Board of Directors
Dr. Bowden Templeton is an Associate Professor and Director of the Master of Family Therapy Program in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Mercer University School of Medicine (MUSM). His teaching, practice, and research interests focus on the integration of behavioral health and medical family therapy in primary care, particularly in the rural and underserved areas of Georgia. Dr. Templeton has been actively involved with GAMFT for over 18 years in a variety of capacities including Student/Associate Representative, Approved Supervisor Chair, Treasurer, and President. He also works closely with COAMFTE as a site visitor and member of the Eligibility Criteria Review Committee. Dr. Templeton received a doctorate in Child and Family Development from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in Family Therapy from MUSM specializing in families dealing with chronic illness. He is a Georgia Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and AAMFT Approved Supervisor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Meyer is the Assistant Program Director of the Master of Family Therapy Program at Mercer University’s School of Medicine in Macon, Georgia. She is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the medical school. Dr. Meyer received her Ph.D. from Florida State University, M.S. from Purdue University, and her B.S./B.A. from the University of Georgia. Dr. Meyer is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and an AAMFT Approved Supervisor. She has worked therapeutically with children, couples, and families since 2001. Dr. Meyer is a Clinical Fellow of AAMFT and a member of the National Council on Family Relations and the Collaborative Family Health Association. Dr. Meyer has participated on marriage and family therapy boards in both Florida and Georgia. Recently she was the Vice President for GAMFT for 4 years. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Michael Lee Cook, Th.D, LMFT, is a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) and clinical supervisor at Micah Counseling Services in Atlanta, Georgia. In practice, he counsels and consults with individuals, couples, families, groups, and organizations for a range of psychological, emotional, and interpersonal problems and concerns. Specifically, his clinical practice, research, and writing focuses on the implications of cultural, economic, and social issues on family and institutional life. Dr. Cook is a systems thinker who has served on the faculties of Emory University Candler School of Theology and Columbia Theological Seminary. He is a U.S. Army combat veteran and the author of Black Fatherhood, Adoption, and Theology (2015). He holds degrees in business, theology, and counseling. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeff Bickers, LMFT, has been in private practice in Valdosta, Ga, since 2000. Previously, he worked at Greenleaf Center, Valdosta and Charter Augusta working with children and adolescents. He has been licensed since 1996. Jeff has served on the GAMFT Board in different capacities since 2007. He was SGAMFT Chapter Chair for 4 years, was the Continuing Ed Chair for 4 years and has been Treasurer for 3 years. He may be reached at email@example.com.
Jennifer has been involved with GAMFT since she moved to GA in 2006. After graduating from the University of Kentucky she found her home in GA and has served in many capacities including student representative, chapter secretary, and membership chair. Currently Jennifer is chair of the North Metro chapter and also serves on the Elections Committee. She works in private practice in Marietta at Cornerstone Family Services, LLC working with families, adolescents, couples, and providing supervision to pre-licensed clinicians (AAMFT Supervisor-In-Training). She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Tequilla Hill, LMFT, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and raised in Ft Lauderdale, FL. Dr. Hill is a licensed therapist in the state of Georgia and is also AAMFT Approved Supervisor. Dr. Hill is the owner of Hill Psychotherapeutic Services. Dr. Hill received her Bachelors Degree from Florida Atlantic University, Masters and Doctorate Degrees from Nova Southeastern University. She has held leadership positions in managed care environments as well as several board positions. Dr. Hill has served GAMFT for the past 6 years. She enjoys Yoga, butterflies, bright colors, traveling, and positive people. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Kara McDaniel – Elections Chair
Over the past 19 years, Kara has worked in a variety of clinical, healthcare, and academic settings. In September 2014, Kara became founder/owner of her own private practice, Lifescapes Counseling Services, LLC, which is located in Alpharetta, Georgia. Additionally, Kara teaches clinical courses within the master’s level Marriage and Family Therapy Programs at both Mercer University and Northcentral University and provides post-graduate supervision for those seeking licensure as a MFT and/or LPC. Since 2016, Kara has been actively involved with GAMFT, serving as both Elections Committee member and currently, Elections Committee Chair. In her spare time, Kara enjoys spending time with her family and friends, traveling, and playing tennis. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael Chafin, LMFT, has practiced psychotherapy for over 35 years. He is a Clinical Fellow and Approved Supervisor with AAMFT. He has practiced at the Brookwood Center for Psychotherapy since 1989, specializing in working with depressed men, couples, families, and individuals with existential life crises. He facilitates several psychotherapy groups as well as supervision groups. He has served as Treasurer of AAMFT, President of GAMFT, Chair of AAMFT’s Ethics Committee, and was President Elect – President – Past President from 2011 to 2015. He has presented workshops at local, regional, and national conferences on Symbolic-Experiential Psychotherapy, Supervision, and Ethics. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Dr. Michele Smith is the Director of Collaborative Care in the Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center Family Medicine Residency program. She also serves as adjunct faculty in the Master of Family Therapy Program at Mercer University. Dr. Smith received her Ph.D. in Child and Family Development from the University of Georgia and M.S. from South Dakota State University. She is a Clinical Fellow of AAMFT and an Approved Supervisor. Her therapy and research focus is in the areas of integrated behavioral health and families. She has been involved with GAMFT at the local and state level for several years. She may be reached at Michele.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ms. Shannon Eller is the owner of Brighter Tomorrows Consulting and Incorruptible Seed Ministries, Inc. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA in 1986, specializing in Middle Childhood Education with Teacher Support Specialist Certification.
