Based in Franklin, NC
I am originally from Eastern NC but have made WNC my home for the past 10+ years. After graduating from Western Carolina University with a BS in Criminal Justice, I decided to change my focus from rehabilitation to preventative counseling so that I could focus on individual and family struggles.
I completed my Masters of Social Work in 2011 at the University of Pittsburgh with a focus in direct care: mental health. I began working in the community as a therapist in 2012 focusing on children and families. I became a fully licensed social worker in 2014. Along with counseling, I also supervise other associate licensed social workers on their journey to become fully licensed.
Understanding the complexity of mental health and the impact it can have on everyone in our lives has been my driving force to help my community.
Based in Waynesville, NC
I have known since an early age that my occupational passions reside in the altruistic realm. Initially, I pursued my combined interests of music and helping others by obtaining training as a music therapist at the University of Alabama (Roll Tide!). However, the categorization of music therapy as a secondary therapy limited my ability to provide care in many settings. Therefore, upon graduation I accepted membership into the 2008 Eastern North Carolina corps of Teach for America, an organization that places recently graduated college students in low-performing underserved schools. This experience and a two subsequent years of teaching as a special education teacher sparked my passion in the mental health field.
In 2013, I began my master’s program in mental health and school counseling at North Carolina State University. While in my master’s program I fell in love with the Western North Carolina mountains and their people. (Literally, I married a man from this area and moved back with him to renovate the old family home place.) In 2015, I began my career as a therapist, helping clients with issues at all stages of life. I feel exceedingly fortunate to use all my skills that I have gained on this windy path to being a therapist in the mountains and to live and work in such a beautiful area with such a great community.
Based in Bryson City, NC
I am originally from Northeast Ohio, but I have made my home in Western Carolina for the past 15 years. The pursuit of my passion for “helping” through my role as a therapist actually represents a second career for me. After graduating from Georgia Institute of Technology with a Masters degree in Computer Science, I spent the majority of my professional life designing and implementing Information Technology solutions for the healthcare industry. However, in 2004 I went back to school, and after 5 years of night classes graduated from Georgia State (Atlanta) with a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology. My “course change” to focus on working with children and families to help them to navigate the often “rough seas” of today’s challenging world has been a very rewarding personal decision.
I began working in the community as a therapist in 2008 at Hawthorn Heights, an adolescent residential facility in Swain County, and have been fortunate to been afforded several avenues to provide professional counseling services to schools, individuals, and families in Western Carolina. I look forward to continuing to pursue opportunities to learn and grow from those seeking help and bring innovative and caring approaches to finding a “life worth living”.
Based in Franklin, NC
As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 20 years of experience in the counseling and mental health field, I provide skilled evidence based counseling to individuals, couples and families. I live in Western North Carolina with my husband, two children and our dog Bristol. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, my work, hiking, bike riding and crafting.
Working with children has been a passion of mine ever since I was in high school. It wasn’t until I was in college at Barry University in Miami Shores, FL that it became clear through a psychology class that mental health was the route I wanted to take in helping others.
After graduating college and working in the social services field I realized to be able to fully make a difference, I needed to further my education. Thus, I returned to Barry University and received my Masters Degree in Social Work in 2000 and was eventually licensed in 2002. This enabled me to continue my mental health work in South Florida in a more therapeutic capacity.
When I moved to Western North Carolina in 2008, I continued my career in mental health and have been working with children, couples and families ever since. I look forward to continue touching the lives of the Western North Carolina community and welcome the opportunity to partner with you on your journey of healing and growth.
Based in Cullowhee, NC
I am originally from Northern Ohio. I completed my undergraduate degree at The Ohio State University in 2006. I made my way to the mountains of Western North Carolina ten years ago. Since moving here, I have had the privilege of working in the communities of WNC to support others in their journey to reduce suffering and improve their lives. I have made a career of supporting youth, families, and adults in navigating their way through mental illness and substance use. I began working with youth in the schools as a community support worker and case manager. This sparked an interest in continuing my education with a focus on clinical therapy. I completed my Masters in Social Work at Western Carolina University in 2013. In addition to mental health related issues, I specialize in working with individuals that have substance use concerns. I am dually licensed as a Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Clinical Addiction Specialist (LCAS). This education and experience allowed me to work confidently with mental health and substance abuse related issues as they are often intertwined and complex. I believe in respecting others self-determination and I am experienced in both harm reduction and abstinence-based models. I am also a Certified Clinical Supervisor intern (CCS-I) for addiction counselors.
You'll find that I am relational, honest and laid back in my sessions and work to create a comfortable environment for my clients to share their stories. I believe that a trusting relationship with clients is the foundation for an individual to be open and make positive changes in their lives.
Seana R. Vernelson, LPCA
I have been working with the community for the last 20 years. This includes Managing a Domestic Violence Shelter, working as a Peer Counselor for young mothers and children at the health Department, serving as a Youth Pastor and Working in Community Mental Health with Children, Teens and their Families.
Once my Youngest of seven beautiful children was school age, I began the journey of pursuing my Master of Science in Professional Counseling. This has been a lifelong desire of mine, and finally in November 2018, I graduated from Grand Canyon University. Following my coursework, I completed 10-month internship with a local behavioral health facility.
My passion is people, and my heart’s goal is to help each person reach one’s potential in every aspect of life. My philosophy is that there is Always HOPE. I specialize in Christian Counseling with a sincere heart to meet the needs of every client through a specialized approach, viewing each client and family individually.
Elizabeth Littlefield, LCSW
I grew up in the Piedmont of North Carolina, but I have happily made the mountains my home. My passion for helping others initially brought me to this area to pursue a bachelor’s degree from Western Carolina University in Social Work. Towards the end of my undergraduate coursework, I began to focus on the field of mental health and decided to pursue a career as a licensed mental health practitioner. After earning my Master of Social Work, also from WCU, I started my career as a therapist.
Since 2016, I have spent years as a licensed clinician working with children and families of WNC. In the community mental health setting, I utilize evidenced based practices to equip clients of all ages and their families with the necessary tools to overcome the challenges and struggles related to mental health and life transitions.
I am passionate about supporting and cultivating growth in my community. By fostering a trusting, caring therapeutic-relationship, I empower clients to make powerful changes in their lives.