Clarity's Team

Alicia Ayvas, MSSW, LCSW, CEDS-S
Executive Director
Primary Therapist

Certified Supervisor

My mission is to offer evidenced-based treatment to individuals and families impacted by an eating disorder and co-occurring disorders and commit to the prevention, education, and treatment of those living in Northern Virginia. For too long services were limited in this area and I am very excited to have offices in Gainesville, Reston, Richmond, and virtually. I work primarily in Gainesville and virtually, and in every office, Clarity has nutritionists in house and family therapists, all of which are specialized in the treatment of eating disorders. I believe it is imperative to work together with my client, their family, and a multidisciplinary team of professionals when treating eating disorders and through that collaboration, I hope to make a difference within the field of mental health.

 

I am a certified eating disorder specialist and supervisor as well as hold certification in DBT.  have been working in the field of eating disorders since 2008 and I am committed to help client’s understand and fully overcome their eating disorder's so that they have peace within their mind, body, and spirit. I earned her Bachelors of Arts at Rutgers University and Masters of Science at Columbia University.  While at Columbia in 2009, I was formally trained and certified in DBT by Behavioral Tech. In 2017 I became a certified eating disorder specialist through the International Academy of Eating Disorder Professionals (iaedp), in 2018 I earned my certification to be a supervisor for providers working toward their certification and as of 2019 hold a co-chair position within iaedp's Alexandria chapter for certification.  I am excited to be a leader in the field and am committed to giving back.  I am licensed in VA/MA to practice and supervise in VA as well as provide supervision for providers working toward their CEDS. Lastly, I recently completed work with Stanford University and UCSF, under the supervision of Dr. Locke and Dr. LeGrange (developers of FBT). As of Fall 2021, I am a Certified Family Based Therapist (CFBT).  In 2023 myself and our Clarity team committed to receiving formal training with the developer of Radically Open Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (RO-DBT) and I am currently Level 1 certified and in the final stages of Level 2 certification.  I will be completing that training in Winter of 2024 and attend bi-weekly consultation/supervision groups for continued support as I master this new transdiagnositic treatment, which compliments the FBT and DBT training I have to best supports individuals and families.

 

I am energetic, passionate, and dedicated to empowering individuals and families who are impacted by eating disorders and mental illness. My primary methods are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, and Family Based Therapy.  I am HAES™ align and a trauma informed provider.  All in all, I am committed to the prevention, research, and evidence-based interventions for full recovery among individuals and families who are affected by eating disorders and co-occurring illnesses.

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*Alicia currently has limited availability, however she does supervise the staff at Clarity Counseling (so she will be working behind the scenes if you are a client of Clarity's) along with providers working toward CEDS throughout the US.

 

To schedule a session with Alicia, please click HERE to access her schedule. 



Katie (Sharpe) Bowler, LCSW
Primary Therapist - Virtual

DBT Skills Group Leader

Certified Supervisor

I have over ten years of experience helping individuals struggling with substance abuse, trauma and mental health diagnoses. I'm trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy for group & individual settings to help my clients achieve their goals. DBT teaches concrete, easy-to-use coping skills and I would love to help you begin using skills in your life. I strongly believe recovery is achievable for all and you can create a 'life worth living' through therapy. I also use CBT and trauma-informed care. In 2013, I received my Masters in Social Work at Rutgers University and am licensed in Virginia, Maryland, DC, North Carolina, & South Carolina.

 

I believe that therapy should be client-centered, non-judgmental and at your pace. I hope to inspire my clients to make change in their life, work towards their goals, process life events and build useful coping skills. Through DBT, I can help you be in control of your emotions, manage stress without problem behaviors and be present in your life.

 

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*Katie runs Clarity's DBT Skills Group's that are currently running.  Katie is 100%r Virtual.

To schedule a session with Katie, please click HERE to access her schedule.

 

 



Kaitlin Westerman, MSSW, LCSW
Primary Therapist - Gainesville Certified in EMDR and CPT

Certified Supervisor

My mission is to create a safe and empowering atmosphere where people can begin to heal from trauma. I use a research-driven, multi-disciplinary, integrative approach that honors self-efficacy and encourages each person to take the lead in their therapeutic journey with the support of myself and other treatment providers. I am passionate about using your inherent strengths to help you move to place of stability and balance focusing on the connection between the brain and the body. I strongly believe coping skills are adaptive and that our brains constantly attempt to move us to a place of stability, even if, at times, that is difficult to see. I specialize in working with adults who have experienced trauma, mental health disorders, and substance use.  

