About Us

Sechel Ventures Partners LLC owns and operates CounselingSchools.com, which publishes guides to education and state licensure in counseling careers, as well as interviews with professionals in the mental health community and other resources. The mission of Sechel is to provide authoritative, well-researched content that helps prospective students find degree programs, certification information, and first-hand accounts of the daily lives of healthcare workers—especially in growing careers.

Please contact us with any corrections or ideas for content you’d like to see. Thank you.

Jocelyn Blore

Jocelyn Blore

Writer, Editor, Chief Content Strategist

Jocelyn Blore is the chief content officer of Sechel Ventures and the co-author of the Women Breaking Barriers series. She graduated summa cum laude from UC Berkeley and traveled the world for five years. She also worked as an addiction specialist for two years in San Francisco. She’s interested in how culture shapes individuals and systems within societies—one of the many themes she writes about in her blog, Blore’s Razor (Instagram: @bloresrazor). She has served as managing editor for several healthcare websites since 2015.

Seth Restaino

Seth Restaino

Co-Founder, Sechel Ventures

Seth Restaino co-founded a web design and development company in 1996, the predecessor to Sechel Ventures, and sold it in 2004. He devoted the next several years of his professional career to educational web publishing and software consulting. In 2013, he co-founded Sechel Ventures, where he wears many hats, including production and engineering. He continues to work across several healthcare and education sites.

Barry Franklin

Barry Franklin

Co-Founder, Sechel Ventures

Before co-founding Sechel Ventures Partners LLC, Barry Franklin was a VP at a Silicon Valley software company. He is an investor and advisor for DataSimply and Impellia. Barry believes that education and lifelong learning are paramount. Barry met his wife at Carnegie Mellon University and they have two beautiful daughters. He also volunteers for various committees at his kids’ high school.

Alex Stitt, LMHC

Alex Stitt, LMHC

Writer & Contributing Expert

Alex Stitt is a nonbinary author, queer theorist, and licensed mental health counselor living in Hawaii. As a proud Queer Counselor, they work to educate professionals in the mental health field interested in working with LGBTQ+ populations. Their textbook, ACT for Gender Identity: The Comprehensive Guide, demonstrates how to apply Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to gender self-actualization.

Becca Brewer

Becca Brewer

Writer

Becca Brewer is building a better future on a thriving earth by fostering healing, human wholeness, and next-world building through storytelling help, one-on-one self-awareness workshops, and customized team-alignment sessions. She offers these services at a rate of $0.00 to anyone interested (contact her at rkbrewer@gmail.com for more information). Previously to her journey as an adventurer for a just, meaningful, and regenerative world, Becca was a formally trained sexuality educator with a master of education.

Bree Nicolello

Bree Nicolello

Writer

Bree Nicolello is an urban planner and freelance writer based in Seattle, WA. She has worked on land use and housing policy issues throughout the Pacific Northwest. She previously led Run Oregon Run, a nonprofit dedicated to helping Oregonians run for office and apply to boards and commissions. When not writing, she is lovingly tending to her cast iron

Catherine Mosley

Catherine Mosley

Catherine Chapman Mosley is a writer living in central Virginia. She’s written extensively on healthcare topics for various outlets and also works full-time in communications, marketing, and community engagement—areas in which she has nearly three decades of experience in various industries. She is the proud parent of a son who is focused on a healthcare career and often seeks his editing help.

Cevia Yellin

Cevia Yellin

Writer

Cevia Yellin is a freelance writer based in Eugene, Oregon. She studied English and French literature as an undergraduate. After serving two years as an AmeriCorps volunteer, she earned her master of arts in teaching English to speakers of other languages. Cevia’s travels and experiences working with students of diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds have contributed to her interest in the forces that shape identity. She grew up on the edge of Philadelphia, where her mom still lives in her childhood home.

Farheen Gani

Farheen Gani

Writer

Farheen Gani is a freelance writer, marketer, and researcher. She writes about healthcare, technology, education, and marketing. Her work has appeared on websites such as Tech in Asia and Foundr, as well as top SaaS blogs such as Zapier and InVision. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter (@FarheenGani).

Kenneth Parker

Kenneth Parker

Writer

Kenneth Parker is a feature writer, poet, and musician living in the Pacific Northwest. His writing on healthcare, remote work, education, and technology has been published widely. His poetry, short fiction, and album reviews have appeared in Scifaikuest, Nanoism, and No Clean Singing. His background includes time spent as an associate editor, proofreader, private grammar instructor, freelance content editor, medical claims agent, and SEO consultant. He is a graduate of the University of Oregon, where he studied literature and worked as a composition tutor.

