Student Counseling Center Staff
The Student Counseling Center’s permanent staff consists of a Director, an Associate Director, an Assistant Director, staff psychologists, licensed social workers, a psychiatrist and psychiatric nurse practitioner. In addition to permanent staff, we have a robust staff of trainees including doctoral interns in our APA-approved internship program. Our administrative professional staff provide support for administrative operations of the center.
T. Paul McAnear, Ph.D. — Director
- 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.
Judi Gibbons, PhD – Director of Clinical Services/ Associate Director
- PhD, Arizona State University
- MSW, Tulane University
Center Activities: As Clinical Services Director, one of my main jobs is to help students have a good experience at our center. This includes creating and supporting systems that help you get seen and connected with the most appropriate service as quickly as possible. I also provide psychotherapy, supervision, and serve on university committees.
Theoretical Style: The theoretical underpinning to the work I do is based in humanistic psychology, which values the inherent worth of each individual and sees them as capable of making changes that move them toward greater fulfillment in life (among many other things). With that foundation I use techniques from cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), solution focused therapy, and other theories that help clients move forward with their goals.
Personal Interests: I am new to Knoxville and am enjoying getting to know the city! My last home was in south Florida, so I have been shoring up my wardrobe with sweaters, pants that go all the way to the ground, and closed-toe shoes– I even got a pair of hiking boots!
Maggie Klotz, Ph.D. — Training Director/Assistant Director
- Southern Illinois University, 2014
- Licensed Psychologist and Health Services Provider
Center activities: One of the things I love about working at college counseling centers is the variety of activities in which I am able to engage. I provide individual, group, and couples counseling, provide training and supervision to clinicians in training, and provide outreach to the UT community.
Theoretical Style: I believe one of the most important aspects of therapy is the relationship that is built between a therapist and client. Thus, my first goal is always to help my clients feel safe in my office while discussing any difficulties they may be experiencing. Overall, I have an integrative approach to therapy, conceptualizing problem development from psychodynamic and interpersonal theories while utilizing interventions from emotion-focused, dialectical behavioral, interpersonal, and cognitive behavioral theories. Moreover, all of my work is grounded in strength-based and multicultural perspectives.
Professional Interests: While I enjoy working with a wide range of presenting concerns, I have expertise in areas related to complex trauma, relationship difficulties, family-of-origin issues, impulse-control, suicidality, self-injurious behavior, and group therapy. I am also passionate about providing supervision to clinicians in training.
Supervision Model: I believe trainees are able to grow the most when they can be open and honest in supervision and feel safe sharing both strengths as well as growth edges. I approach supervision from a developmental perspective and work collaboratively with supervisees to meet their goals. I also utilize a strengths-based approach and work to instill confidence in trainees as they grow both personally and professionally during their graduate training.
Personal interests: Outside of the office I enjoy being outdoors with my camera and love both landscape and journalistic photography. I am also a huge sports fan and enjoy playing or watching almost any sport. When I don’t feel like being active, I can be found curled up on my couch with my “dorkie” (half dachshund/half yorkie).
Regina (Gina) Austin, Ph.D. — Couples and Group Coordinator / Staff Psychologist
- University of Tennessee, 1999
- Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Health Services Provider
Center Activities: I provide psychotherapy (Individual, Couples, Groups), clinical training and supervision, and outreach to various UT communities. I specialize in evidence-based therapies (EBTs) for treating trauma and distressed relationships. I am honored to serve on the Veterans Resource Council team in support of UTK student veterans. I am also the center’s Couples and Groups Coordinator, which are two passions of mine.
Theoretical Style: My training includes relational psychoanalysis, cognitive-behavioral, and humanistic/existential treatment models. I incorporate mindfulness, neuroscience, and attachment theory research and models into my psychotherapy, trainings, and community interventions. My theoretical orientation is integrative and each client’s specific needs are important to me.
Professional Interests: My focus includes EBTs for which I have earned certification: Prolonged Exposure Therapy (for treatment of PTSD), Cognitive Processing Therapy, Acceptance Commitment Therapy, Gottman Method for Couples, and Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. A Buddhist approach to Psychology is an avid professional interest, with compassion, wisdom, and generosity as guiding principles for alleviating suffering.
