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Meet Our Team

Our diverse team of counselors and professionals are here to help make a positive difference in the lives of the individuals we serve by helping them uncover their full potential.

Leadership

Elizabeth Muniz

Elizabeth Muniz

LMHC, RPT-S

Rachel Stewart

Rachel Stewart

LMHC, RPT-S

Our Team

Natalia Owens

Natalia Owens

RMHCI

Fort Myers, FL

Brittany Kearns

Brittany Kearns

RMHCI

Fort Myers, FL

Elizabeth McDowell

Elizabeth McDowell

LMHC, LPC

Fort Myers, FL

Sabrina Sullivan

Sabrina Sullivan

Administrative Assistant

Fort Myers, FL

Cassandra Colosimo

Cassandra Colosimo

RMHCI

Naples, FL

Alyssa Biestek

Alyssa Biestek

LMFT

The Woodlands, TX

Selene Denis

Selene Denis

RMHCI

Fort Myers / Naples, FL

Jennifer Leeder

Jennifer Leeder

RMHCI

Naples, FL

Elizabeth Muniz

Elizabeth Muniz

LMHC, RPT-S

Elizabeth Muniz, LMHC, RPT-S, is the co-founder of Thrive Therapy. She received her Bachelors Degree in Psychology with a minor in Women’s Studies from Florida International University in Miami, FL. She continued her education and graduated from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL with her Masters Degree in Mental Health Counseling. Upon graduation, she worked extensively with victims of sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse and neglect providing them with individual, group and family counseling.

Currently, Elizabeth oversees the professional development of clinicians at Thrive Therapy, using her experience to guide them on their journeys toward licensure or achieving Registered Play Therapist status. While her earlier career involved working with clients experiencing difficulties such as depression, anxiety, trauma, loss, divorce, and significant life changes, Elizabeth now focuses on sharing her expertise to a new generation of practitioners. Her leadership role extends to specializing in addressing childhood mental health and behavioral concerns by implementing evidence-based play therapy interventions, which she conveys to the therapists she supervises. This unique focus has positioned both Elizabeth and Thrive Therapy as leaders in the application of play therapy in Lee and Collier County and the surrounding areas. Additionally, she is a certified EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapist, the leading research-supported therapy for the treatment trauma and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.

Elizabeth’s leadership extends beyond the therapy room, demonstrated by her role as a presenter at the Florida Association for Play Therapy Annual Conference and Florida Gulf Coast University’s Annual Children and Youth Mental Health Conference. Her dedication is further highlighted by her previous service as a board member and co-chair of the Public Awareness Committee for the Florida Association for Play Therapy. Notably, she was honored as a 40-under-40 recipient by both Gulfshore Business magazine and The Business Observer, recognizing her leadership, innovation and impact within the community.

Outside of the office, Elizabeth enjoys spending time with her husband, two daughters and her dog. She also loves listening to true crime podcasts, exploring the SW Florida waters, and riding her Peloton.

Rachel Stewart

Rachel Stewart

LMHC, RPT-S

Rachel Stewart, LMHC, RPT-S, is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Registered Play Therapist Supervisor and co-founder of Thrive Therapy. Rachel graduated top of her class from the University of Central Florida with her Masters Degree in Mental Health Counseling and Certificate in Play Therapy. Upon graduation she worked at a residential psychiatric hospital for children and adolescents, providing crisis stabilization for the acute inpatient treatment and partial hospitalization programs as well as providing individual and group counseling services to children in intensive residential treatment struggling with severe mental health and behavioral concerns.

Rachel has extensive experience providing counseling services to children, adolescents, and adults in private practice for over 10 years. She specializes in the treatment of childhood mental health and behavioral concerns through the use of play therapy interventions. This highly unique specialization makes her and Thrive Therapy the leading practice for play therapy. She is a member of the Association for Play Therapy and has served as a board member and chair for the local SWFL Chapter of the Florida Association for Play Therapy and as the co-chair of the Public Awareness Committee for FAPT. She also specializes in supporting survivors of sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect. Rachel is trained in Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), the leading research supported therapy for the treatment of trauma and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.

Rachel is an established presenter in the mental health field. She has presented on “Creativity in Counseling” at the annual conference, Krimes Against Kids; “Domestic Violence and Play Therapy” at the annual conference for the Florida Association for Play Therapy; and “Play Therapy and Trauma” at the annual Florida Gulf Coast University Children’s Mental Health conference.

Rachel is the author and creator of the book and therapeutic kit Zack and Zoie Safe Zones: A Guide to Help Keep Children Safe™ a prevention education and trauma processing tool for children.