 

I have over a decade of experience in the field of substance use, mental health, and trauma. I earned a Bachelor's of Health and Human Sciences and a Masters in Science and Social Work from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. I have been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker for 8 years in both VA and TN. As a senior clinician, I have specialty training in complex trauma and mental health through EMDRIA and the Institute for Creative Mindfulness in EMDR and am pursuing certification. Additionally, I am trained and certified in Cognitive Processing Therapy through the Strong Star Initiative at University of Texas, and the Trauma Recovery Empowerment Model. I am also an approved supervisor for those seeking to earn their LCSW in VA. In my practice, I utilize a variety of evidence-based modalities to meet the need of each individual person, including Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Dialectic Behavior Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Mindfulness Based Therapy, Trauma-Focused CBT, and Motivational Interviewing.  

 

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*Kaitlin is currently accepting new clients virtually and in the Gainesville location.

To schedule a session with Kaitlin, please click HERE to access her schedule. 




Tori Palmer,  LCSW
Primary Therapist - Gainesville

I strongly believe that no one should ever have to walk alone in struggling with life’s obstacles and challenges. In therapy, I aim to work with you in collaboration to address your concerns in a warm, safe, and non-judgmental environment. I am certain that all human have unique strengths and that once we tap into the identified strengths, we are able to open the door to healing and build a life worth living. 

 

I specialize in the treatment of Eating Disorders, as my passion is to assist individuals and families heal their relationship with their body and mind. Additionally, I specialize in addressing concerns such as anxiety, low self-esteem, obsessive/compulsive behaviors, depression, trauma, complex mood disorders, and grief. 

 

I have practiced in a variety of settings including inpatient treatment centers, partial hospitalization programs, intensive outpatient programing, psychosocial day programs, and community-based settings. 

 

Although a native to the Northern Virginia area, I attended the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign for both my Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social work with an emphasis in advanced clinical mental health. My theoretical approach is guided from a trauma informed lens with a Health at Every Size (HAEs) perspective. I have received advanced training in several evidence-based therapies including; Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Family Based Treatment (FBT), Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFCBT), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Motivational Interviewing, and Solution-Focused Therapies. 

 

 

 

Additionally, I am currently under the supervision of Alicia Ayvas LCSW, CEDS-S, as I work towards the credential of a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist (CEDS). 

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*Tori will have openings in late August.  Tori works in our Gainesville location and also is able to offer virtual therapy.

 

To schedule a session with Tori, please click HERE to access her schedule. 

 



Madison Valentine, LPC
Primary Therapist - Reston

I believe that everyone comes into therapy with their own innate strength and wisdom, and in my sessions, I strive to help teens, children, families, and individuals with eating disorders tap into these qualities that are already present within. I incorporate empathy and a non-judgmental approach into my sessions to foster a safe, therapeutic relationship. It is through this relationship we can explore your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and, in time, we will examine whether they are helping you live your most fulfilling life. I am a strong advocate of self-compassion and emotional expression, and I strive to help you develop skills and strategies that will move you closer to your goals. Nothing brings me more joy than seeing my clients succeed, and I will be here to celebrate your progress every step of the way!  

 

I earned my undergraduate degree from UVA and went on to receive my Master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from William & Mary.  I have experience supporting individuals in a variety of settings including inpatient hospitalization, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and outpatient levels of care. I am HAES-aligned and a trauma-informed provider.  I incorporate techniques from evidenced-based therapies including acceptance and commitment therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and exposure response prevention. I am currently being supervised to become a certified eating disorder specialist to continue to grow in my experience in the treatment of eating disorders and in Level 1 training for radically open dialectical behavioral therapy.

 

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*Madison is currently accepting new clients in the Reston location as well as over our virtual platform.

 

 

 

To schedule a session with Madison, please click HERE to access her schedule. 

 

 

 



 Rachael Scholl, LCSW
Primary Therapist - Richmond

In my practice, I work with clients to explore past experiences and how they might be influencing current thoughts, feelings, and behaviors — nurturing insight and awareness to elicit growth and desired change. I view therapy as a collaborative process that can assist in identifying and working through challenges so that life can be lived with greater balance and self-compassion. I strive to create a safe space for individuals to freely express their authentic selves, while working together to set and progress toward therapeutic goals.

