During a decade as a small business owner, Darcy became very active in her community which led to a brief career with the local Chamber of Commerce. It was there that she met and worked with many other wonderful community servants, some who were serving on the Board of Directors of Children First. Following her predecessor's retirement in 2008, she answered the call to serve as Executive Director of this wonderful agency and is honored to help lead and support the HOPE and HEALING that has been provided to thousands in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area for 40 years.
Darcy's proudest role is that of wife to her husband Phil and mother of two grown children. Outside of work, Darcy thrives on touching others through music. She has enjoyed serving in church choirs and on praise teams for most of her life. She performed and emceed on the local opry circuit for many years, as well. One of her fondest memories is of performing on the same show with LeAnn Rimes as her mega-hit "Blue" launched her to fame. She also enjoys songwriting and tropical vacations with family.
James Albert, LPC
Education: Argosy University, Dallas
Counselor / Anger Management Facilitator
James joined the clinical staff at Children FIrst in October 2011 following completion of his practicum for his masters degree. He is a skilled and compassionate counselor, as well as the facilitator of our Anger Management group classes. James is often called upon for his experience and perspective when helping young men navigate difficulties in life and relationships.
Natasha Alexander Lovett, LPC
Education: Argosy University, Dallas Masters in Community Couseling
My professional counseling career began with Children First in 2010. I have gained great experience in working with clients who suffer from depression, suicidal ideation, sexual abuse, and domestic violence. My professional experience as a mobile assessor for a mental health hospital has expanded my knowledge as I have evaluated clients during suicidal, homicidal, and psychotic states. While I love being able to help all, I prefer to work with teens and adults. When I am not counseling, I enjoy spending time with my husband.
Godwin Bettis, LCDC
BIPP Group Facilitator
Few counselors have tenure with Children First that rivals that of Godwin Bettis. Godwin is a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor who joined CFCC in 1996. Though not providing individual, family or couples counseling any longer, he is a very experienced facilitator for our Battering Intervention and Prevention group classes. If you are interested in understanding or overcoming challenges associated with the cycle of power and control, please call to inquire about our BIPP program.
Laura Lane Cooke, LPC Intern
Supervised by Brandi Smith, LPC-S
Laura first began her work with Children First Counseling Center as a practicum student in 2015. She graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Texas Woman's University and with her Master of Arts in Counseling from Dallas Baptist University. Laura has always had a heart for children and has over 15 years of experience working with ages 2 months to 18 years old. She has experience working in adoption studies, child abuse, trauma, depression/anxiety, and crisis intervention. Laura is working as an intern to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).
Lesby Daniels, LPC Intern
Supervised by Deborah M. Gardner, M. Ed., LPC-S, LMFT, NCC
Southwestern Assemblies of God University, Masters in Counseling
Bilingual (English/ Spanish) Therapist
Lesby's objective in counseling is to make available a safe atmosphere which brings about exploration and a strong therapeutic relationship to achieve emotional healing, growth and progress. This is gained through establishing support, empowerment, and understanding. She is passionate about empowering others with the right tools and skills to maintain their wholeness. She believes in working with the whole personality, which includes the spirit, soul, heart, conscience, mind and emotions of a person. As human beings, she believes we live eternally as a spirit; we have a soul, and we dwell in a body.
She has provided bilingual services to children, adolescents, families, individuals, and couples. Her counseling experience includes, but is not limited to, play therapy, sexual abuse, domestic violence, trauma, mental illness, anger, anxiety, conflict resolution, depression, divorce, faith crisis, relationship issues, self-esteem, family concerns, depression, grief and loss, life transitions, parenting issues and stress management.
Lesby is a native of Central America who has lived in Texas for many years. She has been privileged to treat clients from diverse backgrounds in English and Spanish. She holds a Masters of Counseling Psychology and is licensed as an LPC Intern. She is a wife, a mother, and a life giver.
Soy una terapeuta bilingüe, Ingles-Español que ofrece terapia. Terapia: individual, familiar, parejas,niños, adolescentes y adultos. Termas: depresión, ansiedad, control de ira, violencia doméstica, trauma y problemas de comunicación.
Anthony Garcia, MA
Education: West Texas A&M University, Masters in Counseling
Bilingual (English/Spanish) Life Coach
Anthony say that his greatest reward as a counselor is helping people reach their full potential. We all need someone to hear us out. He believes it is important to have a consistent outlet to share personal issues with, whether it is a parent, teacher, friend or counselor. His passion is working with people and helping them achieve personal goals. His professional counseling career spans 14 years. He uses a variety of counseling therapies to help clients depending on their needs. He is proficient in both English and Spanish with the majority of his clients being Spanish speaking.
Anthony's experience includes working with at risk children, adolescents, and adults in mental health agencies, home and school settings, dealing with mood disorders, depression, and anxiety; also, Attention Deficit Disorder, emotional/behavioral disorders, parenting skills, as well as multiple other challenges faced by many people.
When not counseling, Anthony enjoys spending time with his family and friends, playing sports, outdoor activities such as fishing, hiking, landscaping, attending concerts, and cooking eccentric dishes.
If you are ready to work on bringing positive changes to your life, take the first step and set up an appointment as soon as possible. Anthony looks forward to meeting you!
