Our Counselors

Branches Counseling Center, Murfreesboro, TN

MIKE COURTNEY, Ph.D.

Executive Director
Ph.D., Clinical Christian Counseling; MA, New Testament Theology; Clinical Pastoral Counselor
EMAIL: mike@branchescounselingcenter.com

Mike Courtney is an author, speaker and Life Coach. He has 25 years experience in Pastoral Counseling to families, individuals and couples. He is also a husband and father who lives out his own recovery one day at a time. As director of the recovery center, Mike takes a personal interest in each client, each group and each recovery meeting. Mike is the author of Failure And How I Achieved It: a journey from addiction to hope. He and his wife Doris speak across the country on the intimacy that comes from brokenness.

TRACEY ROBISON, LPC, MHSP

Clinical Director
Licensed Professional Counselor; Mental Health Specialty; EMDR Trained Clinician, Level 1
EMAIL: trobison@branchescounselingcenter.com

“Branches is a safe place God has put together to help people find true healing through Christ. God laid on my heart at 14 to be a counselor. Branches is the place that has clearly given me a place for my voice through Him.”

Tracey specializes in treating those with depression, anxiety & bipolar disorder. She trains, counsels and supervises the counselors and interns at Branches. Tracey also teaches suicide prevention classes, leads a depression small group and joins her husband in crisis debriefing for those facing a critical incident. Tracey attended MTSU in the Psychology Department and went on to earn a Masters from Vanderbilt University in Human Development Counseling. Tracey’s work history includes helping start the Mobile Crisis Response Team in Rutherford, Williamson and Cannon counties, serving patients in the Community Assistance Program at Parthenon Pavilion, working with consumers through Magellan, and several years of private practice. God clearly directed her to become a part of Branches Counseling Center in the fall of 2007.

ALEX BARNES, MS

Masters of Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Lipscomb University
EMAIL: abarnes@branchescounselingcenter.com

Alex Barnes earned a Masters of Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Lipscomb University. She is working towards licensure to be a Licensed Professional Counselor with a Mental Health Service Provider designation. She enjoys helping and walking alongside those who are struggling with anxiety, depression, relational issues, grief and adjustment. Alex has several years of experience in working in the mental health field. In her spare time she enjoys working out, being active outdoors, and spending time with friends and family.

CHRISTINA BENEFIELD, LPC-MHSP, M.Ed., NCC

Counselor
Masters of Education in Professional Counseling, MTSU; National Certified Counselor, EMDR Trained Clinician, Level II
EMAIL: cbenefield@branchescounselingcenter.com

“The love and grace of God can be felt as soon as you walk into Branches. I’m grateful to be a part of all that is happening at Branches Counseling Center.”

Christina Benefield earned a Masters of Education in Professional Counseling with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Middle Tennessee State University. She is a National Certified Counselor and is licensed in TN as a Licensed Professional Counselor with a Mental Health Service Provider designation. Christina enjoys helping women with self-identity issues and individuals of all ages struggling with depression, anxiety, abuse, and transitions of life. When not counseling, she enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her husband, their excessively spoiled dog; a lab named Charlie, and her son.

KEVIN BOLTON, MA, MT-BC

Counselor
EMAIL: kbolton@branchescounselingcenter.com

Kevin Bolton, MA, MT-BC a native of West Virginia, received his Master’s degree in counseling from Trevecca Nazarene University in 2018. Kevin is an EMDR trained clinician with a desire to work with individuals who have experienced trauma and addiction. In addition, Kevin specializes in the use of music in counseling. Kevin received his Bachelor’s of Music in Music Therapy degree in 2003 from Radford University in Radford, VA and has been practicing music therapy for nearly 15 years. Kevin is excited to join the growing number of counselors that call Branches home. What he loves about Branches is that this is a place that combines the science of solid therapeutic techniques with the truth of the gospel.

MARLENA BUTLER, Ph.D.

Pastoral Counselor
Certified Grief Recovery Specialist®; Pastoral Counselor-Advanced Certified (NCCA); Christian Counselor (NCCA); Christian Therapist (FACCT); Certified Temperament Counselor
EMAIL: mbutler@branchescounselingcenter.com

“I am always excited to walk alongside those seeking to live emotionally, physically and spiritually balanced lives to be all that God has called them to be. I am living out my calling through Branches.”

Marlena is a graduate of Jacksonville Theological Seminary and has a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Clinical Christian Counseling with advanced certifications in Temperament Therapy, Crisis & Abuse Therapy and Death & Grief Therapy. Her graduate training (MA, Nova Southeastern University) in Conflict Resolution and Family Systems Healthcare focused on providing assistance to patients and families dealing with grief, illness, end of life issues, and disability. She currently provides individual counseling to adults with a primary focus on trust issues, anger and conflict management, confidence/esteem issues and temperament therapy. Marlena specializes in grief recovery and offers the Pet Loss Support, Grief Support and Helping Children with Loss recovery programs to individual clients and the community. Each program provides a safe place, a safe person and specific tools to help grievers recover from loss and complete unresolved emotions.

JOSHUA COURTNEY, PA-C

B.S. in Biology, M.S. in Medicine
EMAIL: jcourtney@branchescounselingcenter.com

Joshua began as a minister, passionate about loving and serving others. That passion led him back to graduate school to become a Physician Assistant so he could serve in a more physical way. He now seeks to bring healing to hurting people via medicine. Joshua focuses on adults who deal with anxiety or mood disorders such as depression or bipolar disorder. He brings to Branches the ability to prescribe the appropriate medications and works closely with the Branches counselors. Joshua enjoys spending time with his wife and two sons, watching football, coaching basketball, and playing golf.

DANIEL CROSBY, LPC-MHSP

Licensed Professional Counselor
M.A. in Counseling from Trevecca Nazarene University, B.A. in Bible & Ministry from Lipscomb University; EMDR Trained Clinician, Level II

EMAIL: dcrosby@branchescounselingcenter.com

“Branches is a place where God’s mercy, grace and compassion are made evident. What a blessing and privilege it is to be a part of His work here.”
Daniel enjoys working with individuals of all ages, couples, and families. He enjoys the privilege of being able to listen to people’s stories and to walk alongside them in their journey of exploration and healing. Daniel specializes in helping people work through depression, anxiety, struggles in adolescence, marital conflicts, codependency, divorce adjustment, and issues of faith. Daniel brings considerable experience to the Branches family from his years of work in the community mental health field.

In his spare time, Daniel is an avid runner and outdoor enthusiast. He enjoys competing in half marathons, hiking, cooking, working in the yard, and spoiling his dog Maddie.

FRED JOHNSON, LPC-MHSP, M.Ed., NCC

Counselor
Licensed Professional Counselor – Mental Health Service Provider; EMDR Trained Clinician, Level 2
EMAIL: fjohnson@branchescounselingcenter.com

“There is a great safety within the walls of Branches. I’m thankful to be a part of this healing ministry.”

Fred has combined his passion for people and his desire to serve others by pursuing a career in counseling. Fred enjoys joining with individuals and couples on their journey to work through issues of anxiety, depression, anger, trauma, marital issues, and the great many difficulties life transitions brings. Fred has earned a Master of Education in Professional Counseling with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Middle Tennessee State University. Fred is a National Certified Counselor and is licensed in TN as a Licensed Professional Counselor with a Mental Health Service Provider designation. When Fred isn’t counseling, he enjoys the outdoors, reading, and involvement within ministry at his church.

CLAUDIA AVILA-LÓPEZ, LMSW

Licensed Master Social Worker
Masters in Clinical Social Work, UT Knoxville; EMDR trained clinician levels 1 & 2
EMAIL: clopez@branchescounselingcenter.com

Claudia is a social worker currently under supervision to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.  She enjoys working with individuals with trauma, depression, anxiety and other issues and is passionate about working with immigrants as she is an immigrant from Mexico herself. She speaks Spanish and English and works with Adults and youth. Claudia enjoys traveling with her husband and son as well as spending time with family and friends including her four legged son Marko the yorky dog.