 

I am experienced in treating individuals with depression, anxiety, grief, trauma, life transitions, and women’s issues. I specialize in treating individuals recovering from eating disorders, and individuals who feel dissatisfaction with their bodies and relationships with food. As an eating disorder specialist, I am passionate about the link between mind and body — recognizing the importance of simultaneous healing. I am grounded in evidence-based practice, utilizing an integrated and trauma-informed approach influenced by cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, exposure response and prevention therapy, mindfulness practice, and family systems therapy; while employing strengths-based and person-centered frameworks. I hold the belief that connection serves as a powerful aid to the recovery process and encourage the involvement of a support system, as well as other treatment professionals.

 

I received my Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Mary Washington, and my Master of Social Work in Clinical Practice from Virginia Commonwealth University. I have been working in the field of mental health since 2014 in various roles and settings, including inpatient, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and outpatient levels-of-care. I am currently under the supervision of Alicia Ayvas, MSSW, LCSW, CEDS, as I work toward my CEDS.

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*Rachael currently is accepting new clients in the Richmond location as well as over our virtual platform.

 

To schedule a session with Rachael, please click HERE to access her schedule. 



Jihaan "Gigi" Hachim, MA, LPC
Primary Therapist - Reston & Gainesville

Since 2013, I have had the privilege to provide mental health services to children/adolescents and their families. I have specifically supported those struggling in their eating disorder recovery journey along with co-occurring anxiety, depression and traumas for the last five years. The focus of my work with my clients have been to help them find self-compassion and acceptance through a person-centered therapeutic approach. My experience in residential and outpatient levels of care has taught me to work with a multidisciplinary professional team along with clients’ loved ones to reach the fullest level of success in treatment. Using evidence-based techniques and practices such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectal Behavioral Therapy and Mindfulness, I am able to help my clients overcome challenges and struggles of having an eating disorder. Additionally, I believe healing the mind, body and soul from a holistic approach can help my clients fully understand their mental health struggles and learn healthy coping skills.

 

I am a warm, compassionate, energetic and encouraging therapist who understands the importance of creating a non-judgmental, safe and supportive environment for my clients.  As a minority myself and someone who can identify with the BIPOC community, I understand the additional layer of efforts to work through healing traumas and struggles surrounding culture and race.  I have a strong vision and recognize that my personal experiences can help empower voice.  I am privileged to have the opportunity to work through the unique circumstances surrounding eating disorders within the BIPOC community. 

 

I earned my Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Mary Washington and my Masters of Art in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Liberty University.  I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and under the supervision of Alicia Ayvas, LCSW, CEDS-S as I work toward my CEDS.  I am also working toward my RODBT Level 2 certification with the developer of RODBT, Dr. Lynch.

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* Gigi is currently accepting new clients. Gigi works in our Reston and Gainesville location and in our virtual office. 

 

To schedule a session with Gigi, please click HERE to access her schedule. 




Tess Mulrean, MSW, LICSW
Primary Therapist - Virtual

I believe in the importance of recognizing one's strengths to overcome obstacles in one's life.  Therapy is a partnership and we will go where you need to go together.  Throughout my career, I have worked in multiple settings including inpatient facilities, emergency departments, and community mental health centers; I have worked with a variety of disorders ranging from anxiety to severe mental illness, with all ages and genders.  I use a multifaceted approach to therapy, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, among other evidence-based approaches.  I am independently licensed in both MA and VA, and only available by Telehealth because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

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 * Tess is currently accepting new clients. Tess will be working virtually on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights starting at 5:30pm, and will be offering Friday sessions at 2:30pm - 5:30pm. Tess is 100% virtual.

 

To schedule a session with Tess, please click HERE to access her schedule. 

 



Holly Serrano, MA, LPC
Primary Therapist - Virtual

 

 

 I approach the therapeutic process with curiosity, humor and non-judgmentally.  My goal is to build trust with clients while they explore their story and identify unmet needs.  I use evidence-based treatment modalities to help enhance client strengths and build new skills. I incorporate cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectal behavioral therapy, expressive activities and mindfulness techniques into session as appropriate.  I enjoy working with adolescents and families, young adults and women to address adjustment issues, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, identity and self-esteem.  I have worked in higher levels of care for four years, gaining practice managing crisis situations and finding effective solutions to reintegrate clients back their into daily routines.  I have a Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Regent University and am a Licensed Professional Counselor. 

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 * Holly is currently accepting new clients virtually.  

