Heather Cole, LPC
Specializing in working with children ages 3-17
Availability: Monday/Thursday, afternoon and evening

Heather is a Licensed Professional Counselor who has a Bachelor of Science degree in Interpersonal Communication from the University of Texas and a Master of Education degree in Community Agency Counseling from George Mason University.

Heather has experience providing counseling services to a variety of individuals, particularly adolescents, in various settings within the community and in schools. Heather has training in trauma-informed care and utilizes a collaborative and compassionate approach to counseling in an effort to foster hope, healing and resilience.

Heather enjoys spending time with her family, traveling and volunteering. Heather has also spent time as a volunteer buddy at a local bereavement camp.

Britt Cowart, LCSW
Specializes in working with adults
Availability: Tuesday, daytime & Thursday, evening

Britt has a Bachelor of Arts degree from James Madison University and a Master of Social Work degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) since 2000.

Britt has over 23 years of experience providing counseling and case management services to children, adults, and families in school settings as a school social worker, in the home, and in agency settings. She has also acted as Clinical Director for an In-home Services Program as well as developed new programs, collaborated and served on multiple interdisciplinary teams, and supervised other counselors in the mental health field. Britt has facilitated child and adult groups for over 25 years in various settings to include schools, courts, and mental health agencies on a variety of  issues to include parenting, communication and values, grief and loss, siblings with disabilities, and other psychosocial topics and education.

Britt began facilitating groups for Full Circle in 2009 and joined Full Circle’s clinical team in 2012 as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.  She currently acts as Grief Services Director for the Individual Counseling Services Program at Full Circle Grief Center.  Britt answers inquiries and consults with individuals, couples and families seeking grief support through Full Circle, specifically individual counseling services.  Britt also supports other community professionals with consultations related to grief.  Additionally, she facilitates monthly grief groups for adults and is part of the long-term case management team that provides follow-up collaboration to all Full Circle Families.

Britt enjoys helping others while using strength-based approaches and integrating various treatment therapies to best meet the needs and goals of her Clients.  She provides emotional support and guidance to adults and young adults specifically, focusing on adjustment issues and significant life changes in order to address all grief needs due to loss through trauma, illness or accident.  She aims to empower her clients to create space, balance, time, and strength to process and embrace their grief needs.  Britt meets clients where they are in their grief and partners with them on their journey as they identify their own individual grief needs, goals, and discover connections to their loved ones along the way.

Karen Coyner, LCSW, DCSW
Specializes in working with children, adults, and families
Availability: Monday/Thursday, afternoon and evening

Karen received her BA in Psychology at the University of Colorado and her Masters degree in Social Work from the University of Maryland at Baltimore. Karen has been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) since 1995. She achieved her Diplomat in Clinical Social Work (DCSW) certification in 2003.

Karen has worked with youth, women and families in a variety of counseling settings since 1989. Her focus has been working with children and families in crisis and with those who have found themselves coping with adversity. She has extensive experience working with clients who have experienced trauma, loss and grief, family separation and terminal medical diagnoses. Karen has also provided administrative duties including policy formation, supervision and accreditation oversight.

Karen enjoys spending time with her family and pets, being active outside, gardening, and baking.

Allyson England Drake, M.Ed, CT
Specializes in working with children, adults, and families
Availability: Thursday, evening

Allyson has a Bachelor of Arts degree from University of Virginia, Master of Counselor Education degree from Virginia Commonwealth University, and completed post-graduate work in counseling psychology, bereavement, and traumatic grief. She holds a license in School Counseling (preK-12) and she worked as an elementary school counselor for three years.

Allyson has worked with grieving children, adults, and families for 18 years, has facilitated numerous grief support groups, led organizational debriefings after a loss, and has developed curriculum for bereavement groups and remembrance programs. Her passion revolves around community bereavement education and she has presented on grief and loss at numerous professional conferences and educational trainings. Allyson founded Full Circle Grief Center in 2008 and she serves as the President and Executive Director of the organization.

