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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. 

Lillian Eastham


Masters Level Intern
Trevecca University

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 and helping to heal the hearts of others. 

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 values being able to help others walk through different transitions and phases in life, albeit career, grief, relationship changes, young adulthood, separating from your family of origin, etc. Hey gentle demeanor and strength for interpersonal connection make her excellent at creating a safe environment for her client's to connect, engage, and carefully step into the pain that troubles their system and gain corrective experiences to help heal those stuck places. 


Lillian is an avid learner, always excited to read a new book, listen to informative podcasts, learning new research and trainings about the latest advances in the counseling profession. She also enjoys spending time with family and friends and exploring new resturants and adventures around the greater Middle TN area.

Areas of Focus


Women’s Issues

Adolescents and Emerging Adults

Family of Origin Issues

Couples/Pre-Marital Counseling

Life Skills/Issues

Self Esteem

Identity Crisis

Body Image/Disordered Eating


Current Student of Marriage and Family Therapy

Trevecca University 


Bachelor’s Degree

Western Kentucky University

"Helping one person might not change the whole world, but it will change the whole world for that one person."

Hendersonville & Virtual 

Morgan Johnson


Masters Level Intern
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

Hendersonville & Virtual

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

Couples Counseling, EFT Trained

Depression and anxiety


First Responder Families

Life transitions and adjustments

Women’s Issues


Attachment Wounds

Stress Management


Current Student of Marriage and Family Therapy

Trevecca University 


Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology

Trevecca University 


Shelby Thompson

Masters Level Intern,
Trevecca University

​“It is often the small steps, not the giant leaps, that bring about the most lasting change.”
                                             ~hrh, Queen Elizabeth II

Henders0nville & Virtual

Shelby loves nothing more than her home in Middle Tennessee. She was born in Mt. Juliet, but moved to Lebanon with her houseplants and her husband earlier this year. She is working on her degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Trevecca Nazarene University where she also received her Bachelors. 


She has always valued connections with other people above all else. Love of relationships and her own personal mental health journey led her into counseling after college. She is passionate about our hardest moments and what we can find on the other side of them. 


Shelby wants to give her clients a safe place to honor whatever it is they may need to work through. She believes wholeheartedly that hope, healing, and acceptance can be part of our stories. The difficulties we experience leave us feeling disconnected from ourselves and other people. We have the chance to walk together and discover what wholeness can look like. 


Apart from therapy, Shelby enjoys good fiction, hot lattes, and professional soccer.

Areas of Focus

Individual Counseling
Depression & Anxiety
Grief & Loss
Disordered Eating/Body Image
Life Transitions


Bachelors of Science in Communication Studies
Trevecca Nazarene University


(Current student) Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling 
Trevecca Nazarene University


Lauren Blaha

Masters Level Intern
NorthCentral University

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 Gottman Theory, through her extensive couples training as well as a Solution Focused approach, 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

Women's Issues

Couples/Marriage Counseling

Pre-Marital/Pre-Engagement Counseling

Depression & Anxiety

Parenting & Family Counseling

Adolescents & Young Adults (13+)


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

Northcentral University

In order to get to a healthier and more productive place, we need to give up our fear of conflict, turmoil and resistance.                                                                                    ~John Gottman

Goodlettsville & Virtual

Jana Simonis

Masters Level Intern
Austin Peay State University

“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.

Goodlettsville & Virtual

Areas of Focus

Relationship Stressors

Pastoral Staff/Faith based counselingDepression/Anxiety

Grief & Loss

End of life Care

Individual Counseling

Children & Adolescents

Family Counseling



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

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