Meet The Team
Dr. Cheryl Meola, PhD, LCMHCS, NCC
Cheryl is the founder of Mane Source Counseling and Coaching and co-founder of Horses and HEALTH Inc. Cheryl’s love for horses ignited in her childhood, when she used to catch ride ponies at her aunt’s farm. At the age of 10, her grandmother, Elsie, gifted her a horse (without consulting her parents first!), sparking a lifelong connection. Cheryl supported her equine companion, Maggie, by cleaning stalls, feeding horses, and eventually, teaching lessons and training horses.
With over 20 years of experience as a professional horse trainer, instructor, and intercollegiate coach, Cheryl transitioned to a new calling. She earned a Master’s in Counseling from Bridgewater State University, discovering her passion for equine-assisted therapy during her studies under the guidance of a local practitioner.
Driven by a mission to address the lack of experiential therapeutic opportunities in the area beyond traditional talk therapy, Cheryl worked at several local farms facilitating equine-assisted therapy. In 2022, her vision took a significant leap forward when she acquired a property for Mane Source Counseling, strategically located next to a dear friend. This friend, too, was shedding old notions of horse “knowledge” and embracing the genuine world of equines and consent-based work.
Cheryl wears multiple hats:
– Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Supervisor, NC
– Licensed Mental Health Counselor, MA
– National Certified Counselor
– PATH International Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor
– PATH Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning
Collaborating closely with local Equine Specialists in Mental Health and Learning, Cheryl ensures a safe and therapeutic environment for both clients and horses during equine-assisted activities. Eager to enhance her skills, she’s currently pursuing certifications in Natural Lifemanship: Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Counseling.
Beyond her professional roles, Cheryl authored “Anxiety~The Joule Thief: How to Take Back Control of Your Life,” a workbook of activities to increase resiliency and self-awareness and reduce anxiety. Cheryl’s impact extends to academia, where she teaches as an adjunct at several universities and mentors recent graduates in experiential therapies. She is also passionate about advancing the field through continued research in EAS. She dedicates significant time as the co-chair of the Horses and Humans Research Foundation Education Committee (www.horsesandhumans.org), along with serving on its board of directors. In 2023, she edited the book Integrating Horse into Healing, a 3+ year project with over 40 contributors from the field of EAS. The overarching goal for this publication was to provide a resource for anyone interested in advancing their knowledge in the field. An unexpected outcome was increased collaboration and communication between those invested in the field of EAS.
Cheryl offers private pay sessions in Ayden, NC as well as virtually for Massachusetts and North Carolina residents. She offers in-person and virtual consultation for therapists and equine professional embarking into private practice or equine-assisted services. Cheryl invites you to embark on a transformative journey towards well-being, rooted in her genuine passion for equine-assisted therapy and the desire to fill a therapeutic void in the community by creating connections for humans with each other and with horses.
Private pay rate: $175, location: Ayden and virtual
Lauren Bethune Scroggs, PhD, LCMHCA, LCASA, NCC, NCMHC
Lauren is currently completing a postdoctoral appointment at Duke University in Addictions and tobacco regulatory science. She has a PhD in Rehabilitation Counseling and Administration with cognates in Applied Psychophysiology and biofeedback and a MS in Substance Abuse and Clinical Counseling with certificates in Military and Trauma Counseling and Rehabilitation Counseling. Lauren attended UNC-Chapel Hill for her undergraduate education.
After graduating from UNC, Lauren lived in the US and British Virgin Islands working as SCUBA instructor, first mate, and chef on term charter sailboats and as a SCUBA instructor at local dive shops for 5 years before returning to NC. Lauren has lived and traveled in many areas of the world.
She has worked with a wide range of populations, including adolescents, adults, students, Veterans, and clients in court proceedings, and specializes in biofeedback, mental health, and substance use and misuse counseling. Lauren is completing further training in Biofeedback services and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) that she integrates into her practice with clients.
