Get to Know Us
Tara Ferguson, PhD
Dr. Ferguson works with adults and adolescents (age 13+) for individual, couple's and family therapy. She specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders, depression, relationship issues, trauma/PTSD, eating/body image disorders, career counseling, addictions and other compulsive behaviors. Her approach to therapy is cognitive-behavioral, interpersonal and emotion-focused theories with multicultural and developmental influences. Mindfulness, meditation and EMDR are cornerstones of her approach as well.
Dr. Ferguson believes that therapy is a collaborative process of exploring an individual’s concerns to gain insight into how and why their problems developed. Sometimes problems stem from early family experiences or other traumas we have experienced in our lives. Other times problems develop because we don't have the skills to cope with the stress of work, relationships and our own emotional reactions. Dr. Ferguson strives to provide a safe and comfortable environment in which to explore your concerns and experiment with new ways of relating to yourself and others. She works with clients to increase their self-awareness, self-acceptance, and options for coping with distress. As she views wellness from a holistic perspective, therapy often addresses a combination of mental, emotional, interpersonal, physical, and spiritual aspects of one’s life.
Dr. Ferguson is the founder, creator and owner of Place of Peace Counseling and Therapeutic Center. She provides consultation for all of the wonderful and talented therapists who work at the Center. Her private practice is right across the street from Place of Peace at 5004 Oleander Drive. Learn more about Dr. Ferguson and her private practice here.
Megan Fentross, MAEd
Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor
Megan provides individual and group therapy to adolescents (age 13+), young adults, and adults. She specializes in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) with a collaborative, genuine, creative, and at times humorous therapeutic style. She focuses on the treatment of depression, anxiety, mood disorders, personality disorders, self-criticism, relationship issues, impulsivity, self-harm, and substance use. She also treats disorders of overcontrol, such as perfectionism and OCD, utilizing Radically Open DBT. Other therapeutic approaches such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Compassion Focused Therapy, and Art Therapy also have a strong influence on her work. Her practice is LGBTQIA+-affirming and she has an interest in working with themes involving sexuality and gender. Megan strives to offer a warm, encouraging, nonjudgmental space where clients can be themselves.
Sometimes we find ourselves feeling stuck, what once worked doesn't anymore, and we are left exhausted. Megan believes that you are doing the best you can AND you can learn new ways to deal with the challenge’s life throws at you. Together you can work on changing your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, to build a life worth living.
Megan received her master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in 2017. She gained experience facilitating DBT Skills groups in a Partial Hospitalization, Mental Health Intensive Outpatient, and Substance Abuse Intensive Outpatient Program settings. She has also completed intensive Foundational Training in DBT with Behavioral Tech founded by Dr. Marsha Linehan the developer of DBT.
Janet Camp, PsyD
Dr. Camp has worked extensively with many individuals of different backgrounds and ages, including young adult, adult and older adult men and women. She specializes in working with individuals who are struggling with anxiety, depression, experiences of trauma or abuse, relationship concerns, grief and loss, adjustment, life transitions, identity and cultural concerns.
Dr. Camp’s approach to therapy is collaborative, non-judgmental and grounded in creating a safe and affirming space that creates the opportunity for healing and growth. She uses a range of evidence-based interventions including cognitive-behavioral (CBT), psychodynamic, interpersonal and mindfulness strategies. Dr. Camp views the process of psychotherapy as being a catalyst for the development that occurs when individuals feel understood and their needs and perspectives are respected. She offers brief and longer-term individual psychotherapy. The length of therapy will be informed by the nature of your concerns, your motivation, and your level of distress.
Dr. Camp has over 20 years of experience in private practice and university counseling centers both in the United States and internationally. She was the Associate Director of Counseling at the University of North Carolina Wilmington from 2007-2011. She has recently returned to Wilmington after a several year absence. Dr. Camp is originally from Chicago and graduated with her doctoral degree in clinical psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.
Jason Tuma, MA
Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate
Jason specializes in working with individuals and families aged 16 and above. His passion is to help clients overcome anxiety, depression, substance abuse, trauma, and anger management on their journey to emotional well-being.
Jason received training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy from the Beck Institute, and incorporates Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Motivational Interviewing into his practice. This multifaceted approach enables him to provide personalized care tailored to each client's individual needs.