Ms. Eller holds a T-5 State of Georgia Teaching Certificate. Ms. Eller taught for eighteen years prior to earning a Master of Science Degree in Community Counseling from Columbus State University, summa cum laude in 2006. Ms. Eller also currently has 25 years experience in the teaching field. Formerly, Ms. Eller was an Adjunct Instructor at Griffin Technical College for two years while assisting felony probationers in obtaining their GED diplomas through a joint collaboration between the Department of Corrections and the Department of Education. Ms. Eller is currently pursuing a terminal degree (Ed.D) in Counseling, Education and Supervision.
Shannon is dually licensed as both a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), and AAMFT- Approved Supervisor, an Certified Professional Counselor Supervisor (CPCS). She is also certified as a National Certified Counselor (NCC) and holds a variety of state certifications including: Clinical Certified Alcohol and Drug Addictions Counselor (CCADC), Co-Occurring Disorders Professional Diplomate certification (CCDP-D), and Registered Play Therapist Supervisor (RPT-S). Ms. Eller holds provider numbers from GAMFT, NBCC, APT, GACA, and ADACBGA.
Currently in private practice at Brighter Tomorrows Consulting, Shannon provides individual and family counseling services, supervision to rising professionals and paraprofessionals, and counseling training workshops, focusing on addictions and play therapy interventions. Shannon is a former Central District Representative of the Licensed Professional Counselors Association Board of Directors. Shannon facilitates counselor workshops and training seminars throughout the state of Georgia, NBCC, Association for Play Therapy, and Addictions continuing education credit hours. She can be reached by phone at 770-468-7424.
Dr. Carla Smith, LCSW, LMFT is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the Master of Family Therapy Program, Atlanta Campus, in the Mercer University School of Medicine. A “Double Dawg”, she earned her MSW and PhD, in Human Development and Family Science with a specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy, from the University of Georgia. Dr. Smith is also an alumna of Rutgers University, Douglass College, where she earned her BA in English Literature. Dr. Smith is dually licensed and practices at the intersections of social work and MFT, with a heavy focus on social systems, advocacy, and culturally responsive care for marginalized populations around the globe. Her teaching, research, and clinical practice are all in service of underserved individuals, couples, families, and communities using systemic and humanist frameworks. Dr. Smith was elected to the Elections Committee where she served for one year and is new to the GAMFT Board. She hopes to serve members with a focus on valuing multiculturalism, increasing diversity, and expanding access to quality training for licensed and pre-licensed MFTs, along with students interested in entering the field. Dr. Smith enjoys spending time with her family, learning about new cultures, yoga, and meditation. She can be reached at CarlaSmithPhD@gmail.com.
Annisa Pirasteh, MS, LMFT has been actively involved with GAMFT since 2016, and is currently serving as the Personnel Chair. She previously served a secretary of the Metro Atlanta Chapter of GAMFT. Annisa graduated from Valdosta State University with a master’s degree in Marriage & Family Therapy and is currently completing a doctoral program in Marriage & Family Therapy from the University of Louisiana. Annisa owns and manages a private practice in the Brookhaven neighborhood of Atlanta, where she works with individuals, couples, young professionals, and the LGBTQQIAAP+ community. Annisa can be reached at email@example.com or 404-565-4616.
Native to Georgia, Adam has been a GAMFT member since 2010 and is the product of COAMFTE Accreditation from his masters to doctoral training. He has lectured and supervised therapy interns at two universities, as well as led health education initiatives in sexual assault, transgender wellness, bystander intervention, and co-parenting programs. Passionate about systemic, LGBTQ+ affirming, and culturally responsive practice, mentoring emerging clinicians has been a focus of his work. Adam specializes in transgender and gender expansive health, trauma, work-life harmony, and healthy masculinity among men and boys. In addition to his therapy and consulting practice, he partners with several non-profit organizations throughout Greater Atlanta, assisting them in program development, public relations, and user experience. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at 404-804-0218.
Before moving from Israel to Georgia, Shirley was an NLP master practitioner for ten years. She also served at a suicide prevention hotline as a volunteer and as the volunteers’ training manager. She has been involved with GAMF North Metro Chapter since 2016. Shirley is currently completing the MAMFT program at Northcentral University, working at a private practice in Roswell. She can be reached by email at S.ShaniBen-Zvi6008@o365.ncu.edu, or by phone at 770-846-2595.