Kimmy Gustafson

Kimmy Gustafson

Writer

Kimmy Gustafson is a freelance writer with extensive experience writing about counseling careers and education. She has worked in public health, at health-focused nonprofits, and as a Spanish interpreter for doctor’s offices and hospitals. She has a passion for learning and that drives her to stay up to date on the latest trends in healthcare. When not writing or researching, she can be found pursuing her passions of nutrition and an active outdoors lifestyle.

Lisa Hutchison, LMHC

Lisa Hutchison, LMHC

Writer & Contributing Expert

Lisa Hutchison, LMHC, is a licensed mental health counselor for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She works for professionals who want to treat and prevent compassion fatigue. With over 18 years of psychotherapy experience, she helps her clients assert themselves, set boundaries, and increase their coping skills. Her specialty is decreasing stress, anxiety, and depression while increasing realistic methods of self-care for those who help others. Ms. Hutchison’s psychological advice has been featured in Reader’s Digest and the Huffington Post. Her articles have been published in numerous magazines, including Grief Digest and Today’s Caregiver.

Lisa is the bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and a faculty member writer for NetCE. Her latest continuing education unit publication is “Setting Ethical Limits for Caring and Competent Professionals.” She has taught creative writing in colleges and presented on boundaries for the compassionate helper; the use of expressive art to heal grief, anxiety, and depression; inspirational and motivational topics; and creative writing techniques.

Matt Zbrog

Matt Zbrog

Writer

Matt Zbrog is a writer and researcher from Southern California, and he believes a strong society demands a stronger mental health system. Since early 2018, he’s written extensively about emerging topics in counseling, research, and healthcare education. Drawing upon interviews with hospital CEOs, healthcare professionals, professors, and advocacy groups, his writing and research are focused on learning from those who know the subject best.

Melissa DeCapua, DNP

Melissa DeCapua, DNP

Writer

Dr. Melissa DeCapua is a nurse practitioner working at Microsoft on organizational behavior and culture change. She began her career in psychiatry and fine arts, and these skills fuel her passion for user experience (UX): building programs, conducting qualitative research, and designing services. By night, she continues to advocate for nurses through lobbying efforts, blogging, and volunteering. For more about Melissa, check out her website and follow her on LinkedIn and Twitter (@melissadecapua).

Nina Chamlou

Nina Chamlou

Writer

Nina Chamlou is a freelance writer from Portland, OR. She writes about healthcare, psychology, economic trends, business, technology, digitization, supply chains, education, aviation, and travel. You can find her floating around the Pacific Northwest in diners and coffee shops, or traveling abroad, studying the locale from behind her MacBook. Visit her personal website at NinaChamlou.com.

Rachel Drummond

Rachel Drummond

Writer

Rachel Drummond is a freelance writer, educator, and yogini from Oregon. She’s taught English to international university students in the United States and Japan for more than a decade and has a master’s degree in education from the University of Oregon. A dedicated Ashtanga yoga practitioner, Rachel is interested in exploring the nuanced philosophical aspects of contemplative physical practices and how they apply in daily life. She writes about this topic among others on her blog (Instagram: @racheldrummondyoga).

Vanessa Salvia

Vanessa Salvia

Writer

Vanessa Salvia is an Oregon-based freelance writer and editor with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. As fun as rigorous studies in math and science were, Vanessa took an independent path and developed a prolific career covering lifestyle and healthcare topics for magazines and newspapers, important industries such as concrete construction and building waterproofing, and even hard science. You can get in touch at Sage Media and Marketing.

Experts Interviewed on CounselingSchools.com

Ann Shillingford-Butler, PhD

Ann Shillingford-Butler, PhD

Dr. M. Ann Shillingford-Butler is an associate professor of counselor education at the University of Central Florida (UCF), where she also serves as coordinator of the counselor education PhD program. She received her master of education in guidance and counseling from Bowie State University, and her PhD in counselor education from UCF.

Prior to joining academia, Dr. Shillingford-Butler accrued several years of professional experience as a school counselor in Maryland and Florida. Her current interests focus on exploring ways of deconstructing the educational, social, and health disparities among marginalized communities. She also serves as coordinator for the UCF National Holmes Scholar program (NHS), a mentoring program that supports students from underrepresented groups in higher education. Her co-edited book, The Journey Unraveled: College and Career Readiness of African American Students, was published in 2015.

Candice Hargons, PhD

Candice Hargons, PhD

Dr. Candice Hargons is an associate professor of counseling psychology at the University of Kentucky and a licensed clinical psychologist. Her academic work entails the study of sex, social justice, and leadership, while her clinical practice focuses on healing racial trauma and sex therapy.