Melissa Gutierrez, LPC
Education: Texas Weslyan University, Ft. Worth, Texas, Masters in Counseling
Bilingual (English/ Spanish) Therapist
Counseling Services for:
Melissa believes in unconditional acceptance of self and others in order to work through a range of emotional and behavioral issues that may manifest into unhealthy negative symptoms. She offers an approach tailored to each client’s individual needs with a foundation in rational emotive behavioral therapy. Melissa is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), which has proven beneficial for PTSD and complex trauma along with many of the services listed above. She also works with children as young as 3 or 4 years of age and provides play therapy.
Melissa is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a honors graduate from Texas Wesleyan University. She completed her undergraduate degree from The University of Texas in Arlington in Psychology and a minor in Sociology.
Mark McFaul, MA, LPC Intern
Supervised by Brandi Smith LPCS
Education: Dallas Baptist University, Dallas, Texas, Masters in Counseling
Mark McFaul MA, LPC. is a Masters level Licensed Professional Counseling Intern. He earned a Master of Arts in Counseling from Dallas Baptist University in 2013. He has experience working with children, teenagers, adults, couples, and families in counseling in the areas dealing with: depression, anxiety, anger, behavior issues, grief and loss, career development, parenting, and relationships, men’s issues, and pre-marriage. Mark works from a cognitive behavioral approach where our thoughts and emotions influence behaviors and where actions can trigger thoughts and feelings. Mark also works from a Christian perspective in that our mind body spirit and thoughts have an impact on us as individuals and how well we live and function in life. Mark enjoys working with these groups and is passionate about the craftsmanship of Jesus and His handiworks through the counseling relationship in restoring relationships, encouraging hope and bringing peace to the brokenhearted. The scripture that Mark relates most closely to in his service as a Christian counselor is 1 John 4:4.
Megan McKeehan, MA
Education: Texas Weslyan University, Master of Arts in Professional Counseling
Megan first began working at Children First Counseling Center in January 2017 as a practicum student. Megan received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Texas Christian University and Master of Arts in Professional Counseling from Texas Wesleyan University. Megan has worked with children and adolescents from ages 3 to 17 concentrating on anxiety, depression, behavior issues, and loss. She has also gained experience working with adults, couples, and families with loss, depression, and psychiatric illness at the Texas Wesleyan Community Counseling Center during her practicum. Megan’s true desire lies in working with children and adolescents and later becoming a registered Play Therapist.
Steve Tankersley, LCSW
Education: University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, Texas, Master of Science in Social Work
Social Work Practicum Supervisor; BIPP Program Director
Most of Steve's experience has been in Chronic Mental Health (MHMR/psychiatric hospitals) and Family Violence, primarily working with Batterers (male and female). He has served in the social work field since 1989. His recent work has mainly been with adults, but he has past experience working with adolescents also. Steve typically utilizes Cognitive/Behavioral approaches. He is a Social Worker at heart, so he also likes reading about politics, activism, and serving the less fortunate. He is very committed to non-profit work; one of the main reasons he has continued to serve at Children First Counseling Center for over 15 years.
Syliva Williams, LPC Intern, LMFT Associate
Supervised by Linda Metcalf, Ph.D, LPC-S, LMFT-S
Education: Dallas Baptist University, Dallas, Texas, Masters in Counseling
Sylvia is a Qualified Conflict Resolution Manager; Certified Prepare Enrich Facilitator; Certified Life Coach; Pastoral Counselor; Licensed Professional Counselor Intern; Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate; Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Training; and EMDR Trained. She most often uses Solution-Focused (SF), Reality, and Narrative therapeutic approaches in her work with clients.
Sylvia's background working with troubled youth in an Intensive Out-Patient (IOP) center has helped her be most effective in her facilitation of groups at Children First. She currently facilitates the Women’s BIPP group.
Sylvia has mentored women and teen girls in prison, churches, and in her home. She also volunteered as a counselor for a local crisis pregnancy center and currently leads a team of safekeepers in the Divorce Care for Kids (DC4K) program at her church. Her goal as a counselor is to do whatever she can to undergird and foster healthy families, which she believes to be foundational to healthy and wholesome communities, which is the bedrock of a healthy city, state, and nation.
Sylvia has served as a former Girls Club camp counselor, college dorm adviser, and radio news announcer; a retired Delta Flight Attendant. She was also named in Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities ‘71-’72 and chosen as an Outstanding Young Women of America ’85. As the daughter of a garbage worker, Sylvia takes pride in the fact that she marched with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in the Memphis Garbage Workers Strike and personally witnessed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s last public speech the night before he was killed.
Ivan Wang, LPC Intern
Supervised by Heather Cawthon, LPC-S
Dallas Baptist University, Dallas, Texas, Masters in Counseling
Bilingual (English/Chinese) Counselor
Ivan received his bachelor degree in Youth and Child Welfare before coming to the U.S. in 2012. Heserved as a social worker supervisor at a nonprofit organization and at a nursing home in Taiwan. He received his masters degree in Professional Counseling at DBU in 2015, and is now pursuing a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership in Higher Education.
Ivan's counseling approach is based on the Person-Centered method, but also employs techniques from other approaches depending on the client's situation. Additionally, due to his cultural bachground, he takes a family oriented approach. Although he enjoys working with minors, he also enjoys talking to a client's family members and including them during treatment. He works with refugees. He hopes to promote mental health service in the Chinese Communities in the Dallas area. Ivan is gifted with clients from a variety of cultural backgrounds, but he particularly enjoys connecting with clients from his own background making counseling accessible for them as well.