As a proud co-founder of Thrive Therapy, Rachel is passionate about serving individuals in the mental health field. Since transitioning to a leadership role within the practice, her focus has shifted from taking on new clients towards using her expertise to guide and enhance Thrive Therapy’s overall clinical services. She provides supervision and education to clinicians; implement strategic planning for practice growth; ensure the delivery of high quality and ethical mental health services; build relationships within the community to promote mental health awareness and engagement; and monitor and ensure a positive client experience.

Outside of the office, Rachel enjoys being outdoors with her family, anything DIY, and baking sweet treats.

Fort Myers, FL

Elizabeth McDowell

Elizabeth McDowell

LMHC, LPC

Elizabeth McDowell, LMHC is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Florida and a Licensed Professional Counselor in Wisconsin. Elizabeth is a native Floridian who received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Florida Gulf Coast University in 2011. She continued her education at Liberty University and graduated at the top of her class with her Masters degree in Professional Counseling in 2015. Elizabeth has been working as a therapist in private practice since 2015, and has also worked as a Psychology teacher at a technical college for several years.

Elizabeth is a highly relational and integrative therapist, in that she utilizes various evidence-based, therapeutic techniques including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, EMDR, Emotionally Focused Therapy, Mindfulness-based strategies, and Play therapy. She has a passion for developing the unique characteristics and strengths of the individuals she works with, to help them achieve the emotional, behavioral, relational, and spiritual lives they desire. She has a knack for connecting with individuals in a meaningful way, which allows her to encourage her clients to learn self-acceptance, while also challenging themselves toward change.

In her experience as a therapist, Elizabeth has had the privilege of working with a variety of different clients and issues, but her areas of expertise include working with families, children, adolescents, and couples. Her experience has also included a focus on depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, relationship conflict, self-esteem issues, and family issues. She also enjoys working with people who consider faith and spirituality to be an important aspect of their lives.

Elizabeth’s goal is to create a warm, accepting therapeutic environment that helps her clients address and resolve issues at the root, while equipping and empowering them to reach their goals.

Outside of the office, Elizabeth enjoys spending time with her husband and 3 kids, exploring nature, reading a good novel, learning about nutrition, and baking.

The Woodlands, TX

Alyssa Biestek

Alyssa Biestek

LMFT

Alyssa Biestek, LMFT, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in both Texas and Florida. She attended Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL for both her Bachelor’s of Science and Master’s of Science degrees. Through her education on families and relationships, Alyssa highlights the importance of viewing each client’s life through a systemic lens. She understands that every behavior makes sense in context and that our environments and relationships impact who we are.

Alyssa has a passion for providing care to children, adolescents, and their families. She also has found enjoyment in working with young adults on life transitions. She has extensive training in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and is currently in training to become a Registered Play Therapy (RPT). Being able to get creative with kids and incorporate alternative methods into sessions (art, sandtray, etc.) brings Alyssa joy. Much of Alyssa’s experience is in treating individuals struggling with depressive and anxiety disorders, ADHD, neurodivergence and trauma. One of her niches is helping those who have or currently engage in self-injurious behaviors. As a child and adolescent therapist, Alyssa notes the importance of parental participation in sessions while also balancing the confidentiality and privacy of the minor client.

Since practicing, Alyssa has further deepened her belief around the biggest factor of change in therapy being the therapeutic relationship with her clients. She takes time to build a genuine connection and relationship with each individual whom she works with. She brings her authentic self into session and works to incorporate client interests into sessions. Highlighting client strengths, offering validation, and working collaboratively are just some of the interventions you can count on with Alyssa!

Outside of the office, Alyssa enjoys reading outside, spending time with her two dogs, and trying new restaurants.

Fort Myers, FL

Natalia Owens

Natalia Owens

LMHC

Natalia Owens, LMHC, is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Florida and a Licensed Professional Counselor in Virginia. Natalia’s first Master’s degree is in Linguistics and International Communication, which she received from Armavir Linguistic University, Russia in 1998. Natalia received her Master’s Degree in Community Counseling from the University of Phoenix, in Tucson, Arizona in 2011. Natalia conducted her practicum and internship with Arizona’s Children Association through Las Familias department, an expert provider of treatment for sexual abuse. Upon graduation, from 2012 through 2021 Natalia stayed with Las Familias as a crisis counselor and a long-term therapist to provide trauma treatment for children victims of crime and their families. Natalia specializes in treatment of complex PTSD in children and adults as well as in working with their families to help family as a unit to understand and connect with their loved ones and to heal from traumatic events. Natalia is fluent in English and Russian.

