Meet Our Staff

Student Counseling Center Staff

The Counseling Center’s permanent staff consists of a Director, two Assistant Directors, and seven staff psychologists. A search to fill the Director position is currently in process with the new director joining us in spring 2015. The Vice Chancellor for Student Life, Dr. Vincent Carilli, is serving as our interim director at this time.  We will fill our two available staff psychologist positions during the spring 2015 term. In addition, there are four doctoral interns, three graduate assistants, four advanced practicum students, and four doctoral practicum students working at the Center. Three full-time administrative professional staff provide support for administrative operations of the center. The university psychiatrist and psychiatric clinical nurse specialist are adjunct staff members.














Victor W. Barr, Ph.D., 

Staff Psychologist

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1989
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Departments of Psychology & Education
Licensed Counseling Psychologist and Health Service Provider

Center Activities: Membership on various university and committees; individual and couples psychotherapy; consultation, liasion and community intervention.

Theoretical Style: Dynamic/cognitive orientation with a strong emphasis on experiential components in therapy.

Professional Interests: National data on counseling centers; clients with complex symptomology; differential diagnosis; brief psychotherapy, supervision; factors affecting retention of students; evaluation models; headaches; sleep.

Supervision Model: “I view finding one’s voice in therapy as a primary developmental task of supervision at the intern level. Conceptualization is a central concern for this process. The content of supervisory sessions is dependent on the developmental level of the supervisee and the needs of the client. Sometimes supervision is processing counter-transference, sometimes teaching; sometimes acting as a referral source. At times, it is assisting supervisees in discovering what they are experiencing or, it is modeling skills and techniques. Sometimes it involves modeling the role of a client to assist in conceptualization.”

Personal Interests: I am a amateur woodturner and woodworker, I read science fiction and fantasy, mysteries and have a particular love of novels with strong female characters. I cook and am a foodie. Spending time with my family is a particularly great joy for me.


me NYC

Melissa A. Bartsch, Ph.D.

Assistant Director / Director of Training

University of Tennessee, 2004
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology
Licensed Counseling Psychologist and Health Service Provider

Center Activities: Training program administration for internship, advanced practicum, practicum, and graduate assistant programs, provide individual and couples therapy; provide individual group supervision;  serve on university and community committees such as the university’s Safe Zone program; provide consultation to faculty, staff and administration; and participate in various outreach activities.

Theoretical Style: Orientation combines interpersonal process with feminist and emotionally-focused approaches.

Professional Interests: Addictive/compulsive behaviors, LGBT issues, relational issues, Veterans’ concerns, women’s issues, training and supervision.

Supervision Model: “I work with supervisees from a developmental perspective and adapt my approach to their needs, goals, and skill level. I believe one of the most important training experiences for any supervisee is the development of their own authentic voice and this belief guides my work as a supervisor. I encourage supervisees to attend to interpersonal process and engage them in this process through use of self and through modeling these skills in supervision. I work to create an environment in which supervisees feel safe to explore their own processes both personally and professionally.”

Personal interests: I love to travel- my favorite places to visit (so far) are Cape Cod, Hilton Head, and Hyderabad, India. I am a movie fan, especially when I can enjoy them from my sofa with my four-legged friend, Walter. I also love the thrill of roller coasters and am always on the lookout for new ones that will lead to really good (or bad!) souvenir photos.












Philip Johnson, Ph.D.

Staff Psychologist

Oklahoma State University, 1989
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology
Licensed Counseling Psychologist and Health Service Provider

Center Activities: Individual and couples therapy; supervision; outreach and consultation with faculty, staff, campus ministers and various university organizations.

Theoretical Style: Orientation combines developmental, cognitive behavioral and family systems with interpersonal process psychotherapy.

Professional Interests: Training and supervision; family of origin and spiritual issues.

Supervision Model: “My supervision model is based on a developmental approach while encouraging awareness and understanding of process issues and the counselor’s use of self in therapy. I believe that understanding the emotional reaction of therapists is a very helpful tool in conceptualization, and I strive to create a supervisory relationship of respect, safety and support in which issues or reactions can be discussed.  I emphasize the transitions of professional growth that occur during the internship year.”

Personal Interests: I enjoy weekends in the Smoky Mountains, hiking, and traveling- always with a good book or two.












T. Paul McAnear, Ph.D.

Assistant Director/Director of Clinical Services

University of Tennessee, 2004
Licensed Counseling Psychologist and Health Service Provider

Center Activities: Administration of clinical services, provision of psychological services to students, training and supervision, various community intervention activities including service on the university Case Management Team.

Theoretical style: I use a client –centered approach informed by psychodynamic, interpersonal, and solution-focused orientations. Recognizing that the quality of the therapeutic relationship is a key factor in effective therapy, I emphasize the therapeutic relationship and use of self. I often utilize Motivational Interviewing techniques to help clients identify reasons for change and move past their resistance to trying out new ways of living/relating.

