Therapist Bios

Rachel Boggan, LCSW
Specializes in working with children ages 3-17
Availability: Monday, evening

Rachel is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 15 years of experience providing clinical and case management services to individuals, families and groups in a wide variety of environments including home, public school, residential and non-profit settings. Here at Full Circle, Rachel joins children and adolescents ages 3 to 17 on their journey through grief and loss, using a trauma-informed, healing centered approach as an individual therapist, and children’s group leader in the Hands On Healing Program.  Rachel’s work utilizes a variety of creative, art and play-based therapeutic techniques for self-exploration, feelings identification and skill building in the context of healing, and is largely guided by an integration of Attachment Theory, Relational-Cultural Theory, and the Internal Family Systems Model.  Rachel is LGBTQIA+ affirming and follows the WPATH standards of care.

Rachel’s background is in working with families experiencing challenges related to life changes and transitions, parent-child interactions and attachment, caregiver stress, mental health and mental illness, grief and loss, foster care and adoption, domestic and interpersonal violence, homelessness, and complex trauma.  Her experience includes supporting both neurotypical and neurodivergent children and their families.

In addition to the time spent with the children and families of Full Circle, Rachel works with Greater Richmond SCAN to provide community-based groups, workshops and trainings for parents, caregivers, and professionals on subjects including topics in parenting, child development, mental health, fostering resilience in children, parents and families, and trauma education. Rachel also works as an adjunct instructor in the VCU School of Social Work, where she shares her passion for trauma-informed, healing centered work with children, families and groups.

 

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.

 

Allyson England Drake, M.Ed, CT
Resident in Counseling
Specializes in working with children ages 3-17
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.

Allyson is a Licensed School Counselor (preK-12) and she worked as an elementary school counselor for three years. She has worked with grieving children and families for 17 years, has facilitated numerous counseling groups for children who were dealing with the death of a loved one, and has developed curriculum for bereavement counseling 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 ages 3-18 who are anticipating the death of a loved one or who have experienced the death of someone significant to them.  She uses art and various forms of creative expression in her practice to help children and teens identify feelings, learn coping skills, and find ways to remember or honor their loved one.

 

Britni Higginbotham, M.Ed, MFT
Resident in Counseling
Specializes in working with those ages 12 and older
Availability: Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday, daytime

Britni earned a Master of Arts in Marriage & Family Counseling from in 2013, and a Post-Master Certificate in Marriage & Family Counseling in 2018.  Britni is currently working towards her LPC licensure hours, and is anticipating full licensure fall of 2019.

Britni has over eleven years of experience in both the clinical and case management field to individuals, couples, families and group. Britni developed an array of skills in working with diverse populations of individuals and families within a wide variety of environments to include the public school system, individual’s homes, private counseling and community behavioral health arenas.  Britni has worked with children, teenagers and adults on various issues to include homelessness (adult and youth), loss, trauma, substance use, behavioral concerns, depression, anxiety, serious mental illness, relational/family struggles, difficult life transitions, and grief (to include child and adoption loss & childhood cancer).

Britni uses a collaborative, holistic and practical approach to assist you in gaining awareness and understanding to better resolve challenges in your life. Together you will work through areas of concern to promote fulfillment and balance.  In addition to her work with Full Circle, Britni works with several local agencies providing community-based services such as psychological assessments, facilitating substance abuse groups, and outpatient therapy.

When not working, Britni enjoys spending time with her two dogs, and mini pig, exploring new restaurants around RVA, working out, heading to a concert or playing with her nieces and nephews.

 

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: Tuesday/Wednesday, daytime & Thursday, evening

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.

Stacia has over 20 years of experience providing counseling services to children, adults, and families who have experienced loss, trauma, crises, or adversity. 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. She 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 long term case management and support to these members and families, and supervises group leaders.

Through strength-based and culturally sensitive approaches, Stacia actively supports others during various stages of their grief journey.  She often utilizes solution focused and family systems approaches when serving individuals and families.  Stacia assists parents as they raise grieving children while also grieving themselves.  She supports these 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 including grandparents who are now raising their grandchildren following a loss.    She previously led a young adult grief group at Full Circle and has experience helping young adults aged 18-24 process their grief during this critical stage in their lives.

 

Rachel Melhorn, LCSW
Specializes in working with children and young adults ages 5-21
Availability: Monday, evening

Rachel is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Certified Trauma Practitioner who specializes in working with children, adolescents and families. She has completed her play therapy supervision hours and is currently working to complete coursework to become a Registered Play Therapist through the Association for Play Therapy. Rachel has experience working with young people in a variety of clinical settings including outpatient practices, nonprofits and schools.

Rachel works from a holistic, strengths-based perspective and believes in the transformative power of the supportive therapeutic relationship. With extensive training and experience in play therapy, sand tray, trauma-focused treatment and mindfulness, Rachel is passionate about partnering with young people to build resilience. She believes in the healing power of the creative process and incorporates the use of expressive arts interventions to support growth and healing. Rachel utilizes these therapeutic elements to support youth in exploring feelings surrounding trauma, grief and loss, anxiety, depression, and self esteem.

Rachel began running groups for Full Circle in 2016 and has extensive training and experience working with individuals who are grieving, including supporting children, adolescents and families with symptoms of traumatic grief.

 

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.

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

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.