Natalia’s passion is working with children and families as well as adult individuals who have experienced both developmental needs and sexual and physical abuse trauma. Natalia works with victims of sexual and physical abuse, victims of assault and rape, as well as victims of internet-related crimes against children.

Natalia currently works with both children and adult clients who have experienced symptoms of depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, victim blaming due to trauma and significant life changes, as well as with parents seeking consultation and psychoeducation about how to understand and support their children who experience emotional and behavioral challenges and struggle to create a balance between life, school and work.

Natalia is extensively trained in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which she uses as a foundation for trauma treatment. Natalia utilizes Neurosequential Models of Therapeutics premise, follows principles of person-centered therapy, and implements various techniques such as play therapy, sand tray therapy, elements of art therapy, family therapy, and mindfulness based practices. Natalia is trained in EMDR (part I and II). Natalia’s goal is to create a supportive, judgement-free space for clients to grow and learn from their traumatic experiences to achieve their full potential.

Outside of the office, Natalia enjoys reading, spending time outdoors hiking or walking on the beach, going to museums, traveling and spending time with family, friends and her two dogs Jax and Oscar

Naples, FL

Cassandra Colosimo

Cassandra Colosimo

RMHCI

Cassandra Colosimo, RMHCI, NCC, is a Registered Mental Health Intern and Nationally Certified Counselor specializing in working with children, adolescents, adults, and families. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a minor in Sociology from Florida Atlantic University. She continued her education at Florida Atlantic University to graduate at the top of her class with a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

Cassandra utilizes various evidence-based therapeutic techniques, including Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Mindfulness-based strategies. Additionally, she is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), the leading research-supported therapy for the treatment of trauma and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. She specializes in the treatment of childhood mental health and behavioral concerns through the use of play therapy techniques. Cassandra is a member of the Southwest Florida Chapter of the Florida Association for Play Therapy and the American Counseling Association. She is in the final stages of completing her hours toward the Registered Play Therapist credential. 

In her experience, Cassandra has had the opportunity to work with a variety of clients and concerns. Her experience has included a focus on anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, trauma, parental divorce, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, grief, behavioral concerns, low self-esteem, and phase of life changes.

When working with children and adolescents, she emphasizes the importance of a family-centered approach that allows parents and caregivers to become better equipped to regulate their children and strengthen their relationships. She believes incorporating the family unit into the child’s work allows for generalizing new skills to various environments through parent modeling techniques.

As a firm believer in the transformative power of therapy, Cassandra prioritizes fostering a collaborative, nonjudgmental, warm, and welcoming environment for her clients. She aims to empower clients, help them build self-awareness, improve coping skills, and enhance their overall quality of life. 

Outside of the office, Cassandra enjoys baking, crafting, making sourdough bread, reading, and getting outdoors.

Fort Myers, FL

Brittany Kearns

Brittany Kearns

RMHCI

Brittany Kearns, RMHCI is a Registered Mental health Intern who moved to Fort Myers, FL from Arizona. She attended the University of Colorado where she graduated with honors and obtained her Bachelor’s of Science in Communications. Brittany received her Master’s degree in Professional Psychology with an additional year of study in faith-based counseling. She has extensive training in trauma-informed therapy and strongly believes in the brain’s phenomenal ability to repair itself. Brittany has avidly studied the mind-body connection and is passionate about helping individuals on their journey of personal growth and self-discovery. She specializes in Internal Family Systems (IFS) in which we confront the parts of ourselves that are at odds with each other and begin to heal from the inside out. Brittany is fully certified in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), the leading research supported therapy for the treatment of trauma and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.

Her work is primarily with adults and adolescent clients, she understands the detriment that unresolved trauma can have on the mind/body. Brittany utilizes a combination of Emotionally-Focused Therapy (EFT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and EMDR as the foundation of her therapeutic approach. She treats fear, depression, and anxiety as misunderstood messengers that are ultimately trying to guide us toward wholeness. Having struggled with these things personally, Brittany understands just how debilitating and restricted our world can become if left unchecked. She believes a secure, authentic connection is the foundation for healing. Brittany’s goal is to create a collaborative alliance with her clients and equip them with the tools necessary to empower growth and lasting transformation.

Outside of the office, Brittany enjoys exploring Florida with her husband and their two children. She also has a passion for hobbies including dance, lifestyle photography, and acoustic guitar.

Fort Myers, FL

Sabrina Sullivan

Sabrina Sullivan

Administrative Assistant

Sabrina Sullivan is our administrative assistant who greets all of our clients as they walk in the door. Originally from Oregon, Sabrina recently moved to Florida with her family in early 2023. She’s been working in healthcare, non-profits, and women and children resource centers for the last 7 years. Sabrina graduated from the University of Oregon in 2020 with a double major and double minor bachelors degree in business, legal studies, sociology, and economics. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in counseling as well.