Supervision Model: I approach clinical supervision from a developmental, relational, and multi-culturally aware perspective, which is structured and directive but also collaborative; attachment theory is useful for understanding psychotherapy processes not only with client and therapist but also supervisor and trainee for a working relationship that cultivates lasting change. I encourage trainees to adopt approaches to their own personality and then foster the development of their best use of EBTs towards clients’ needs.
Personal Interests: As a Knoxville native, I bleed bright orange! I also enjoy scouting around the area for new activities; going to concerts is great fun with my husband. A lot of my time is spent with family and our Australian Shepherds and our one-eared cat.
Bonnie M. Benson-Palmgren, Ph.D. — Diversity Coordinator / Staff Psychologist
- Western Michigan University, 2012
- Licensed Psychologist and Health Services Provider
Pronouns in Use: she/her/hers/herself
Center Activities: I provide individual and group psychotherapy to undergraduate and graduate students, clinical supervision to psychology trainees, and outreach across campus. As Diversity Coordinator, I consult with campus partners serving underrepresented/underserved student populations in an effort to improve counseling center services. I also conduct needs assessments and make recommendations for training to increase therapist awareness and skills related to diversity and multiculturalism. I am a member of the Chancellor’s Commission for LGBT People and co-chair of the Trans and Nonbinary Identities subcommittee. I am also a member of the Multicultural Student Life Diversity Committee.
Theoretical Style: My work integrates client-centered, interpersonal process, and cognitive-behavioral theories and interventions within a multicultural/feminist framework. My clinical work and supervision are grounded in forming a trusting and accepting relationship that honors students’ intersecting social identities and acknowledges (and attempts to minimize) the power differential inherent in our professional relationship. I view therapy as an opportunity for students to learn and practice skills, acknowledge and accept painful feelings and lived experiences, and make discoveries about themselves that can help improve how they feel, increase their effectiveness in relationships with others, and move toward their academic goals.
Professional Interests: I specialize in working with trans and gender non-conforming students and have presented nationally on this topic. I am also interested in sexual minority student concerns, intersectional microaggressions, and family of origin issues.
Supervision Model: I believe we do our best work in and outside of therapy when we are authentic. I work from a developmental perspective, trying to meet trainees’ needs based on their past experiences and identified growth edges, while providing gentle challenge and support. I also work from a multicultural perspective, attempting to honor and incorporate social identities (of client, therapist, and me) into how we formulate diagnoses, treatment plans, and our conversations about the work.
Personal Interests: Transplanted from the Midwest, I love the mountains, water, and woods of Tennessee. I enjoy cozy home activities like watching TV/Netflix, cooking and eating, making digital scrapbooks, reading teen dystopian fiction, and being owned by my cats.
Clay Culp, LCSW – Licensed Therapist/Suicide Prevention Coordinator
MSSW, University of Tennessee
Center activities: Individual and couples therapy; case management; outreach and consultation with campus and community partners
Theoretical style: I draw from a variety of theories and frameworks including cognitive, interpersonal, attachment, and existential to help people recognize and break maladaptive patterns of thinking and relating to others. I also believe that a strong therapeutic relationship is paramount to facilitating change. To that end, I work from a person-centered perspective to build a shared understanding of each individual’s unique concerns and the complex set of biological, psychological, and social factors that have led to their current distress.
Professional interests: Suicide prevention, crisis intervention, relationship health, professional identity development
Personal interests: I love spending time with my friends and family, especially if it involves sports, movies, or music. As a long time Knoxville resident, I love keeping up with all the exciting changes going on in our city.
William K. Hahn, Ph.D. — Staff Psychologist
- Purdue University, 1987
- Adjunct Professor, Department of Public Health
- Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Health Service Provider
- APA Internship: Indiana University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry
Center Activities: I provide psychological services to graduate and undergraduate students, work closely with Student Health Center medical staff, and supervise trainees.
Theoretical Style: I believe the various theoretical orientations in psychology attempt to understand human nature and illuminate a pathway to relieve suffering. Consequently, I try to use an approach that most closely matches the clients’ subjective distress and belief system.