Allyson has a Certification in Thanatology (CT) through the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC), is a Compassionate Bereavement Care Certified Provider, and has completed the Resolve Through Sharing Bereavement Training for Perinatal Death. She also is a trainer for the Trauma and Resilience Basics Training, an educational program designed to help build trauma informed communities.

Allyson enjoys working with children and adults who are anticipating the death of a loved one or who have experienced the death of someone significant to them. She uses writing/journaling, discussion, and various forms of creative expression in her practice to help individuals explore feelings, learn healthy coping skills, discover meaning in their loss, find ways to remember or honor their loved one, and move forward in their “new normal.”

Blayre Gottwald

Specializes in working with adults
Availability: Wednesday, daytime


Blayre has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Georgia and received her Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2011. After graduate school, Blayre worked for Hanover County providing mental health treatment and case management services to children, adults, and families. Blayre served as the Adult and Family Outreach Services Manager at Full Circle and has led support groups at Full Circle since 2013. Blayre has also worked for Greater Richmond SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now).

Blayre has experience working with a variety of issues, including grief and loss, trauma, and adjustment/life changes and has experience collaborating with professionals on multidisciplinary teams in a variety of settings and working with individuals from diverse backgrounds.

Blayre utilizes psychodynamic and family systems theories to guide her practice. Blayre believes in the power of the therapeutic relationship. She genuinely values the importance of building rapport with clients and supports clients finding a therapist they feel is a good fit for them based on their individual treatment needs and goals. Blayre believes in the inherent resilience of the human spirit and embraces a strengths-based lens when working with individuals who have experienced grief and loss as well as other challenges and stressors. She hopes to help you engage and enhance your capacity for introspection, reflection, and self-awareness to better understand and navigate your past, present, and future allowing you to feel empowered and hopeful in spite of grief, loss, and hardships. She also hopes to support you in finding purpose and joy while witnessing your grief and finding ways to honor the memory of your loved one. 

Blayre promotes and embraces the practice of mindfulness and gratitude, the value of human connection, and the importance of finding meaning in one’s life. In her free time, she enjoys reading, exercising, being outside, volunteering and spending time with her family.

Betsy Kelly, LPC

Specializes in working with children and adults

Availability: Monday/Thursday afternoon and evening; Tuesday, daytime

Elizabeth “Betsy” Kelly is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Expressive Arts Therapist. She has provided individual and group therapy for more than four years, and has more than 20 years of experience working alongside people to facilitate positive change in their lives and their communities. Betsy’s current practice focuses on supporting adults and teens navigating grief and loss, trauma, anticipatory loss, and life transitions, and corresponding changes in identity and relationships.  Betsy’s style of therapy is informal, compassionate, and responsive to each person’s unique needs. She will guide you to explore your concerns and build greater understanding of the different aspects of your experience, from the emotional, mental, and physical to the family, social, cultural, and spiritual dimensions. Using a variety of evidence-based techniques, she will help you re-connect to existing strengths and cultivate additional resources that support progress toward the changes you wish to make. Betsy’s practice is grounded in person-centered, developmental, and relational-cultural theories, and she frequently uses mindfulness, body-centered, and creative interventions. Betsy considers cultural humility essential to therapeutic practice.

Betsy’s therapy setting is handicapped accessible and has a private entrance to the center where therapy takes place. An initial visit will be a collaborative experience of sharing information, identifying goals, and building trust. Betsy wants you to feel safe, seen, heard, and empowered as you move through the natural process of finding meaning, healing, and hope. She looks forward to connecting with you.

Rachel Machacek, LSW
Resident in Counseling
Specializes in working with adults
Availability: Thursday, evening

Rachel is a Licensed Social Worker (LSW) with a specialty in working with adults and families facing grief, loss, and terminal diagnoses. She is also a registered yoga and meditation teacher (RYT-200), and mindfulness-based practices are foundational to Rachel’s work, particularly for managing anxiety and depression. She believes in a collaborative approach, and works alongside people to uncover their intuitive knowledge for processing and managing challenging emotions and life transitions.

