Paris Goodyear-Brown,

LCSW, RPT-S

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.  

Kelly Stephens, LPC/MHSP, RPT-S, Certified TF-CBT Provider, Florida Telehealth Provider

Kelly Stephens has been nurturing children and their families via mental health treatment for over 20 years. Previously she has provided therapy for children who have experienced divorce and family transitions, worked as an in-home therapist for children at risk of being placed outside of the home due to a serious emotional disturbance, and has treated victims of child abuse at two Child Advocacy Centers. Kelly is married and has two children.
 
Kelly earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Truman State University and a Master’s Degree in Professional Counseling from Lindenwood University. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) with the Mental Health Service Provider and Approved Supervisor designations in Tennessee. She is a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor, as well as being a member of the Association for Play Therapy. She is also a Certified Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) provider. Kelly is additionally trained in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills, Child Parent Relationship Therapy, and Theraplay.

Angela Scruggs, Ph.D., LPC-MHSP/S, 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.

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, Ph.D, 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 registered Play Therapist, TBRI trained (Trust-Based Relational Intervention), EMDR trained, is a Certified Creative Grief Coach and is certified in TraumaPlay.  Jennifer 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 the Nurture House Practicum and Internship Director

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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. 

Merna ElSols, 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.

Annabelle Bright, M.S., Candidate for LPC-MHSP

Annabelle graduated with her Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Lipscomb University in August 2022. She has worked as a Post-Masters Clinician at Nurture House since January 2023. While in graduate school, Annabelle completed a specialization in Play Therapy and Expressive Arts. Annabelle is a professional member of the American Counseling Association, the Association for Play Therapy, and Chi Sigma Iota Honor Society. She is trained in TraumaPlay, Brainspotting, Sand Tray Therapy, and Child-Centered Play Therapy. Annabelle is currently pursuing an Autism Specialist Certification. Before graduate school, Annabelle worked with children and teens through teaching gymnastics, tutoring, and being a summer camp counselor.
                                                                                                      Annabelle’s passion for the counseling profession stems from a desire to facilitate healing in others, especially with children, teens, and families. She seeks to provide clients with a safe and supportive therapeutic relationship to creatively and holistically explore together the issues they are experiencing. Annabelle finds value in empowering caregivers to understand their role and their individual children more deeply. She utilizes her therapeutic skills to repair and enhance attachment bonds within the context of children, adolescents, and their families.
                                                                                                      Annabelle also incorporates somatic interventions into sessions, strengthening the mind-body connection for clients and their families.Outside of her time at Nurture House, Annabelle leads experiential therapy groups with adults experiencing trauma and addiction in a treatment center setting. When not at work, Annabelle enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and dog, Willow. She also loves time outdoors and traveling to national parks!

 

Annabelle is under the supervision of Angela Scruggs, PhD, LPC-MHSP/S #3813

 Scarlett Bacon-Taylor, M.A., ATR-P

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.

Scarlett is under the supervision of Angela Scruggs, PhDLPC-MHSP/S #3813

Mejra Shea Merritt, LMSW

Mejra Shea completed her Masters of Social Work from Baylor University with a clinical focus on children and families along with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Auburn University. Mejra Shea is trained in EMDR, Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS), and has experience implementing various Play Therapy techniques. Mejra Shea just recently moved to Franklin and works part-time with Nurture House. She previously worked in the school setting providing individual and group therapy services for clients ages 11-15, crisis and behavioral intervention, family support, case management, and psycho-education groups. She worked with middle school students to process domestic and community violence, grief, anxiety, depression, and general behavioral needs. She is passionate about early childhood intervention, attachment-based work, and meeting children at the developmental stage that they present in order to heal from a history of trauma or abuse. Mejra Shea approaches children with a strengths-based approach. Mejra Shea sees play as a critical ingredient in a child’s healing journey. 

