Fall 2020: Potomac Programs Transitions to Embark Behavioral Health

Is Your Child Struggling with Mental Health, Trauma or Substance Use / Abuse Issues?

Embark at Atlanta North Offers Outpatient Care and Support for Children Ages 13-27.

Due to COVID-19, We Are Now Offering Our Intensive Outpatient Program via Video Chat.

Embark at Atlanta North

Embark at Atlanta North—located just outside the Atlanta, GA metro area — offers outpatient behavioral health services and support for teens, ages 13-27, struggling with mental health and/or substance use issues.

Depression, anxiety and suicide are on the rise and young people are at risk today more than ever before. Too many teens and young adults go through life suffering from trauma, loneliness, intense social pressure, feelings of worthlessness, anxiety, depression and shame. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Our outpatient program allows your family to get the help they need locally, in your own community, and includes individual, family and group therapy, therapeutic/peer mentoring and parent coaching. We provide a safe, nurturing and healing environment to help families and their children address and overcome the following mental health issues that may be affecting their everyday lives.

  • Anxiety
  • Mood Regulation
  • Family Conflict
  • Bullying
teen mental health Atlanta GA

Treatment Provided at Atlanta North

When a more intensive program than basic outpatient therapy is needed, or if your child is in need of a ‘step-down’ program once they have completed an inpatient hospital or residential program, our clinic is here to help. We provide two in-clinic treatment options; a partial hospitalization program (PHP), sometimes referred to as a “day treatment program,” meeting a minimum of 20 hours a week, and an intensive outpatient program (IOP), which meets for a minimum of 9 hours a week. These programs offer your child the opportunity to live at home during treatment where they continue to be involved with your family and in the community, allowing for the “real life” practice of the skills they learn while attending our program three to four days each week.

Embark at Atlanta North also offers a Virtual IOP TeleHealth Program, designed to truly be adaptive in supporting our clients while removing any access to care barriers and providing additional flexibility to help us meet our clients’ unique needs.

The program connects you to our state-of-the-art clinic directly through our secure HIPAA-compliant video platform. This is a convenient and accessible way to receive our high-quality care when attending in person is not an option. Our Virtual IOP TeleHealth Program can provide more frequent sessions to help meet the needs of your child, with options of attending 4-6 days a week.

Embark at  Atlanta North utilizes several different modes of treatment including the following:

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Recent trends show that many of our youth experience issues such as bullying and distortion of values associated with personal, social, sexual and physical boundaries.  In addition, youth are being faced with a variety of challenges such as sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, substance use/abuse and isolation which can result in exploitation.

Our treatment team provides trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT), an evidence-based treatment for children and adolescents impacted by trauma. Along with support for the child, TF-CBT provides family-focused treatment that involves the parents and other supportive caregivers. Research shows that TF-CBT successfully resolves a broad array of emotional and behavioral difficulties associated with single, multiple and complex trauma experiences. In addition, TF-CBT effectively addresses many of the consequences of trauma, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and cognitive and behavioral problems. It improves the caregiver’s personal distress about the child’s traumatic experience while enhancing effective parenting skills and supporting interactions with the child.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

We use Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) to identify and change negative thinking patterns and unhealthy behaviors that affect quality of life, teaching teens and young adults new skills to effectively cope with stress, monitor and regulate emotions, decrease conflict, improve relationships with others, focus on the present and live in the moment. We then help them practice these skills so they can apply what they have learned at home, at school, at work, and in the community, and achieve their goals, improve their well-being, and effect lasting positive change.

SMART Recovery

There are a variety of approaches to treating children struggling with addictions. Of all the options available, we are most impressed with SMART Recovery. SMART stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training. This approach has been shown, through ongoing scientific research and continual clinical refinement, to be highly effective.

