OUR PRACTICE | Our Staff
Tamara Atkinson, LPC
Tamara Atkinson is licensed as a Professional Counselor in Virginia since 1993. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from West Virginia Wesleyan College and her Master’s degree in Psychology from Old Dominion University. Her professional career in Psychology began at Weston State Hospital where she received training and supervision in Psychological and Neuropsychological testing and evaluations. She also participated in a research study of a screening method for brain organicity that was published in the Association for Applied Behavior Therapy Journal. Upon relocating to the Tidewater area of Virginia and completing her Master’s degree, Tamara was hired by The Pines Residential Treatment Center To design and run a Substance Use Disorder program for emotionally and behaviorally disturbed adolescents in residential treatment. She left the Pines in 1995 to begin her career providing outpatient therapy full-time.
The focus of her therapy services is Substance Use Disorders and co-occurring Emotional disorders such as Anxiety, Depression, Bipolar, and Trauma. She provides Individual, Family, and Group therapy treatment with an emphasis on Cognitive and Behavioral Therapeutic strategies. Tamara conducts several weekly groups for Substance Use Disorders and has been trained in the evaluation methods approved by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).
Tamara has also received Foundational training and supervision for Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) which is a type of therapy specifically designed for people who struggle with Emotional Dysregulation. She actively participates in a weekly consultation team and co-facilitates a DBT skills training group at the practice as well as providing individual DBT therapy sessions. The philosophy of DBT is grounded in every person’s option for choice in how they live their lives. Concepts include the options of change versus acceptance and the skills to manage those options more effectively.
Tamara enjoys working with older adolescents and adults. She works with each person collaboratively to develop an individualized treatment plan. Sessions are typically goal focused and emphasize more effective coping and problem-solving strategies.
Laurie Grant, LCSW
Ms. Grant received her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Western Kentucky University and graduated from Norfolk State University with a Master’s Degree in Social Work. Laurie has been in private practice since 2007 and is experienced in individual, family, and marriage counseling, as well as inpatient and community mental health. Ms. Grant specializes in postpartum depression and anxiety. Laurie brings compassion, warmth, and a wealth of knowledge to the VBM team. She is currently accepting patients 12 and older.
Sam Lee, LPC
Mr. Lee is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). He has extensive experience in the mental health field including many years work in Virginia Beach Psychiatric Center. Mr. Lee is EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) certified. EMDR is a breakthrough therapy technique proven successful in helping those who suffer from trauma, anxiety, panic, disturbing memories, and other emotional problems. In addition to his EMDR expertise, Mr. Lee specializes in anger management, addiction, PTSD, marriage/couples counseling, along with a broad spectrum of other psychological concerns like depression, bipolar disorder, OCD and ADHD. He speaks fluent Korean and brings the diversity of American and Eastern cultures and spirituality into a therapeutic sanctuary where clients can explore new horizons of life filled with grace.
Laurie Sargent, LPC
Laurie Sargent brings a wealth of clinical experience, enduring hope, and a “can do” attitude. Ms. Sargent specializes in working with adolescents, couples, individuals and families. She partners with her clients to improve wellness by strengthening coping mechanisms and processing conflicts while looking toward constructive problem resolution. Laurie’s vast clinical experience includes helping clients manage anxiety, depression, bipolar, ADHD, conflict with authority, PTSD, and various other psychological issues. She seeks to understand, educate, and help people manage and resolve their presenting problems. Laurie is well versed in an assortment of successful therapy techniques including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Reality Therapy, Systems Therapy and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR). Clients should be prepared for an authentic therapy experience where they will be heard, cared for, and positively challenged toward improvement.
Phyllis Saunders, LCSW
Mrs. Saunders is an experienced therapist passionate about helping others find their path to hope and joy. She uses a cognitive behavioral approach to therapy along with other successfully validated treatments. Phyllis establishes a safe and trusting relationship with her clients while providing them the tools they need to overcome the challenges affecting their lives. While respecting all belief systems, her pursuit of professional excellence and commitment to client wellbeing are informed by her faith-based worldview.
Mrs. Saunders is EMDR certified and has experience treating clients with PTSD, adjustment related issues, depression, and anxiety. She has clinical experience in a community mental health center, private vocational training agency, public substance abuse clinics, as well as within a psychiatric hospital. Over the last 25 years as a mental health professional, Phyllis has had vast experience with children, adolescents, and adults. Her specialties include mood disorders, addiction, trauma-related stress, depression, anxiety, relationship issues, self-esteem, and personality disorders.
Through her decades of experience, Phyllis knows that no matter how difficult the circumstances look, change is possible – and should be expected.
Mrs. Saunders and her husband of over 30 years have five children; three successfully launched, one in college, and one in high school.
Tonya Kallmeyer, PA
Ms. Kallmeyer received her Bachelor’s Degree from Northern Kentucky University before serving in the United States Navy. Upon leaving the military, Tonya worked as a cardiovascular technician at Sentara Heart Hospital before returning to school. She graduated from Eastern Virginia Medical School in 2011 with a Master of Physician Assistance (MPA) degree. Upon graduation, Ms. Kallmeyer worked in the sleep medicine field and in 2014 she joined the Virginia Behavioral Medicine team.
Tonya specializes in treating patients 14 years of age and older suffering from depression, anxiety, ADHD, OCD, and various mood disorders. Ms. Kallmeyer believes VBM’s strength is in their comprehensive team approach providing satisfactory, effective outcomes for patients. Tonya is an avid cyclist and loves the beach!