About Us

Hilltop Counseling (Williamsburg Counseling and Wellness Center, LLC) opened its doors in the Hilltop Executive Center in Virginia Beach, VA in 2021.

After practicing in Williamsburg, Virginia for many years, Williamsburg Counseling and Wellness Center, LLC/DBA Hilltop Counseling continues to serve clients all over Hampton Roads and the state of Virginia through telehealth and face to face appointments in our beautiful Virginia Beach office. We are conveniently located at the corner of Laskin Road and First Colonial Road, close to shopping and dining. We encourage our clients to take advantage of the other small businesses in the area during their visit.

At Hilltop Counseling, we pride ourselves in supporting clients in their mental health journeys in a manner that is relatable, professional, and ethical. We welcome the opportunity to partner with you, your family, or your relationship as you face life challenges and adjustments.

Our therapists value a team environment where we support one another in providing the best possible services to our clients, while honoring our clients’ intuition and insight as they strive to understand patterns of relationships and coping styles.

We actively work to reduce the stigma around mental health care and would welcome the opportunity to be a part of your path to greater fulfillment and life satisfaction.

Our goal at Hilltop Counseling is to support clients in their mental health journeys in a relatable, professional, and ethical manner.

Our Team

Keri Willis-Higgons, LPC, PMH-C

Keri Willis-Higgons (she, her) has been a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Virginia since 2003 and is the owner of Williamsburg Counseling and Wellness Center, LLC (doing business as Hilltop Counseling). Keri is a Hampton Roads native and received her Master’s degree from the University of Virginia. She brings a wealth of experience to her practice and has worked in clinical settings as a therapist and clinical program director, as well as in higher education, public and private schools, and foster care/adoption.

Keri has a Certification in Perinatal Mental Health (PMH-C) and specializes in treating Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders, as well as maternal mental health. Keri is certified in EMDR, as well as trained in brainspotting, allowing a unique specialization in supporting parents with trauma related to the perinatal period. Keri is also Levels 1-3 trained in the Gottman Method of couples therapy and enjoys supporting couples and parents as they face life adjustments and stressors. As an approved clinical supervisor in the state of Virginia, Keri has helped multiple residents in counseling navigate the process of getting licensed.

Emmy Ray, LCSW

Emmy Ray is (she, her) a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has spent the last two years providing outpatient counseling and intensive outpatient therapy for individuals suffering with substance abuse and co-occurring disorders. Emmy has a passion for working with trauma, anxiety, addiction, adjustment issues, and working with couples. Emmy’s approach is inherently empathetic, non-judgmental and strength based. She uses cognitive behavioral therapy, visualization and meditation, mindfulness, and motivational interviewing to address patterns that are no longer serving a client, and create new meanings along with finding strengths and abilities that help clients live healthier lives. Emmy is EMDR trained and level 1 trained in the Gottman Method of couples therapy. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Kansas and obtained her master’s degree in clinical social work from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Katy Dooley LCSW

Katy Dooley (she, her) is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has nearly a decade of experience working in various mental health settings including inpatient treatment, community services board programs, outpatient practices, shelter settings, and with the hospital system. Through her compassionate and holistic approaches, Katy creates a safe and nurturing space for her clients to explore and prioritize their mental health along the therapeutic journey. Her therapeutic framework is grounded in cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness techniques, strengths-based approaches, and trauma-informed care which she uses to empower clients to harness their inner resilience.

Katy completed a post-graduate specialization in Fertility Counseling in 2023 and has expertise in supporting clients currently building their families or seeking to build their families through ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology), donor options, adoption, and surrogacy. Katy has volunteered with Resolve: The National Infertility Organization for four years, and is currently the peer support group leader of the Hampton Roads group.  Katy completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia and her master’s degree in social work from the University of South Carolina.

Susan Rodriguez, LPC, PMH-C

Susan Rodriguez (she/her) is a Licensed Professional Counselor and has provided mental health services in a variety of settings, such as intensive in-home, higher education, and outpatient counseling. She has a certification in Perinatal Mental Health (PMH-C); her training includes Black Perinatal Mental Health and pregnancy and infant loss. Susan uses a humanistic approach, emphasizing a client’s own strengths and building off of them. She also utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), brief solution-focused therapy, and trauma-informed care to tailor treatment to each individual client. She is a compassionate and caring individual who is committed to providing her clients with the best possible care.

Susan received her undergraduate degree from Sweet Briar College and Master’s from Radford University. She is a member of the American Counseling Association and the Virginia Counselors Association. Susan is also an approved Clinical Supervisor in the state of Virginia.