By combining a blend of cognitive behavior therapy, which helps change negative thought patterns to positive ones, emotional coping strategies and group and family support, SMART Recovery teaches children how to control their addictive behavior, by focusing on their underlying thoughts and feelings, and provides them with the skills they need to manage their cravings and urges for the long term. The SMART Recovery approach to behavioral change is built around the following 4-point program:

  1. Enhancing and maintaining motivation to abstain.
  2. Coping with urges.
  3. Managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
  4. Balancing momentary and enduring satisfactions.

Experiential Therapy

As its name indicates, experiential therapy involves far more than just talking.  Experiencing individual, family and group activity that involves several of the senses, through mediums such as art, music, food, creative games, group challenges and other mediums, can deepen change and access more methods to learn and retain changes. Combined with traditional “talk therapy,” Experiential Therapy is at the core of Embark's therapeutic approach. We find that the actual involvement with different types of experiences, including emotional processing, interactions with others, creativity and reflections on current events, can reach teens and young adults who did not benefit from indoor talk therapy. Experiential Therapy helps to speed up the therapeutic process and promotes change in a shorter period of time.

Why Choose Embark at Atlanta North?

  • Local

    Centrally located just outside the perimeter of the Atlanta metro area, and less than an hour from the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains—our healthy, warm environment provides the idyllic setting for structured, consistent therapeutic and recreational care and support.

  • Convenient

    Since schedules can be hectic, we provide both day and evening programming as a way to remove further barriers to treatment. Also, in order to truly be adaptive in supporting our clients and provide additional flexibility to help us meet our clients’ unique needs, we offer virtual teletherapy services as an alternative to our in-person sessions.

  • Experiential

    Therapy is much more than talking. When focused on an activity or task, rather than the therapy itself, people tend to be less guarded, providing more authentic reactions and emotions. We engage your child’s physical and emotional capacities with a variety of hands-on activities, experiences, creative arts, family and team challenges and mindfulness exercises that provide interactive opportunities for them to open up and share.

  • Family Systems Approach

    We believe that working with the entire family unit, both the child and family members, is essential to the healing process. This tailored approach allows the family to work together to help the child and relieve the strain on the family. Family members explore their individual roles within the family, learn how their individual actions affect each other and discover ways to support and help each other in order to restore family relationships and rebuild a healthy family system.

Meet the Embark at Atlanta North Team

Choosing the right treatment program for your teen and young adult is one of the most difficult decisions you’ll make as a parent. The Embark at Atlanta North team has served families for a combined five decades at several nationally recognized treatment programs and has been carefully assembled to ensure the correct blend of training, clinical credentials and experience to meet the challenges of providing your child and family with a safe, supportive, caring and effective course of treatment.

Embark at Atlanta North Outpatient Clinic Staff

Dr. Sharnell Myles

Position: Vice President of Atlanta Metro
Credentials: Psy.D., LPC, CCTP, CPCS
Dr. Sharnell Myles, Psy. D. is a licensed psychotherapist and certified clinical trauma professional who specializes in the treatment of complex trauma. Her dedication to serving children, youth, and adults has spanned over 20-years with a focus on utilizing trauma-informed services to treat a continuum of trauma experiences, including domestic minor sex trafficking and community-based trauma. Dr. Myles is the Executive Director of JoyUs Beginnings Child & Family Wellness Center and The Urban Trauma Positive Impact Center, Inc., an exclusive trauma-informed treatment and advocacy center located in Atlanta, Georgia. Services include trauma informed therapies, trauma assessments, group treatments, gender specific social justice initiatives for girls of color and PeriCare a 2-Gen maternal fetal behavioral health treatment and advocacy initiative. Dr. Myles served as the first Clinical Director for youthSpark, Inc. and was to serve vulnerable youth who experienced exploitation, abuse, and other victimizations within the Fulton County Juvenile Court (FCJC), the largest juvenile court in the southeast region. Throughout her career, Dr. Myles has consulted with systems of care, such as East Cleveland’s MyCom, Inc. and Minnesota’s Robbinsdale Area Schools, to develop trauma-informed systems of care, policy, programming, and training on trauma and equity. In December 2018, Dr. Myles collaborated with Atlanta Public School Board Member Erika Mitchell – District 5 and co-authored the first Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST) Protocol for schools in the state of Georgia and has trained hundreds of school social workers on this policy. In addition, she has trained over ten thousand individuals on the impact of trauma DMST which includes Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport, corporations, law enforcement, mental health providers, educators, lawyers, governmental officials, community members, and youth. Dr. Myles has accepted many leadership positions throughout her career. She is the current Advisory Board Chair for the DeKalb County Juvenile Court Mental Health Court – Journey Program, a member of the Georgia Statewide Multi-Disciplinary Team for Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking, Board Chair for Breaking the Cycle, Inc (Philadelphia), and was the Vice Chair of the Georgia Statewide Human Trafficking Taskforce Survivors Supported and Protected workgroup. Dr. Myles is a subject matter expert and provides expert testimony in legal cases involving child and adolescent trauma. She has presented at various conferences and has experience in vast settings such as clinical, juvenile justice, Department of Defense, and community-based settings.

