Meet the Board
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.
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 email@example.com.
Dr. MicheleSmith 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.
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.
Karen Shaw Burch, M.Ed. has been a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist since 1987 working in Atlanta from 1978 to 2001 when she moved her private practice to Augusta, GA. She has served on the board of GAMFT in almost every capacity, except President, for many years and enjoys being a part of keeping our professional organization viable. In addition to working with relationships and families, Karen specializes in treating eating disorders.
Shaun Kell is an LMFT and AAMFT Approved Supervisor practicing in Gray, Georgia at Reflections Psychotherapy. He is a past GAMFT Student and Associate Committee Chair, Past Chair of the Middle Georgia GAMFT chapter, and is currently serving as Ethics Chair. Shaun trained at Mercer University and the Medical Center of Central Georgia, and did post-Masters supervision with Warren Jones LMFT of Macon. He believes being a therapist is more a calling than “just a job,” but has learned there is quite a great deal more to living a good life than loving one’s work.
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.
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.
Jennifer Gonyea, PhD LMFT LPC is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Human Development and Family Science at the University of Georgia. She also maintains a small practice with the Samaritan Center for Counseling and Wellness where she sees couples and families as well as individuals who have experienced trauma. Her research focuses on rural practice and training new MFTs as well as the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning with particular emphasis on experiential learning, applied learning experiences, and fostering critical thinking. She is Past-President of the Georgia Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.
Pat Harwell has been involved in the practice of marriage and Family Therapy and the provision of MFT supervision since the early 1980’s. She has been an active member of GAMFT, holding various offices and Committee positions and for many years taught AAMFT approved courses on supervision. In addition, Pat served on the Composite Board from 2001 to 2011. Currently she serves as the Approved Supervision Committee Chair of GAMFT. Although no longer engaged in active clinical practice, Pat continues to provide supervision consultation with special emphasis on ethics and regulatory issues.
Carl Johnson, M.A. has been in practice as a marriage and family therapist in Atlanta since 1973, first for eight years at the Bridge Family Center, and since 1980 in private practice with the Family Workshop. From 1997 to 2009 he also served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Carl coordinated the statewide effort to establish a law licensing professional counselors, social workers and marriage and family therapists in Georgia, and then served for eight years on the state licensing board. He also founded and served two terms as President of the nationwide Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards. In this position he oversaw the development of the national licensing examination for marriage and family therapists
Following the completion of a Master’s degree in Family Studies from Auburn University, David served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Papua New Guinea for two years. He has briefly worked as a Service Coordinator for Georgia’s Babies Can’t Wait program and began working in 1998 for All About Developmental Disabilities (AADD), serving as their Director of Public Policy for 10 years before becoming their Executive Director in 2009. He left AADD to become the Assistant Deputy Commissioner for the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability’s Division of Developmental Disabilities until 2013, when he served as Vice President for Development for Parent to Parent of Georgia until 2017. During this time, he offered Board Development training for 19 Parent Centers across the southeast of the US. He has served on several Board that include Georgia’s State Use Council, the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, the Georgia American Association for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities. He is currently completing a Masters of Family Counseling at Mercer University and placed at Counseling ATL, LLC and the Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta to complete his practicum requirements.
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.
Anthony Potter- Multicultural Affairs Chair
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.
Annisa Pirasteh, MS, LMFT has been actively involved with GAMFT since 2016, and is currently serving as the Social Media and Technology 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-565-4616.
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).
Jenny McIver- South Georgia
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.
Freedom Bowers, LMFT is a graduate from Mercer University, and has been a licensed therapist for three years. She currently works with Community Health Works at the W.T. Anderson Health Center – Navicent Health. She has served as the Middle Georgia Chapter Secretary/Treasurer for 2 years, and the Chapter Chair for 3 years. She has been a member of AAMFT and GAMFT since 2012.
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.
Nichole, LPC, LMFT, NCC, is an AAMFT/GAMFT Clinical Fellow and currently serve 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.
John Hill- East Georgia
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.
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. He approaches therapy as a clinician-researcher—with experience in judicial drug court, child welfare, medical family therapy, and sliding-fee brief therapy centers. Passionate about systemic, LGBTQ+ affirming, and culturally responsive practice, mentoring emerging MFTs has been a focus of his work. Adam specializes in transgender and gender non-binary health, trauma, work-life harmony, and healthy masculinity among men and boys. Currently, he works in a private practice situated among the beautiful pine trees of Atlanta’s Toco Hills neighborhood.
Fred Remick- West Georgia
Nicola Bradley- Southwest Georgia
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.
Ronald “Blaine” Everson- Northeast Georgia