Meet The Team

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Kelly Gregory

President and Owner 

M.Ed., Ed.S.,LMHC

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Leslie Fairchild

MS, LMHC

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Madison Schmidt

M.Ed., Ed.S. Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern

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Savannah Haynes

Graduate Student,

Intern

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Jaclyne Smith

Vice President

LCSW, MPH

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Rachel Thorpe

M.Ed., Ed.S. Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern

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Jesenia Santiago

Licensed Massage Therapist

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Nicole Cope

M.Ed., Ed.S. LMHC

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Jennifer Rose Parker

RDN, CSR, LDN

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David Weinert

Graduate Student,

Intern

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Kaylee Brenneman

M.Ed., Ed.S. Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern

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Maria Montenegro

Registered Clinical Social Worker Intern

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Marianne Choy

Graduate Student,

Intern

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Kelly Gregory M.Ed., Ed.S., LMHC

President and Owner

E-Mail: KGregory@arenacounselingandwellness.com

pronouns: she/her/hers


“Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.)...Who wishes to walk with me?"

-Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

About        

      I decided to pursue a career in counseling after 5 years of teaching in the classroom from 6th to 12th grade. From there, I went on to graduate from the University of Florida with my master’s and specialist’s degrees in Mental Health Counseling. I began my career as a therapist working in residential treatment centers.There I worked with clients with a broad range of concerns, including depression, anxiety, addiction, eating disorders, self-esteem, and interpersonal relationships. I have additional training in trauma-focused therapy, DBT, and EMDR. 

       After several years of working in residential centers, I transitioned to private practice. In private practice, I have found a joy for working with students, people recovering from acute and complex trauma, and anyone going through a life transition. I want to help those who feel stuck, those for whom maybe counseling hasn't worked before, those who perhaps feel hopeless - to feel heard, seen, understood, cared for, and perhaps, a little less stuck. Everyone deserves to be the fullest version of themselves, and it is my privilege to walk alongside those trying to get there. 

Areas of Practice  

 

Mindfulness 

Mindfulness is the practice of "noticing without judgment." As we grow in our ability to be mindful, we are better able to regulate our emotions and reactions.

EMDR

I am trained in Level 1 and 2 of EMDR. EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) is a research based technique for helping people heal from the effects of trauma.

DBT

Dialectal Behavioral Therapy is a research-based modality that helps cultivate tools for emotional regulation, interpersonal relationships, distress tolerance, acceptance, and mindful awareness.

 

Somatic Techniques 

Somatic techniques help connect the mind and the body and how past events and current emotions are held in our bodies. This can include breathing and relaxation to alleviate stress and tension.

 

Internal Family Systems

Internal Family Systems, or IFS, is a compassion based way of approaching the internal dialogue we all experience. This approach allows clients to have a better understanding of their inner workings and how to cultivate self-compassion

 
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Jaclyne Smith

E-Mail: Jsmith@arenacounselingandwellness.com

LCSW, MPH

Experience

Hello and welcome. I was first drawn into working in the clinical field as an undergraduate in college. I received a Bachelors in Social Work from the University of Georgia. I had always been interested in helping people, and social work gave me the opportunity to work with a variety of people from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. I went on to get my Masters in Social Work and Public Health from Washington University in Saint Louis. I became interested in the dynamics of working with trauma from a therapeutic standpoint. Since 2014, I have been working as a therapist and utilizing a trauma informed approach to help clients navigate through a wide array of issues, such as addiction, depression and anxiety. I began my career working  as a therapist in residential settings and prior to entering private practice was the clinical program manager for a residential eating disorder program. As an outpatient provider, I am committed to providing the same level of passion and dedication to healing as I found in the residential communities. I am excited to work with students and other members of the Gainesville area to help foster healing, change, and growth.

Areas of Practice 

EMDR

Level one and Level 2 trained 

 

DBT
 

IFS 

 

HAES Perspective ( health at every size) 

 A supportive and inclusive perspective that states that health is determined by behaviors, independent of body weight

 

EDIT level 3 

Eating disorder intuitive therapy- a therapeutic approach that utilizes each person's intuitive wisdom to overcome eating disorder behaviors 

 

CEDs (Training In progress )

Currently pursuing a certified eating disorder specialist certification, a certification that is recognized by the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals.

 
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Areas of Practice

 

Emotionally-Focused Therapy (EFT): For individuals, couples, and families. This attachment-based, experiential therapy model is highly effective at helping clients, couples, and families deepen healthy connection, create attunement with themselves and others, and work through internal and interpersonal conflict.​

Certified in EFIT (Emotionally Focused Individual Therapy)

EFIT Level 1 and 2

EMDR

Level 1 and Level 2 trained 

 

I utilize a combination of therapies based on the evolving needs of the client and the needs of the therapeutic moment.