Mejra Shea believes that therapy is a healing and beautiful process that takes time, patience, and a trusting relationship above all else. She hopes for children and adolescents to find a sense of peace and safety during their time with her, taking the skills learned in session outside of the therapy space into their world to thrive. She is excited to grow and support families in her role at Nurture House.  

Mejra Shea is under the supervision of Katherine Faliski, LCSW #6325

Tiffany Gee, M.S., Candidate for LPC-MHSP

Tiffany completed her master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Lipscomb University in May 2022. During this time, Tiffany received a specialization in Play Therapy and Expressive Arts. Before graduate school, Tiffany worked closely with children, adolescents, and young adults, helping them build their social skills and self-confidence while connecting with peers. She also has experience working with blind and autistic children within the classroom setting. While in her master’s program she gained extensive experience working with college students, adults, and families providing high quality mental health care within the Tennessee community. Tiffany has helped clients with feelings of anxiety, depression, trauma, grief and loss, relationship issues, and substance use.

Tiffany is passionate about working with children and their families by helping them rekindle the roots within themselves and within their own relationships.

She believes that every child and family has the power to heal through play, connection, and support, learning for the client to accept and understand their own feelings is finding the magical key that opens up the gates to the child’s inner world through self-healing. Tiffany is a candidate for LPC-MHSP. She is trained in sand tray therapy, and play therapy, and she is currently training to become certified in trauma focused play therapy. Her professional memberships include the American Counseling Association (ACA), Chi Sigma Iota Counseling Honor Society. In her free time, Tiffany enjoys yoga, hiking, baking, trying different cultural foods, and spending time with family and friends.

Tiffany is under the supervision of Kelly Stephens, LPC-MHSP #2187

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!

Sydney is under the supervision of Jennifer Rubens, LPC-MHSP #5323

Riley Clark, Clinical Intern

Riley is pursuing her master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Lipscomb University. She is a member of their play therapy specialization and has received training in sand tray. Prior to her studies at Lipscomb, Riley studied psychology and Spanish at Berry College where she conducted research investigating the different approaches and techniques to play therapy with children and adolescents who have experienced trauma. She also worked at a child development center where she saw how play could become a tool for communication and healing for children. Riley is very excited to be working with children and families at Nurture House. 

Her professional memberships include the American Counseling Association (ACA), Chi Sigma Iota Counseling Honor Society, and the Association of Play Therapy. In Riley’s free time, she enjoys playing soccer, reading, cooking, and spending time with friends and family.

Riley is under the supervision of Jennifer Rubens, LPC-MHSP #5323

Kait Thomas, Clinical Intern

Kait is pursuing her masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Lipscomb University, where she specializes in Play Therapy. Her love for the city of Nashville brought her back after earning her bachelor’s in Psychology with a minor in English from Tennessee State University. During her time away, she worked at an Early Childhood Center in St.Louis, MO where she worked as a Teacher’s Assistant. This is where she first learned about Play Therapy and its effect on children. She quickly fell in love with the idea of creating spaces where children can express themselves without constraint and curating a relationship where they are seen and accepted as they are.

As well as a student, Kait is an Associate Behavior Health Specialist at Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital working with children aged five to seventeen. Her experience at the hospital has only increased her passion for working with children. She hopes to use her therapeutic skills and education to facilitate relationships with patients, similarly as she does with clients.

When she is not at work or in class, Kait spends her time writing, blasting music as loud as the speakers allow, and occasionally pretends she’s on “Iron Chef America”. She also loves a good nap when time permits! She cannot wait to begin this new journey with Nurture House and is so excited about what the future holds.

Kait is under the supervision of Jennifer Rubens, LPC-MHSP #5323

 

Jessica “Jessie” Gettys, Clinical Intern

**Taking clients starting May 2024**

Kait is under the supervision of Jennifer Rubens, LPC-MHSP #5323

 

                   Office Staff

                  Qiana Hayes

                 Office Manager

  

Kristen Evans

COO / Operations Manager