Margaret Morris, LPC

Margaret (Peggy) Morris is a clinician with over 25 years of experience providing outpatient clinical services to adults with mental health and substance use disorders. Peggy completed her B.S. in Psychology and M.S. in Counseling and Psychology at Troy State University at Dothan. Peggy has LPC licensure, CSAC certification, and is a Board of Counseling Approved LPC Supervisor in the State of Virginia. Peggy has been a practicing EMDR clinician since 2011. Prior to coming to Hilltop Counseling, Peggy provided outpatient therapy to adults and was Clinical Coordinator supervising residents at the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at the Up Center in Virginia Beach, worked at DHS Behavioral Health Adult Outpatient Services for the City of Virginia Beach for over 8 years, and worked at Arlington County Community Services Board in Adult Outpatient Services for 16 years. Peggy participated on the crisis response team in Arlington, VA following 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, and the City of Virginia Beach DHS crisis response team following Hurricane Matthew and mass shooting at the Municipal Center in 2019. She has over 25 years of experience providing outpatient clinical services to adults with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders, and utilizes CBT, DBT, EFT, CPT, EMDR and Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) to provide trauma informed care for the treatment of anxiety, depression and other mood disorders, grief, PTSD, relational trauma, addictions, and other compulsive behaviors. Peggy has a long affiliation with the military community as the daughter of a Navy Chief, an Army wife, and proud mother of 2 adult sons who served in the Navy and the Marine Corps.

Hayley Scanlin, LPC

Hayley Scanlin (she/her)  specializes in working with adolescents and young adults as they navigate life transitions such as graduation, independence, and changing relationships. Hayley provides in person and telehealth appointments, meeting clients where they are most comfortable. Hayley has experience treating anxiety, depression, trauma and in supporting clients as they face stressors associated with launching into adulthood.

Hayley received her BS in Nutritional Sciences at Texas A&M University and her MS in Mental Health Counseling at Walden University. She has worked in residential treatment facilities and outpatient settings helping adolescents and young adults in the mental health field for over 6 years. She has received training in EDMR, Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders.


Sasha Pierce, LCSW

Sasha Pierce (she/her) is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Hampton Roads native with experience working with individuals across the lifespan. Sasha has experience in school-based, community-based, and outpatient settings. She believes that each individual carries with them their own unique strengths, experiences, and perspectives, and are most capable of thriving when acknowledged for their complete and authentic selves. Sasha works primarily with adults at this time, and has focused considerable effort into exploring parenting skills and coparenting, separation/divorce, and mood and anxiety disorders. Sasha has completed advanced training in Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders and is passionate about assisting birthing persons through the vast scope of major life, relational, and individual transitions they experience within the perinatal period. Sasha enjoys incorporating creative interventions, humor, and client interests across age groups.

Kaila Laxa, Resident in Counseling

As a Filipino-American Resident in Counseling, I am deeply passionate about helping individuals navigate their therapeutic journeys. Drawing from both my academic background and personal experiences, I specialize in guiding clients through the complexities of relationships, overcoming challenges such as depression and anxiety, and cultivating a strong sense of self-worth. My approach is holistic, recognizing the interconnectedness of mind, body, and spirit, and I am dedicated to fostering growth that goes beyond mere symptom management.

With a commitment to ongoing learning and professional development, I continuously strive to enhance my skills and stay abreast of the latest advancements in the field. By blending empathy, expertise, and a culturally sensitive perspective, I aim to provide each client with the personalized support they need to achieve their goals.

Stephanie Makani, Licensed Professional Counseling

Stephanie Makani (she/her) is Licensed Professional Counselor at Hilltop Counseling’s Haygood office. A National Certified Counselor, she holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience from the University of St. Thomas. She also holds a Master of Science degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Capella University. Stephanie previously completed her clinical residency at the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at The Up Center working in intake and as a resident in counseling.

Stephanie is a Navy veteran and a retired United States Marine Corps wife. She has a deep personal appreciation of the military population and is inspired to continue serving by providing evidence-based treatment. Stephanie has a special clinical interest in trauma therapy and is inspired by Bessel A. van der Kolk’s quote: “Being traumatized is not just an issue of being stuck in the past; it is just as much a problem of not being fully alive in the present.” She also has a passion for working with depression, anxiety, adjustment issues, and grief. She uses cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, accelerated resolution therapy, and eye movement desensitization reprocessing.

Lauren Chester, MA, PMH-C — Resident in Counseling

Lauren Chester (she/her)  is a Virginia native who received a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling. Lauren has a passion for maternal mental health and certificaion in treating Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs). She also has experience working with adults and children/adolescents experiencing anxiety, depression, life transitions, ADHD/learning differences, and stress management.

