Our Amazing Staff

Dr. Leah McMillan

Founder/Owner 
DPA, LMFT, CFRC, EMDR-T

Stephanie Nelson 

PMHNP-BC, FNP-BC

Susan Bradshaw

LMFT, TF-CBT & EMDR-T, TBRI

Rachael Dudley

LCSW, CCATP, CDCS, C-DBT

Dr. Martha Giddings

Ph.D., LCSW, EMDR-T

Allison Owen

LMFT, RPT, EMDR-T

Lori Dixon

PMHNP-BC, AGPCNP-C

Chelsea Nelms

MSST, Group Facilitator

Leslie Durgin

Billing Coordinator

Vanessa Listermann

Receptionist

Leah McMillan, DPA, LMFT,  EMDR-T, CFRC

Leah McMillan, DPA, LMFT, EMDR Trained, CFRC has extensive clinical experience ranging from being a rape crisis advocate & domestic violence assessor, to a child/adolescent therapist, a clinical supervisor, and staff counselor/Assistant/Interim Director for VSU's Counseling Center. Dr. McMillan has been in private practice for over 6 years. In addition, she has been clinically licensed as a LMFT since 2006 (GA) and is an active member of AAMFT & GAMFT. Currently, Dr. McMillan serves as Chair of the South Georgia GAMFT Chapter. Recently, she obtained her certification as a Certified First Responder Counselor (the only CFRC in our area).

Her clinical path has allowed her to gain significant knowledge & experience in the field of mental health & counseling, specifically working with a diverse & unique population ranging from ages 5 and up and working with couples, individuals, families, & children/adolescents. Her areas of specialty focus & expertise are PTSD/trauma, intimate partner violence, sexual assault/rape, child abuse, bereavement/grief/loss, depression, anxiety, mood disorders, ADD/ADHD, infertility, couple/marital/pre-marital, divorce/co-parenting, and compassion fatigue/secondary traumatic stress with first responders. She specializes in an eclectic modality of therapy utilizing CBT, EMDR, mindfulness, person-centered, and solution-focused therapy.

She strives to provide an encouraging, safe, and holistic environment merging the psychological, physiological, and spiritual parts for complete wellness. Therapy is very personal and should be treated as so. She is here to ensure her patients feel comfortable and assist them in achieving greater joy, peace, and happiness in their lives.

EDUCATION

Dissertation: McMillan, Leah. (2011). Assessment of Valdosta State University
Counseling Center Contributions to Retention, Valdosta, Georgia
Doctorate of Public Administration (DPA), Concentration Area: Higher
Education, Valdosta State University, Graduated with Honors (May 2011)
Master of Science, Marriage & Family Therapy, Valdosta State University (May 2004)
Bachelor of Arts, Georgia, Major: Criminal Justice, Valdosta State University, Graduated Cum Laude (July 2000)
 

LICENSES AND CERTIFICATION

Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT, August 2006 to Present), Clinical Fellow, GA License No. MFT001032
Licensed Associate Marriage & Family Therapist (LAMFT, April 2005), GA Associate License No. AMFT000089 

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Certificate of Participation and Recognition from Leadership Lowndes (2012)
Certificate of Appreciation from the American Counseling Association (ACA) Virginia Tech Pro-Bono Counseling Initiative (2007)
Appreciation of the Contributions to the Greek Community Award, Valdosta State University (2006)
Service to the Division of Student Affairs Award, Valdosta State University (2005)
Rape Crisis Service Award, presented by The Haven Rape Crisis Advisory Board (2003)

TEACHING EXPERIENCE 

Graduate Faculty & Part-time Instructor, Political Science Dept., Valdosta State University (2012-2021)
Teaching Assistant, Marriage & Family Therapy Dept., Valdosta State University (2005)
Adjunct Instructor, Business Dept., Valdosta Technical College (2003) 

PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES AND MEMBERSHIPS

Current Memberships: AAMFT (American Association for Marriage & Family Therapy), Clinical Member
GAMFT (Georgia Association for Marriage & Family Therapy)
Chair of the South Georgia GAMFT Chapter Lowndes County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART)
Alpha Gamma Delta Alumni

Past Memberships: ACCA (American College Counseling Association)
ACA (American Counseling Association)
NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education)
GNESA (Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault)
ATAP (Association of Threat Assessment Professionals)
Lowndes County Family Violence Task Force (LCFVTF) 

TRAININGS

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Certified First Responder Counselor (only CFRC in our area)
Co-Parenting/Divorce
Training for Military & Family Life Counseling

CLINICAL TREATMENT AREAS & EXPERTISE

Trauma and Abuse (Children, Adolescents, & Adult populations)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Bereavement & Loss
Anxiety, Depression, & Mood disorders
Relationship Issues
Pre-Marital Counseling
Individual, Couple, & Family Counseling
First Responder Counseling

Susan Bradshaw, LMFT, TF-CBT &
EMDR-T, TBRI

Susan S. Bradshaw is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and has been licensed in Georgia since 1998. She attended Valdosta State University and received a B.S. in Psychology (1992) and an M.S. in Sociology (1994 ) and a Post-Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy (1995).

She has worked as a therapist in Valdosta and surrounding counties for over 20 years and has worked in inpatient, outpatient, and partial hospitalization settings with children, teens, and adults with varied mental health and relationship issues. In the course of her experience, she has also worked with geriatric clients and clients with chronic mental illness. In addition, she has supervised and developed child and adolescent treatment programs at Greenleaf Center and Behavioral Health Services. For the last 10 years she was employed with the Children’s Advocacy Center of Lowndes County providing counseling and forensic interview services for children, teens, and their families that have been affected by abuse or trauma. Susan has additional trainings in EMDR, TF-CBT, TBRI, attachment, and play therapy.

She strives to provide a safe, comfortable, and inviting environment to assist her clients in becoming the best versions of themselves.

EDUCATION

Post-Masters, Major: Marriage and Family Therapy, Valdosta State University (1995)
Master of Science, Major: Sociology, Family Concentration, Valdosta State University (May 1994) Bachelor of Science, Major: Psychology, Valdosta State College, Graduated (March 1992)

LICENSES AND CERTIFICATIONS

Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT, 1998), Clinical Member, GA License No. MFT000865 

PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES AND MEMBERSHIPS

Current Memberships: Exchange Club of Valdosta, Ga.

Past Memberships: AAMFT GAMFT- South Georgia Board Chair Mental Health Association Alpha Kappa Delta Zeta of Georgia-honor society 

TRAININGS

Trauma Focused - Cognitive Behavioral Therapy  (TF-CBT)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR)
Forensic Interviewing
Trust Based Relational Interventions (TBRI) 

Rachael Dudley, LCSW, CCATP,
CDCS, C-DBT

Rachael Dudley is Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 21 years of experience in the field of mental health and has extensive clinical experience in working with children, teens, adults and families. Mrs. Dudley served as an active duty Clinical Social Worker in the United States Air Force for six years providing mental health counseling and family advocacy services to active duty members and family members with military specific issues such as pre deployment, deployment and reintegration counseling and combat related PTSD. Mrs. Dudley continues to support the military community as an on demand Military and Family Life Consultant.

Mrss Dudley specializes in depression and anxiety management, PTSD and trauma related disorders, premarital and marital counseling, grief counseling, anger management, stress management, eating disorders, parenting struggles, ADHD/ODD behavior management. 

