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Tara Cothren, LPC & Forest, VA Location Practice Manager

     Tara is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Virginia with over nine years of experience working in various therapeutic settings. She completed her Masters of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Lynchburg College in 2012 and received a Bachelor's of Science degree from Liberty University in 2007

     Throughout the years, Tara has sought out specialized training in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) to address traumatic life events of children through young adults, and specialized basic training in Eye Movement Desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) to address a variety of presenting problems. These include processing traumatic life events, addressing problematic core beliefs which negatively impact daily life functioning, and instilling positive adaptive beliefs and methods of coping.

     Tara has also received specialized training in Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (ACRA) as well as skills training in the ASAM model (American Society of Addiction Medicine) to treat substance abuse issues with her clients. Other clinical interests include exploration of the connection between physical and mental health, and exploring the benefits of physical activity in decreasing anxiety and depression. She takes an individualized, person centered approach in working with children, adolescents, and adults in individual or group therapy settings. Currently, Tara is a member of the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (IAEDP) and is training under the supervision of Trish to become a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist (CEDS). 

Dr. Debbie Kleinsmith, Licensed Clinical Psychologist

      I received my undergraduate degree from Rutgers University, then attended Florida Institute of Technology for my masters and doctorate degrees in the field of clinical psychology. I later moved to Richmond, where I completed a one year internship in child and family therapy at the Virginia Treatment Center for Children. Afterwards, I worked in community mental health and at a residential treatment hospital for children dually diagnosed with medical and emotional difficulties.

     Forest became home to me in 1997, when I began working for Centra Health at Bridges Residential Treatment Center and part time at the student counseling center at Sweet Briar College. After having my second child, I chose to stay home and focus on raising my own children. Several years later, I began volunteering with Girls on the Run of Central Virginia, a non-profit organization, and fell in love with its positive approach to empowering school aged girls. For the next 7 years, I was employed at the Director of Development there and helped grow the program in Central Virginia. I truly enjoyed seeing the positive benefits for the girls, as well as the volunteer coaches, who often seemed as impacted by the program as the participants themselves.

     I am excited to work again in the clinical field. Drawing on my training, experience in inpatient, outpatient and residential settings, as well as my own life experience, I look forward to working individually with clients using cognitive behavioral approaches, positive psychology and mindfulness techniques to overcome depression, anxiety, grief, self-esteem issues and the many challenges that are an inevitable part of life.

“We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past. But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future.” 

Debra Crowder, LPC

     I attended and graduated from the University of Virginia when the student body was still predominantly male. Afterwards, I worked in business before spending time as a stay at home mom with my 3 now grown daughters.

     Following raising my daughters, I obtained my M. Ed. in Counseling from Lynchburg College and I have worked in community mental health for more than 10 years as a therapist and also clinical supervisor. I enjoy vegetable gardening in my spare time.

     My specialties include clients struggling with: Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety, Panic, Phobias, Trauma, Sexual and Physical Abuse, Autism/Asperger's, Grief. Loss and Separation. 

Jane Snider, LPC

     I am a Virginia Licensed Professional Counselor with fifty years of experience. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and then my Master’s degree in Counseling from James Madison University. I have worked in many different settings in Virginia, and have owned my own business for rehabilitation of individuals with traumatic brain injury.

     I am the mother of three grown children and grandmother to five children. My hobbies include loving cats, reading and swimming.

My specialties include clients struggling with anxiety and depression; traumatic brain injury; divorce, loss, illness and grief issues. I also enjoy working with families and adolescents. Over the many years of my practice I have continued to keep my “counseling tool box” refreshed with training in many new techniques, including EMDR for trauma related issues.

     I look forward to meeting you!

Adam Cothren, LPC

     Since 2005 I have enjoyed working in various mental health treatment settings including Emergency mental health treatment, residential, and community mental health agencies. I am currently accepting clients for individual outpatient counseling. Over the past year I was fortunate enough to provide therapy at Sweet Briar College as part of their mental health and wellness program. I have always valued the therapeutic relationship formed with clients, and utilize a client-centered approach and a safe, non-judgmental therapeutic environment.