Dr. Sharnell Myles

Vice President of Atlanta Metro
Shellina Jenkins

Shellina Jenkins

Position: Clinical Director

Shellina Jenkins is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Georgia and a Certified Professional Counselor Supervisor. Shellina gained interest in helping individuals fight the battle against substance abuse and mental health as a young child. She was eager to find a way to help those in need very close to her. She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology with a minor in Sociology from Georgia State University, and her Master’s Degree from Fort Valley University. Shellina has a variety of work experience with adolescents and adults in corrections, drug court, foster care, mental health clinics, working with individuals struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues. Prior to joining Potomac Programs, Shellina has held leadership positions in mental health clinics and corrections. She has also worked in private practice settings to assist in the treatment of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders, SPMI and substance abuse. Shellina has provided training on suicide prevention/intervention, substance abuse and mental health in community-based settings and in corrections.

Shellina’s philosophy on behavioral change involves several treatment modalities such as role modeling / teaching to encourage positive thoughts & behaviors, focusing on positive outcomes utilizing CBT, DBT, solution focused approach etc.

Shellina Jenkins

Clinical Director
Erika Mitchell

Erika Mitchell

Position: Metro Marketer

RESPECTED PUBLIC SERVANT

The multi-talented professional and local public servant is a native of Atlanta and is committed to bridging the support gap between non-profit organizations and for-profit companies in order to better serve the diverse communities.

Since elected to the Atlanta Board of Education, Erika Mitchell has established herself as one of Atlanta’s most influential public servant. Mitchell is an active board member when it comes to serving her community and she is a strong believer in parent and community engagement.

Mitchell currently serving on the Atlanta Board of Education’s Policy Review Committee, Equity Taskforce, Audit Committee and the Boards of Director for the Atlanta BeltLine. Mitchell is currently on the Georgia Statewide Human Trafficking Taskforce Workgroup and was appointed by the City of Atlanta’s Mayor Bottom to serve on the Atlanta 2020 Census Committee. Mitchell is also an elected member of the National School Boards Association’s Council of Urban Boards of Education’s Steering Committee and elected as Secretary on the National Black Council of School Board Members and Chair Policy and Resolutions Committee for Council of Urban Board of Education. ​

Mitchell has been awarded 2019 The National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc (The Greater Atlanta Chapter) Public Servant Award, 2019 C.T Martin’s Public Servant Award, and was honored by The Alabama State University’s “50 under 50” Class of 2018, 2018 America Caribbean Captains of the Industries, 2016 Barack Obama’s “President Lifetime Volunteer Service” Award, the “Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major” Award and the 2011 National Black Latino Council Community Organization of the Year.

PRIOR TO CURRENT ROLE

Mitchell is currently the Managing Partner at Sports Unlimited Enterprise, LLC. Sports Unlimited Enterprise, LLC (SUE) specializes in Event planning, Public Relations, Marketing, Charities, Non-Profits and Branding for current and former professional athletes. SUE’s Mission is to bridge the gap between professional athletes and corporate companies that will engage athletes and or their charities involvement with the youth and their community. SUE provides a platform for athletes to leverage their brands to host or partner with fundraising and charitable initiatives.