EDUCATION

Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice with a minor in Spanish, Valdosta State University (1999)
Master of Social Work, Valdosta State University (2002) 

LICENSES AND CERTIFICATIONS

Licensed Clinical Social Worker (CSW003632) in the state of Georgia 2006
Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) in the state of Georgia 2002 

TRAININGS

Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Certified in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
Trained in EMDR

Martha Giddings, Ph.D., LCSW, EMDR-T

Dr. Marty Giddings has always had a deep interest in family relationships, and she has spent most of her career seeking ways of strengthening family bonds. A Cajun at heart, she came to Georgia after college and stayed here. She completed the Master of Social Work Degree at the University of Georgia (UGA) and then spent several years on the Child and Adolescent Unit of the Gainesville GA Community Mental Health Center. Returning to Athens and UGA, she enrolled in a doctoral program in Child & Family Development. While in Athens, she opened a private practice near campus in which she specialized in the treatment of children, teens, parents, and adults. She completed her doctoral degree in 1984 and accepted two post-doctoral fellowships at UGA. She had an opportunity to participate in a DSM-IV Field Trail which examined what has become known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The second fellowship involved research on the adjustment of adolescent military dependents living on Air Force bases across the world. Following her post-doctoral work, she accepted a faculty position at UGA and taught in the School of Social Work for several years. In 1995, she and her family moved to Valdosta where she had accepted a faculty position in Valdosta State University’s (VSU) newly-created Division of Social Work.

Dr. Giddings retired as a Professor of Social Work on May 31, 2017, and the very next day, she began working at the Children’s Advocacy Center of Lowndes County (CAC), where she began the Parent Support Program for non-offending caregivers of sexually abused children. Through the CAC position, she was able to learn about the impact of trauma on individuals and families and therapeutic ways to treat trauma. She still loves working with children and adults of all ages, families, older adults, and group work.

Marty likes to stay busy, and when she isn’t doing therapy, she enjoys gardening, reading mysteries, drawing, going to the Red Owl, teaching Sunday School, and enjoying her own family and her dog, Lulu. She will always be a GA Bulldog, but she has grown to love VSU and Valdosta!

EDUCATION

Ph.D. in Child and Family Development, College of Family & Consumer Sciences, University of Georgia, 1984 Master of Social Work, University of Georgia, 1974 BA in History, Louisiana State University, 1970

LICENSES

Licensed as a Clinical Social Worker in Georgia, February 17, 1987

TRAININGS

Moving Beyond the Pain (Treatment of Chronic Pain), 2020, 8 CE hours
Transforming Shame, 2020, 3 hrs.
How Cognitive Biases Can Influence Ethical Decision Making, 2020, 5 hrs.
Internal Family Systems Therapy, Procedures for Healing Traumatic Wounds, 2020, 6.25 hr.
The Reluctant Client: Partnering with Resistance, 2020, 5 hrs.
EMDR Adult, Complex Trauma and Dissociation Specialist Intensive Program, July 2019, 46 hr.
EMDR Parent, Child & Attachment Specialist Intensive Program, Oct. 2019, 46 hours
Rape, Trauma and Counseling Interventions, 2019, 3 hr.

Allison Parris Owen, LMFT, RPT, EMDR-T

Allison Parris Owen is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and has been licensed in Georgia since 2008 and credentialed as a Registered Play Therapist (RPT) since 2013. She attended The University of Georgia, Athens and received a BSFCS degree in Child and Family Development (2003), and she earned her MS degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Valdosta State University (2005). She worked as a therapist and program administrator in the Macon area for 7 years before returning to the Valdosta area in 2012 to work as the Clinical Director of The Children’s Advocacy Center of Lowndes County, Inc. where she provided trauma- focused mental health services and conducted forensic interviews from 2012- 2019.

Mrs. Owen has worked in various settings, including outpatient clinics and community-based settings, with children, teens, and adults with varied mental health and relationship issues. She has extensive training and experience in working with children ages 2-18 and their families, as well as treating trauma- related issues, including PTSD, attachment issues, and behavioral concerns. In addition to her extensive experience and training in Play Therapy, she also has over 120 hours of specialized training in using EMDR with children and their parents. She has additional training in TF- CBT, Narrative Therapy, and Solution- Focused Therapy.

