Graduate Interns

We firmly believe in the power of collaboration and teaming up with a counselor you trust to work through life's challenges.

At Matters of the Heart, we are also a teaching site. We offer an opportunity for carefully selected graduate students to apply the rigorous course work and education to the test real time with client's who are ready for change! By working with our graduate interns, we offer you a discounted rate that is compatible with most "co-payments" so that you can begin your journey into greater mental, emotional, and relational health.

 

All graduate interns are directly supervised by Joanna Dixon, their school advisor, and have completed their masters level course work. This allows you to benefit from the experience of seasoned therapists as we guide our students through the work they do.

 Please, do not let finances be a barrier to beginning your journey. If you have any concerns, questions, or would like to be considered for a scholarship opportunity, please email us. 

Julianne Peace

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Masters Level Intern

"There's no "should" or "should not" when it comes to having feelings. They're part of who we are and their origins are beyond our control. When we can believe that, we may find it easier to make constructive choices about what to do with those feelings."
-Fred Rogers

Julianne is a Nashville native that grew up listening to vocabulary CDs in the car with her well-dressed mother. Thus, a love of storytelling and pencil skirts was born. As time passed, her love of storytelling morphed into an understanding and appreciation for individuals’ stories. Through her personal and professional counseling work, Julianne has formed a passion for assisting people to process their stories and create more hopeful future chapters. 

 

As a counselor, she hopes to assist clients in understanding their emotions and develop a fuller sense of their whole self. She also believes while an individual sense of self is important, understanding how that self connects with those around it is vital to mental and emotional health. Ultimately, she is motivated by working with her clients to empower their individual goals and make positive changes in their lives, families, and circumstances, made possible with a whole lot of empathy, compassion, and grace. She constantly hopes to provide a safe space for people's hurts and hang-ups. Outside of the counseling room, she enjoys a good Chai latte and the magic of East Tennessee. 

Areas of Focus

Grief & Loss 

Depression/Anxiety

Women's Issues

Shame & Discontentment

Codependency

Adolescents & Emerging Adults

Media Trauma 

Long-term & Chronic Illness Issues

Family of Origin Issues

Engagement/Marriage Counseling

Family Counseling

Parenting Support

Education

Current Student of Clinical Mental Health

Trevecca University 

 

Bachelor’s Degree

University of Tennessee at Knoxville

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Rebekah Bragan

Masters Level Intern

“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”
-Epictetus

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” -Thomas Edison

Everybody is dealing with hurts, habits, and hangups. When it keeps you from living your best life and being your best self, taking the first step to get unstuck is sometimes the hardest. Life experience, personal crises, and various roles have given Rebekah a vast base from which to pull to help maximize your God-given potential, overcome challenges, and celebrate the joys of life. Using a blended approach that is as unique as each individual’s story, she utilizes several therapy models and techniques to help one achieve their goals. Offering compassion, lots of grace, and a listening ear, she strives to provide a safe place where change and growth can happen.

 

Rebekah and her husband, both from Durham, NC (Go DUKE!), have been married for over 33 years and have four children. Together they have ministered for over 26 years in several southeastern states and WY, settling near family in TN, along with their Bearded Dragon, Beans. Her favorite things are being Mimi, outside walks, a good book, and coffee talks; she is an accomplished pianist and piano instructor, and two-time cancer survivor. Her greatest challenge and joy is balancing her current roles of ministry wife, mom, Mimi, graduate student, piano teacher, and parent-caregiver. Her passion is to come alongside those who are hurting, and help them navigate life, and find healing and emotional health.

Areas of Focus

Pre-Marriage & Marriage Counseling

Family Counseling

Women's Issues

Parenting Support

Ministry Families

Depression & Anxiety

Grief & Loss

Crisis & Trauma

Life Transitions & Adjustment

Chronic Health Issues

Certified SYMBIS Facilitator

Education

​Current Student of Marriage and Family Therapy Master’s program 

Liberty University

Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Christian Counseling

Liberty University

Lillian Eastham

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Masters Level Intern

Lillian grew up in Kentucky before moving to Nashville for graduate school. She received her undergraduate degree in journalism at Western Kentucky University. She has worked in several different places, from Spain to Disney World, and worked in a variety of fields The one thing that remained steady throughout all of them was her love of connecting with people. 

    Like many people, when the pandemic hit, Lillian began to reevaluate her path in life and decided to leave marketing to pursue a career in counseling. She is passionate about helping others walk through different transitions and phases in life, all while having compassion for themselves and understanding the impact of the systems around them. 

    In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading books and listening to podcasts.