 

 

To schedule a session with Holly, please click HERE to access her schedule. 

 



Brigid Ludvigsen, LPC
Primary Therapist - Richmond and Virtual

My goal as a clinician is to help clients find healing in a meaningful way, allowing them to live a life they deserve. I value positivity and humor as tools we can use in our collaboration, placing great importance on harnessing my clients’ strengths as they face challenges. Recovery is not easy, but it is possible. I believe it is vital to take a holistic stance and consider the entirety of each client’s life experience. With that in mind, I strive to provide genuine and encouraging support for my clients along their journey as we forge a path toward achieving wellness and peace.

 

I specialize in supporting those who struggle with eating disorders by lending compassionate care throughout their recovery. I have experience in treating body-image concerns, depression, anxiety, adjustment issues, and trauma. My therapy style is a person-centered approach that combines warmth and energy, utilizing evidence-based treatments that implement elements of cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, and motivational interviewing. 

 

I received my Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education and Intervention Specialist with a minor in Psychology and went on to receive my Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a concentration in Trauma Counseling and Crisis Intervention, both from the Franciscan University of Steubenville. I spent several years working within the public school system in that area, providing support for struggling students and working in mental health in community, hospital, and outpatient settings. I spent time working at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Center for Eating Disorders at Western Psychiatric Hospital as a clinical therapist for the partial hospitalization program and intensive outpatient program as well as consulting as a liaison for UPMC Magee-Women’s Hospital where I conducted presurgical psychiatric evaluations. During this time, I was privileged to provide research-based quality care for patients where I established the belief that a strong support network, a holistic approach, and connectivity will truly drive the path to recovery.

 

I am a Licensed Professional Counselor and am nationally certified by the National Board for Certified Counselors. 

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 * Brigid is currently accepting new clients.  Brigid is working in the Richmond location on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Brigid is also offering virtual sessions.

 

To schedule a session with Brigid, please click HERE to schedule a session.



Samira Khairkhawa, MA, Resident in Counseling
Primary Therapist - Gainesville and Virtual

Being in the helping field has been a passion of mine since I was a little girl. I pursued my passion nine years ago while in high school by volunteering at the International Rescue Committee to be a support to Refugee communities. Since then, I have discovered that I have an immense empathy and passion for individuals struggling with mental health illnesses. I have facilitated a Trauma Informed workshop, I have provided intensive in-home services to families and children for about five years for a non-profit organization, I have provided individual therapy to individuals struggling with anxiety, depression, trauma, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and grief, and I have co-facilitated groups. I utilize several treatment modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFCBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Internal Family Systems (IFS). 

 

I am passionate and highly dedicated in helping individuals and families in overcoming mental health challenges. Something I strongly believe in and have held on to is, “one hour of therapy is unlike any other hour in the week.” I strive to be present, empathetic and nonjudgmental in a safe space for my clients where they can freely and safely express and process past experiences, and trauma in order to understand their current thoughts, feelings and behaviors. I collaborate with my clients with a person-centered and strengths-based approach as they work towards self-compassion, empowerment and self-acceptance.

I received my Bachelor of Science in Sociology from the University of Mary Washington, and my Master of Art in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Liberty University. I am currently working towards my licensure to be a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) under the supervision of Alicia Ayvas, LCSW, CEDS-S.

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 * Samira is currently accepting new clients.  Samira is working in the Gainesville location on Friday and Saturday, with after school availability. Samira will be also offering virtual sessions.

 

 

To schedule a session with Samira, please click HERE to schedule a session.



Mackenzie Jardell, MS, Resident in Counseling
Primary Therapist - Gainesville and Virtual

My goal as a clinician is to provide a safe and welcoming space where you are able to foster deeper healing and flourish in all areas of your life. Using an empathetic and compassionate person-centered approach, I will collaborate with you to develop new skills and increase self-awareness that leads to greater healing, self-understanding, and freedom. I find value in helping you face life’s challenges by using an integrated approach that addresses the human person as a whole- mind, body, and soul.

 

I specialize in treating individuals recovering from eating disorders and am passionate in assisting individuals heal relationships with both their bodies and food. As a former dancer and eating disorder specialist, I am passionate about the mind/body connection and desire to bring about healing between the two. Additionally, I am experienced in treating individuals with depression, anxiety, grief, trauma, obsessive/compulsive disorders, life transitions and low self-esteem. My theoretical approach is informed from an integrative and person centered perspective utilizing evidence based therapies including; Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Trauma informed CBT and Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS). 