She strives to provide a safe, comfortable, and inviting environment to assist her clients in becoming the best versions of themselves.

EDUCATION

Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences (BSFCS), Major: Child and Family Development, UGA 2003
Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy, VSU 2005

LICENSES AND CERTIFICATIONS

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, 2008-present
Registered Play Therapist, 2013-present

PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES AND MEMBERSHIPS

Current -Member of the Association for Play Therapy
Past- Lowndes County Domestic Violence Task Force, Lowndes Interagency Coordinating Council, Lowndes County Prevent Child Abuse Clinical Director, Childrens Advocacy Center of Lowndes County, 2012-2019 Therapist, Family Counseling Center of Central Georgia, 2007-2008 & 2009-2012 Program Administrator/Therapist, Morning Star Child and Family Services, 2008- 2009 Master Assessment Clinician, GRN CSB, 2007 Therapist, Phoenix Center Behavioral Health Services 2005-2007

TRAININGS

EMDR, TF-CBT, and various models of Play Therapy, including Theraplay, Sandtray, Expressive Arts, Child-Centered, and Cognitive Behavioral Play Therapy

SPECIALTIES

*trauma/abuse/PTSD (children, teens and adults)
*the parent-child relationship and attachment-focused therapy 
*Mood disorders, including anxiety and depression
*grief/loss
*anger management
*relationship issues, including blended families, family conflicts, and marital/couples issues
*behavioral issues in children, including inappropriate, problematic sexual behaviors
*working with young children (ages 2 and up) and their caregivers/parents

Stephanie Nelson, PMHNP-BC, FNP-BC

Stephanie Nelson, PMHNP-BC, FNP-BC received her Master of Science, Family Nurse Practitioner Program (FNP) from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in Birmingham, Alabama. Afterwards, she continued her education to pursue a postmaster’s certification as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner from Regis University in Weston, Massachusetts. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from Valdosta State University in Valdosta, Georgia.

Stephanie has worked in both private psychiatric practice and the hospital setting in the Lowndes County/Valdosta area for the past 7 years. As a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), she is trained in diagnosing mental illnesses, treating psychiatric disorders, and counseling pediatrics, adolescents, adults, and geriatric patients.

Ms. Nelson genuinely cares for each of her clients and strives to make a difference in their lives. "I believe that being a Nurse Practitioner not only encompasses staying up-to-date with the latest research, and giving exemplary care to each patient, but it is also care given from the heart,” explains Stephanie. “I strive to give the upmost care to all of my patients. My role as a Nurse Practitioner is not just a job it is a calling.”

EDUCATION

Postmaster’s Certification as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), Regis University, Weston, Massachusetts (2019)
Master of Science, Family Nurse Practitioner Program (FNP), University of Alabama, Birmingham, Alabama (2011)
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), Valdosta State University, Valdosta, Georgia (2006)

LICENSES AND CERTIFICATIONS

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner from American Nurses Credentialing Center, Current through 01/21/2025
Family Nurse Practitioner Certification from American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, Current through 11/30/2021
Basic Cardiac Life Support
License Nos: RN 190528, State of Georgia, current through January 2023
APRN of Georgia, current through January 2023
DEA Number: MN2616285 Exp. Date: 10/2023
NPI Number: 1649542143
APRN licensure number of Florida: 11006410, current through April 2021 Florida
DEA Number: MN5805316, current through October 2022

CLINICAL EXPERIENCE

Managing, diagnosing, and treating acute and chronic psychiatric illnesses across the life span including pediatrics, adolescents, adults, and geriatrics.
Experience with medication treatment and management of opioid and ETOH abuse in an outpatient setting.
Experience within an inpatient psychiatric setting of managing, diagnosing, and treating acute and chronic psychiatric illnesses across the life span starting at age 13 years of age to the adult population.
Experience with medication treatment and management of substance abuse in an inpatient acute setting. Working with interdisciplinary teams and management to improve patient care.
Experience utilizing motivational interview with the substance abuse and mental health population. Incorporating spiritual aspects into treatment and care. Utilizing cognitive behavioral therapy techniques with a blend of motivational interviewing. Nurse Practitioner within outpatient and inpatient Psychiatric practice, Family Practice clinic, and Hospital setting