Areas of Focus

Depression/Anxiety

Women’s Issues

Adolescents and Emerging Adults

Family of Origin Issues

Engagement/Marriage Counseling

Relationship Issues

Life Skills/Issues

Self Esteem

Identity Crisis

Sexual Issues/Trauma

Body Image/Disordered Eating

Education

Current Student of Marriage and Family Therapy

Trevecca University 

 

Bachelor’s Degree

Western Kentucky University

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Lauren Blaha

Masters Level Intern

If you’re feeling weighed down, Lauren has a passion for helping lift others up and supporting clients through this thing called life. She recently moved to Tennessee and loves everything this beautiful place has to offer. Lauren is earning her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) at Northcentral University, and has her bachelor’s degree from California State University, San Marcos in Human Development with a focus on Children’s Services.

Lauren's curious and compassionate nature relate well to working alongside couples, parents, children and families. Through her own family and marriage work, she is able to lend personal and professional experience to couples and families in need of a few extra tools for success. Using Solution Focused Brief Therapy, Lauren focuses on what is already working, while setting short- and long-term attainable goals. She will help you focus on personal and systemic strengths while providing you with tools and resources for growth and resolution. Lauren believes in building a rapport and trust with her clients to provide understanding in an approachable and positive environment.

       When Lauren isn’t working with clients, you can find her with her family exploring Tennessee, at the barn horseback riding, or crafting at home.

Areas of Focus

Couples Counseling

Parenting

Children & Adolescents

Family Counseling

Marriage Counseling

Education

​Current Student of Marriage and Family Therapy Master’s program 

Northcentral University

Morgan Johnson

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Masters Level Intern

Morgan is a Hendersonville native who grew up with a family that values time with people and finding comfort in nature. She’s carried those deep-rooted values into adulthood and prioritizes her community and finding peace and courage in nature. She has a passion for guiding people to discover their most authentic selves and resting in self-acceptance. 

 

From an early age, she knew she desired to be in a helping profession for her career. After changing her major three times during her freshman year, she fell in love with therapy through an introductory Psychology class. Upon changing her major to Psychology, the dream of becoming a Marriage and Family Therapist was influenced by one of her beloved professors. 

 

Morgan’s goal is to create a welcoming environment for her clients to have a sense of peace whenever they step into her office and to feel comfortable to process whatever they are walking through. Morgan’s dad has been a firefighter since she was a child, and she has developed a passion for working with first responder families through this experience. 

 

Apart from spending time in nature, Morgan enjoys a great cup of coffee, spending time with family and friends, and working out.

Areas of Focus

Individual Counseling

Depression and anxiety

Self-esteem 

First Responder Families

Life transitions and adjustments

Relationship issues

Women’s Issues

Codependency 

Attachment Wounds

Stress Management

Education

Current Student of Marriage and Family Therapy

Trevecca University 

 

Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology

Trevecca University 

​“May you always be the one who notices the little things that make the light pour through, and may they always remind you: There is more to life and there is more to you.”
― Morgan Harper Nichols

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Jana Simonis

Masters Level Intern

“Kindness begins with the understanding that we all struggle.”
- Charles Glassman

Focus on the step in front of you, not the whole staircase.” – Anonymous

 

 

Our life is like a book with many chapters being written but you are the one holding the pen. Sometimes those chapters are long, they seem never ending, and some chapters close only to be reopened and reread time and time again. What if your story mattered? What if your narrative could change? What if you could close a chapter that was not finished? What if you could pick up the pen and shift your narrative to write a new chapter or a whole new book?

 

Jana would love to walk along beside you as she listens to your story, giving you a space where your story matters, a space that is full of compassion, empathy, acceptance, and unconditional positive regard. A place where “your story matters.” Life experience, personal trauma, and Jana’s personal story has given her a foundation to help walk along beside you no matter what challenges you may be facing on your journey.

 

Jana was born and raised in TN and loves to spend time with her husband and two children as well as baking, reading, and shopping. Her greatest joy is being able to be involved with children and youth by building relationships and creating a safe community space for them to come and enjoy. Jana is truly passionate about working with children and adolescents through expressive arts therapy. Her greatest desire is to see those that are struggling find healing and to know that there is always someone who will listen and that truly care where they are in their own journey of life.

Areas of Focus

Children & Adolescents

Family Counseling

Parenting

Depression/Anxiety

Grief & Loss

End of life Care

Individual Counseling

Education

Current Student of Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program

Austin Peay State University

 

Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Psychology

Regent University

Intern Rates

60 min  therapy session   $60
90 min couples intake    $90