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The Lakeland Compassion Team

The Lakeland Compassion Team is made up of a group of amazingly talented and compassionate individuals that serve the Lakeland community and its surrounding areas. They practice as Licensed Mental Health Counselors, Licensed Social Workers, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, Licensed Registered State Interns, and Professional Life Coaches. Our Team Core Beliefs are grounded in prioritizing God, Family, and Self-Care before service to ensure that our professionals are at their best emotionally and spiritually within their personal lives so that they can provide the highest quality of care for our clients. Our Lakeland Compassion team engages in continued professional development throughout the year to stay up to date on effective intervention strategies for improving the mental health of our clients.

Thomia Thompson, LHMC

Assistant Clinical Director. In-Office & Telehealth. 

Thomia "Mia" has over a decade of counseling experience and brings to counseling a cross section of her experiences in Christian ministry, education and the business sectors. As a licensed mental health counselor and Christian Life Coach, Mia is deeply committed to aiding individuals and families in navigating life's challenges.

Utilizing a blend of Biblically Informed care and therapeutic strategies such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Trauma-Focused CBT, Play Therapy, and more, Mia offers compassionate guidance to address a range of issues faced by children, adolescents, adults, and families.

Mia's expertise extends to couples counseling, where she is certified in SYMBIS and Level 2 Gottman Couples therapy, aiding couples in restoring and enriching their connections. Moreover, she specializes in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART), highly effective interventions for trauma, anxiety, depression, and various mental health conditions.

In her role as the assistant clinical director of Renewed Integrative Counseling, Mia leads the Riverview Office Team and provides support to all Site Leads within the practice. Whether you're grappling with life transitions, grief, marital challenges, family dynamics, academic stressors, or career aspirations, Mia offers steadfast support and practical solutions to empower you on your journey to healing and growth.

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Sarah Stowe, R-MHCI

Licensed Therapist Intern. In-Office & Telehealth.

Sarah is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern who desires to help her clients find hope and healing through the use of evidence-based practices and Biblical insight. She creates a collaborative and client-centered experience for her clients, tailoring each session to meet their individual needs. Sarah’s experience in community mental health has allowed her to support adolescents, adults, and families through a trauma-informed lens. She specializes in the treatment of anxiety and mood disorders, anger management, depression, trauma, social issues, and relationships.
 
Sarah utilizes therapeutic modalities and interventions including Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Trauma-Focuses Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, mindfulness interventions, and Christian Counseling. She is passionate about creating a safe space that will allow her clients to feel comfortable and supported as they begin their journey towards healing.

Joy Spears, R-CSWI

Licensed Therapist Intern. In-Office & Telehealth.

Joy is a dedicated and compassionate licensed clinical social work intern, bringing a wealth of experience to our therapeutic community. She holds a master’s degree in clinical social work from Southeastern University and has been serving in the clinical counseling field for two years, complemented by a lifetime of international missions ministry involvement.
 
She gracefully serves as a Christian counselor, specializing in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for individuals across the age spectrum – children, teens, and adults alike. Her approach is rooted in empathy, understanding, and a commitment to fostering positive change. Joy is passionate about helping individuals navigate life's challenges and find renewed strength and purpose.
 
Joy can help you on this journey of self-discovery and growth. Together, you can navigate the path toward healing and renewal.

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Mary Flug, B.S.

Student Therapist Intern. In-Office & Telehealth.

"Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story, whom he has redeemed from trouble."
- Psalm 107:2

Mary is a Supervised Student Intern expected to complete her Master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling by December 2024 through Liberty University.  Mary is dedicated to supporting individuals on their journey towards emotional and mental well-being. She is passionate about exploring each client’s story and assisting in navigating life’s challenges and finding true freedom. She provides a safe environment where thoughts, feelings, and concerns can be shared. Mary’s therapeutic process entails a collaborative approach to creating a personalized treatment plan that meets unique needs. With her training, she incorporates various techniques with an emphasis on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy while understanding thoughts and emotions and working towards developing healthier patterns. Above all, she is committed to showing the parallels of each client’s story and how they align with God’s bigger and brighter redemption story. 

Jalae Gatewood, R-CSWI

Licensed Therapist Intern. In-Office & Telehealth.

Jalae is a Registered Clinical Social Work Intern with a master's degree from Southeastern University. As a compassionate mental health provider, Jalae provides a patient-centered and strengths-based approach to empower her clients. With expertise in crisis intervention, her top priority is ensuring the safety and comfort of those she serves. Jalae blends psychoeducation and a biblical perspective to foster holistic understanding, addressing both biochemical and spiritual aspects of self.  Utilizing evidence-based practices such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Gottman Method for couples, Motivational Interviewing, and mindfulness techniques, Jalae guides clients of all ages toward their therapeutic goals. 
 
Jalae’s expertise extends to helping individuals and families navigate various life transitions and challenges. While working with Jalae in a therapeutic session, expect a warm welcome and a nurturing environment to explore and heal.

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Miah Bennett, MSW

Licensed Therapist Intern. In-Office & Telehealth.

Miah is a Registered Clinical Social Work Intern with a Master’s in social work from Southeastern University. She has experience in various areas and specializes in working with children through young adults. Miah takes a client-centered and strengths-based perspective while blending Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Biblical truth. Her background includes, but is not limited to, working with foster kids and crisis intervention/prevention in a Baker Act facility. Miah aims to make her clients feel safe and comfortable showing up for therapy as they are. Her goal is to create a welcoming space where clients feel that they can be authentic while exploring their unique God-given story. Miah empowers her clients to see themselves as God sees them - worthy of redemption, healing, and recovery. 
 
Her specialties include anxiety, depression, self-esteem issues, spirituality, anger issues, mood disorders, and family conflict. Her therapy modalities are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Strengths-Based Perspective, Narrative Therapy, and Play Therapy techniques. 

Liza van der Merwe, B.S.

Student Therapist Intern. In-Office & Telehealth.

Liza is a driven Supervised Student Intern on track to complete her Master's in Professional Counseling from Southeastern University in May 2025. Rooted in the belief that holistic living is attainable for everyone, she is deeply passionate about accompanying individuals on their path to learning, growth, healing, and self-discovery. In her approach to counseling, Liza prioritizes empathy, active listening, collaboration, and the creation of a safe, nonjudgmental space where clients can freely explore their thoughts and emotions. She customizes treatment plans to align with each individual's unique goals, drawing from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Narrative Therapy frameworks. Above all, Liza holds steadfastly to the conviction that there is hope within every person's story, regardless of its weight. It's a profound honor for her to journey alongside individuals as they navigate life's challenges, knowing that each step is guided by a greater narrative written by a loving God.

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