Private pay rate: $175, virtual, not accepting new clients at this time
Sarah Baker, MS, LCMHCA, LCAS, CCMHC, NCC
Sarah offers a person-centered approach that relies heavily on openness, transparency, and authenticity. By using a motivational interviewing interactional style, she strives to create an environment where you can be the version of yourself you want to be.
She has worked with children, adolescents, and adults in a variety of settings with mental health or substance use concerns. Furthermore, Sarah provides mental health counseling and/or addiction counseling to adults and adolescents experiencing a wide range of emotional or behavioral disorders.
The only one constant in Sarah’s treatment delivery: acceptance. She has this to say about her sessions: “Come as you are; we will work through the rest.”
Private pay rate: $150, Greenville and virtual, waiting list currently
Melissa Rojas, MS, LCMHC, LCAS-A
Melissa is a bilingual licensed clinical mental health counselor and licensed clinical addictions specialist associate in the state of North Carolina. She graduated from East Carolina University with a bachelor’s in Psychology and master’s in Clinical Counseling.
Throughout her career, Melissa has worked with individuals in both inpatient and outpatient settings who suffer from a variety of disorders. She has worked with individuals struggling with mental health and substance use disorders, including depression, anxiety, trauma, and grief.
Every person and situation are unique, which is why she utilizes various techniques to meet the needs of the client including CBT, EMDR, Motivational Interviewing, and Person-Centered approach. Counseling is rewarding and at times challenging, therefore, Melissa aims to provide a safe, judgement-free environment to facilitate your personal growth. She strives to provide you with a welcoming safe space to help you process, grow, and transform into your best self.
Melissa believes “You are the expert of your own life, and together we can work towards finding hope, strength, and personal growth.”
Private pay rate: $150, Knightdale/Raleigh and virtual, open to referrals
Nikki Lewis, LCSW
Nikki, a licensed clinical social worker and addiction specialist with over 18 years of experience, provides a safe space for counseling. Whether you’re dealing with transitions, trauma, or mental health challenges, Nikki uses cognitive and dialectical behavioral strategies to help you find solutions and improve stability. Specializing in trauma, she assists individuals in processing and healing from events like loss, abuse, or medical diagnoses. With a background as a first responder, Nikki is dedicated to trauma prevention and treatment. Book a consult to see if Nikki is the right fit for your needs on the road to a healthier you.
Private pay rate: $175, Kinston and virtual, open to referrals
Luis E. Zuniga Jr., MS, LCMHC
Luis is a graduate of East Carolina University with an MS in Clinical Counseling. He has served tours overseas and is a leader in the US Army. From this experience, Luis has witnessed challenges in the mental health arena from some of the strongest, most diligent, and driven people he has ever had the pleasure of working with and knowing.
He is passionate about providing Clinical Counseling services to active-duty members, their families, and Veterans. Challenges he’s helped people work through include addiction, depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other challenges that impact people from all walks of life. Luis has also worked with adults with mental health and substance use concerns. In his practice, Luis uses a CBT, person-centered, and strengths-based approach. Through empathic understanding and unconditional positive regard, he aims to provide a safe space for personal growth.
He provides office-based as well as equine assisted therapy at our Greenville location. He is currently starting training in Trauma Informed Yoga from the therapist’s perspective and Natural Lifemanship, a trauma-informed approach to equine-assisted therapy.
Private pay rate: $150, Ayden and virtual, open to referrals
Chelsea Turner, MS, LCMHCA, CRC
Chelsea went to school at East Carolina University and received her MS of Rehabilitation and Career Counseling in 2020. She’s a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate. Chelsea also holds certificates in Military and Trauma Counseling and Vocational Evaluation.
During her career she has helped people with job exploration, job search, interviews, resume building, job applications, and job placement. On top of this, Chelsea is experienced with Vocational Rehabilitation. This includes helping clients with various medical/mental conditions (including TBI, amputations, adjustment disorder, knee/hip replacements, depression, and anxiety) adjust to their “new normal” after being injured and unable to return to work.