Professional Interests: Administration/leadership in university counseling centers, trauma work and the impact of childhood trauma on current functioning, substance use management/harm reduction approaches to substance treatment, positive psychology, spirituality and grief, fatherhood and men’s issues, group dynamics/teamwork.

Supervision Model: “I utilize a developmental model of supervision that focuses on providing the structure and guidance appropriate to the individual needs of the supervisee. My goal is to facilitate a supervisee’s development of a therapeutic identity and style that is both genuine and clinically effective.  I see supervision as a collaborative process where a supervisee’s professional training, needs and goals are integrated with excellent client care. ”

Personal Interests: My personal interests include hiking, cycling, home improvement projects.


Park photo










Sarah J. Park, Psy.D.

Staff Psychologist

Loma Linda University, 2012
Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Health Service Provider

Center Activities:  Individual, couples, and group psychotherapy; Stress Management Clinic Coordinator

Theoretical Style: “I conceptualize from a Gestalt perspective and integrate interventions from a variety of approaches including Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Prolonged Exposure Therapy. I am a process oriented therapist who attends to the interpersonal patterns in the therapy room as well as the client’s personal process. I encourage creativity and experimentation in therapy.”

Supervision Model: ” I approach supervision from a developmental standpoint. My supervision style is similar to my therapeutic orientation. I invite supervisees to discuss the process between us in supervision as well as their personal reactions to their clients. I help supervisees continue to develop their understanding and use of their theoretical orientation as a way to inform their interventions and conceptualizations of their clients. I believe that it is very difficult to separate out personal and professional growth so I make space in supervision to attend to all sides of a supervisee’s experience.”

Personal Interests: I love to travel and do as much as I can. I enjoy seeing live music and get very excited when a band I like comes to Knoxville. I like to spend time outdoors; hiking, camping, or swimming in the ocean. I also enjoy Crossfit, even though I am not very good at it…yet. Lastly, I am a lover of animals; I  adore my ever growing pack of pets.













Ashley Ross, Ph.D.

Staff Psychologist

Tennessee State University, 2007
Licensed Counseling Psychologist and Health Services Provider

Center activities: Supervision and training; individual and couples psychotherapy; group therapy; consultation/liaison.

Theoretical Style: “
I conceptualize my clients from a broad dynamic approach, which includes object relation, interpersonal, and family system. In sessions, I use the interpersonal process to deepen the experience of therapy and promote change. I frequently engage in emotionally focused, here-and-now interactions. In addition, I am mindful of transference/countertransference issues and employ a use-of-self approach.”

Professional interestsTrauma survivors, family-of-origin issues, supervision, intimate partner violence, spirituality.

Supervision model:  “Supervision is the foundation of becoming a confident, competent clinician. I believe supervision is a playful, creative process and I enjoy it as much as I enjoy providing therapy.  In many ways, my supervision style mirrors my approach to therapy. I generally take a psychodynamic/interpersonal stance and work on creating a trusting environment. I believe that supervision is a reciprocal interaction, both exciting and informative. While taking into consideration the supervisee’s developmental level, I try to deepen his/her ability to conceptualize clients so that interventions are timely, focused, and more effective. This involves discussing several aspects of the therapeutic relationship, such as, emotional reactions regarding the client or parallel processes that may be occurring. During supervision, I may share my own professional experiences as a clinician­-both my successes and blunders­- in an attempt to normalize the supervisee’s experiences and possible fears at this developmental crossroad.”

Personal Interests: I love anything that involves my family- this can be taking a trip to the mountains, looking for geocaches (they’re everywhere!), dancing in the living room to 80’s music, or singing songs in the car. I’m also passionate about hunting and typically plan my year around whatever is in season. I enjoy having a vegetable garden, but unfortunately, have never developed a taste for things that are green!













Kenli Urruty, Ph.D.

Staff Psychologist

Utah State University, 2012
Licensed Counseling Psychologist and Health Services Provider

Center Activities: Individual, group, and couples psychotherapy; community intervention and outreach; consultation/liaison; training and supervision

Theoretical Style:“My work with clients is informed by existential-humanistic, emotion focused, and interpersonal approaches.”

Supervision Model: “I utilize a developmental model in my work with supervisees. I try to meet the supervisee where he or she is at and develop a collaborative supervisory relationship aimed at building skill and competence. I encourage all my supervisees to strive for authenticity both in supervision and in their work with clients. My belief is that the supervisory relationship is an important part of a therapist’s growth, and I seek to create a supervisory relationship that is supportive and safe, where supervisees feel empowered to take risks and push themselves in their work.”

Post-internship Staff Clinicians

A and R

Alexis Arczynski, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow

Center Activities:  Provide individual and couples therapy, individual clinical supervision, consultation to the SCC regarding interpersonal violence response and intervention, and consultation to faculty and staff; serve on university and community committees, such as the Chancellor’s Commission for LGBT People; and participate in outreach, prevention, activism, and psychoeducational activities.