Claudia will see clients in Murfreesboro and Mt. Juliet. Please indicate which office you prefer when making appointments.

BILL ROBISON, MA

Pastoral Counselor, Life Coach
Masters of Arts in Psychology, MTSU; EMDR Trained Clinician, Level 1; Parent Project Certified Facilitator
EMAIL: brobison@branchescounselingcenter.com

Bill is a Counselor, Certified Life Coach, gifted artist & avid cyclist who views Branches as a safe place where God is at work in the hearts of His kids. When he is not at Branches he is sweating on a bicycle, cheering at a middle school girls soccer game for his daughter, supporting his son who loves racing his bike like his dad, or spending time with his wife Tracey and being forced by their dog Bruce to scratch his side.

Bill has his Masters of Arts in Psychology and spent 10 years working with behaviorally disordered children, adolescents & their families. Bill specializes in individual & marital/relational counseling including topics such as depression, anxiety, sexual addiction, anger management & parenting. He is a Parent Project Certified Facilitator and is leading an ongoing anger management small group at Branches.

DEBI RUSSELL, BA

Pastoral Counselor
B.A. in Christian Counseling, Cornerstone University; EMDR Trained Clinician, Level 1; Certified Temperament Counselor; NCCA Clinical Member; Ordained Minister of Pastoral Counseling
EMAIL: drussell@branchescounselingcenter.com

“Branches is a blessing to me because I get to use the gifts God has given me to help others in their healing and growth. It is a blessing to my clients because it is a safe place to begin a process of healing and claiming the life God has planned for them.”

Debi is a Pastoral Counselor. She works with clients in both individual and marriage counseling to facilitate their healing. She is passionate about women’s issues, trauma work and spiritual growth. Debi is married to Scott and they have three children. When she is not counseling she enjoys writing and speaking; travel; hanging out with her church community and family.

ASHLEY SHARPE, MA

Counselor
Master of Arts in Christian Counseling and Bachelor of Arts in Pastoral Care, Oral Roberts University
EMAIL: asharpe@branchescounselingcenter.com

“I am very thankful to have found a home at Branches and believe it is a place I can be used by God to help individuals find wholeness and healing so that they may live more fully.”

Ashley is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Oklahoma. She and her husband moved to Tennessee in 2013. She is currently pursuing an equivalent license in Tennessee. Ashley works with a variety of individuals, children and couples. She has an articular focus on anxiety in children, depression and anxiety in adults, as well as grief and loss issues. Ashley has had success in helping couples with communication, pre-marriage counseling, sexual issues and affair recovery. In addition to working for Branches, Ashley assists her husband with their church plant in Nashville which launched on Easter of 2014. They are the happy parents of a toddler daughter.

MARY ANNA STEPANEK

Counselor
Masters in Social Work, University of Tennessee
EMAIL: mastepanek@branchescounselingcenter.com

Mary Anna Stepanek earned her Masters in Social Work with a concentration in Evidence Based Interpersonal Practice from The University of Tennessee’s Master in Science and Social Work Program. Mary Anna is working towards becoming certified in Clinical Social Work, as well as becoming a Registered Play Therapist. Mary Anna is passionate about advocating for children suffering with challenging life experiences, trauma, anxiety, depression, ADHD, and other mental health disorders. She enjoys utilizing the power of play as the main form of healing, as well as implementing sand tray techniques, expressive arts, psychoeducation, and more into her every day practice. In her spare time, Mary Anna enjoys traveling to new places, being outside, reading, and spending quality time with her friends, family, and lovable cat.

DOUGLAS WILBUR, CMHC

Counselor
M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Antioch University; B.S. in Psychology from Middle Tennessee State University; EMDR Trained Clinician, Level 1
EMAIL: dwilbur@branchescounselingcenter.com

Douglas Wilbur earned a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Antioch University. He also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology where he minored in mental illness and social welfare. He is currently seeking licensure with the state of Tennessee as a Licensed Professional Counselor. Douglas enjoys working with populations from children to senior adults. He excels working with individuals who experience depression, anxiety, addiction, and other life issues and transitions. Douglas enjoys working in trauma and he is EMDR (level 1) trained so it is an area of passion of his and he utilizes his personal experience dealing with grief and loss to help others. In his spare time, he enjoys volunteering with hospice, watching sports, spending time with loved ones and playing with his dog.

