Meet the Team

594af41b76ccd-218x300.jpg

Liz Diaz, MA, NCC, LPC 

Clinical Director

Liz is an experienced mental health counselor who has been serving the emotional, behavioral, and social needs of families in the Atlanta area for over 10 years. 

Liz is a former early childhood educator who recognized the important role that a child’s social, mental, and emotional wellbeing has on his/her ability to succeed academically and in life. After years of teaching and successfully running preschool programs in the Atlanta area, Liz entered the field of social services and mental health counseling. Liz earned a Master’s of Arts from Argosy University in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and has dedicated years to working with children and families in the community. 

Liz has worked with adult participants of the Paulding and Bartow county drug court programs. She is experienced in working with teen substance abuse as a certified 7 Challenges facilitator (adolescent drug education program). She is also a certified anger management specialist and a facilitator of anger management groups. She has taught parenting classes throughout the community for over 10 years. Liz completed her internship at Safepath Children’s Advocacy Center where she gained experience working with children who have experienced trauma. She is trained in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Play Therapy.

Liz believes that we all strive to be our best self but sometimes life offers us challenges that cause us to stumble a bit along the way. She is dedicated to helping individuals get past those speedbumps of life and actualize their potential.

Specialty Areas
  • Bilingual Clinician – English/Spanish

  • Depression

  • Anxiety 

  • Relationship Difficulties

  • Life Transitions

  • Difficulties with Self-Esteem

  • Trauma

  • Professional/Career Issues

  • College/Graduate School Issues

  • Stress Management

  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

  • Sexual Abuse

  • Gender Identity Support

  • LGBT Counseling

  • Play Therapy for Children ages 3-18.

10447512_792081484165068_2799709146796223340_n_edited_edited.jpg

Afiya Yabuku, MA, NCC, LPC

Therapist

Afiya is a professional counselor in the Atlanta metropolitan area. She is a graduate of Argosy University, where she earned aMaster’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Afiya specializes in Play Therapy andExpressive Therapy. She is an Atlanta native and also works in the community to serve children, teens, and adults who may not otherwise have access to mental health services.

"I believe that therapy is all about unlocking the strength and potential that exists within each of us. As a counselor, my job is to motivate people to stand courageously in the truth of who they are. This principle guides the work I do with children, adults, and families. I serve clients utilizing Narrative, Play, and Expressive therapies."

​​

Specialty Areas

  • Depression

  • Anxiety 

  • Relationship Difficulties

  • Life Transitions

  • Difficulties with Self-Esteem

  • Professional/Career Issues

  • College/Graduate School Issues

  • Stress Management

  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

  • LGBT Counseling

  • Play therapy for Children Ages 3-18

unnamed-1.jpg

Jessica Noll, LMFT 

Therapist

Jessica graduated from Valdosta State University with a masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. While in Valdosta, she held an internship at the Children’s Advocacy Center working with children and teenagers who experienced different forms of abuse. 

 

After graduating, she returned to the Atlanta area where she worked at Devereux with teenagers jointly committed with DFACS and DJJ. Jessica eventually transitioned to work with teenagers at The Ridgeview Institute on the adolescent unit. An opportunity to work with adults arose, and she transitioned to working with adults on the inpatient psychiatric unit at The Ridgeview Institute. After working in multiple residential and inpatient mental health settings, Jessica transitioned to outpatient working with addiction and co-occurring mental illnesses. 

 

Jessica currently is the program director of an addiction program in Kennesaw, Georgia. She views problems from a systemic perspective. She feels that we are always connected in some fashion to everything and we are always in relationship with everything, whether healthy or unhealthy. Most importantly, we are always in a relationship with ourselves. Jessica strives to look at problems from a relational perspective and help you to create the life you want to live through changing the way you view the problem.

 

Specialty Areas:

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Family dynamics 

  • Addiction

  • Codependency

  • Suicidal Ideation

  • Stress Management 

  • Self Esteem

  • Relationships

Cheryl_headshotC2.JPG

Cheryl Dougherty, MA, NCC, LPC

Therapist

Growing up in a Christian family, Cheryl learned early in life to have faith, trust and believe.  These three values have guided and sustained her throughout life and enabled her to facilitate wellness and wholeness in many of the lives she’s touched as well as her own.

Cheryl holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Leadership Studies from Beulah Heights University and a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Argosy University-Atlanta.  She has worked in pastoral ministry for over 20 years and as a mentor to women for over 30 years.  In addition to Christian ministry where she mentored and gave counsel to couples (married and pre-marital counseling). Cheryl has also held  positions in corporate organizations and para church settings for the past 30 years where she engaged in leadership mentoring, social welfare and evangelism (without restriction to specific religious denominations). Cheryl views her assignments as marketplace ministry.

​Cheryl is a multiculturally aware counselor, working with diverse populations throughout her career.  She believes every life has a purpose and a God-given plan and she delights in facilitating processes for others to know and fulfill their purpose.  Theoretical orientations that influence her work are Cognitive Behavioral and Dialectical Behavior therapies with strength-based approaches in Narrative and Women therapies.