Mitchell is also the founder of Atlanta Women In Sports (AWIS), which salutes and honors Atlanta business women who are blazing trails and redefining the position of “sports executive and athletes” with their contributions in the sports industry. AWIS also provides a platform and networking opportunities for women to connect and engage professionals of various industries who carry a similar passion for the business of sports.

EARLY DAYS

A graduate of Alabama State University, Mitchell was able to take advantage of a full athletic scholarship. She won numerous awards for her stellar athletic performance including the Indoor and Outdoor track and field South Western Athletics Conference (SWAC) Championships in 2001, 2002 and 2003. Mitchell earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Computer Information Systems yielding her the knowledge and opportunity to work for major global brands such as Coca Cola, Cbeyond, and Kodak as an Information Technology (IT) specialist.

Erika Mitchell

Metro Marketer

In-Home Community Support Staff in Atlanta, GA

Ayana Gilham

Ayana Gilham

Position: Director of In-Home Services
Credentials: NCC, LPC, CPCS, CAMS-II

Ayana is a National Board Certified Counselor, Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified Professional Counselor Supervisor, and a Certified Anger Management Specialist with a Masters Degree in Community Counseling accompanied by a certification in Marriage and Family Therapy from Argosy University. She has over 15 years of experience in the behavioral health field.  Ayana specializes in individual therapy, family therapy, life coaching, and clinical supervision. Her areas of expertise include depression, mood disorders,  behavior disorders, ADHD, anxiety disorders, adjustment disorder, anger management, self-harming behaviors, relationship issues, and parenting skills. Ayana uses a solution-focused, person-centered approach in her practice and has extensive training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy,  Functional Family Therapy, Clinical Supervision, and Aggressive Replacement Training. She is passionate about being a change agent and working with individuals and families from all walks of life to drive positive change by liberating the best version of themselves.

Ayana enjoys spending time with her children (son and dog), going to the beach, laughing, reading, thrifting, and traveling.

Ayana Gilham

Director of In-Home Services
DeShawn Artis

Deshawn Artis

Position: Family Therapist
Credentials: LPC

DeShawn Artis is an Associate Licensed Professional Counselor with a Master of Arts Degree in Community Counseling, along with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy from Argosy University, Atlanta Campus. DeShawn has a strong desire to work with families and help them become “unstuck” by observing interactions, or “transactions” within the family that seem to support or encourage problems within the family system. DeShawn has over 10 years of experience in working with individuals, couples, families and group work. His experience varies from community-based work to substance abuse and residential treatment centers, as well as inpatient psychiatric hospitals. In working with families, one of the treatment modalities that DeShawn finds useful is the Structural Family Therapy approach or SFT. In practice, concepts such as boundaries, alliances, and interactions among family members are highlighted and new ways of interacting within the family are encouraged, as the therapist, in a metaphoric sense “becomes a member of the family.” While working with individuals, DeShawn finds Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy helpful. In REBT, DeShawn understands that while problems seem to create tension in our lives, it is not the problem that maintains the dysfunction, but rather the way we think about the problem, that serves to continually perturb our daily lives. Uncovering such irrational thinking patterns is most liberating! DeShawn has many things he is passionate about when it comes to therapy. He finds joy in working with LGBTQ youth, looking at preventative, treatment and therapy for individuals living with HIV/AIDS, incorporating spirituality into the counseling process, working to address individual, family and community trauma and a host of other concerns, as they relate to mental health. In DeShawn’s spare time you can catch him at poetry spots, swanky bookstores in East Atlanta, trying out new restaurants, participating in community advocacy, or simply trying to browse for the next best show on Netflix.

