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.
Alex Danilowicz, MSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Alex works with adults and young adults (18+) who have mental health concerns like anxiety and depression, as well as more general life issues like family and relationship difficulties, grief and loss and changes in circumstance. He holds a certificate in addictions and works with people with substance use disorders or behavioral addictions, whether they are in recovery or not. Being trauma-informed, Alex sees the experience of trauma as underlying many conditions and issues. He frequently works with people with trauma histories and/or difficult upbringings that may or may not have a diagnosis of PTSD.
Alex utilizes a judgment-free, person-centered approach, meaning he honors exactly where you are at right now on your path and views you as the expert on your own life. He uses a variety of evidence-based approaches including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Motivational Interviewing and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) to help clients resolve issues and pursue what is important to them. He has been involved in self-inquiry work for over 15 years and has experience with mindfulness and meditation practices that influence his therapeutic approach.
Alex was born and raised in Wilmington, NC. He received his Master’s in Social Work and Certificate in Substance Abuse Studies from UNC-Chapel Hill School of Social Work in 2016. He practiced in rural Northern New Mexico prior to returning to North Carolina in 2019.
Michael T. Helfer, PhD
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 develop
Lauren Butler, MSW, LCSWA
Licensed Clinical Social Worker Associate
Lauren is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker Associate who specializes in working with children (ages 3-12) and families as well as adults. She focuses on the treatment of anxiety, depression, behavioral disorders, stress reduction, anger management, troubled relationships and learning disorders. Her desire is that everyone understands how important his or her story is, no matter how young or how old, and she sees it as a privilege to a part of that story. She has her associate license in clinical social work and is also trained in play therapy. She offers online tele-therapy sessions by request.
Lauren was one of North Carolina's Child Welfare Collaborative Scholars in Wake County on a forensic team which gave her the opportunity to work with children and families in many difficult situations. This ignited her passion for working with children and families and getting them the help they deserve. Her main therapeutic goal is to create an environment for individualized, solution-focused therapy for children and/or adults where she can help clients develop appropriate coping mechanisms and emotional regulation techniques. Lauren values each person’s unique journey and the pathways to establish his or her independence.
Lauren has the ability to connect easily with others, often being told that she “never meets a stranger”. She utilizes interventions from cognitive-behavioral therapy, play therapy, positive psychology, stress reduction, anger management processing and control, and processing of anxiety/ panic triggers. She believes working individually with the client as well as the entire family system are extremely valuable tools for healing and recovery. Lauren also enjoys working with foster children and parents as well adoptive parents.
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.
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.
Elizabeth Bain, MS, LCMHC
Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor
Elizabeth provides individual and couples therapy to adults and adolescents ages 14 +. She specializes in working with depression, anxiety, mood disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (including complex PTSD), relationship issues, addictions, co-occurring disorders, adult children of alcoholics, military veteran and first responders. She is experienced in providing couple's counseling and is a trained EMDR professional. Her approach to therapy uses multi-faceted (eclectic) counseling theories from cognitive behavioral, dialectical behavioral therapy and rational therapy. She utilizes Imago therapy in her couples counseling work and often incorporates EMDR and mindfulness techniques, as well as other holistic therapies, into her work with clients.
Elizabeth helps clients to explore their concerns and gain insight and understanding into how their problems have developed from their life experiences. Oftentimes problems or issues develop during childhood with family of origin experiences and other seemingly minor or major traumas that can occur in one's life. Elizabeth assists individuals in gaining power over, learning to cope better with and moving beyond their problems, limitations or concerns. She sees therapy as a collaborative relationship where a client's strengths are enhanced and they are an active part of the process. Clients are encouraged to make changes to provide them with the most benefit in their lives. Coping skills are taught which can empower a person to deal more effectively with stressors as they come up.
Elizabeth obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a Master of Science degree in Clinical Counseling from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. She has 16 years experience developing and running a Dual diagnosis program in a hospital setting.