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Kari Russo

Director

Kari Russo is the director of First Counseling Center and holds dual licensure as a Mental Health Counselor and Marriage and Family Therapist. She is a Certified Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) Trainer, Master ART Clinician, Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) Practitioner. She is also trained in: Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) , Cognitive Behavioral Therapy(CBT), and Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT). She feels blessed to have witnessed healing and genuine life change in people from many walks of life. Kari and her counseling team often work with pastors, community leaders, military, first responders and their families. She often helps people with: stress and time management, relationship enhancement, attention deficit, anxiety, obsessive thinking, trauma, and depression. Kari has provided consulting, mental health counseling, and family therapy for over 24 years. She and her husband enjoy spending time with their four children and daughter in law who range in ages from 10 to 25. More information.

 
 
 
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Holly N. Rockefeller

Counselor

Holly has been a Licensed Mental Health Counselor since 2008 and worked at First Counseling for over 10 years. Her primary areas of focus are anxiety, depression, healing from past traumas including sexual abuse, self esteem, and relationship counseling. Holly has an eclectic style of counseling that is very relational. Her sessions are conversational as she seeks to bring the client to a place of ease and trust as they walk into some of their darker and more painful places. Her approach is typically a slower-paced one in the hopes that the therapy works in deep places and has a lasting affect in the life of the client. More information

 
 
 

CJ Varghese

Counselor

CJ is a Licensed Marriage and Family therapist who is trained in EMDR. His approach to counseling is based on the integration of professional psychological training and the spiritual understanding he’s gained through both theological education and personal experience.  CJ helps others walk through their journey of change, growth, transformation and freedom. In his experience as both a client and a therapist, he has learned that facing where we have been and what we’ve lived through helps us understand our present.

 
 
 

Cynthia Knowles

Counselor

Cindy is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor as well as a Clinical Supervisor working with counseling students and interns throughout their training. Coupled with the unique perspective that comes from having served for 12 years in active military service, her relaxed and relational approach to counseling provides a safe atmosphere for moving effectively through struggles and wounds. Cindy specializes in Anxiety, Depression, Trauma, Marriage and Family Counseling, Relationship issues, Life Changes, as well as Divorce Recovery, and Military. Cindy's main goal when working with a client is to help them to find understanding and healing–to help people who have experienced painful life circumstances heal and grow. For more information, visit psychologytoday.com.

 
 
 

Jim Kochenburger

Counselor

Jim is a counselor who is trained in EMDR. He has served as a student, family, and college pastor, and has an extensive background in writing and publishing family resources. In addition to being trained and experienced in EMDR Therapy, Jim helps people in these areas: Couple, Marriage, Family, and Premarital Counseling; Relationship Issues; Sexual, Physical, or Emotional Abuse; Trauma; Anxiety; Anger Management; Grief Care; Divorce Care; Depression; Parenting Issues; Young Adult Life Direction and Launch; Life Change Issues; Addiction; Codependency. He has helped quarreling couples become caring communicators, those who feel stuck in life to find their way forward, the anxious and depressed to find relief and renewed hope, parents and teens in pitched battle to find harmony, couples on the brink of divorce to find new depths of loving connection, and more.

 
 
 
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Cesar Perez

Counselor

Cesar is a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist Intern who offers therapy in English and Spanish for couples and individuals. His personal and professional experience has prepared him for working with couples who can't seem to communicate, have grown apart, or are struggling to move forward after major life events and trauma (including affairs). He is prepared to help individuals who are struggling with anxieties, trauma (sexual, physical, emotional), life changes, depression, and relational difficulties. Cesar’s approach is very client-centered, not looking at people as a collection of behaviors, but as humans seeking to be loved, bringing with them a collection of hidden stories of pain and unmet needs. He wants to help you uncover and unload the weight you have been carrying, so that you can heal and find meaningful connections. Cesar is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART), and certified in the State of Florida to provide Hypnotherapy. He has been a church planter and associate pastor and has served in youth, as well as college ministries. For more information, visit psychologytoday.com.

