Paris Goodyear-Brown, the founder and director of Nurture House, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor with 25+ years of experience in treating families in need. While she specializes in treating trauma (sexual abuse, physical abuse, maltreatment and neglect) and attachment disturbances, she often provides help for anxious, angry or depressed children and teens. A child development expert, she frequently provides parent consultation, dyadic assessment and parent coaching to help parents manage and resolve their children’s behavior problems. She is an Adjunct Instructor of Psychiatric Mental Health at Vanderbilt University, guest lecturer for several universities in middle Tennessee, and has an international reputation as a dynamic speaker and innovative clinician. She provides play therapy and licensure supervision and consults with various school districts, agencies and mental health organizations to help develop play therapy programs and create more developmentally sensitive programming. With trainings in Morocco, Australia, and Sweden, as well as frequent domestic presentations, she is best known for developing clinically sound, played-based interventions that are used to treat a variety of childhood problems. She has received the APT award for Play Therapy Promotion and Education. She is the author of multiple books, chapters and articles related to child therapy. Her newest books include Tackling Touchy Subjects, the Handbook of Child Sexual Abuse: Identification, Assessment, and Treatment, Play Therapy with Traumatized Children: A Prescriptive Approach and The Worry Wars: An Anxiety Workbook for Kids and their Helpful Adults. For the whole of her career, she has carried a vision of a place – a home – in which the space itself would help children and parents feel safe, nurtured and ready to do the deep work of healing. Although it looks like a playhouse – and her child clients call it “the kid’s palace” -the fun, highly playful environment helps the hard stuff go down easier.
Eleah Hyatt, M.A, LMFT, RPT
Eleah Hyatt is a licensed Marriage and Family therapist (LMFT) and a Registered Play Therapist (RPT). She considers it a privilege to walk alongside children, adolescents and families as they move through the highs and lows of life, traumatic experiences, emotional distress, behavioral issues and wounded relationships. Helping children and families grow through these experiences while building stronger connections with one another brings her the greatest joy. Eleah is trained in EMDR level 2 (Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), Theraplay™ level 2, Group Theraplay™, TBRI (Trust-Based Relational Intervention), Prepare/ Enrich and TF-CBT (Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). She is a certified TraumaPlay™ therapist and provides supervision and consultation towards certification in the TraumaPlay™ model.
Angela Scruggs, LPC-MHSP, MAMFC, NIC, QMHI
Angela Scruggs has a Ph.D. in Psychology & Counseling and a Master’s in Marriage and Family Counseling, both from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a Mental Health Service Provider designation (LPC-MHSP). She is trained in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies, Child-Parent Relationship Therapy, and TraumaPlay Therapy. She has worked with clients of varying ages and life stages with a range of clinical challenges. In over a decade of providing therapy, her experiences have included work in residential and recovery programs, school systems, nonprofit agencies, traditional counseling settings, and in-home therapy. Angela is a creative thinker who enjoys expressive arts therapy. In New Orleans, she developed a creative-expressive arts therapy group using music, art, and other expressive mediums to foster healing. Angela is also fluent in American Sign Language and specializes in providing direct services to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing population. She is passionate about cultivating hope and healing for children, adolescents, and families.
Kelly Stephens, LPC/MHSP, RPT-S, Certified TF-CBT Provider
Katherine Faliski, LCSW, RPT
Katherine Faliski is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and a Registered Play Therapist (RPT). She earned her Master’s degree in Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University as well as a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Texas. Katherine loves working alongside children, teens, families, parents, and couples to help them grow through their difficulties and strengthen their relationships. Katherine has worked with children and families to address a variety of life experiences, such as school challenges, emotional distress, behavioral issues, divorce, and grief and loss to name a few. Due to Katherine’s personal journey through adoption and her work in the Nation’s Children’s Hospital, she also feels a strong connection to families struggling through some of the highs and lows of these life experiences. Katherine is trained in Theraplay™ Level 2, Group Theraplay™, Sand Therapy, Filial and Client Centered Play Therapy, and a communication model suited for families with teenagers and couples called Relationship Enhancement Therapy. She is married and has two children. Katherine is thrilled to be a part of the Nurture House team, and considers it a true privilege to work with clients and their families.