 

I received my Bachelors of Art in Dance Education from University of North Texas and my Masters of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Divine Mercy University. I spent several years working with adolescent and young adult women, providing support for struggling students when working as a missionary on college campuses. I also spent the past year working at a non-profit eating disorder clinic conducting individual, group, and family therapy. As a native Texan, I love hospitality and will provide you with a safe space that is warm and inviting. Although Texas is my home, I have lived in Virginia for the past 3 years and love all that it has to offer, especially the nature of the mountains. I am currently working towards obtaining my license as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) under the supervision of Alicia Ayvas, LCSW, CEDS-S.

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 * Mackenzie is currently accepting new clients.  Mackenzie is working in the Gainesville location on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, with after school availability and virtually on Tuesday and Friday. 

 

 

To schedule a session with Mackenzie, please click HERE to schedule a session.



Michaela "Mickey" Heckman, MA, LPC
Primary Therapist - Reston and Virtual

My ultimate goal in my practice is to foster a sense of acceptance and understanding within each of my clients. I practice from a person-centered approach of non-judgmental compassion and warmth to explore how your past experiences impact your current thoughts and behaviors, and gently challenge each of my clients to explore how this can impact your relationships with yourself and others.  

 

I received both my Bachelors in Psychology and Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. I have experience working with men, women, adolescents and children providing both early intervention services and mental health counseling in a variety of settings. I have provided home-based services while working with children on the autism spectrum, as well as worked in a residential setting providing mental health counseling to individuals diagnosed with substance use disorders. I have spent several years working in Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient levels of care while practicing at an eating disorder treatment center. I have experience in treating body-image concerns, low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, trauma, grief and substance use utilizing evidence-based components of cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy while treating eating disorders.  

 

I firmly believe in creating a safe space for my clients to work on their most authentic, whole and healthy self. I look forward to working with you in exploring how to fully live in the present moment, and work toward a life of fulfilment in recovery.

 

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 * Mickey is currently accepting new clients.  Mickey works in the Reston location on Monday and Tuesday, and virtually on Wednesday and Thursday, with after school availability. 

 

 To schedule a session with Mickey, please click HERE to schedule.



Stephanie Smit
Intake Coordinator

I received my Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from the George Washington University, and shortly after graduation began my career with the U.S. Department of State as a civil servant.  As the child of Foreign Service parents, I enjoyed following in their footsteps and contributing to the Department’s mission while still having the opportunity to put down roots in the community.  I served in the Bureau of Consular Affairs, first as an adjudicator with Passport Services, and then in the directorate of Overseas Citizens Services where I worked to help families resolve cases of international parental child abduction under the Hague Abduction Convention.  In my last few years with the office, I managed a team of specialists dedicated to preventing child abduction by liaising with foreign governments and the law enforcement and legal communities.  I also supported the repatriation of American citizens from overseas during several crisis management task forces. 

 

In 2022, after 15 years with the federal government, I shifted my focus to being at home with my two children and have very much enjoyed my second career as a homemaker.  I am passionate about helping children and families and am thrilled to support the local community through my role at Clarity Counseling.

 

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 * Stephanie is Clarity's first point of contact when calling to set up an intake or to learn more about Clarity Counseling.  She is here as a resource for you and acts as the bridge between the providers and services offered within all three of Clarity's locations.  Stephanie is fluent in Spanish if language support is needed. 

 

 

 



Jennifer Moran, LMHC
Primary Therapist - Virtual and licensed in VA and MA

I believe in a catered approach to support clients in meeting their goals and coping with various life challenges.  I bring my professional experience from a variety of mental health settings, such as outpatient treatment centers, private practice and a therapeutic milieu.  I have also worked as a school counselor for over 10 years which has provided a thorough background for my work with children, teenagers and parents. I foster a compassionate, non-judgemental and nurturing environment so that I can see each client's personal story. I aim to help clients better understand themselves, and acquire the resilience and coping skills they need to face and address their struggles.  

 

I use treatment modalities such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Relational Therapy, among other evidence-based approaches.  I earned my Master's Degree in School and Community Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and I am independently licensed in both MA and VA.  I am currently taking new clients by Telehealth. 

 

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 * Jenn is currently accepting new clients starting April 1st.  Jen works 100% virtually for Clarity and has evening and after work/school availability on Monday - Friday. 

 

 To schedule a session with Jenn, please click HERE to schedule.