Meet The Team

Meet Your Management Team

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Evonne Stephenson, LCPC - Executive Director

Evonne is one of our Mental Health Clinicians and the Executive Director of Thrive Wellness. She has worked with individuals, couples, and families for the last 12 years. She specializes in complex trauma, PTSD, addiction/abuse issues, substance use disorders, and borderline personality disorder.

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Sherrie Smalls - Asst. Executive Director

Sherrie assists with our clinicians and practitioners. She also oversees our biofeedback and stress management treatments; along with our TMS treatment. On top of everything, Sherrie also plays a huge part of everything else in our office from billing to everyday office work.

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April Stich - Office Manager

April graduated from Maryville University with a bachelors degree in Biomedical Science with minors in Psychology and Chemistry. She is so excited to continue her patient care experience, administrative training and medical education at Thrive Wellness. April has plans to become a physician assistant and eventually practice in southern Illinois. She is looking forward to expanding her education within mental health and psychiatry.

Meet your clinical team

Serving Southern Illinois in Vandalia, Salem, Mt. Vernon, and Marion, as well as the Saint Louis Area!

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Rachel Austin, LPC

I know what it is like to be afraid of your own mind. When we experience trauma it creates change in your life that you have not chosen. When kids experience unwanted change, they behave with the most unloving behaviors. But when we are brave enough to begin the healing process it creates change you do choose. Children find the love that they so desperately need and don’t know how to obtain. As we work together in your healing process, I will meet you where you are, always believing and trusting in you. You know what hurts, what directions to go, what problems are crucial, and what experiences have been deeply buried.

I work with individuals, children, family, and marriages. My specialties include depression, anxiety disorders, grief and loss, trauma, self-esteem issues, and stress management. I am experienced in a wide range of therapeutic approaches including CBT, REBT, DBT, play therapy, and EMDR.

As you set out to begin your journey in growth and healing remember even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise. I look forward to working with you as you accomplish your healing through encouragement, support, empowerment and listening. Don’t let yesterday use to much of today.

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Lezley Bantolina, LPC

Lezley graduated from Missouri State University with a Masters in Mental Health Counseling. She has experience working with patients throughout the lifespan with various issues including life transitions, substance abuse, anxiety, depression, trauma, and other life-controlling issues.

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Brittany Brookshire, LPC

Brittany has a Masters in Professional Counseling from the University of Georgia. She worked as a school counselor for 3 years, and has enjoyed the transition to clinical counseling. Brittany enjoys working with children, families, and people throughout the lifespan. She is also certified in yoga and mindfulness.

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Twana Curry, LSW

Do you ever feel like something is missing in your life: physically, emotionally, or spiritually? It is when one of these aspects of a person’s life becomes out of balance that we begin to struggle in our lives. We may experience chronic pain, illness, obesity, depression, anxiety, stress, or PTSD. With children we often notice behavioral problems. As a LCSW with over 20 years of experience, I firmly believe that balance must be restored to create harmony within the whole person. My commitment to you is to walk beside you in your journey.

When I work with patients, I use a multifaceted approach. Some of the techniques I use include CBT, DBT-mindfulness, trauma informed, whole-health, person-centered, integrated behavioral health, holistic, and EFT. I am working towards my EMDR certification.

Our natural force within us is the greatest force in getting well and making positive changes within our life. Acceptance of how and where you are at the present moment, is one of the keys to moving forward. While time is not a cure for pain it can be crucial for improvement, it takes time to change, to recover, and to make progress.

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Margaret Perry, MSW

Margaret graduated from the University of Illinois – Champaign/Urbana with a Masters in Social Work. She has experience working with patients throughout the lifespan with various issues including substance use, anxiety, depression, child behavioral issues, grief and loss, and trauma. She also works with couples on a variety of relationship issues.

Jennifer Potts, Pre-LPC

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Michelle Venogoni-Vigil, MSW

Do you feel overwhelmed with some of your life circumstances? Have you experienced trauma: a divorce, job-loss, traumatic birth, difficult diagnosis, or domestic violence? Are you depressed, struggling with low self-esteem, lacking motivation, or needing help transitioning through life? I believe that every individual has what it takes to succeed and live a fulfilling life. Sometimes, we have to go through the darkest storms to see the brightest rainbows. Without the right tools and a safe non- judgmental space, it may feel impossible to weather the storm on your own.