Nicole Cope M.Ed., Ed.S. LMHC

E-Mail: Ncope@arenacounselingandwellness.com

Experience:

I started my journey in the mental health field working in community mental health as a volunteer group facilitator and sitting in on individual sessions with my mentor. I realized that working with clients as a therapist was the right path for me, went back to college as an older student, and pursued both my Bachelors in Psychology and my Masters and Specialist degrees at the University of Florida. I have been working in the mental health field since 2008 and have experience working as a therapist in residential treatment facilities, acute psychiatric hospitals, and community mental health centers. Most recently I was the Chief Operating Officer of The Refuge, A Healing Place, a residential treatment facility for people who are working to recover from trauma, substance use, mood disorders, PTSD, and many other mental health symptoms. Although I loved that role, I was eager to get back into doing therapy with clients again--working to find meaning, building resiliency, and creating a safe space for clients to explore and recover. I am thrilled to be a part of the exceptionally talented team of counselors at Arena Counseling and Wellness providing excellent mental health care in the Gainesville area.

 

 

 
 
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Kaylee Brenneman M.Ed., Ed.S.

Registered Mental Health Counseling Intern

Pronouns: she/her/hers

E-Mail: KBrenneman@arenacounselingandwellness.com


“Today will be what it is, I will be who I am, and there will be beauty in both.” - Sierra Boggess
 

About

 

Hello! I’m Kaylee Brenneman, and I’m so genuinely happy that you’re taking this step. It can take tremendous courage to start a therapeutic journey, and I hope that I can join you. Prior to becoming a counselor, I worked as an advocate and case manager at an emergency shelter for survivors of domestic violence. I received my Specialist in Education (Ed.S.) and Master of
Education (M.Ed.) degrees from the University of Florida in Mental Health Counseling, and I feel passionate about the processes of growth and change that we all engage in throughout our lives.

 

I began my clinical experience working in a residential addiction treatment program and feel passionately about working with individuals and families impacted by addiction in its many forms. I also deeply love working with teenagers and young adults who experience issues with distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and self-harming behavior. In my work as a clinician, I have
witnessed the immense resilience that people have in the face of the uncertain, the terrifying, and the overwhelming. The fact that you’ve made it this far means that you have tremendous strength already. My goal as a clinician is to assist my clients as they work to engage in life more authentically and fully. I believe that people are always doing the best that they can with the resources that they have, and they also want and need to deal with the hardships of life more effectively - that's where I step in to support, accept, educate, and guide you. I am so excited that you are seeking to begin your therapeutic journey. I look forward to meeting
with you soon!

Areas of Practice


Specializations:

Addiction
Self-Harming Behavior
Adolescents
Relationships and Communication Effectiveness
Trauma Recovery

Obsessive-compulsive Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder

Frameworks:

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Adlerian Therapy

Gestalt Therapy

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Areas of Practice 

  • Trauma/PTSD

  • Substance use and process addictions

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

Trainings/Specializations

  • EMDR-level 1 and level 2

  • Breathwork-Level 1

  • Equine-assisted Therapy

  • Experiential

  • Mindfulness

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Leslie Fairchild, MS, LMHC

Email: lfairchild@arenacounselingandwellness.com

Pronouns: She/Her/Herself

About

Hey there! My name is Leslie and welcome to Arena! I am a licensed mental health counselor and look forward to providing a safe place to begin your journey of self-discovery. I received my Masters Degree in Psychology and Counseling from the University of West Alabama. I have experience in various levels of care to include residential, outpatient, inpatient settings, and have specialized experience working with individuals dealing with trauma/PTSD, substance abuse, depression and various process addictions.  I am also trained in various treatment modalities to include EMDR, Basic ART, Breathwork Level 1, and Equine therapy. I started my career in mental health as a children’s case manager at a local community mental health center with the goal of becoming a therapist. I realized my calling was in counseling while working as a teacher’s aid and noticing the impact I had in holding space for my students.

 

Fortified with my trainings, experience and education, I am someone who understands that healing requires a safe place to explore and navigate those areas outside of a person’s comfort zone.  As a heart centered, client focused therapist I look forward to empowering you to reach your highest potential.

 
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Areas of Practice

Specializations:

  • Children and Adolescents

  • Depression/hopelessness

  • Coping skills and resiliency building 

  • Anxiety relief

  • Family and peer relationships 

Frameworks:

  • Play therapy

  • Humanistic 

  • Trauma focused

Madison Schmidt, M.Ed., Ed.S.,
Registered Mental Health Counseling Intern

Email: Mrgs1995@gmail.com
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Hello there and welcome! My name is Madison Schmidt, I received my Specialist in Education (Ed.S.) and Master of Education (M.Ed.) degrees from the University of Florida in Counselor Education with a focus in Mental Health counseling and School Counseling.  