Specialty Areas:

  • Christian/Faith-based Counseling

  • Marriage/Couples 

  • Separation/Divorce

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • ADHD (Adolescents)

Unknown.jpeg

Paul Burkhalter, MA, NCC, APC

Therapist

Paul is a Licensed Associate Professional Counselor and earned his Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Denver Seminary in 2016. Paul also completed a 13 class program at the Denver Family Institute where he developed his skills in Marriage and Family Therapy. Paul has also been working in Addictions since 2019 and prior to his career in Professional Counseling was an Acoustic Engineer. Paul is originally from the Metro Atlanta area and enjoys sports, music, and cooking. Paul is passionate about helping clients build strong support both within the family and within the community. He also is passionate about helping confront and heal the underlying causes of addiction, whether it be anxiety, depression, grief, or one of the many other contributing factors that play into the development of substance abuse. 

Specialty Areas:

  • Substance Abuse

  • Couples Therapy

Paul is currently supervised by  Tara Towler, LPC, CPCS  and 

under the Clinical Direction of Liz Diaz, MA, LPC

Melissa Head Shot.JPG

Melissa Cervantes-Oporta, MS, APC

Therapist

Melissa is an Associate Professional Counselor in the Atlanta and Kennesaw area. She graduated from Capella University with a Master of Science in clinical psychology and a specialization in clinical counseling and sex therapy. During her internship, Melissa worked with individuals who were involved in the Pauling and Cobb County drug court for situations involving substance abuse, DUI and anger management. 

 

Melissa is a bilingual therapist (English/Spanish) who aims to provide a safe and welcoming environment to help others achieve self-growth. Melissa has worked with a variety of populations ranging from adolescents to seniors. She has primarily worked with individuals who are in recovery from addiction or family members who have someone in recovery. In addition to addiction and co-occurring disorders, Melissa is passionate about helping those in underserved communities and is an LGBTQ+ ally. 

 

Melissa is under the direction of Liz Diaz, MA, NCC, LPC 

Profile pic27102020_2.jpg

Joseph Pak, MSW

Therapist

Joseph graduated from the University of Georgia with a PhD in Counseling & Student Personnel Services. 

 

Joseph has worked as a professional school counselor and currently serves as a school social worker. He has experience working as a core provider providing home-based therapy services for children and their families involved with the Department of Juvenile Justice. In addition, he has served as a child welfare case manager in all program areas with the Department of Family and Children Services in various rural and suburban counties in Georgia. 

 

As a social worker, Joseph views growth areas from a systems perspective by examining the different systems such as family system, community and their impact it has on the individual. Joseph believes that therapy is about finding a good relational match. He enjoys working with children/adolescents and their families. Furthermore, he works well with immigrant families as they navigate acculturation and cultural differences. Lastly, Joseph appreciates working with college or post-college individuals on transitions and figuring out their purpose/values. 

 

 

Specialty Areas:

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Family dynamics

  • Addiction

  • Suicidal Ideation

  • Self-esteem

  • Relationship

Joseph is currently supervised by M. Warren Smith, LCSW and  Dale Spivey, LCSW.

Joseph is also under the Clinical Direction of Liz Diaz, MA, LPC

RiaPic.jpg

Ria B. Jones, MSW, TCTSY-F, RYT

Therapist

Ria (she/they) is a clinical social worker and trauma-sensitive yoga facilitator in the Atlanta metropolitan area. 

 

After several years of teaching yoga, Ria co-created an organization called The Person Next to You to serve marginalized folx healing from trauma through filmmaking and communal gatherings. Ria’s community work led her to observe a need for body-based treatment, combined with therapeutic support, in working with trauma survivors. She is a University of Georgia graduate with a Masters in Social Work  and an academic certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy. Ria is also a 200-Hour Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT200), a Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga facilitator (TCTSY-F), and trained under the teachings of Yoga For All, an accessible yoga school.

 

Her work experience includes providing support to communities impacted by natural and major disasters; therapeutic assistance to children, adolescents, and young adults recovering from eating disorders; offering expressive therapies (i.e. art, forest bathing, journaling, yoga, etc) to adult survivors of childhood sexual trauma; inpatient crisis support to adults with severe and persistent mental illness (i.e. schizophrenia and other mood disorders); and facilitating trauma-sensitive yoga to incarcerated male youth. 

 

Ria believes that although trauma tends to happen in the context of relationships so, too, does healing. While it is impossible to guarantee a completely safe space, she strives to create safer containers for folx to explore trauma recovery and overall healing.

 

Speciality Areas:

  • Trauma

  • Inner-child/Reparenting Counseling

  • LGBTQIA+ Counseling 

  • Gender Identity Support

  • Body Image Counseling

  • Adjustment/Stress Management 

  • Anxiety 


 

Ria is currently working at SPRIGS under the clinical direction of Liz Diaz, MA, NCC, LPC and supervision of Beth Palumbo, LCSW, RPT-S and Ruby Blow, MA, LPC, NCC, BCC, CPCS, ACS, BC-TMH.

profile pic.jpg

Vanay Butler

Therapist Intern

Vanay Butler is a certified Life Coach and an Intern at the Sprigs Counseling Collaborative. She has been in the Family Community Service field for over 10 years building positive parent child relationships and empowering women to never lose sight of their self or potential. Vanay is currently pursuing a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health to support individuals in identifying their highest values, strengths, and purpose. Vanay has a passion for those who have experienced a trial, partnering with them to transformation and successful outcomes.