Deshawn Artis

Family Therapist
Jennifer Walker

Jennifer Walker

Position: Family Therapist
Credentials: LCSW

Jennifer Walker is a licensed clinical social worker with a master of social work degree from Savannah state university. She has a unique passion for empowering, inspiring, and motivating others to achieve their dreams. Life experience, education, and determination ultimately inspired her to become a “Change agent”. Over the past twenty years, Jennifer has served children, families, and communities as a certified school social worker, executive board member for the school social worker association of Georgia, national presenter for the national drop out prevention center, non-profit board chair for feed the city, field liaison for fort valley state university, success coach, mentor, CEO for jk marketing, and community clinician for mental health agencies. Jennifer uses a strengths-based, client-centered, and humanistic approach to assist teens and families to reach therapeutic goals while using CBT techniques. Jennifer enjoys working with children and families facing transitions and conflict. She strives to make a difference in the world with her “Out of the box” style. Ms. Walker’s goal is to be genuine yet a realistic catalyst that will empower youth to regain their confidence and move past the obstacles in their lives.

Jennifer Walker

Family Therapist
Harry Scott Gordon

Harry Scott Gordon

Position: Family Therapist
Credentials: MS

Harry Gordon is Mental Health Clinician with a Master of Science Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Capella University. Harry also holds a Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Counseling Theory in Couple and Family Systems. Harry has a zest for helping young adolescents as evidenced by his work as a school teacher, coach and mentor. He has numerous years of experience with the children and adolescent population as he founded a youth summer camp for inner city at risk boys, coached basketball and baseball at Atlanta area recreation centers, started a Men of Distinction program at community schools. Harry believes that a systemic family approach will help troubled youth be engaging the entire family. Harry believes that young men need to understand who they are as men, what they can achieve, how to understand and control: their emotions, low self-esteem, drugs, gender identity issues and self-harm. He believes that young ladies need to understand their self-worth, the pitfalls of teen pregnancy, having positive relationships, gender identity and self-harm. In his spare time Harry spends time with family and friends, exercises and travels.

Harry Scott Gordon

Family Therapist

Olin Pirkle

Position: Therapist

Olin Pirkle is a licensed master social worker with an MSW from the University of Georgia. Olin also holds an ED. S degree in professional school counseling and has over 5 years of professional experience working with families and youth in a variety of settings. Olin uses an eclectic approach often combining the practical solution focus of brief therapy techniques with cognitive behavior therapy techniques allowing for tailored fit treatments for clients of varying individual needs. Olin is committed to helping clients create fundamental changes that are ever lasting while teaching clients to be self-sufficient by utilizing developed strengths, the environment and personal resources to solve major problems life inevitably brings. Olin has extensive training and professional experience with the application of brief therapy methods including Solution Focus Brief Therapy (SFBT) and Reality Therapy. Olin also has professional training in Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) as well as specialized training in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT). Olin is also inspired by the Existential Therapists, and he encourages clients to search for deeper meaning in their lives.

Olin Pirkle

Therapist

Nicole Wint

Position: Therapist
Credentials: LMSW

Nicole Wint is a Licensed Master’s Social Worker (LMSW). Nicole Wint holds a Master’s Degree in Psychology from the University of the Caribbean and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Simmons University. For the past thirteen (13) years, Nicole has worked extensively with teenagers and young adults across Jamaica, Turks and Caicos and the United States which undoubtedly has attributed to vast improvement in cultural competence and diversification of knowledge in her area of expertise. Nicole has a passion for working with youth and while working in Turks and Caicos singlehandedly commenced and maintained campaigns on ending bullying and child sexual abuse. Projects are maintained to date by the Turks and Caicos government.
Nicole is consistently developing competence in use of techniques including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Mindfulness and Play Therapy as part of best therapeutic practices. Nicole is experienced in areas of communication, working with culturally diverse groups, public speaking and leadership skills. Nicole has strong ethical values, great compassion for people and believe that the family is the backbone of the society. Nicole is competent in her ability to work independently and with a team.
In her spare time, Nicole likes to read, cook, travel and watch movies with her family.

Nicole Wint

Therapist

Behavioral Healthcare in Atlanta, GA

Embark at Atlanta North

960 North Point Parkway
Suite 450
Alpharetta, GA 30005

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Phone: 770-670-6248