Jennifer Rubens, LPC-MHSP, RPT
Jennifer completed her master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in July of 2020 with a concentration in Play Therapy at Lipscomb University. She has a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology-Individual Differences from the University of Houston where she conducted research in Autism. Jennifer is a member of the American Counseling Association, Association for Play Therapy and Chi Sigma Iota honor society. She is trained in TBRI (Trust-Based Relational Intervention), will soon be a TraumaPlay Certified Therapist, and is focused on creating safe spaces for children and family members who have been affected by trauma. She believes empowering children and building a strong foundation of connection is essential to the therapeutic process. Jennifer is very excited to be a part of the Nurture House family and looks forward to the journey. Outside of work she loves spending time with her husband, three daughters and her chocolate labs.
Claire Jergensen, LPC-MHSP
Claire is a National Certified Counselor and is a Licensed Professional Counselor-Mental Health Services Provider in the state of Tennessee. She completed her master’s degree in Art Therapy and Counseling from Springfield College in 2017 and a masters in Fine Art from the University of Connecticut. She worked in community mental health for a year and a half in Massachusetts before moving back to Tennessee. She worked in addiction counseling in Nashville running groups and working with individuals before moving to a community based practice in Franklin. She will soon be a Registered Art Therapist and loves working with children and families to work through the difficult times to move forward in a happier healthier way together. She is excited to work with Nurture House, and when not at work Claire likes to read, make art, play games, build things, and spend time with her family.
Tandy Jackson, Ed. S, Candidate for LPC-MHSP
Tandy completed her master’s and educational specialist degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Harding University in May of 2019. After graduation she worked as a school-based therapist in Denver, Colorado with children ages 5-15 and their families. She now lives in Nashville, where she works with Nurture House and as a counselor with Catholic Charities. In her previous roles, she worked with children and families to address a variety of life experiences, such as relational issues, emotional distress, behavioral issues, divorce, school challenges, adjustments, depression, anxiety, traumatic experiences, and grief and loss. Tandy has training in play therapy, sand tray, TF-CBT, and trauma narrative therapy interventions, and is currently in training to be a certified TraumaPlay Therapist. She is a member of the American Counseling Association and the Association for Play Therapy. Tandy believes that laughter, connection, trust, and play are essential to the therapeutic relationship. She uses a variety of interventions based on each child’s needs and personal strengths to provide support for children and their families. Outside of Nurture House, Tandy enjoys spending time outside, baking, cooking, reading, trying new coffee shops, and spending time with family and friends.
Merna ElSols, MMFT, Candidate for LMFT
Merna completed her master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Lipscomb University in August of 2021. Merna uses a person-centered, integrative, and systemic approach to help individuals and families increase their emotional expression and enhance their communication styles. She believes that the answers to many of the struggles we go through in life come from within us and that, through effective communication and emotional disclosure, we can build stronger relationships to endure any life hardship we encounter. Merna is a Certified Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Provider (TF-CBT), a APR Gatekeeper Trainer, a Pre-/Enrich Facilitator, and a Mental Health First Aider; she continues to receive training in Gottman Method, Restoration Therapy, TraumaPlay, and play therapy. She is passionate about working with individuals and families from all walks of life and witnessing their growth and development of self-confidence, grace, compassion, and emotional expression. She is a member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT) and is thrilled to be part of the Nurture House team.
