Meet the Team

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Liz Diaz, MA, NCC, LPC 

Therapist

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.

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Afiya Yabuku, MA, NCC, LPC

Therapist

Clinical Director

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."

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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

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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

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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 

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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

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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.

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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.