I believe in meeting a client where they are and navigating through the “storm” with them while providing them with the tools and safe space they need to thrive. I am here to listen to you, help educate you, motivate you, and help ask the questions or highlight the things you are struggling to see on your own. I do not believe in a one-size fits all approach

My specialties include survivors of domestic violence, survivors of child abuse, parent psychoeducation, and children/adolescence. When counseling with me, clients with diverse cultural, ethnic, gender, sexual, and various other identities/ populations will be provided with compassionate, allied, and safe therapy.

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Marjorie Wilson, LPC

Marjorie graduated from McKendree University with a Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She works with individuals with a variety of issues including anxiety, depression, trauma, stress management, variety of family issues, play therapy, emotional and behavior problems in children, domestic violence, trauma informed care, and parenting. She enjoys working with children and adolescents. Marjorie's approach consists of utilizing CBT and Trauma Informed Care.

Meet Your Medical Team

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Dr. Amy Armstrong, (FNP)

Amy attended Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville where she recently received her Doctorate in Nursing Practice. She is a nurse practitioner specializing in family medicine and works with patients of all ages. She applies her personal experiences from her over 20 years in healthcare to develop relationships with her patients on an individual level. She is passionate about listening to each patient’s needs and creating a health plan together.

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Dr. Jeffrey Brower, (MD)

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Carly Ellison, (FNP, PMHNP (Pending))

Carly is a Family Nurse Practitioner with 5 ½ years of Family Practice experience in Primary Care. She chose to specialize in Psychiatric and Mental Health care, as she discovered this was her passion (while taking care of psychiatric/mental health patients in the FNP role). I have earned the following degrees and certifications: Associate Degree of Nursing, Bachelor’s Degree of Nursing, Master’s Degree of Nursing Education, Post-Master’s FNP certification, and Post-Master’s PMHNP certification (pending). She has 19 years of healthcare experience, in many healthcare environments. Carly enjoys taking care of patients, and watching people live their healthiest and best lives. Carly was born and raised in Illinois. She enjoys fishing, traveling, camping, and watching her family play sports. She tries her best to live by the following rule “Go where God leads me” and he led her to Thrive T.E.C.S. Carly is looking forward to meeting new patients and helping you to live your healthiest and best life.

Carly's Specialties: ADD/ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety disorders, PTSD, insomnia, prefers adults

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Sarah Wilson, (FNP)

Sarah is a Family Nurse Practitioner that has been in healthcare for 16 years in the Mount Vernon area. She has experience with all ages and is excited to bring a tailored approach to each patient's needs with a focus on general health and wellbeing.

Meet Your Technicians

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Kara Belangee - TMS

Kara has several years of social work experience and understands the importance of your mental and physical health. She enjoys working with individuals in need and lending a supportive ear. Kara looks forward to being part of your journey to Thrive!

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Halle Harris - Biofeedback

Halle grew up right here in Southern Illinois. She loves everything to do with animals and has 4 of her own. She really enjoys getting to know new people and becoming a friend to everyone she meets.

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Cindy Lyons - TMS

Cindy has worked in customer service for many years. This includes working in the healthcare and foster care systems. She has her associates degree from Lincoln Land Community College with continued education through Sangamon State University (renamed to U of I). Cindy enjoys hanging out with her grandchildren and crafting. She also loves her Thrive team!

Your wellness consultant & patient liaisons

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Jade McFarland - Patient Advocate

Jade is attending Missouri Baptist University and will have her Bachelors in Behavioral Science in May of 2021. She recently got married and has a dog who she would consider her child. Jade has always wanted to work with those who are experiencing mental or physiological health setbacks, and that’s why she is excited to start her career at Thrive Wellness!

Meet your administrative team

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Arika Curry - Office Assistant

Jacob Stewart - Office Assistant

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Contact us today for your free wellness consultation!​