Jason strives to foster a warm and welcoming environment to allow clients to feel at ease during sessions. By partnering with clients, he works to provide a balance between empathetic listening and engaging activities. Jason believes having many tools to offer clients is very important as each individual has unique needs. No person, conflict, issue, or struggle is the same. He wants to meet you where you are at and help you be the best you that you can be.
Jason holds a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, both from Liberty University. With his educational background and compassionate nature, Jason is committed to helping clients achieve lasting change and improved mental health.
Natasha Sylvester, PsyD
Dr. Natasha Sylvester works with adults and adolescents (age 11+) for individual therapy. She is passionate about working with people who experience anxiety, OCD, perfectionism, low self-esteem, and trauma/PTSD. She takes a strength-based approach and tailors treatment to address the specific needs of each individual. She has been trained in a wide range of treatment modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Exposure and Response Prevention, and Cognitive Processing Therapy.
Dr. Sylvester’s therapeutic style is supportive, encouraging, and patient. She believes humans are resilient and have the inner strength and courage to overcome life’s obstacles. She meets her clients where they are and teaches evidence-based techniques to get them where they would like to be. She helps her clients learn how to build up the courage to face their fears and take back control of their lives. She assists individuals in learning how to recognize their true worth, set healthy boundaries, shift unhealthy mindsets, and prioritize overall wellness. She provides a safe and non-judgmental environment and is accepting of all individuals.
Dr. Sylvester earned her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, FL. She is a licensed psychologist in NC and FL.
*Dr. Sylvester is currently providing teletherapy only*
Ross Johnston, PsyD
Dr. Johnston works with adults and adolescents (age 14+) in individual and group therapy. His specialties include treatment of anxiety disorders, depression, eating concerns, OCD, and interpersonal issues. Grounded in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Dr. Johnston’s approach to therapy focuses on utilizing your strengths to improve your emotional health and regain control of your life. He uses a relational style and incorporates mindfulness, cognitive behavioral therapy, and interpersonal therapy. Dr. Johnston prioritizes cultural humility and is sensitive to your gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnic/racial background, spirituality, and other aspects of your identity.
Life is full of challenges and difficult moments. Dr. Johnston believes that as human beings, we are wired to deal with our pain in ways that leave us feeling lost, exhausted, and hopeless. We may lose sight of our purpose, our values, our loved ones, and the many other aspects of life that make us whole and content. With humility and compassion, Dr. Johnston aims to support you in dropping the struggle and finding new ways to achieve the well-being you deserve. This may include developing skills and finding new ways to respond to distress, learning to be more present in your life, and engaging in the things that give your life meaning.
Dr. Johnston earned his doctorate in clinical psychology at Nova Southeastern University. He has worked in a variety of settings, including an anxiety clinic, an eating disorder treatment facility, a residential OCD program, and community and university counseling centers. He also has experience providing teletherapy.
Elizabeth Rigsbee, MA
Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor
Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist
Elizabeth provides individual, family and group therapy to children (ages 2+), teens and adults. Elizabeth's clinical experience includes emotional intensity disorders, anxiety and mood disorders, substance use disorders, trauma and behavioral disorders. Modalities of practice include: Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Play Therapy techniques and parent-child interaction techniques, Motivational Interviewing, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Crisis Intervention techniques and EMDR therapy.
Elizabeth is passionate about her work with clients and utilizes an integrative, person-centered therapeutic approach. She strives to create genuine, meaningful, and personalized connections with her clients. She believes therapy should be a non-judgmental atmosphere where individuals can feel safe to explore their needs, increase awareness, and obtain their goals for wellness. You can expect a warm environment rooted in empathy and acceptance that promotes change when working with Elizabeth. Therapy is tailored to the client's needs.
Elizabeth earned her Master of Arts Degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of North Carolina Wilmington in May of 2015. Shortly after graduation, she moved to Iowa to be close to family and is now returning to North Carolina as this is the place she considers home.
Jessica Gruber, MA
Licensed Psychological Associate
Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist
Jessie works with people ages 18 and older from all walks of life. Jessie specializes in working with people with mood disorders, personality disorders, PTSD, grief, LGBTQ+ issues, women’s issues, men’s issues, and substance use disorders. Her primary modalities are CBT, Acceptance Commitment Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and has Dialectical Behavioral Therapy influences in her work.