 

As a counselor, I believe in the incredible power of a trusted and safe space. Through my experience working with children and adolescents in the school setting I have seen first-hand the power of a nonjudgmental and authentic therapeutic relationship. I am passionate about being an advocate for youth and providing children and adolescents a space and a moment of time that is fully dedicated to them.

 

In my work with children and adolescents I utilize a humanistic and eclectic approach by valuing each child’s unique experiences that they bring into the space. Utilizing play therapy techniques and creative interventions, children have space to process their world, increase awareness, identify their emotions and needs, as well as resolve conflicts through play and various expressive activities. Children are amazingly resilient, and I feel honored to work with them and be a part of their journey in understanding themselves and the world around them.

 

I believe counseling is a collaborative process and would love to have a conversation with you about how I can support your child! 

 
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Areas of Practice

Specializations:

  • Relationship Issues

  • Substance Abuse and Addiction

  • Domestic Violence 

  • Body Image and Eating Disorders

  • Borderline Personality Disorder

Frameworks:

  • Motivational Interviewing

  • Solutions-Focused

  • Reality Therapy

  • Person-Centered Therapy

  • DBT

Rachel Thorpe, M.Ed., Ed.S. 
Registered Mental Health Counseling Intern

Email: rthorpe@arenacounselingandwellness.com

About

Hey there! I am Rachel Thorpe. I am a registered mental health counseling intern. I received my Bachelors degree in Psychology in 2017 and a dual Masters in Mental Health Counseling and Education in 2020 all from the University of Florida. I have worked with a diverse range of clients focusing on issues relating to relationships, anxiety, body image and eating disorders, substance abuse and addiction, domestic violence, and forensics.  

 

I believe we all hold the power to make change in our lives, and I believe that we make choices to fulfill our needs. The reality is that these choices are not always the healthiest or most productive for our wellbeing. I work with clients to identify their current barriers to change and utilize a collaborative approach to develop goals for progress.

 

My approach to therapy is empowerment-based. I gravitate towards utilizing Reality and Solutions Focused based techniques to empower the client to be in the “drivers seat” of their lives, all while remaining person-centered. I offer individual, couples and family therapy, both in-person and virtually.

 

I am so excited that you are interested in beginning your therapeutic journey. The decision to begin therapy is a difficult one. It is my commitment to you to remain authentic and supportive of wherever you are at in your process. I hope to meet with you soon!

 
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Jennifer Rose Parker
RDN, CSR, DNC, LDN
Pronouns: she/her

email: jparker@arenacounselingandwellness.com

I am a Registered and Board-Certified Dietitian since 2005 with a specialty in Renal Nutrition (Kidney Disease). After securing my B.S. in Food and Nutrition Science, I completed a Master's level internship at Barnes-Jewish College of Nursing at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. I have worked in private practice for general wellness and Diabetes Education and most recently spent 10 years specializing in nutrition therapy for Chronic Kidney Disease. Throughout my career I continue to see the positive effects of a diet rich in whole, plant-based foods that’s a balance for all lifestyles.
 
Whether you are a foodie or far from it, I will walk with you and reveal just how nourishing food can be.
 
Let’s get started!

 
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Jesenia Santiago

Licensed Massage Therapist 

email: jsantiago@arenacounselingandwellness.com

Hi! My name is Jesenia Santiago and I am a Licensed Massage Therapist at Arena Counseling and Wellness. I have had the privilege of practicing massage for nearly seven years and have completed training at the Cortiva Institute in Dallas, Texas. Since then I have continued my professional development and added techniques and massage modalities to my repertoire such as Deep Tissue, Prenatal, and Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) stretching.
 

My approach to massage is to adapt to what each person needs within each session. If that means applying my signature “ Gentle Attack” style one day for a more therapeutic experience or a more relaxing “ letting go” bodywork, that’s what we’ll do. Every time we work together, we customize according to what is needed.

 

My goal within this practice is to help people by providing a space for healing through bodywork, a piece of the puzzle in understanding ourselves as a whole human being.


I am so excited to be on the team and to work with you soon!

 
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Savannah Haynes

Graduate Student, Intern

Welcome! I am Savannah Haynes, a current Master’s student attending the Mental Health Counseling Program at Northwestern University. I have always felt that every individual is deserving of unwavering support in reaching their goals and that is what I aim to accomplish with my clients. My priority is to create a safe space with genuine conversation that is beneficial in achieving the goals that will help create a more fulfilling and joyful life for those I work with. I have a strong interest in using Gestalt therapy, Mindfulness and Acceptance based therapy, and Person-Centered therapy which are modified to best fit the needs of the individual. My approach always includes authenticity and open-mindedness while remaining nonjudgmental to ensure that the work I do is guaranteed to be in the best interest of every client to further explore their internal and external worlds. I look forward to collaborating with you to tackle all different types of challenges at Arena Counseling and Wellness!