Branches at The Beach, St. Augustine, FL

AMY CONNOR, BA

Pastoral Counselor
B.A. in Christian Counseling; Cornerstone University; Ordained Minister of Pastoral Counseling; NCCA Clinical member; EMDR Trained Clinician, Level 1
EMAIL: aconnor@branchesatthebeach.com

Amy is a Pastoral Counselor with an undergraduate degree from Cornerstone University. Amy is the Director of the Saint Augustine, Florida based Branches at the Beach. She works with individuals, couples, and families dealing with anxiety, depression, and adjustment difficulties. Amy is also a spiritual teacher and speaker with a passion for theology and philosophy that leads to a deeper understanding of the inclusive nature of God’s love. When she isn’t counseling or speaking, she is usually reading a good book or enjoying her favorite lake with her husband, son, and two dogs.

CHERRE KIDD, BA

Pastoral Counselor
Certified Grief Counselor; Certified Temperament Counselor; NCCA Clinical Member; Ordained Minister of Pastoral Counseling
EMAIL: ckidd@branchesatthebeach.com

Cherre is a Pastoral Counselor with an undergraduate degree from Cornerstone University. In addition to being a counselor, she has worked for Craig Funeral Home in St. Augustine for over thirty-five years. She is a bible teacher to women in her home church. Her love for hurting people and the desire to see them healed and whole is her passion and calling. She loves spending time with her husband, children and grandchildren, extended family and the good friends she has made along life’s way.

ERICA RIXIE, M.Ed., NCC

Counselor
EMAIL: erixie@branchesatthebeach.com

It took me some time to understand the path God wanted me to take to help His hurting people, and I’m so glad that He led me to Branches!
I earned my Master of Education in Professional Counseling with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of Mississippi. I will soon be a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern and will be working toward licensure as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with the state of Florida. I enjoy working with adolescents, young adults, and adults suffering from anxiety, depression, grief, adjustment issues, and sexual abuse/assault. I believe that God created this beautiful world we live in to help us heal, so I like to incorporate nature into my practice, specifically using Walk and Talk Beach Therapy. I also know American Sign Language and am looking forward to helping people that are deaf and hard of hearing.

When I’m not counseling, I serve in my local church helping youth and young adults ministries where I still use a lot of my counseling skills. I also enjoy spending time on the beach and hanging out with my cat and dog.

Branches at Wilson County, Mt. Juliet, TN

JENNA HAZLEWOOD, LMFT

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Masters of Marriage and Family Therapy, Lipscomb University; Bachelors of Arts in English with a minor in Psychology, Centre College
EMAIL: jhazlewood@branchescounselingcenter.com

Jenna Hazlewood is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She earned a Masters of Marriage and Family Therapy at Lipscomb University. She also holds a Bachelors degree in English with a minor in Psychology at Centre College. She is trained to work with individuals, couples, and families, and she uses an evidence-based approach to therapy that includes cognitive behavioral and attachment based interventions. She is passionate about working with adolescents, young adults, and women. Her specializations include: anxiety, relationship health, family issues, life transitions, and caregiver support. In her spare time, she enjoys playing tennis and golf, reading, and spending time with friends, family, and her Beagle.

She feels absolutely blessed to be part of a place that incorporates faith in your healing process. Branches is truly a special place to find healing and personal growth.

TAMMY JOHNSTON, MS

Counselor
Master of Science in Counseling Psychology and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, University of Southern Mississippi.
EMAIL: tjohnston@branchescounselingcenter.com

“I feel blessed to be a part of the Branches family and excited about seeing Branches grow in new locations.”