Professional Interests: I am most interested in individual psychotherapy. I have published several articles about individual and group psychotherapy, as well as brain development in infants and children, intern evaluation, and psychological and physiological risk factors for future hypertension among teenagers and young adults. I also enjoy teaching First Year Studies and Public Health 430.
Supervision Model: I believe the quality of the therapeutic relationship is the most important variable for successful outcome. As such, I help trainees be present and make an authentic connection with their clients.
Personal Interests: I enjoy running and walking my Border Collies. I enjoy traveling and have been to Alaska, Canada, the Panama Canal, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, England, Scotland, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Vatican City, Switzerland, Monaco, China, and India. My trip to Africa is on hold.
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.
Jennifer McComas, MSSW- Clinical Case Coordinator/Therapist
- University of Tennessee, 2012
- Licensed Master of Social Work
Center Activities: Individual and couples therapy; consultation and liaison to community and campus resources; case management.
Theoretical Style: I conceptualize clients through a biopsychosocial perspective, understanding that personal identity is woven through the influence of a variety of experiences in the lifespan. I place particular emphasis on how an individual’s self-perception is shaped through family of origin and cultural messages. I draw from client-centered and strength-based perspectives with the goal of collaborating with an individual to increase insight and draw on his/her natural strengths to reach solutions. I also integrate self-compassion work, mindfulness and self-care strategies within an interpersonal framework. My ultimate goals in working with clients is to create an atmosphere of empathy and genuine respect in which people feel safe, valued and are able to work toward goals, form a more positive self-perception and achieve desired change.
Professional Interests: Substance abuse/dependence, self-compassion, family of origin issues, spirituality, women’s issues and relational issues.
Personal Interest: I am a native Knoxvillian, and I love this great city. I like to spend time being active outdoors and getting involved in a variety of community events in the city, whether through attending Market Square Farmer’s Markets, First Friday art shows, paddleboarding or swimming at Ijams or any outdoor festival. I also enjoy home decorating, growing vegetables and working on my house.
Amanda McCune, Psy.D. Staff Therapist
- Adler University, 2016
Pronouns in Use:
Center Activities: I provide individual and group psychotherapy to undergraduate and graduate students, secondary supervision to psychology trainees, and community intervention programming to the campus community.
Theoretical Style: Within therapy, I utilize a strengths-based and collaborative approach to meet the unique needs of each student and create a safe space where students can feel heard, understood, and accepted. My therapeutic style is informed by client-centered, existential, and interpersonal process theories that assist clients in making meaning of experiences, increasing tools to cope with distress, and living out personal values more fully.
Professional Interests: Throughout my professional career, I have enjoyed working with college students in a variety of roles as a student organization and Greek life advisor, orientation coordinator, adjunct professor, and therapist. My clinical interests include trauma recovery, adjustment to loss, identity development, interpersonal relational concerns, and eating disorders. I look forward to working with and providing support to the UT-Knoxville community!
Supervision Model: Much like my therapeutic style, I approach supervision from a strengths-based and collaborative perspective to assist trainees in cultivating their own clinical voice and style. I integrate developmental and interpersonal models while being mindful of contextual dynamics and social identities. I seek to cultivate a strong supervisory alliance while offering a balance of challenge and support.
Personal Interests: As a newcomer to Knoxville, I am eager to explore all that this great city offers. I love biking and walking my dogs (Charley and Freud) along the Greenway and watching reality television shows.
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 interests: Trauma 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!
Amber N. Thornton, PsyD- Staff Psychologist
- Wright State University School of Professional Psychology, 2014
- Licensed Counseling Psychologist, Health Service Provider
Pronouns in Use: she/her/hers/herself
Center Activities: I provide individual, couples, and group psychotherapy to campus students. I also provide supervision to psychology graduate students. Additionally, I participate in outreach and consultation with various campus faculty and staff, particularly surrounding issues of diversity and multiculturalism.
Theoretical Style: I believe that clinical psychology and mental health service is beneficial to everyone, however this is only true when it is tailored to fit your specific needs and unique identity. Because of that, culture and identity are fundamental to my clinical approach. “One size does not fit all,” therefore the understanding of your cultural identity (a combination of age, disability status, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, nationality, gender, etc.) and the meaning associated with your identity is of the utmost importance to me and dictates my theoretical approach to psychotherapy.