As the director of the RISE^2 Research Team and the Center for Healing Racial Trauma, Dr. Hargons approaches all of her work with a love ethic, defined by bell hooks as “the right for everyone to live fully and well.”

Dr. Hargons’ most recent scholarly work, addressing how Black students at a predominantly white college in the southeast define racial trauma, was published in Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology in 2021. Her numerous honors and awards include the Outstanding Contribution to Scholarship on Race and Ethnicity Award (2018) from the Society of Counseling Psychology Section on Ethnic & Racial Diversity.

Chris Sautter

Chris Sautter

Chris Sautter is a community engagement, nonprofit and social impact professional with a long history with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado (BBBSC). Sautter began as a BBBSC community-based volunteer in 2000 and mentored three “Little Brothers” over a 17-year period. He took on a professional role with BBBSC as program manager of the Big Literacy Corps AmeriCorps Program in 2000 and then moved on to serve as manager of recruitment and community outreach from 2006 to 2010. He assumed a leadership position as vice president of programs in March of 2020.

A strong advocate for volunteer and community service, Sautter is on the board of civil rights and social action organization Community Shares of Colorado and is a member of the selection committee for the Merkle Scholarship Program for The Denver Foundation. He completed two terms of service with AmeriCorps (1999-2001): one in his home state of Nebraska and the other in Colorado where he has lived ever since.

Cristina Leal

Cristina Leal

Cristina Leal is a tenure track professor of child development at Mission College. She teaches courses in child and adolescent development, psychology, education and family studies from a cultural perspective. She has been teaching undergraduates to approach learning and teaching using a cultural lens for the past 14 years.

She is currently a PhD candidate in Developmental and Psychological Sciences at Stanford University as well as a counseling psychology graduate student, working towards licensure as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) with an emphasis on Latinx families. She earned her MA at Stanford University.

As an immigrant and former migrant student and English language learner, she is particularly interested in studying ethnic/racial identity and the protective effects of dual cultural socialization within family systems. She is currently conducting research on the effects of microaggressions and racism on the mental and physical health of emerging adults.

Damon Ashworth, DPsych

Damon Ashworth, DPsych

Dr. Damon Ashworth is a clinical psychologist with over eight years of experience based in Melbourne, Australia. He completed a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology at Monash University and a bachelor of behavioural sciences and a bachelor of psychological science with honours at La Trobe University. His doctoral research was a randomized clinical trial that significantly reduced insomnia and depression severity in participants using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for insomnia.

Dr. Ashworth practices mostly from a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy framework, but also utilizes Existential, Psychodynamic, Interpersonal, Humanistic, and Positive Psychology principles where clients will benefit from such approaches.

David Longmire, LMHC

David Longmire, LMHC

David Longmire came out and moved to New York City in his 20s, just after the Stonewall riots of 1969, which launched a new era of resistance and revolution within the LGBTQ+ community in the U.S. He was a longtime member of the Gay Activists Alliance and of Gay and Lesbian Independent Democrats. He has been a member of Identity House since the 1970s.

Longmire holds an MA in special education from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree from Yale University’s school of music. He has been in private practice since 1996, treating members of the LGBTQ+ community, providing couple’s counseling, therapy for artists and creatives, life purpose coaching, and therapy for trauma healing and resolution.

Donna Oriowo, PhD

Donna Oriowo, PhD

Dr. Donna Oriowo is the owner of and lead therapist at AnnodRight, LLC, a woman-focused sex therapy and education practice operating out of Capitol Heights, Maryland. She provides sex therapy focused on how colorism and texturism show up in the relationships and sex lives of black women.

Dr. Oriowo began her formalized training in mental health by earning a BS in psychology at the nation’s premier HBCU, Morgan State University, in Baltimore, Maryland. In 2012, Dr. Oriowo earned a dual master’s in clinical social work and human sexuality education at Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania, and went on to earn her PhD in human sexuality at Widener in 2016.

As an AASECT-certified sex therapist, Dr. Oriowo is committed to making AASECT a better place for people of color. Dr. Oriowo currently serves as the chair of the Communications Committee and chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee for AASECT. In addition to her work in sex therapy, Dr. Oriowo is an author, educator, and keynote speaker, with speaking credits that include the National Sex Ed Conference.