In addition to her work with Full Circle, Rachel is a palliative medicine social worker at Bon Secours where she works with individuals and families facing complex illnesses and end-of-life decisions. She was previously a bereavement counselor with Bon Secours Hospice where she provided one-on-one and group support to adults and families.

In her free time, you can find Rachel in the kitchen experimenting with plant-based recipes, in the garden with her husband and two cats, and decorating her old, leaky house.

Rachel received her Master of Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University and Bachelor of Arts in English from University of Mary Washington.

Stacia Lee Macklin, LCSW
Specializes in working with adults
Availability: Monday and Wednesday, daytime

Stacia has over 20 years of experience providing counseling to children, adults, and families who have experienced loss, change, trauma or adversity.  Stacia has a Bachelor of Arts degree from James Madison University and a Master of Social Work degree from University of Buffalo, the State University of New York. She has been licensed by the Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW) since 1997 and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) since 1998.

Through strength-based and culturally sensitive approaches, Stacia actively supports others during their grief journeys.  She often utilizes solution-focused and family systems approaches when serving both individuals and families.  Stacia assists parents as they raise grieving children while also grieving themselves.  She supports these parents and caregivers in exploring grief across developmental stages, identifying strategies for improving parent-child communication, and finding time for self-care and self-reflection.  Stacia appreciates the unique challenges that multigenerational and extended families may face on their grief journeys.  This includes grandparents and extended family members who are now raising their loved one’s children following the loss, as well as adult children who now care for their parents.  Stacia previously led a young adult grief support group and has experience helping young adults aged 18-25 process their grief during this critical stage in their lives.  Other areas of professional experience and interest include:  overdose loss, suicide loss, anticipatory grief, and caregiver grief.

Stacia began working at Full Circle in 2011 as a Hands on Healing group leader and became the Clinical Director in 2012. Stacia manages Full Circle’s Hands on Healing and Overdose Loss programs, provides case management and support to these members and families, and supervises group leaders and program managers.  She has experience providing clinical supervision and training to other social work and counseling professionals and experience in program administration including quality improvement, new program development, and collaboration with community agencies and providers.

Michelle B Puzon, LCSW

Specializes in working to children and adults

Availability: Monday/Thursday, evenings

Michelle is  Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Psychology and a Masters of Social Work degree, both from Virginia Commonwealth University. Michelle possesses over 10 years’ experience providing clinical  services to individuals, families and groups. Michelle has worked in a variety of settings including residential, home, school and hospital. Michelle uses a strengths based and collaborative approach in order to achieve desired goals. Michelle aims to empower her clients and partners with them throughout their journey. Michelle has specific experience helping others cope with grief, illness, trauma and adjustment.

Michelle enjoys spending time with her family and pets, traveling, going to concerts and indulging in the restaurant scene around town.

Carrie Schaeffer, LCSW
Specializes in working with adults
Availability: Monday, daytime

Carrie is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who works from a strengths-based perspective with adults in the areas of general loss, maternal and perinatal loss, anticipatory loss and life-threatening illness. With a warm and compassionate style she works collaboratively with clients helping them explore their emotions, set goals for themselves, identify their own inherent gifts, and look toward the future.  Depending on the best fit for a client, Carrie uses a variety of techniques to help them move through their ever-changing landscape of grief.

Carrie began facilitating adult groups for Full Circle in 2015 and joined the Full Circle staff in 2017 as the Perinatal Bereavement Services Manager working with parents who have lost an infant or late-term pregnancy.

Before coming to Full Circle Carrie spent 12 years in Oncology Social Work working with adults with a cancer diagnosis.  In this setting she counseled individuals who were newly diagnosed with cancer as well as patients and family members who were coping with the anticipatory grief of a terminal illness.  She specialized in the area of breast cancer and ran groups for women with metastatic disease and family caregivers.

Carrie has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Virginia as well as. Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University.  She has been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker since 2011.  In her free time, she loves to cook, read, laugh with friends and most of all spend time with her husband, three children and dog.