While in college and throughout her professional career, she has always made time for volunteer work with organizations such as The Hope and Safety Alliance and Visuality. Sabrina loves working with clients because she loves to be a small part in their journey to better their mental health. She loves seeing all the excited faces of the children who walk into Thrive to have play therapy; she’s always ready with paper and coloring materials if they’d like before their appointment. Sabrina is who you will be speaking with when you call or send us an email, as well as the last person you will see as you walk out the door. Her goal is to make each clients experience with communications and billing as smooth as possible and to help new clients find the best therapist at Thrive Therapy that fits their needs.

Outside of the office, Sabrina enjoys volunteerism with local non-profits, kayaking with her husband, yoga, jogging with their family dog, and creative outlets such as reading and drawing.

Fort Myers, FL

Naples, FL

Selene Denis

Selene Denis

RMHCI

Selene Denis, RMHCI is a Registered Mental Health Counseling Intern and dedicated mental health professional committed to fostering positive change in individuals’ lives. She earned her Bachelors degree in Psychology from Florida International University and graduated top of her class with her Masters Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Florida Gulf Coast University.

At the Community Counseling Center in FGCU, Selene served as a Clinical Mental Health Counseling Student Intern. During her time there, she provided empathetic counseling services to diverse populations, supporting adults and children ages 4+ in both English and Spanish. In her current practice Selene incorporates a wide range of therapeutic techniques including Child-Centered Play Therapy interventions, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and Person-Centered Therapy.

Fluent in both English and Spanish, Selene creates an inclusive environment where clients feel understood and supported, facilitating therapy in their preferred language.

Selene believes that every individual possesses an innate potential for growth, self-awareness, and self-actualization. She values integrating the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual aspects of each individual’s experience, considering the whole person in her therapeutic practice.

Outside of the office, Selene loves to spend her time playing Tennis, Pickleball and video games.

Naples, FL

Jennifer Leeder

Jennifer Leeder

PsyD, RMHCI

Jennifer Leeder, PsyD, RMHCI is a Registered Mental Health Intern. A native Chicagoan, Jennifer moved to Naples, Florida with her husband and children in 2020. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Art Therapy from Barat College and Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from Adler School of Professional Psychology Chicago Campus. She continued her education, graduating with Honor’s and holds a Doctorate in Psychology with a specialization in Health and Wellness from the University of the Rockies, Colorado Springs in 2018.

During her PsyD program at the University of the Rockies, Jennifer successfully wrote and defended her dissertation titled “The Experiences of Physicians Who Implement A Whole Food, Plant-Based Diet as Treatment Modality for Chronic Disease”. She went on to complete a Health Coaching Certification with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and Aryuvedic Nutrition Certification.

Jennifer has experience working with all ages across the lifespan incorporating counseling skills, art therapy, and health coaching. Jennifer has worked with adolescents and middle-aged adults looking for a supportive, open-minded therapist with a relational approach. She has extensive training in Adlerian Therapy focusing on understanding an individual’s lifestyle and social interests, particularly working with individuals dealing with life transitions, grief, difficult circumstances, personal insecurities, depression, mood, and anxiety disorders.

Jennifer’s approach is encouraging, and she strives to help you feel empowered, prepared, and resilient by goal setting and implementing positive behavior changes to overcome perceived barriers and foster a sense of belonging and purpose. Jennifer also has a passion for Health and Wellness and how nutrition and exercise can positively affect one’s physical and emotional wellbeing.

Outside the office Jennifer and her husband enjoy spending time with their 5 children and Beagle “Buster”. She loves traveling, hiking, boating, exploring local farmer markets, cooking, working out, reading, and practicing yoga.

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Fort Myers, FL

Naples, FL

The Woodlands, TX

t What happens at your first appointment?

What To Expect At Your First Appointment

At your first appointment, we conduct a Biopsychosocial assessment discussing personal background information and presenting concerns. Upon completion of the assessment, your therapist will advise you as to the appropriate plan of care. Typically sessions are provided on a weekly basis based on the level of care needed. Although clients present with individualized needs, the average clients attends treatment for 10-12 sessions. Some client require further sessions and others require less. Individual sessions last for 50 minutes. Family sessions last for 1 hour and 30 minutes. All sessions are by appointment only. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday 9:00am-6:00pm. Flexible evening appointments are available.

Prior to your first session, you will be provided with access to the client portal. There you will be able to fill out and review your intake paperwork. We will be glad to answer any questions about the paperwork at your assessment.