In her practice, Chelsea utilizes a person-centered approach. In her sessions, she creates an encouraging environment and focuses on establishing a relationship with all her clients to make them as comfortable as possible to work through any issues they bring to sessions.
Private pay rate: $140 virtual only, open to referrals
Beth Swiatek, M.Ed, LCMHCA, SCL, NCC
With a background in health since 2011 and a focus on mental health from 2017, Beth offers expertise in addressing challenges like family dysfunction, emotional neglect/abuse, and more. Beth holds certifications in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and trauma-informed yoga.
Recognized for LGBTQIA+ advocacy with the 2020 Galassi-Brown Social Justice Award, she transitioned from a school counselor to a mental health counselor. In private practice, Beth is a collaborative and authentic therapist, emphasizing the importance of being seen, heard, and understood. Tailoring her approach with a person-centered and humanistic touch, she invites those seeking a fresh perspective on therapy to explore if she’s the right fit for their needs.
Private pay rate: $130, Virtual only, open to referrals
Karen Jenkins, MS, LCMHC, LPC, LCAS, CRC
Karen began her mental health professional journey in 2007 working in a community agency as a case manager and group leader. She returned to graduate school in pursuit of dual masters degrees from East Carolina University. She has been practicing as a licensed clinician for the last decade and has experience with a range of ages and presenting concerns.
School-aged youth, young adults, professionals, and parents are a particularly good fit, but she enjoys working with a wide variety of folx. Karen’s approach to therapy starts with the person as the center. She utilizes an eclectic counseling approach grown from several theories and techniques, including motivational interviewing, cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and Rogerian person-centered theory. With children, she enjoys using play therapy, sand tray, and other age-appropriate interventions.
She is a trauma-informed therapist and utilizes Trauma Focused CBT, Structured Sensory Interventions, and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). She is also a LGBTQQAI+ affirming therapist and have received specialized training from the Gender and Sexual Diversity Initiative in Durham, NC. At Mane Source Counseling, Karen is excited to begin integrating more eco therapy, walk-and-talk therapy, and equine/animal-assisted therapy.
Karen enjoys living a full life with her family and friends (pets included). You might find her hiking in the woods, enjoying a local festival, laughing at ridiculous humor, and generally trying to live a memorable life. Her mission as a counselor is to walk alongside each individual as a companion and witness to their experiences, without judgement. People heal when they feel safe.
Private pay rate: $130, Ayden and virtual, current waiting list
Makayla Stefanski, MS, LCMHCA, NCC
Makayla is a graduate of East Carolina University’s clinical counseling program. Her therapeutic approach to counseling prioritizes understanding one’s unique experiences and goals. By creating a relaxed and comfortable environment, her aim is to assist you in navigating challenges and achieving goals. With a focus on trauma, abuse, and addiction, Makayla has worked with diverse age groups, ranging from 7 to 50 years old, encompassing various races, genders, and income levels. Having lived and worked in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and North Carolina, she brings a broad perspective to her practice. Outside of her professional endeavors, Makayla shares her life with a one-and-a-half-year-old Tuxedo cat named Benny.
Private pay rate: $130, Ayden and virtual, open to referrals
Fallon Williams, LCSWA, LCAS
Fallon started in the field with positions working in child welfare and public education. She has experience as a Child Protective Services social worker and in assisting families with special education services. In her early career, she directed a psychosocial rehabilitation center for adults with mental health and substance abuse concerns. Transitioning to outpatient settings in 2019, Fallon now provides mental health and substance abuse counseling to adolescents and adults. As a licensed therapist, she employs cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, and motivational interviewing techniques to address various challenges. Fallon’s collaborative, strengths-based approach empowers clients to be the authors of their own lives. In her words, “Empowering clients to be the authors of their own lives is the key to lasting change.”