Personal Interests:  I love to engage in activities that recharge my introverted nature and help me to be mindful and grounded: I practice yoga almost daily, engage in indoor climbing (maybe one day I’ll hang off the side of a real cliff), and go hiking. I’m an avid listener of diverse music. You may catch me walking on campus with my earbuds in, with a slight dance in my step. My sense of connectedness to community is a primary foundation to feeling at ease and joyful. Therefore, I go to coffee or eat a meal with close friends and participate in community-building activities regularly. I spend time with my partner, cuddle with my furbaby (Raven, a 9-pound black American shorthair), and sleep in my downtime. I love to watch television shows from start to finish (one series at a time, of course) or movies and talk about them with people in lively discussions to deconstruct messages of, for example, gender, race, class, sexuality, or disability. I’m currently in the middle of the Harry Potter series. Lastly, I enjoy sarcastic banter like nothing else.

Raymond L. Sheets, Jr., M.A., Doctoral Extern

Center Activities: Individual psychotherapy; individual supervision of trainees; community outreach

Personal Interests: When I am not in the office, I enjoy visiting local establishments (especially coffee shops, bookstores, and galleries), as well as travel to surrounding states. I am a voracious bibliophile and often spend more time in bookstores and perusing my home library than doing work or chores. Personal relationships mean everything to me, so any chance I get to spend time with a friend, colleague, or new acquaintance is amazing. Finally, I share my home with two Bengal cat siblings (Akasha and Enkil) who keep me busy and entertained.

Doctoral Intern Clinicians

14-15 intern woods

Vanessa Coca-Lyle, M.A.

Personal Interests: My favorite things are hanging out with my family, relaxing with a good book, and spending time outdoors.  I have spent a lot of time in Knoxville so far enjoying delicious food from local restaurants, hiking on a few of the many local trails, and jogging on the greenways.  I also have two loveable dogs who love to get into everything (!) and hold a huge place in my heart.

Justina Farley, B.A.

Jaclyn Pistorio, M.A.

Personal Interests: I enjoy trying new restaurants where I am living—Knoxville has some amazing places! I also am interested in trying new things and have recently going whitewater rafting, zip lining, and kayaking. I am open to new experiences and can typically be found staying busy with fun activities on the weekend.

Ben Jeppsen, M.Ed.

Personal Interests: Besides loving college sports and being a bit of a Batman nerd, I and my family have loved going to all the parks and outdoors options Knoxville has to offer. I enjoy playing soccer with my little girl, a round of disc golf at one of the several nearby courses, and camping in the Smokies!

Graduate Assistant Clinicians


Juliet Meggs, M.S.

Isaac Brandt, B.A.

Personal Interests: All things physically active- running, cycling, yoga, tennis, and ultimate frisbee are my regulars.

Nikki Chery, M.Ed.

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Advanced Psychology Practicum Clinicians

Chandra Feltman, M.A.

Ji Sun Jeong, M.A.

Shelby Reyes, M.A.

Personal Interests: You can usually find me at a local coffee shop in Knoxville or exploring one of the record stores in the area.  I also love to go and listen to the live music shows with friends that come here and the surrounding areas.  Some other things that I love to do are yoga and trying out new recipes for dinner.

Yacob Tekie, B.A.

Personal Interests: I enjoy variety of activities including cycling, soccer, painting, photography,  visiting the smokies, hiking, meeting new people and different cultures.

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Doctoral Practicum Clinicians

prac cohort

Joel Muller, B.S.

Elizabeth Thomas, M.A.

Danielle Graham, M.A.

Trevor Dunn, M.A.

Personal Interests:  I enjoy traveling and exploring new places.  This involves a variety of things like hiking, exploring new cities, traveling to different countries, or something as simple as exploring a new coffee shop.  I like languages and know Portuguese very well, have intermediate level of Spanish, and have also dabbled in Lithuanian and a bit of Russian.  Beyond this, most of my free time I spend with friends and family.

Administrative Support Staff

Support Staff

Sandra Chambers, B.BA., Office Manager

Personal Interests: I am an all-around home body who loves spending time with my husband and just doing nothing. I also enjoy spoiling my grandson. When not at home I am an avid cruiser, who will take a ship anywhere, I’ve traveled to many foreign places by ship and plan on continuing. Lastly, I have two German Shepards, Zeus and Zena, and one cat, Bell, that occupy large spaces in our house.

Caitlyn Little, B.A., Administrative Assistant II

Personal Interests: Home improvement/real estate shows; helping people in any capacity I can.

Erin Thames, Administrative Assistant II 

Personal Interests: As an Administrative Assistant, I’m one of the frontline staff to check in students, process data, and make sure everything runs smoothly. In addition to that, I am currently a student here at the University of Tennessee, working toward’s a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a focus in Management. In between work and school, I enjoy reading, photography, spending time with friends and family, fostering stray animals and being a volunteer puppy walker for the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind.