Our Practitioners

Get to Know Us

**Please be aware that all of our therapists currently have waiting lists of (a minimum of) 4+ weeks for new clients. If you do not feel completely comfortable waiting, you may benefit from seeking more immediate care from another provider**

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Tara Ferguson, PhD

Licensed Psychologist

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. 

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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.

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Janet Camp, PsyD

Licensed Psychologist

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. 

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Michael T. Helfer, PhD
Licensed Psychologist

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 *
 

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Natasha Sylvester, PsyD
Licensed Psychologist

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.

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Ross Johnston, PsyD
Licensed Psychologist

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.  

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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.

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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. *

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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.

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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.

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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 is currently providing teletherapy only due to the pandemic*

Currently not accepting new clients
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Trish Spencer
Graduate Student Intern

Trish is completing her practicum and internship for her Master of Counseling program at Wake Forest University. She also has a career in education and has worked in NC public schools for 27 years. She currently holds a Trauma Informed School Practitioner Certificate from Starr Commonwealth.

Trish has experience working with children ages 4-15 as a teacher and school administrator. She has an interest in working with children and adults affected by a wide range of challenges including anxiety, depression, PTSD, substance abuse, and other addictions.

Trish approaches each session from a trauma-informed and strengths-based perspective, as well focusing on hearing and working with the client’s story. As a trauma-informed practitioner, Trish 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. Trish 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.

Trish looks forward to having the opportunity to work with clients in both individual and group therapy settings.