Jessie views therapy as a nonjudgmental place for clients to challenge themselves while also feeling supported. Jessie understands that at times humor can be an effective way to create an open and safe space for clients. She believes that thoughts, behaviors, and emotions can all be made healthier for you to live the life you want to live.
Jessie received her Master’s in Psychology at University of North Carolina in 2018. She has extensive knowledge of Substance Abuse Intensive Outpatient Program, group therapy, and individual sessions. She is currently working on expanding her knowledge of couple's counseling under the supervision of Dr. Michael Helfer.
* Jessica is currently practicing at our downtown location at 313 Walnut Street, Wilmington NC 28401. *
Katie Alford, MA
Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor
Katie has experience providing therapy to all ages (6 to 96) and specializes in therapy with children & adolescents. Katie has experience working with children, adolescents, and adults with a wide range of challenges including anxiety, depression, PTSD, and substance use.
Katie approaches each session from a trauma-informed and strength’s-based perspective. As a trauma-informed clinician, Katie works to educate clients on the complex impacts of trauma on a person’s life, while working to improve boundaries, increase emotional regulation and promote resiliency. Katie believes that the therapist-client relationship is of utmost importance to the process, and therefore, she finds it important to practice empathy, unconditional positive regard, non-judgment and authenticity with every client. By focusing on positive attributes, clients can begin to build upon this foundation to create positive self-regard, develop healthy coping skills, and agency in all relationships.
Katie is a trained in Expressive Arts Therapy, having received a Certificate in Expressive Arts Therapy from Appalachian State University. Katie utilizes Expressive Arts Therapy to promote creative problem solving and emotional healing through the arts. This approach utilizes various modalities, including but not limited to painting, music, poetry, movement, and theatre. Expressive Arts Therapy also uses mindfulness based techniques to promote emotional regulation.
Katie earned her Master’s from Appalachian State University in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a Certificate in Expressive Arts Therapy and her Bachelor’s Degree in Art Studies from North Carolina State University.
Alyssa Murray, MA
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate
Alyssa specializes in the treatment of adolescents (ages 8+), adults and families, utilizing an approach that she tailors to the presenting concerns of the client(s). She frequently employs dialectical behavioral therapy for the treatment of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, conflict resolution and self-harm. She also enjoys using various mindfulness-based approaches in therapy, and takes a collaborative approach with her clients in order to ensure the clients play an active role in the treatment of their presenting concerns.
Alyssa believes that learning mindfulness and various ways to cope with strong emotions as children and teenagers can result in stronger emotional regulation practices as adults. Aside from DBT, she also has clinical experience utilizing cognitive behavioral therapy, solutions-focused therapy, and counsels from a family systems perspective. Alyssa is also passionate about helping new mothers navigate perinatal and postpartum depression and anxiety, as well as helping expectant mothers cope through fears and stressors associated with childbirth and becoming a new parent. Being a woman is a beautiful thing, and she enjoys helping women develop inner confidence and self-esteem.
Alyssa gradated with a Master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Liberty University in 2018. Before relocating to the coast, Alyssa spent several years working at Veritas, an inpatient facility specializing in the treatment of adolescent eating disorders.
*Alyssa provides telehealth services only*
Elizabeth Bain, LCMHC
Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor
Elizabeth works with adults and adolescents (14+) for individual therapy. She specializes in the treatment of depression, anxiety disorders, trauma/Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (including complex PTSD), addictions, co-occurring disorders, adult-children of alcoholics, veterans and first responders. Elizabeth is a trained EMDR professional and is skilled in providing this therapy through telehealth as well. She also has experience as a group therapist developing and running a hospital-based dual diagnosis treatment program for 16 years.
Her approach to therapy is to help her clients gain insight and understanding on how their concerns and problems have developed from their life experiences and conditioning. She then assists them in gaining insight into, and power over their symptoms, through learning to cope with symptoms as well as moving beyond them. Her approach uses multi-faceted counseling theories from Cognitive therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Rational Therapy, EMDR, Inner child work, Mindfulness and holistic therapies.