Aleya Cunningham, M. Ed., Candidate for LPC-MHSP
Aleya graduated with an M.S in Counseling Psychology with a specialization in children and adolescents from Azusa Pacific University in 2022. During this time she worked as a counselor trainee serving a diverse range of children, adolescents and families within the Los Angeles community. Aleya has extensive experience counseling those who have undergone trauma related to abuse, neglect and loss. She has also helped clients with feelings of depression, anxiety, anger, and substance use. Aleya particularly enjoys working alongside parents and believes in a holistic approach to supporting children. It is a priority of Aleya’s to make sure the families she works with feel heard and accepted. She knows that everyone has unique strengths and strives to highlight them as an avenue for growth. Aleya has training in a variety of play therapy techniques including Sandtray and nondirective play therapy. She continues to receive training in TraumaPlay and TF-CBT. Prior to counseling, Aleya earned her Masters in Education and taught at the elementary school level. With sustained interest in this field, she now teaches counseling courses as a postsecondary professor. Aleya is a member of the American Counseling Association and Association for Play Therapy. Outside of work, Aleya enjoys dancing, rock climbing and hikes with her husband and goldendoodle! Even though Aleya is new to Nashville, she looks forward to interacting with the community and being immersed in its lively culture.
Brooke Pate, M.A., NCC, Candidate for LPC-MHSP
Brooke has been working with children and families for 25+ years in the early childhood/elementary education field. She has her Bachelor’s Degree in Health and Elementary Education. She founded PB & J Day School, a preschool located in Franklin, TN, in 2010. She was the owner and director of it until she sold the school in 2020. Brooke felt a need to further her education to help others in a therapeutic capacity. She earned her Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Trevecca University in December 2021. She is a National Certified Counselor and is a candidate for LPC-MHSP. She has training in sand tray, play therapy, TF-CBT, Brainspotting, and is currently in training to be a certified TraumaPlay therapist. Brooke is a member of American Counseling Association, Association for Play Therapy, and Tennessee Licensed Professional Counselors Association. Brooke lives in Thompsons Station with her husband, teenage son, and three fur babies (aka dogs). In her free time, she enjoys playing board games, painting, reading, being outdoors, and spending time with family and friends.
Catherine Parker, M.Ed., Candidate for LPC-MHSP
Catherine completed her master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Auburn University at Montgomery. She now lives in Nashville, where she works with Nurture House and as a counselor with Centerstone. She previously counseled at Child Protect Children’s Advocacy Center. She has experience counseling children from ages 3-19 who have experienced some form of abuse (sexual, physical, and neglect), or witnessed a violent crime. She worked with children and families to address the realities of domestic violence and sexual abuse, anxiety and depression, and behavioral issues. Catherine has had training in play therapy, sand tray, TF-CBT, and trauma narrative therapy interventions. She views each child as an individual, and uses a variety of interventions based on the child’s needs and strengths in order to provide the best treatment for her clients and their families. Catherine believes that a therapeutic relationship is a trusting connection that is built with empathy, trust, support, communication, respect, positivity, and a mutual understanding. Facing and healing from adversity can be a difficult journey. Catherine enjoys using her creativity and ability to be innovative while using a holistic and integrative approach to help guide and encourage her clients throughout the therapeutic process. She is a member of the American Counseling Association (ACA), and Chi Sigma Iota. She feels honored to have the privilege to be a part of the Nurture House team.
Jamelun Crutchfield, M.S., Candidate for LPC-MHSP
Jamelun completed her Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Lipscomb University in May 2022. During this time, Jamelun received a specialization in Play therapy and Expressive Arts. Before pursuing a Masters Degree, she gained extensive experience working with children, adolescents and adults in community mental health settings. While in her Masters program she gained specialized knowledge in play therapy while working at an outpatient center treating children and their families. Jamelun is passionate about providing compassionate care to children and their caregivers that honors their unique story. Her professional memberships include the Chi Sigma Iota Honor Society, The Association of Play Therapy and the American Counseling Association.She is currently training to become certified in trauma focused play therapy. When she is not in session , Jamelun enjoys yoga, exploring different coffee shops and spending time with her fur baby Sia!
