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.
Janet Camp, PsyD
Dr. Camp has worked extensively with many individuals of different backgrounds and ages, including adolescent, 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 and couples 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.
Michael T. Helfer, PhD
Dr. Michael T. Helfer provides therapy for individuals, couples, and groups ages 13+. He views therapy as being a safe, judgment-free space where he can collaborate with others to discuss and help manage life’s challenges. He believes people have their own unique background, values, and culture. He appreciates these differences, and wants to help others in a way that feels right for them. Therapy goals may include learning new skills, changing problematic behavior, or exploring attitudes and values. Part of this process may include understanding how your thoughts, actions, feelings, and relationships are impacting your life.
His areas of work include but are not limited to those experiencing anxiety, relationship issues (romantic, family, or social), men’s issues, major life transitions, trauma, and depression. His theoretical approach is integrative and dynamic, drawing on cognitive-behavioral, emotion-focused, mindfulness-based, and relational-cultural influences.
Dr. Helfer earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Seattle Pacific University in 2011. He had been practicing in Hawaii before moving to Wilmington in 2019. He is a Licensed Psychologist in NC.
* Dr. Helfer is currently offering teletherapy only due to the pandemic *
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.
Madelyn Gallagher, MSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Madelyn specializes in providing therapy to individuals (birth to 18) and families. Madelyn’s passion is early childhood mental health and assisting children and families in creating the most positive atmosphere and relationships to promote healthy development and growth.
Madelyn approaches work by accessing all areas of a child’s development and working with the family on identifying appropriate and feasible approaches for managing and improving a child’s social and emotional functioning. Madelyn has experience in providing therapeutic services to children and families with difficulties related to family and/or parent-child conflict, child behavior issues, anxiety, depression, attachment disruptions, all areas of trauma, foster care and adoption. Madelyn has worked with various family types that include: natural, blended, foster, and adoptive families. She feels strongly about identifying the child and family’s natural strengths and building on these to create an enriched learning environment for the child and family.
Madelyn is knowledgeable in early childhood attachment and strategies to enhance the connection and bond in parent-child relationships. She also feels strongly about the importance of working with the family system in developing secure relationships and consistent and predictable parenting skills. These interests have led her to be trained in evidenced models of: Child Parent Psychotherapy (CPP), Parent-Child Interactions Therapy (PCIT), Triple P (Positive Parenting Program), and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). Madelyn likes to be eclectic in her work by incorporating her knowledge and trainings into a child-centered and family goal focused approach.
Madelyn earned her Masters of Social Work from University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and Bachelors of Social Work from University of North Carolina Wilmington.
* Madelyn is current practicing at our downtown location at 313 Walnut Street, Wilmington NC 28401. *
Natasha Sylvester, PsyD
Natasha Sylvester, Psy.D., earned her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, FL. She enjoys working with children (ages 5+), adolescents, and adults and provides individual, couples, and family therapy. Specific areas of interest include treating a wide range of anxiety disorders (i.e., OCD, specific phobias, panic disorder, generalized anxiety, social anxiety), trauma and stress-related disorders, mood disorders, behavioral issues, anger, school difficulties, low self-esteem, interpersonal challenges, marital issues, and parenting concerns.
Dr. Sylvester’s therapeutic style is supportive, encouraging, and patient. She encourages understanding and acceptance of oneself in helping her clients to understand their own behaviors. Then, she helps individuals to set and accomplish goals by teaching them effective strategies to improve overall wellbeing and life satisfaction. In general, she tends to focus on clients’ personal strengths, supporting them through challenging times and assisting them in reaching their highest potential. Goals of therapy often include helping clients to strengthen relationships, set healthy boundaries, and increase coping strategies to build healthier individuals and families.
She tailors her therapeutic approach to address the specific needs of the individual and she has been trained in a wide range of treatment modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Exposure and Response Prevention for OCD, Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy for PTSD, Strength-Based Therapy, and Play Therapy for children. When working with couples she utilizes Gottman Method Couples Therapy. Dr. Sylvester provides culturally sensitive therapy and respects each individual’s cultural differences. Additionally, she provides faith-based counseling for those who use their faith as a source of support.
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 Addictions 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 also looks forward to continuing her education to work with couples in the near future.
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.