 
 
 

Cristina Ally

Counselor

Cristina is a counselor who is well versed in a variety of issues such as anxiety, depression, divorce, grief, trauma (both childhood and adult onset), self-esteem, career counseling, premarital counseling, and play therapy with children. Cristina is very client centered, ensuring the client feels comfortable with the process at first. It is not uncommon for her to use the body (somatic work), guided imagery for relaxation in session, and perhaps what some may call non-traditional approaches (like role plays, music, dance and art) when possible. Cristina has also worked in church ministry for sometime and has seen that spiritual wisdom needs to be combined with practical skills. Both are a gift from God to be utilized in balanced with one another. For more information, visit psychologoytoday.com.

 
 
 

Tanya Doyle

Counselor

Tanya is a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist Intern with the State of Florida. This means that she has obtained prior training and experience to be considered competent to provide mental health counseling services as she works towards licensure. Tanya has recieved additional training in the following therapeutic techniques: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Gottman Method, Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy, and Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI). She also is an active member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy. Tanya's belief is that each individual possesses the solutions to their problems and that her role as the therapist is to guide and support them on their journey towards living an abundant life. For more information, visit psychologytoday.com.

 
 
 

Christopher Venezia

Counselor

Chris specializes in helping clients overcome Panic Attacks, Codependency, Depression, Addiction Issues, PTSD, Spiritual Issues, Low Self Esteem, and Family/Relationship Struggles. He works skillfully and compassionately to help you find a path forward to peace, strength, and joy. His approach to counseling is primarily informed by Family Systems Theory that emphasizes a holistic perspective on wellness. Chris is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) and Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART). He works with Preteens, Teens, and Adults and offers sliding scale rates. Before becoming a Counselor Chris worked as a business manager, served as a youth and college ministry leader, and coordinated worship and production at church plants in Windermere, Winter Garden, and Metrowest. He loves to spend time outdoors with his wife, son, and two dogs. For more information, visit psychologytoday.com

 
 
 
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Sarah O'Hern

counselor

Sarah is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern specializing in a variety of issues such as depression, anxiety, addictions, and trauma. She helps individuals, couples, and families to heal from past hurts, to obtain life skills to improve self esteem and relationships, and to learn tools to manage stress and anxiety. Though Sarah works from an individualized approach, she strives to treat every client with compassion and grace. Sarah has completed therapeutic training in Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Trust-Based Relational Interventions (TRBI). She is also a member of the Mental Health Counselors of Central Florida (MHCCF) and the Florida Mental Health Counselors Association (FMHCA). When not working with clients, Sarah enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband and her beloved dog, Spanky. For more information visit her personal site or psychologytoday.com.

 
 
 
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Paula Navarro

Counselor

Paula is a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern who offers therapy in English and Spanish. She works with relationships, whether you are going through a break-up, divorce, choosing the right person for you, premarital counseling, marital counseling, couple's counseling, infidelity, the aftermath of infidelity, restoring marriages, family counseling, boundaries in relationships and choosing safe people. She also works with females with trauma in youth, sexual abuse, verbal abuse to work together for a better you. If you are willing to do the work to get better, you can work hand in hand with Paula to improve relationships.

She is well versed in EFT, Emotional Focused Therapy, and believes in attachments and the importance of supportive people in our lives. She is trained in EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy, and ART, Accelerated Resolution Therapy for Trauma. For more information, visit psychologytoday.com.

 
 
 

Phil Thompson

Counselor

Phil has a passion to work with all types and varied ages of people when it comes to helping people grow in mental and emotional wellness. He especially has a heart for marriages and families to be healthy and life giving. He has had the privilege of spending over 40 years working working with college men and women, athletes, international families and professionals who are in "helping" occupations.

For the past 8 years, He has worked specifically in helping those who are in crisis situations. He is EMDR trained and wants to help those who have experienced trauma and crisis. For more information, visit psychologytoday.com.

 
 
 
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Gemima Mcmahon

counselor

 
 
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Kaprece Stallings

Counselor

 
 
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Melody Spence

Front office

 
 
 
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Vanessa Bennett

Front office