Lauren offers a holistic approach which enables clients to discover their own strengths and goals to become their most authentic self and create balance in their life. Everyone deserves the opportunity to share their story. She will meet you where you are now and provide coping skills to foster positive change in the future.

Katrina Lundquist, Resident in Counseling

Katrina Lundquist (she/her) is a Resident who received her Masters in Counseling with a concentration in Crisis Intervention & Trauma Counseling in May 2021. Katrina completed her graduate school internship at a substance abuse rehabilitation center in which she utilized Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) regularly with her clients. Katrina utilizes a client-centered approach, and is particularly familiar in working with clients who have experienced trauma or are victims of physical, sexual, or psychological abuse. Katrina is in her element working with children and adolescents, but welcomes all ages! Katrina is also trained in the Gottman Method for Couples Therapy, and is accepting clients in search of marriage counseling.

Brooke Massenburg, Resident in Counseling

Brooke Massenburg (she/her) is a Resident in Counseling who enjoys working with children/adolescents, adults, and helping parents navigate any stage of their parenting journey. Brooke has experience working in the home, community, and hospital settings. She has been a military spouse for 12 years and understands the challenges and many life transitions that come with living a military lifestyle.

Brooke received her Bachelors in Psychology from Virginia Wesleyan University in 2010 and her Masters in Counseling from Liberty University in 2016. Brooke believes in clients coming in as their authentic self and helping them navigate the changes they would like to see. Brooke has experience working with clients who experience anxiety, depression, codependency, behavior modification, parent/child difficulties, and ADHD. She has a passion for maternal mental health and looks forward to continuing her training in Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders.

Katherine Burleson, Resident in Counseling

Kate Burleson (she/they) is a Resident in Counseling with an M.S.Ed. degree in clinical mental health counseling from Old Dominion University that focuses on providing culturally alert, trauma-informed, strengths-based counseling for adults, adolescents, and couples through an existential, developmental, and social justice lens. She has experience working in outpatient, medical, and community-based settings with concerns including but not limited to depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, PTSD, substance abuse, grief, and relationship issues.

Kate aims to provide each client with a safe, collaborative space to explore personal concerns, process life experiences, challenge unhelpful behaviors and thought patterns, learn healthy coping skills and live a life aligned with their values. Kate utilizes modalities such as ACT, CBT, DBT, emotion-focused, and holistic approaches in a treatment plan personalized to each client’s counseling goals. Kate is body/sex-positive and LGBTQIA+-affirming, with special interests in mindfulness/meditation, intuitive eating, and sexuality counseling.

Alexandra Braza, Resident in Counseling

Lexie Braza (she/her) is a Resident in Counseling who received a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling from Old Dominion University. She has experience working with couples, trauma survivors, including sexual and interpersonal-based violence. Working with children, adolescents, and adults, Lexie utilizes trauma-informed and evidence-based practices, including DBT, CBT, and MBCT.

Lexie has worked in a non-profit and private practice setting with diverse clientele, including underserved populations. Lexie provides a safe space for healing and self-exploration where collaborative treatment goals are tailored to meet each client’s unique needs. Lexie has a passion for providing affirming and welcoming counseling service. She is trained in the Gottman Method of Couples therapy.
Tyler Milton, Resident in Counseling

Tyler Milton (they/them) is a Resident in Counseling at Hilltop Counseling, where they offer telehealth services to adult clients. Tyler graduated in 2023 with their M.Ed in Counseling from William & Mary. As a queer and trans individual, Tyler has a specific passion for working with transgender clients and other members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Their therapeutic work is also motivated by antiracism, feminism, decolonization, body and sexual liberation, and disability justice. Tyler has experience in treating issues related to gender identity, sexuality, relationship orientation, religious trauma, depression, and anxiety. As a 200-hr certified yoga teacher, Tyler is also able to integrate elements of mindfulness, meditation, and embodiment into their work with clients.

Nicole Drozd, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Nicole holds both a Bachelors of Music and a Masters of Science in Music Therapy and has been practicing as a Music Therapist since 2011. She  received her Masters of Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University. As a board-certified Music Therapist and supervisee in Social Work, Nicole integrates traditional talk therapy with experiential therapies to create a safe and transformational place for clients to initiate, practice, and create change within their lives. She is trained in the psychological assessment tool, Circles of the Self, and is currently working toward becoming a Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (BMGIM) fellow. Nicole also incorporates aspects of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Existential Therapy, and Humanistic Therapy. Utilizing these various tools, Nicole hopes to assist those who are seeking a path to wholeness and wish to tap into their innate ability to heal and find balance.