*Elizabeth provides telehealth services only*
Stephanie Nelson, MSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Stephanie works with adults and teens (ages 17+) for individual and couples therapy. Her work centers on helping people with trauma histories, substance use problems, persistent anxiety, and other mental health issues such as OCD and ADHD. She understands that these difficulties can often impede on life's joys such as relationships, parenting, hobbies, and even our physical health.
Stephanie's work is grounded in evidence-based practices like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), and Gottman Method with mindfulness, somatic, and strengths-based approaches. She works collaboratively with each client to develop a personalized treatment plan that meets their unique needs. Whether those needs are met through practicing new regulation skills or altering patterns of interpersonal interaction, she believes that every client is capable of achieving a fulfilling life beyond trauma and mental health struggles.
Stephanie received her master's degree in social work in 2016 at East Carolina University with additional graduate substance abuse training. Her professional background includes community-based services where she assisted adolescents with behavioral struggles including sexual offending, residential substance use treatment for adolescents, and traditional outpatient therapy in a private practice setting.
Travis Smeltzer, MA
Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor
Travis provides individual counseling services both in person and via telehealth for adults and teens. His previous experience includes working with clients in individual counseling and marital counseling, and in substance abuse settings with a focus on intensive outpatient, inpatient, and group counseling.
As we journey through life we collect trauma, unhealthy habits, and store a great deal of emotion inside our minds and bodies. Sometimes that trauma and emotion can get trapped and wreak havoc that shows up in our daily lives. Travis’s goal is to dig deep with you, helping you make connections, and release what no longer serves you. He achieves this with a holistic approach by being intentional about creating a safe, calming, open, and healing environment where he can guide you to connect back to yourself in order to heal from the inside out. Travis is a patient listener. He values each client and wants each person to feel truly seen and heard. He believes everyone deserves to thrive in all areas of their life.
One of Travis’s unique areas of specialty is in working with adults on the Autism spectrum. Although resources for children with Autism are abundant, it can often be challenging for them as they grown into adults to find a therapist who can consider how their neurodivergence interacts with their other mental health concerns. Travis can provide support for adults with Autism to help them navigate the unique challenges of being neurodivergent in a world that is overwhelming enough for their neurotypical peers.
Other specialties include addiction, anxiety, depression, ADHD,OCD, PTSD, marital discord and divorce, eating disorders and body dysmorphia. He also provides faith-based counseling upon request. Travis’s modalities of therapy include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Interpersonal Neurobiology. Travis completed his Masters in Professional Counseling from Liberty University in 2015.
Christie Pfalzgraf, MA
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Christie provides individual, couples and family therapy to adolescents (14+ years) and adults. Her specialties include PTSD, life transitions, loss and grief, relationship difficulties, depression and anxiety, coping skills and personal growth, all within a holistic orientation which focuses heavily on somatic awareness. She provides EMDR, The Flash Technique, cognitive-behavioral and solution-focused therapies, as well as mindfulness and other somatic approaches.
Christie is passionate about helping people reconnect with their inherent wholeness and creates an environment where acceptance and heartfelt expression are held with deep respect. She believes coming to therapy is a courageous act and is honored to share a space of possibility and growth with each individual. She provides mindfulness based practices and acts as a guide in the journey of exploring the complexities of life while increasing self-awareness, self-acceptance, and self-love.
Christie has 20 years of experience in the counseling field and has worked with foster children and the dependency system in nonprofit environments providing community based counseling. Christie received her MA in Counseling Psychology from JFK University in Campbell, California. Christie also has her 200 hour certification in yoga and taught yoga for 8 years. She is dually licensed as an LMFT in North Carolina and
* Christie is currently practicing at our satellite location at 5004 Oleander Drive, Wilmington NC 28403. *
MK, a Virginia native, graduated from Catawba College in the Winter of 2021 and became a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and Licensed Recreation Therapist. She is continuing her education at Catawba, pursuing a master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling while being the Program Director for ACCESS. Her theoretical orientations include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Solution-Focused Therapy. She is working on expanding her knowledge of EMDR and Play Therapy. MK is interested in working with veterans, children and also parents of children with disabilities. She is interested in exploring all client presenting issues within the counseling realm.
**As MK is an intern and cannot accept insurance, she is offering greatly reduced fees for her services!!**