Tammy Johnston has over 18 years of experience in counseling with individuals, couples, and families. She enjoys working with clients of all ages, from children to senior adults. She delights in seeing people free themselves from past hurts and learning healthier coping skills to deal with the issues of life. Tammy believes that counseling can help clients begin to live the full lives that God intended for them to have. Tammy has been married to Jim for 32 years, and they have 2 sons. During her free time, Tammy enjoys cooking, reading, and going on adventures with her family!

CLAUDIA AVILA-LÓPEZ, LMSW

Licensed Master Social Worker
Masters in Clinical Social Work, UT Knoxville; EMDR trained clinician levels 1 & 2
EMAIL: clopez@branchescounselingcenter.com

Claudia is a social worker currently under supervision to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.  She enjoys working with individuals with trauma, depression, anxiety and other issues and is passionate about working with immigrants as she is an immigrant from Mexico herself. She speaks Spanish and English and works with Adults and youth. Claudia enjoys traveling with her husband and son as well as spending time with family and friends including her four legged son Marko the yorky dog.

Claudia will see clients in Murfreesboro and Mt. Juliet. Please indicate which office you prefer when making appointments.

DOUGLAS WILBUR, CMHC

Counselor
M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Antioch University; B.S. in Psychology from Middle Tennessee State University; EMDR Trained Clinician, Level 1
EMAIL: dwilbur@branchescounselingcenter.com

Douglas Wilbur earned a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Antioch University. He also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology where he minored in mental illness and social welfare. He is currently seeking licensure with the state of Tennessee as a Licensed Professional Counselor. Douglas enjoys working with populations from children to senior adults. He excels working with individuals who experience depression, anxiety, addiction, and other life issues and transitions. Douglas enjoys working in trauma and he is EMDR (level 1) trained so it is an area of passion of his and he utilizes his personal experience dealing with grief and loss to help others. In his spare time, he enjoys volunteering with hospice, watching sports, spending time with loved ones and playing with his dog.

Branches in Bedford County, Shelbyville, TN

KEVIN BOLTON, MA, MT-BC

Counselor
EMAIL: kbolton@branchescounselingcenter.com

Kevin Bolton, MA, MT-BC a native of West Virginia, received his Master’s degree in counseling from Trevecca Nazarene University in 2018. Kevin is an EMDR trained clinician with a desire to work with individuals who have experienced trauma and addiction. In addition, Kevin specializes in the use of music in counseling. Kevin received his Bachelor’s of Music in Music Therapy degree in 2003 from Radford University in Radford, VA and has been practicing music therapy for nearly 15 years. Kevin is excited to join the growing number of counselors that call Branches home. What he loves about Branches is that this is a place that combines the science of solid therapeutic techniques with the truth of the gospel.

JAN LAMB, MA

Counselor
EMAIL: jlamb@branchescounselingcenter.com

Jan is a native of Shelbyville, Tennessee. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and her Master’s degree in Professional Counseling from Liberty University. Jan is in the process of obtaining her license from the state as a Professional Counselor. She enjoys working with those who struggle with depression, anxiety, family struggles, and with children who are struggling. Jan loves the “family” atmosphere at Branches and the ability to share the love of God with clients.

MARY ANNA STEPANEK

Counselor
Masters in Social Work, University of Tennessee
EMAIL: mastepanek@branchescounselingcenter.com

Mary Anna Stepanek earned her Masters in Social Work with a concentration in Evidence Based Interpersonal Practice from The University of Tennessee’s Master in Science and Social Work Program. Mary Anna is working towards becoming certified in Clinical Social Work, as well as becoming a Registered Play Therapist. Mary Anna is passionate about advocating for children suffering with challenging life experiences, trauma, anxiety, depression, ADHD, and other mental health disorders. She enjoys utilizing the power of play as the main form of healing, as well as implementing sand tray techniques, expressive arts, psychoeducation, and more into her every day practice. In her spare time, Mary Anna enjoys traveling to new places, being outside, reading, and spending quality time with her friends, family, and lovable cat.

Our family of counselors at Branches Counseling Center