Eric Sparks, EdD

Eric Sparks, EdD

Dr. Eric Sparks is Deputy Executive Director for the American School Counselor Association (ASCA). He earned his master’s of education (MEd) in school counseling from North Carolina State University, and his doctorate of education (EdD) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Sparks previously served as a high school counselor and as Director of School Counseling for the Wake County Public School System in North Carolina.

Jacquelyn C.A. Meshelemiah, PhD

Jacquelyn C.A. Meshelemiah, PhD

Dr. Jacquelyn C.A. Meshelemiah is a Licensed Social Worker (LSW), as well as an associate professor and three-time alum of The Ohio State University. She earned her BSSW, MSW, and PhD from the College of Social Work. She has been an assistant professor and an associate professor in social work, teaching courses at the BSSW, MSW, and PhD levels She also serves as the Associate Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion at the university.

In 2013, she taught an interactive Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Human Trafficking for a global audience of 30,200 students from 187 nations. She is also the former Chair of the Board of Rahab’s Hideaway, a safe-haven for at-risk and/or survivors of human trafficking.

Joel Miller, MS Ed

Joel Miller, MS Ed

Joel Miller is the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA), where he leads over 7,200 clinical mental health counselors (CMHCs) on the mission to enhance the mental health counseling profession through advocacy, professional development, education and licensing. He is the publisher of AMHCA’s Journal of Mental Health Counseling (JMHC) and its Advocate newsletter, and also serves as a member of the AMHCA Foundation Board of Directors.

Miller has held previous positions at the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). He has published over 50 articles and reports on behavioral health and healthcare delivery and financing, new delivery models aimed at integrating mental health and physical health, healthcare reform strategies, Medicare and Medicaid policy, health workforce issues, and information technology implementation.

Kirk Honda, PsyD

Kirk Honda, PsyD

Dr. Kirk Honda, a marriage and family therapist based in Seattle, has 25 years of experience working with couples, families and individuals on issues like personality disorders, trauma recovery, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, domestic violence, among other issues. He is also the host of the “Psychology in Seattle” podcast and a professor within the School of Applied Psychology at Antioch University.

Burnout is something that Dr. Honda helps his supervisees and students tackle on a regular basis, but with the limitations of social distancing, certain remedies Dr. Honda would recommend for de-stressing are no longer on the table.

Michael Roberts, OTD

Michael Roberts, OTD

Dr. Michael Roberts is the program director of Regis College’s Occupational Therapy Master’s Degree Program and the host of the I Love OT Podcast. He graduated from the occupational therapy program at Tufts University in 1994. Since then, he’s worked in short-term rehab, long-term acute care hospitals, inpatient rehab, hospitals, and home care.

Over the years, he has also taught at the University of New England, Lasell College, and held the position of academic fieldwork coordinator at his alma mater from 2008 to 2015. He left that role to start the OT program at Regis College and has been the founding director ever since.

Dr. Roberts’ current research is focused on outcomes in fieldwork performance and the practice of academic fieldwork coordination. His past research was focused on the use of next-generation gaming consoles (Nintendo Wii) for health and wellness purposes.

Mylea Charvat, PhD

Mylea Charvat, PhD

Dr. Mylea Charvat is the CEO and founder of Savonix, a digital cognitive assessment company. She completed her PhD fellowship training in clinical psychology and neuroscience at Stanford University School of Medicine, a clinical internship at Napa State Hospital, a doctorate in clinical health psychology from Palo Alto University, and a BGS in psychology from the University of Kansas.

Dr. Charvat has authored peer-reviewed publications on mental health and neuroimaging; written for Psychology Today, TechCrunch, and The Huffington Post; and been a lecturer at Stanford University, the University of San Francisco, and San Francisco State University.

Nikki Pagano, LCSW

Nikki Pagano, LCSW

Nikki Pagano is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) at BASE Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, a mental health private practice based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Pagano previously worked at the Columbia Center for Eating Disorders at New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI) as the Director of Adolescent Eating Disorder Services. During her time there, she helped co-author preparED, a free, online eating disorders education program for the next generation of clinicians.

Pagano gained her master of science in social work at Columbia University School of Social Work in New York and her bachelor of arts in economics from Davidson College in North Carolina.

Ronald Riggio, PhD

Ronald Riggio, PhD

Dr. Ronald Riggio is a professor of leadership and organizational psychology and former director of the Kravis Leadership Institute at Claremont McKenna College. He’s a regular contributor to Psychology Today and has written over 150 books, book chapters, and research articles in the fields of leadership, assessment centers, and organizational and social psychology.

His most recent book, published in 2020, is Daily Leadership Development: 365 Steps to Becoming a Better Leader. It features best practices in leadership grounded in research and offers self-assessments to develop leadership skills.