     I have a certification in Adolescent Community Rehabilitation Approach for treating substance abuse and other mental health issues, I have specialized training in Motivational Interviewing, Intensive Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I am originally from the Philadelphia area, transplanted into Lynchburg since 2007. I am a semi-retired musician, love buying records, spending time with my wife and beloved dog Gibson and suffering through seasons with the Eagles.

Dr. Sandra Noble, PhD, LPC, NCC,CCTP

(Empower Wellness, PC location) 

Hello and welcome- I am so glad that you are here! I seek to come alongside each client and provide a safe, empowering, and authentic environment for you to heal, learn, and grow. I consider it an honor to work as a Licensed Professional Counselor with those struggling with concerns such as eating disorders and disordered eating, body dysmorphia and body image challenges, trauma history, identity development, depression, and anxiety. I work with each client to identify goals that are important for you, but my overarching goals for my work with all clients include providing hope and helping you develop a more loving and compassionate relationship with yourself and your body. I recently completed my doctoral degree and focused my research on developing embodiment-based creative interventions for eating disorders, and I love integrating these approaches into clinical work! I have also presented on these concepts at national, state, and regional professional conferences.

My work in the mental health field started with working in a residential setting in 2009, and since that time I have worked with individuals, families, and groups of all ages in outpatient and acute inpatient settings. I am trained in the Embodied Recovery for Eating Disorders (ERED) model and am an Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) trained therapist. I use a client-centered therapy framework and integrate practical and evidence-based concepts from cognitive, dialectical behavioral, existential, and attachment-focused therapies. I am a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP), a National Certified Counselor (NCC), and am currently completing my certification as a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist (CEDS). Outside of the office, I can usually be found exploring new places, connecting on my yoga mat, or chasing after my sweet and spunky pup, Bailey. I look forward to connecting with you and helping you discover a more connected and embodied life!

“Owning our story- and loving ourselves through that process- is the bravest thing we’ll ever do” -Brene Brown 

    Carrie Wamsley, LPC (Empower Wellness, PC location) 


     Hi I’m Carrie! I’m a Licensed Professional Counselor, but you might also call me a confidant or a wellness coach. With 10+ years of counseling experience, I’ve had the privilege to work in various levels of care such as inpatient, residential, crisis counseling, community-based services, outpatient counseling & more. I understand that the road to finding wellness and recovery can seem overwhelming. My goal as your Counselor is to create a safe space for you on your journey. I want you to feel comfortable sharing your discomfort with me so instead of just coaching you from the other side, I can be there with you. I’m here to remind you you’re not alone.

     I work with people who seek clarity, peace, and long to live a balanced and whole life. Some clients I work with struggle with eating disorders, mood disorders like anxiety or depression, trauma & more. No matter what you’re struggling with, we’ll work together to find the best method that works for you.

     My approach to counseling is all about you – you get to guide the process. Each client is unique, so I’ll tailor your counseling experience based on my educated expertise and let you lead the process. I recognize that you know yourself better than anyone else. I offer an eclectic approach based on your needs, whether its trauma informed, cognitive or dialectical therapy, or something else. We’ll work together so you have everything you need as you heal.

     I’ve seen the effects of mental health firsthand, so I want to help you in your journey to finding balance and feeling empowered. Seeking help in a society that stigmatizes mental health may seem intimidating, but I’m here to tell you that taking the first step is a brave and courageous thing to do.

     You have everything that you need to heal inside of you, and I’m excited to work together so you can discover your potential. Let’s talk.


Kim Epperly, LPC 

     I am a Virginia Licensed Professional Counselor with 20 years of experience. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology/Special Education from Lynchburg College in 1999 and my Master’s in Professional Counseling from Liberty University in 2014. I have worked in various types of therapeutic settings from In-patient hospitalization for children and teens to providing Crisis se​rvices for children and teens to providing Outpatient therapy for adults, children and teens who suffering with a variety of mental health needs.