 
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David Weinert

Graduate Student, Intern

Human beings are storytellers. We weave stories from our understanding of our own lives and the lives of those around us. As our minds compose the story it is possible for us to lose track of the plot. Occasionally we find ourselves believing that we are a supporting character in our own lives. You are meant to be the protagonist of your own story. 

I believe that you are meant to live a life of unique purpose, and that you are worthy of dignity and respect. Counseling can be the place where we recalibrate our thinking, and strengthen the parts of ourselves we keep hidden and safe. Sometimes we need help, and that is only human. 

The hard work of therapy is to face those parts of ourselves that we have avoided. As a counselor it is my job to stand with you and help you see yourself through a lens of unconditional positivity. In therapy we grow and heal in safety. 

In session we will use any number of techniques from Gestalt, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Family Systems Therapy, and Person-Centered Therapy. Each client is unique and no two healing journeys will be the same. 

I am so glad that you are looking for someone to stand with you in your pursuit of growth, healing, and wellness. I look forward to hearing your unique story. 

Areas of Practice

  • Grief and Trauma 

  • Depression 

  • Anxiety 

  • Couples and Relationship Issues 

  • Sexual Trauma 

  • Religious Trauma 

  • Existential Dread 

 
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Marianne Choy

Graduate Student, Intern

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Hello and welcome! My name is Marianne, and I am a queer, cisgender, Chinese-Panamanian  and White-American woman. I believe warmth and authenticity are the foundation for exploring identity, strengthening connections, navigating transitions, increasing healthful coping strategies, and healing trauma.

By using an integrative approach to counseling, we will explore how your identities and origin story intersect with one another, influence your experiences, and impact the world around you. In our sessions, we will go beyond the here-and-now to consider the interconnectedness among your past experiences, how they manifest as a felt sense in your body, and how these perpetuate behavioral patterns or inform opportunities for growth.

I welcome folx of all identities and their reasons for seeking counseling. You are the expert in your life, and we will work collaboratively to explore your goals for change. I intend to hold  space for the various parts of yourself to be seen, explored, challenged, and healed; because authenticity sits at the heart of wellbeing.

Areas of Interest:

  • Anxiety and Depression  

  • Suicidal Ideation and Self-Harm  

  • Crisis Intervention  

  • Interpersonal Violence and Abuse  

  • Substance Use and Recovery  

  • Life transitions 

Frameworks:

  • Person-Centered  

  • Mindfulness  

  • Felt Sense

  • Gestalt  

  • Internal Family Systems

 
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Maria Montenegro
Registered Clinical Social Worker Intern

Areas of Practice

Specializations:

  • Self-Esteem

  • Personal and Relational Boundaries

  • Co-Occurring Disorders

  • Trauma/PTSD

  • Grief

  • Children and Adolescents

Frameworks:

  • Somatic Therapy

  • Trauma-Focused CBT/DBT

  • Yoga/ Pranayama Breathwork

  • Play/Expressive Therapy

  • Jungian Therapy

  • Transpersonal Therapy

Hello! My name is Maria and I’m a registered clinical social work intern.  I attended the University of Florida, and earned my Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, due to my passion for exploring and learning about social issues and collective human/social behavior and how it informs individual life experiences. Falling more in love with the complexity that makes each of us unique humans, quirks and all, and my passion for learning how to support others in their journey toward self-development and exploration, I earned my Master’s in Clinical Social Work. Additionally, my delight for movement and play has earned me a 200-Hr. Certified Yoga Teacher certification and I am currently working toward my 500-Hr. certification and a fitness personal trainer certification.

 

Throughout my internship and professional experience, I have worked in residential, outpatient, forensics, schools, and hospice settings with a diverse range of people. In these various settings I have had the honor of supporting people living with co-occurring disorders, substance use challenges, grief/loss, trauma/complex trauma, neglect, PTSD, emotional dysregulation, anger/rage, anxiety, self-esteem, and boundary needs. My therapeutic approach is person-centered and strength-based that is equal parts judgement free, nurturing, forthright, quirky, and interpersonal. I utilize a creative holistic model that honors the mind-body-heart/soul connection because I believe all the overwhelming, painful, depressing, stuck, scary, anxiety-ridden, raging experiences that we go through in life can impact every part of the self.

 

I’m a good fit for you if you are open to therapy where we talk, analyze, move/play, meditate, explore, and feel through whatever it is you need support in. We can do one of these modalities, some of these, or all of these. I don’t believe in one-size fits all because YOU are one of a kind and YOU deserve a one-of-a-kind approach. So, let’s get creative, uncomfortable, honest, weird, deep, and human!