CLINICAL TREATMENT AREAS & EXPERTISE

Experience working with the following patient population: pediatric, adolescents, adults, and geriatric patients
Diagnosing mental illnesses,
Treating psychiatric disorders,
Providing psychiatric medication evaluation and management,
Counseling, and
Working collaboratively as an interdisciplinary team to provide exceptional patient care 

Lori Dixon, PMHNP-BC, AGPCNP-C

Lori Dixon, PMHNP-BC, AGPCNP-C received her Master of Science degree from Walden University in Minneapolis, Minnesota (AGPCNP-C). She then went on to obtain her Post Master’s certification in Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner from Frontier University in Lexington, Kentucky (2019). She obtained her Associate’s Degree from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Georgia in 1992.

Lori started her mental health journey working for Turning Point Hospital in Moultrie, Georgia and has worked for the past 5 years in the Lowndes County/Valdosta area working with patients who have experienced trauma and in both inpatient and outpatient psychiatric mental health settings. She is trained in diagnosing mental illnesses, treating psychiatric disorders, and counseling patients across the lifespan from pediatrics to geriatrics.

Lori believes in meeting all patients where they are and provides caring, compassionate treatment. “I genuinely care about the well-being of the patient’s I treat and am committed to providing treatment geared to their needs based on the most recent guidelines.” Lori believes that if you genuinely love what you do it shows in how you treat patients. 

EDUCATION

Postmaster’s Certification as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP-BC), Frontier Nursing University, Lexington, Kentucky (2019)
Master of Science, Adult Gerontological Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP-C), Walden University, Minneapolis, Minnesota (2015)
Associate’s Degree of Nursing (ADN), Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, Tifton, Georgia (1992)

LICENSES AND CERTIFICATIONS

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner from American Nurses Credentialing Center, Current through 04/11/2024
Adult Gerontological Primary Care Nurse Practitioner from American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, Current through 01/26/2026
Basic Cardiac Life Support, Current through 03/2022
License Numbers: RN109231 State of Georgia, Current through 01/2023
APRN of Georgia, Current through 01/2023
DEA Number: MD3882114, Expiration date 06/30/2022
NPI Number: 1467819102
APRN licensure Washington State: AP 61128048, Expiration date: 06/06/2021 

CLINICAL EXPERIENCE

Managing, diagnosing, and treating acute and chronic psychiatric illnesses across the life span including pediatrics, adolescents, adults, and geriatrics.
Experience with medication treatment and management of opioid and ETOH abuse in an outpatient setting.
Experience within an inpatient psychiatric setting of managing, diagnosing, and treating acute and chronic psychiatric illnesses across the life span starting at age 13 years of age to the adult population.
Experience with medication treatment and management of substance abuse in an inpatient acute setting.
Working with interdisciplinary teams and management to improve patient care.
Experience utilizing motivational interview with the substance abuse and mental health population. Incorporating spiritual aspects into treatment and care.
Utilizing cognitive behavioral therapy techniques with a blend of motivational interviewing.
Nurse Practitioner within outpatient and inpatient Psychiatric practice, Cardiology Practice clinic, and Hospital setting.

CLINICAL TREATMENT AREAS & EXPERTISE

Experience working with the following patient population: pediatric, adolescents, adults, and geriatric patients,
Diagnosing mental illnesses,
Treating psychiatric disorders,
Providing psychiatric medication evaluation and management including counseling patients and their family members,
Working collaboratively as an interdisciplinary team member to provide exceptional patient care.