Annabelle Bright, M.S., Candidate for LPC-MHSP
Mary Margaret Tardy, M.S., Candidate for LPC-MHSP
Mary Margaret graduated wither her master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in Play Therapy from Lipscomb University in December 2022. Mary Margaret is a member of the American Counseling Association, the Association for Child and Adolescent Counseling, Chi Sigma Iota Honor Society, and is a student member of the Association for Play Therapy. Before entering her master’s program, Mary Margaret worked for a children’s learning program. She has always enjoyed working closely with children, and she is looking forward to helping children and families in a more direct and meaningful way. Mary Margaret is also passionate about expressive arts as a healing process and hopes to utilize this in creating a safe environment to promote healing with her clients. Outside of work, Mary Margaret enjoys providing childcare as a nursery worker, painting, and playing with her dog, Mildred. Mary Margaret is honored and elated to be a part of the Nurture House team and looks forward to meeting the children and families involved.
Halle Sullivan, M.Ed. Candidate for LPC-MHSP
Halle completed her Internship at Nurture House, and received her Masters Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Vanderbilt University in 2023. She studied at the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development where she worked alongside adoptive families at Hope Connection 2.0 Camps, family camps designed to help increase connection and regulate behaviors in the context of relationships. She also has experience working with children and adolescents who have experience physical and sexual abuse. Halle is passionate about working with children of all ages, and she loves developing a genuine connection with others. There are strengths in every child, and Halle enjoys using play as a way to explore these strengths. She believes that the heartbeat of joy is connection, and when connection meets play, hope and healing is possible for every child and family. Halle is a TBRI practitioner, and her professional memberships include the American Counseling Association and Chi Sigma Iota Honor Society. She is so grateful to be part of the Nurture House team!
Scarlett Bacon, M.A.
Scarlett, is a highly trained and compassionate art therapist who has dedicated her career to improving the mental health and well-being of children and LGBTQ individuals. Scarlett received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Lipscomb University and went on to earn a Master of Arts in Art Therapy from Southwestern College and New Earth Institute in New Mexico. During her studies, she developed a strong passion for working with children and marginalized communities, particularly those who identify as LGBTQ. As an art therapist, Scarlett uses a variety of creative techniques to help her clients explore their emotions, express themselves, and gain insight into their experiences. She often incorporates drawing, painting, and other art forms into her therapy sessions, allowing her clients to tap into their innate creativity and access their innermost thoughts and feelings. In her work with children, Scarlett has developed a deep understanding of their unique challenges, including anxiety, trauma, and behavioral issues. She is known for her ability to build strong and trusting relationships with her young clients, helping them to feel comfortable and supported as they work through their challenges. In her work with LGBTQ individuals, Scarlett is committed to creating a safe and affirming space where clients can explore their identities and work through the unique challenges they face. She deeply understands the impact that discrimination and marginalization can have on mental health and works tirelessly to support her clients in achieving their goals and living authentically.
Nikki Sarantinos, M.A., Candidate for LPC-MHSP
** Taking New Clients June 2023**
Nikki graduated with her master’s degree in Clinical Counseling from Southwestern College and New Earth Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She studied systems family therapy at The Sky Center where she worked with families, teens, and children struggling with suicidal ideation. Working with families has allowed Nikki to develop a thorough understanding of the intricacies that micro and macro systems play in an individual’s life. Her goal as a therapist is to support children, adolescents, parents, caregivers, and families in their healing journeys by not only addressing their individual needs, but by also focusing on the systems (family life, schools…etc) that pose difficulties in one’s life. Nikki strives to create a warm and trusting space for her clients to explore self-expression, utilizing play therapy and family systems therapy techniques. When not working, Nikki enjoys cooking, staying active, and spending time with friends and family.
Sydney Chesney, Clinical Intern
Sydney is pursuing her master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy from Lipscomb University. She has experience working with children with Autism as well as working with children and adolescents through music lessons. Sydney is passionate about working with children, adolescents, and their families, helping them find their voice. She firmly believes that every child deserves to be heard and understood and that every family deserves to heal. Her professional memberships include the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy and the Association of Play Therapy. She is very excited to be working with Nurture House! In her free time, Sydney enjoys spending time with her husband and two puppies, baking, and reading!