Lyresa McGriff, MA, LAPC, NCC is an Associate Professional Counselor who earned a M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Richmont Graduate University. Lyresa is a practicing Psychotherapist who specializes in Trauma and is intensively trained in EMDR. Lyresa believes that everyone’s journey has a purpose and meets clients where they are with Grace, Love and Hope. Lyresa is in private practice at Legacy Changers Counseling Center and Integrated Partners in Development and she sees clients with Trauma at Richmont Traumatology Center. Specializations – PTSD/Trauma, Grief and Loss, Relationships and Marital Distress, End of Life/Transitional Care, Life Skills/Coaching, Personal Growth, Parenting and Caregiver Support to Individual’s, Couples, Veterans and Seniors. Lyresa is also a certified PREPARE/ENRICH therapist for pre-marital and couples counseling.


Annika Fairbairn, MA, LAPC began her training at the University of Hagen in Germany, where she obtained a B.Sc. in Psychology. She then completed her training at Richmont Graduate University, with an M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. While at Richmont, she focused her studies on counseling children and adolescents. Additionally, Annika gained certification in equine-assisted psychotherapy which is a experiential approach to therapy and has shown great benefit in working with at-risk youth and trauma victims. For those who prefer smaller animals in their session, Annika offers her co-therapist Elsa, a Maltipoo and trained therapy dog to join in the counseling sessions. Annika has a passion for helping people become healthier, more complete versions of themselves and seeks to assist individuals in finding their voice and purpose in life.

Elsa is a Maltipoo (Maltese + Poodle) and is hypoallergenic and non-shedding. She enjoys belly rubs, treats, licking fingers, and doing her tricks. Elsa was adopted by Annika when she was 5 months old and no longer wanted in her original home. Time had come for Elsa to find a new purpose in her life and she is excited to be part of the Legacy treatment team! Including animals in therapy helps to improve the educational and motivational effectiveness for participants and studies have shown that the simple act of petting a dog can help lower heart rate, which in turn can decrease depression and anxiety.



Christine Sims, MA is a graduate of Richmont Graduate University where she earned her Masters of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in Children and Adolescents. She is also a certified Prepare/Enrich therapist for premarital and couples counseling. Christine has a background working within the educational systems with youth from various socioeconomic backgrounds. She also has experience working with families, couples, groups, and adults with a wide range of needs. She offers services from a Christian perspective. Christine’s style of therapy is warm, innovative, safe, fun, and interactive. She welcomes the opportunity to join you alongside your journey to wellness!


Vanessa Edwards-Benjamin, MA, LAPC, NCC, RN is a graduate of Richmont Graduate University, where she earned a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Prior to graduate school, Vanessa received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Howard University. She is a registered nurse meeting patient’s needs on the behavioral health inpatient unit and working as an intake clinician for the unit. She also has experience conducting mental health assessments for individuals seeking care in the emergency department. Vanessa has facilitated group and individual counseling with children, adolescents, and adults. Vanessa’s goal is to offer compassion, hope, and support as she joins her clients along life’s journey. Her desire is to equip them with tools necessary to cope and manage challenges in a healthy manner. Specialization: Child and Adolescent Counseling; Cognitive Behavioral Play Therapy (CBPT). Prepare-Enrich Certified - enhancing relationships of premarital couples.


J. J. Widener, LAPC, LAMFT, CAADC inspires individuals, couples, and families to improve their lives and relationships using clinically tested and evidence-based interventions. Prior to coming to Legacy, he spent 4 years in outpatient substance abuse treatment, the last 18 months as clinical supervisor of Woodstock Treatment Center. Believing his marriage and family to be his greatest blessings, his passion for working with couples and families is unmistakable. His support, sincerity, and understanding has empowered countless individuals struggling with addiction, anger, aggressive/violent behavior, and trauma. J. J. is licensed by the State of Georgia as both an associate professional counselor and as an associate marriage and family therapist. He is certified as an advanced alcohol and drug counselor through the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Certification Board of Georgia, and serves on the board of directors. He holds a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy from Richmont Graduate University and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology from Argosy University.


Paula Bridgeman, MA is a graduate of Richmont Graduate University where she earned her M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in Child and Adolescent psychotherapy. Prior to graduate school, she received her B.S. in Human Relations from Point University. Paula is passionate about promoting and educating the African-American community on the importance of mental health. She believes that there are special challenges that people from the African descent experience throughout life: identity concerns, racism, stereotypes, biases, economic challenges and many others. She will dedicate herself to being a person who provides encouragement, hope and understanding but also education on the importance of mental health in the Black community. As an ordained minister, she will integrate psychological and spiritual competence into the counseling experience. Paula’s goal is to inspire individuals, couples, & families through clinical practice, education, and advocacy to fully embrace their power, their purpose, and their presence.


Monique Jones, MA, LAPC, NCC is a Counselor with a specialization in sex therapy from Richmont Graduate University in Atlanta, GA. Her passion is for those who happen to be in a period of transition in their lives due to unfortunate circumstances. Monique has worked with couples, adults, children, teens and the homeless population (both men and women). Monique believes in compassionately guiding, and helping people process issues of unforgiveness, self-worth/empowerment, relationship building, sexual orientation, sexual identity, trauma, grief/loss, and addictions. Monique understands that while no two human experiences are the same, the interaction between herself and the client is uniquely its own experience. Her theory of choice is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), however, her methodology is more of an eclectic style that offers a spiritual component which allows for an integrative approach to therapy. Monique feels that keeping an open mind, and free-spirited approach to each situation, allows for a better relationship building. Providing a non-judgmental attitude that offers compassion, and a friendly safe environment for those who seek help for something they struggle to do themselves. Monique is a therapist with Legacy Changers Counseling Centers. She can be reached at