Private pay rate: $150, Lenoir/Wayne County and virtual, open to referrals
Alana Pipkin, LCMHCA
Alana is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor Associate. She earned her Bachelors in Psychology from the University of Mount Olive in 2020. She graduated from Liberty University with a Masters of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Alana believes that “We are capable of much more than we believe, especially when we feel down as mental health symptoms can alter our perception and understanding of ourselves, others, and the world.”. With this, she primarily uses cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), person-centered, and strengths based approaches. She is aware that one size does not fit all. With this, she ensures each session focuses on the needs of the client. When applicable, Alana uses animal-assisted modalities. In addition, she incorporates expressive arts into sessions as seen fit.
In her free time, Alana enjoys spending time with her dogs, Frankie and Paisley. Alana also enjoys all things outdoors as you can find her at the beach or hiking often.
Private pay rate: $130, Ayden and virtual, open to referrals
Ola Alrokh, LCMHCA, NCC
Ola graduated from East Carolina University’s clinical counseling program. She is committed to working with adolescents and adults of diverse cultures to promote mental wellness and empower individuals to lead fulfilling lives in harmony with their cultural and spiritual identities.
Ola enjoys spending time with family and friends and believes that cherishing the simple things in life can bring the most happiness. Ola has worked with adolescents and adults through abuse, relationship problems, trauma, and other mental health issues.
Ola says, “I believe every client is unique, and I will work with them to create a space where they feel heard and appreciated. Together, we can connect in a safe and inclusive environment, utilizing your personal strengths to promote growth.”
Private pay rate: $130, Ayden and virtual, open to referrals
Aniya DeRiggs, Graduate Intern
Aniya is a second-year graduate student at East Carolina University studying Rehabilitation Counseling. During her practicum at McClammy lab at ECU, Aniya focused primarily on a cognitive behavioral and person-centered approach to therapy with adults and children. She is excited to expand her knowledge into more experiential therapies during her internship at Mane Source! In her free time, she enjoys reading, exercising, and spending time with her family. Aniya says, “Counseling has become a passion of mine over the last year and a half, and I want to use my knowledge and experiences to help others. I have been in counseling myself and understand how helpful a genuine and authentic counselor can be. I hope to pay it forward with my own clients!“
Private pay rate: $50, Ayden and virtual, open to referrals
Alexis Askew, Graduate Intern
Alexis is a second year graduate student at East Carolina University studying Clinical Counseling. During her practicum at the Counseling Center for Student Development, she focused primarily on cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness training with college students. She is excited to learn more about experiential therapies during her internship at Mane Source, especially with her new buddy Octavia, one of equine co-therapists! Alexis says, ”Small steps can lead to big progress. I look forward to taking small steps with you for big changes!”
Private pay rate: $50, Ayden and virtual, open to referrals
Malaika King Albrecht, BS, MA
Malaika is the owner of Freckles Farm and an incorporator of Horses and HEALTH Inc. Furthermore, she is a PATH International Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor and Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning.
She won PATH International’s credentialed professional of the year for Region 3 in 2019 for her hard work and dedication as Executive Director of a Path Premier Therapeutic Riding Center. Malaika’s a Masterson Method Equine Specialist, which allows her to teach this equine healing method in sessions with clients. She has her level one certification in Natural Lifemanship.
A Master Reiki practitioner, she also offers reiki and equine sports massage for all of our hardworking equine partners. Malaika lives on Freckles Farm with her daughters and 9 horses and a mini donkey, along with chickens, ducks, rabbits, cats, and a dog. Check out the Freckles Farm Website for more information.
Malaika is available for horsemanship sessions, as well as individual yoga, reiki, and mindfulness sessions.
We couldn’t do what we do without our herd of equine partners. Click below to learn more about who you could be working with in your Equine-Assisted Services Sessions!