     My specialties include clients who struggle with Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Sexual abuse and grief/loss. My passion is working with women and teenage girls who have suffered trauma through healing and accompanying them on their journey toward wholeness

Gwen Seiler, Resident In Counseling 

     My career background before pursuing my Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling was as a Registered Nurse and then as executive director of a nonprofit ministry for women dealing with Eating Disorders and more. I also helped organize and lead the Empowered Families Group here at Empower Counseling, PC to educate and support family members of those with an eating disorder.

     When assessing a client I try to take in the whole person, body, mind, and spirit, considering how each of these components is impacting the others. If a client chooses, I am willing to incorporate Christian faith-based counseling, in addition to a mix of therapeutic approaches, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Strengths-Based, Person-Centered, Gestalt, and more. I also provide couples counseling. 

     I have been married for 34 years and we have three grown daughters (two of whom are married), one grandchild, and two doodle-pups. I love watching sunrises and sunsets especially over mountains and beaches, traveling, horseback riding, exploring, and spending time with those I love.


 Carley Marcouillier, LPC


     Carley holds a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and recently earned the title Licensed Professional Counselor. Within the past 6 years, Carley has worked with various ages and contexts providing mental health care including residential treatment, community mental health services, crisis response, out-patient counseling, and foster care supportive services. Her experience includes working with depression, anxiety, trauma, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, sexual development, relationship/family conflicts, identity development, and Christian counseling. Carley’s approach to the counseling process is holistic and founded on a client-centered framework. She is passionate about supporting her clients in pursuing healing by embracing the power of their own stories. Carley enjoys utilizing various techniques within the therapy per client’s interests such as music, art, and evidence-based therapies (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy). She has received training in integrative medicine of mental health disorders, motivational interviewing techniques, and neuroscience for clinical practice. Carley also provides faith-integrated counseling when requested. 

Sara Goins, LPC 

      Hello! I am a licensed professional counselor with 10 years of experience serving Lynchburg and the surrounding counties. During that time, I have worked with children and adolescents in the public-school setting, youth in detention and in the foster care setting, young adults in the college setting, and adults in the community setting. I have worked with individuals with anxiety, depression, bipolar, trauma, anger issues, self-esteem issues and more. I have also worked with youth with substance related issues. I have been trained in multiple treatment modalities such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Assertive Community Reinforcement Approach (A-CRA), Motivational Interviewing (MI) and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT).

     As a therapist, my primary goal is to make sure that treatment is client-centered. This means that you are the main focus of therapy! I aim to ensure that therapy sessions are tailored to each client so that the individual can feel comfortable, supported, heard, accepted, and most of all-ready to grow. Another way that I tailor sessions to fit each client is by integrating the client’s strengths and interests into sessions (art, writing, crafting, games, music). One of my favorite things to integrate into session (when appropriate) is humor! I love to laugh!

     Overall, my goal is to provide non-judgmental support and to walk along side of my clients during the highs and the lows that may come during the therapy journey. I consider it an honor to be able to walk with my clients, to hear their stories, and to see them grow.  

Ryan Smith, LPC 

Ryan grew up in Lynchburg and completed her BS in Psychology at Virginia Tech in 2003. She worked in various business and project management positions before realizing therapy is her true calling. She returned to school and completed her MA in Professional Counseling at Liberty University in 2012.

She's a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Virginia and has been working in the field for the last 9 years. She's passionate about serving kids and their parents and has additional training in Collaborative Problem Solving, an intervention style that guides parents in effectively supporting their children out of their challenging behavior. Ryan's also currently enrolled in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) training. Her other clinical interests include Anxiety, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Stress-Related Disorders, Schizophrenia, Borderline Personality Disorder, assertiveness training and self-esteem building, and co-parenting relationships. Ryan uses a person-centered, solution focused approach, values the therapeutic relationship, and is adamant about creating a safe, non-judgmental space for healing.