Lauren Shaulis, LCSW

Specializes in working with children and adults

Availability: Monday/Wednesday

Lauren Shaulis graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with her Master of Social Worker degree in 2014 and has been a licensed clinical social worker since 2017. During that time she was able to garner experience in a variety of settings including hospice, emergency room/inpatient mental health, outpatient and non-profit settings. 

Lauren Shaulis specializes in working with individuals and families navigating the complex path of grief, loss and terminal diagnoses. During the therapeutic process a variety of interventions and approaches can be utilized when navigating the complex feelings and emotions that come with grief. Lauren employs a strength based and holistic approach when approaching each individual client. It is important to remember and include the impact of experiences from the family, social, culture and spiritual dimensions. The ultimate goals for this therapeutic process include empowering clients and their families to embrace their needs at this time in their life and to give hope and peace for their futures. Currently at Full Circle Lauren looks forward to working with adolescents and adults on their path through the grief process. 

When not working Lauren enjoys spending time with her family, traveling to the beach, exploring the RVA restaurant scene and reading a good book. 

Alexis Stribbling, MSW, LCSW
Specializes in working with children and adults
Availability: Monday/Thursday, evenings

Alexis is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker holding a Bachelor’s in Social Work degree from Christopher Newport University and a Master’s in Social Work degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. Working in a hospice setting over the last five years has allowed Alexis to recognize that each person’s grief is as unique as their fingerprint. The ways in which people express their feelings of grief, sadness and loss are highly individual, so Alexis takes extra care in implementing interventions that are sensitive to the unique needs of each client.

Using a strengths-based approach, Alexis works collaboratively with each client to define their clinical goals while celebrating each person’s resiliency as they work through each layer of their grief. Alexis’ clinical background includes working with children, adults and families experiencing challenges related to general loss, life transitions, anticipatory loss, ambiguous loss, caregiver stress, compassion fatigue, mental illness and complex trauma.

As a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Person of Color) therapist, Alexis is passionate about creating an open and safe space for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ clients.  Alexis enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, reading and exploring Richmond’s rich restaurant scene and craft beer scene.

Melissa Weaver, LCSW
Specializes in working with those ages 10 and older
Availability: Monday, evening and Wednesday, daytime

The experience of grief can be overwhelming, isolating, and confusing. Melissa works diligently to meet the specific and unique needs of each client in an environment which provides for trust, compassion, and validation. Her goal is to ensure that each client feels heard, supported, and empowered. Melissa is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 20 years experience in the mental health profession working with adults and youth, families, and groups.  Melissa’s professional work addresses the individual needs of those experiencing symptoms related to trauma, grief, anxiety/panic, and/or a recent  life threatening or terminal illness diagnosis.  Melissa approaches each client from a holistic systems based perspective. Furthermore; ongoing training and professional development in the areas of grief, mindfulness, and trauma work to ensure that strategies and interventions are client driven.

Long term experience within the hospice setting allowed Melissa to gain a greater understanding of the many layers of grief and the ability to recognize that the feeling of  loss is not something that ends but, instead, is part of a transformative journey. Other areas of professional experience and interest include; dementia; autism; Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; substance abuse and addiction; issues related to infertility and LGBTQ populations, and work with children and youth over the age of 10.

Melissa utilizes a collaborative and real life approach to develop goals and interventions strategies that will best meet the needs of the individual.  Her approach focuses heavily on gaining a greater understanding of the unique needs of each client and the recognition of resiliency in each individual. Melissa possesses significant experience working with couples, families, and those impacted by life threatening and chronic illnesses. This work includes a special focus on the unique challenges faced by those individuals receiving a cancer diagnosis. Melissa currently facilitates psycho-educational groups, through Full Circle Grief Center, for individuals who have experienced a traumatic loss and is a Professor at VCU School of Social Work.

When not working, Melissa enjoys spending time with her family, volunteering for non-profit organizations, mindfulness based practices, and finding purpose amidst loss and grief.