Professional Interests: Diversity and Multiculturalism, Racial and Gender Identity Development, Intersectionality, Developmental and Complex Trauma, Consultation, and Community Intervention.
Supervision Model: Similar to my theoretical approach, culture and identity are also fundamental to my supervision style. This includes rapport and relationship building, as well as understanding of a supervisee’s cultural identity and how it may contribute to their work as a psychologist. This is followed by continuous learning and understanding of the cultural identity of others, and how that may impact their perspective and worldview.
Personal Interests: I enjoy reading, exercising, eating good food, and spending time with family, friends, and my dog. I also enjoy social media and blogging.
Mental Health Clinic Staff
Ed Smith, MD — Staff Psychiatrist
- Board Certified in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 1993
- Board Certified in Adult Psychiatry, 1992
- University of Pittsburgh, Western Psychiatric Institute, 1992
- Vanderbilt University Medical School, 1987
- University of Mississippi – BA Chemistry
Center Activities: I provide psychiatric evaluation and short-term medication treatment for students who are having problems such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks, OCD, bipolar mood disorder, schizophrenia and ADHD.
Theoretical Style: My specialty is psychopharmacology, though I do some supportive psychotherapy as part of my interaction with patients as needed. Many of my patients are also seeing therapists here at the Counseling Center or off campus.
Professional Interests: In addition to my work at Student Counseling, I’ve taught classes through First Year studies and participated as a discussion leader in the Life of the Mind program.
Personal Interests: I enjoy being outside, working in my yard or hiking in the Smokies. Travels have taken me to Southeast Asia, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, and Cuba. I’ve been taking Spanish classes for the past couple of years; maybe one day I’ll retire to a Spanish speaking country. In the meantime I watch way-too-much sports on TV.
Donna Voica, DNP, APRN – Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
- Board Certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, 2005
- Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner, 1998
- University of Missouri, 2014
- University of Tennessee, 2005 and 1997
- Purdue University, BSN and AASN
Center Activities: My primary focus is on psychiatric medication management to help improve and/or resolve symptoms. Additionally, I serve as a liaison between you and other potential resources needed to facilitate optimum care and health outcomes.
Theoretical Style: The foundation to client-centered care is patient-provider communication. I find the use of reflective listening with emphasis on the principles of caring and holism beneficial to understanding of problems and achieving common goals.
Professional Interests: My educational training and practices have also included primary care. This allows for a greater opportunity to work with you on health education and promotion, and disease prevention given the interconnectedness of mental illness, substance abuse, and general medical conditions.
Doctoral Intern Clinicians
- Arthur Hatton
- Bethany Keller
- Chandra Feltman
- Elizabeth Baker
Graduate Assistant and Advanced Practicum Clinicians
- Danielle Graham, Graduate Assistant Clinician, UTK Counseling Psychology doctoral program
- Keri Frantell, Advanced Practicum, UTK Counseling Psychology doctoral program
- Kevin Fry, Advanced Practicum, UTK Counseling Psychology doctoral program
- Ed Garnes, Advanced Practicum, UTK Counseling Psychology doctoral program
- Marlene Williams, Advanced Practicum, UTK Counseling Psychology doctoral program
Doctoral Practicum Clinicians
- Elliott DeVore, Doctoral Practicum Clinician, UTK Counseling Psychology doctoral program
- Emily Keller, Doctoral Practicum Clinician, UTK Counseling Psychology doctoral program
- Anahvia Moody, Doctoral Practicum Clinician, UTK Counseling Psychology doctoral program
- Pamela Rosecrance, Doctoral Practicum Clinician, UTK Counseling Psychology doctoral program
- Elliot Spengler, Doctoral Practicum Clinician, UTK Counseling Psychology doctoral program
Administrative Support Staff
- Jessi Lewis – Administrative Assistant III; Office Manager
- Christina Grafje-Gilbert – Administrative Assistant II; Receptionist
- Kaela Zelem – Administrative Assistant II; Receptionist
- Dez Newcomb – Administrative Assistant; Receptionist