She is an approved supervisor with the VA Board of Counseling and enjoys working with graduate student interns and counseling residents. In her free time, Ryan loves to go swimming, snuggling up with a good book and her two Chihuahuas Gertie and Myrtle, and taking her nieces and nephew on adventures. 

Lina Ramirez, Counseling Intern-(Empower Wellness, PC location) 

Lina holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Los Andes University and is currently completing her M.A in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Liberty University. She plans on pursuing licensure as a professional counselor upon graduation. Born and raised in Colombia, South America, Lina provides bilingual services (Spanish & English) and always looks to integrate a diverse and multicultural approach to counseling. She is committed and passionate about walking alongside clients in their journey towards seeking answers, purpose, healing, and long-lasting freedom in whichever areas they may be struggling in. Lina strives to provide a safe, nonjudgmental and client - centered approach where you will feel comfortable sharing at your own pace and get to decide what works best for you. She invites clients to experience the counseling relationship as a conduit for personal awareness, transformation, and growth.

Previously, Lina worked for a nonprofit organization that provided aid to women who found themselves in patterns of domestic violence. As a result, she has developed a passion for working and meeting women of all ages, backgrounds and walks of life right where they are at. She has had the privilege of providing services for individuals struggling with depression, anxiety, self-esteem, and body image. She is also passionate about working with topics related to disordered eating, life transitions, women’s issues, migration and cultural adjustments, among others. Lina draws from different therapeutic approaches including Mindfulness, Acceptance and Commitment therapy, Existentialism and Cognitive Behavioral, always prioritizing client’s needs and personal desires. She may also incorporate faith-integrated counseling upon client’s request.

In her free time, Lina enjoys reading, journaling, water coloring, playing tennis, dog sitting and spending time with family and friends. Her all-time favorite activity is sunset/sunrise watching. 

Ann Cotton, LCSW 

(Empower Wellness, PC Location & Telehealth) 

Hello / Hola / Salut!

I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and I grew up in beautiful rural Ontario, Canada. I lived in Mexico, Spain, and South Korea, before moving to North Carolina for several years. I received my Master of Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and came to Central Virginia a few years ago. I have been working in the mental health/social work field for about 6 years. I have training and experience in Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Motivational Interviewing, trauma focused therapy, mindfulness, and others. I have worked with children, teens, adults, and families in a variety of settings. In addition to seeing therapy clients at Empower Counseling, I am the Behavioral Health Care Coordinator at Lynchburg Pediatrics.

I feel honored to work with a wide variety of people and families. I am particularly passionate about working with teens, young adults, adults, LGBTQ+ individuals, Spanish speaking clients, and those struggling with anxiety, depression, self-esteem, family dynamics, relationships, life transitions, and spirituality.

I believe that willingness and commitment to engage in psychotherapy can and should be one of the most empowering experiences a person can have. I delight in collaborating with others along their journey to help them achieve their goals.

Being outdoors is my favorite place to be. I love laughing and making others laugh, eating good food, speaking Spanish, traveling, meeting new people, and hanging out with my little family.

I also love learning and am always researching new therapy modalities to ensure that I provide my clients with the most current and evidence-based techniques.

Renee Anderson, LPC 

Coming soon-Telehealth Counselor 

In my experience, I have found that even times of crisis can be opportunities for growth.

I earned an MA in Agency Counseling from Gardner-Webb University and am a Licensed Professional Counselor in Virginia and North Carolina. I have twenty-five years of diverse experience, largely in medical settings.

I have worked with ages four to ninety-nine in inpatient, outpatient, emergency, partial hospitalization and community settings, treating individuals and groups for eating disorders, addiction, anxiety, depression, trauma, grief, crisis, life transitions, sexual reactivity and severe persistent mental illness. I have also worked in child protection and foster care.

I believe that in counseling one size does not fit all. Although my primary model is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, I utilize other modalities as appropriate to your situation.

I am also trained in Healing Touch and have special interests in mindfulness, guided meditation, sports performance, and integration of music and therapy.

In my spare time, I tend my chickens and enjoy my 20-year-old cat.