Stephanie Villarreal is an associate marriage and family therapist in Atlanta. Originally from San Antonio, Texas, she has spent most of her life in the Atlanta area, and recently returned after completing her graduate degree in Chicago at Northwestern University. Currently, she works part-time at St. Jude’s Recovery Center in Midtown where she provides couple and family therapy to recovering addicts and their loved ones. Additionally, she is in private practice where she treats couples and individuals with relationship distress and anxiety. Outside of work, she finds joy in playing tennis, cooking, and singing with her a cappella group. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Ashley Moore is a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in children, parenting, and couples counseling in the Pooler, GA area. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a minor in Sociology from Valdosta State University in 2008. During this time, she discovered her passion was working with couples and families in a therapeutic setting. This led her to complete her Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Valdosta State University in 2010. She spent several years working in local non-profits and agencies helping children and adults find healthy solutions for their problems. She is a Certified Love and Logic Facilitator, a Certified Parent Coordinator, and a level one trained Gottman Therapist. Ashley is also an AAMFT approved supervisor in training. She currently has a private practice in Pooler, GA. She can be reached at Ashley.firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Hill, D.Min, LMFT, is a graduate of Yale University Divinity School, New Haven, Connecticut, Master of Divinity in Pastoral Psychology and Biblical Studies, and completed his Masters of Family Studies Program at Mercer University in Macon, GA. He also completed his Doctor of Ministries at Columbia Theological Seminary. He has been in pastoral care and counseling since 1973. He was ordained by the First Baptist Church, in Cleveland, Georgia in 1967 and had his ordination ratified by the Presbytery of Northern New England in 1975. He has worked in hospice care and was previously the Executive Director of the Center for Care and Counseling at C.S.R.A. He has been married for 47 years and has two children. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Courtney Geter, LMFT, CST is a licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist with a private practice in Atlanta, Ga. She received a bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Development from The University of Georgia and she obtained her Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Her sex therapy certification is from the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists. Presently, she is a Clinical Fellow with the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, a current member of the American Association for Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, and a lifetime member and past board member with the LGBTQ Therapist Resource. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rev. Ken Cross, M. Div., LMFT, is the Pastoral Therapist and Director for Christian Counseling Services. He graduated from Bradwell Institute in Hinesville, GA and then went on to get his Bachelor’s degree in education from Georgia Southern University. In 2002, he graduated with his Masters of Divinity from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology and is an Ordained Elder of the United Methodist Church. Ken has worked in church ministry for over 20 years. He has served on staff with churches in the Atlanta Marietta District including Bethany UMC in Smyrna and Marietta First UMC in Marietta. He began his work with Christian Counseling Services in January 2009. Ken is a member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists and has finished his post graduate work in Marriage and Family Therapy with Mercer University. He is licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist in the state of Georgia.
Dr. Andrew Benesh is Visiting Assistant Professor and Macon Clinic Coordinator for the Master of Family Therapy Program in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Mercer University School of Medicine (MUSM). Dr. Benesh received his Ph.D. from Florida State University, his M.A. from Mercer university, and his B.S. from Georgia College & State University. Dr. Benesh is Licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist in Georgia, and is an AAMFT Approved Supervisor. Dr. Benesh is a Clinical Fellow of AAMFT, Public Policy Liaison for the Southeastern Council on Family Relations, and Camp Director for Camp to Belong Georgia. Dr. Benesh can be reached at midgamft@gmailcom.
Andrea Farnham – Northeast Georgia Chair
She can be reached by email at email@example.com.
Aaron Shaner has been involved with GAMFT since helping form a new chapter in 2014. Aaron is licensed as an LMFT and has a private practice in Dalton and his primary client base is working with men and couples. Aaron has serve his chapter as communications director, prior to being elected chapter chair in 2018. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jenny has several years of professional experience with adolescents and adults in the following areas: Mental Health Services, Criminal Justice System, Sex Offenders, Alcohol and Drugs Addictions along with Gambling Addictions and currently operates a private practice. She currently serving as the SGMFT Chapter Chair for the second term and previously chapter chair 2006. Jenny is a clinical member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapist (AAMFT) since 2001 and served as the South Georgia chapter chair from 2004 to 2007. Currently serving second term as the South Georgia chapter chair from 2016 to present. Jenny has the following credentials: LMFT, MAC, CCJP-II, CCJTS, CCSOTS, ICCJP, CCDP-D, NCGC-II, CCS and an AAMFT Approved Supervisor. She can be reached at email@example.com.
K. Nichole Hood, LPC, LMFT, NCC, is an AAMFT/GAMFT Clinical Fellow and currently serves as the Chair of the South Metro chapter, which she co-founded in 2012. She has a solo psychotherapy practice, Apricity Counseling, LLC, in Stockbridge, GA, focusing on sex and relationship therapy; She is a counselor for the Southern Crescent Sexual Assault and Child Advocacy Center, which provides services for individuals and families affected by sexual violence or child maltreatment; and she is pursuing a Doctorate in Marriage and Family Therapy, specializing in Small Business Development and Entrepreneurship at Northcentral University. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nicola Bradley – Southwest Georgia Chair
She can be reached by email at email@example.com
Fred Remick – West Georgia Chair
He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org