessions. She is person focused, not problem focused during counseling sessions and utilizes humor, art, and play as necessary. She views the counseling process as a partnership, where she works hand in hand with clients to bring about positive life changes. Outside of counseling, Stephanie enjoys spending time with her spouse and two young children as well as reading and traveling.

Kristy Livsey, M.A.
Resident Counselor

Kristy earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Old Dominion University and her Master’s degree in Professional Counseling with a Forensic Specialty from Argosy University. Kristy has worked with adolescents with severe behavioral and conduct issues and a wide range of mental health concerns, such as trauma, depression, anxiety, gender-identity & expression, and strained family relationships for the past 20 years. She has worked in community based, residential and correctional settings. Kristy uses an integrative approach, incorporating cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness practices, trauma focused practices, and various other approaches to meet each client’s unique needs. Kristy considers the emotional, cognitive, physical, and spiritual elements of a person. She creates a safe space for her clients and understands the importance of building a trusting therapeutic relationship, which fosters the client’s resiliency and power to create meaningful change and healing. Kristy also loves spending time with her family, dancing, traveling, and always loves a good laugh.

Autum Nemes, B.S.

Autum is currently a student in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at William and Mary and received her undergraduate degree from Arizona State University. She previously served in the Navy as an Arabic linguist and is now a military spouse. Autum is passionate about taking an integrative and holistic approach to shift negative thinking and behavior patterns into compassion that can improve communication and strengthen relationships. Autum believes in meeting every client where they are and strives to personalize every therapeutic experience. Using warmth and humor, Autum enjoys working with adults and couples experiencing anxiety, depression, life transitions, or relationship issues.

Lee Burnett, B.S.

Lee is a graduate student in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at Liberty University. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Belmont Abbey College and an Early Childhood Development certificate from Gaston College. She has taught preschool through middle school age children including those with special needs and those with behavioral difficulties. Her passion is working with young people and seeing them grow and finding their strengths. Lee has an extensive background in early childhood development and has been a presenter at NAEYC Conferences and was Teacher of the Year at Sherwood Elementary School. Being a mother of three teenage children, Lee can understand many of the issues that bring families to counseling. She believes counseling can serve as a safe space to begin the healing process and make positive changes for a more fulfilling life. Using strength-based and solution focused approaches Lee works with children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families. Lee is a SYMBIS (Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts) certified couple’s facilitator who can help couples start their marriage on a positive note or help married couples embrace differences and build a stronger marriage through intimacy and communication. In her free time Lee enjoys time in the mountains, reading and spending time with her family and friends.

Christina Standridge, B.S.

Christina is enthused to be a part of COVA as an art therapy intern! She has a background in psychology and art, having earned a Bachelors in Psychology with focus in art coursework. She began her learning career at Brenau University in Georgia, but switched schools to allow for the many moves common to a military family. Christina is completing her final year of the Masters in Art Therapy program at Saint Mary of the Woods College in Indiana. Christina had the opportunity to complete her practicum in Connecticut where she gained invaluable experience working with individuals of all ages diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety. Christina also recently completed her thesis: Spiritual Art Therapy with Prenatal and Postnatal Mothers as a Preventative Against PPD, PPA, D-MER, and Grief. She has a focus of blending the spiritual with art therapy to guide clients to achieve health in mind, body, and soul.

As for her personal life, Christina is a military wife and mother to five children: three biological and two adopted. She enjoys educating her children, homesteading, plant collecting, pyrography, embroidery, painting, yoga, hiking, camping, reading, tea parties, and Krav Maga.

Linda Encinas-Fulgham, B.S.
Practicum Student

Linda Encinas-Fulgham is thrilled to be at CoVA Counseling & Mediation. She received her Bachelor's of Science from Purdue University and is presently a graduate student in the Clinical Mental Health Program at the College of William & Mary specializing in Military Populations. As a military spouse of over 20 years and now a USMC mom, military members and their families will always be near and dear to her heart and service. Linda empathizes with military kids’ and spouses' unique struggles before, during, and after deployment. Linda also has an additional passion for working with individuals who have dyslexia. As someone who has lived with dyslexia, Linda understands the pain, frustrations, and challenges unique to the condition. Linda's studies focus on trauma, dissociation, PTSD, Complex PTSD, and the Dissociative Subtype of PTSD. She believes everyone has their own path and strengths, and is excited about helping people discover both.

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 matters and 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 in discovering solutions through conflict resolution and coaching in relationships, employment, litigation and any other area in need of guidance or conflict resolution. 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.