Counseling & Administrative Team

Our team provides counseling for individuals, couples, and families seeking to move to next level of personal & relational development.

Donna Gibbs, LCMHCS, BCPCC

Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Supervisor & Board Certified Professional Christian Counselor


Education and Training

Donna is a North Carolina Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Supervisor
(NCLCMHCS) and a Board Certified Professional Christian Counselor (BCPCC). She is
EDIT Certified (Eating Disorder Intuitive Therapy) and has a Certificate of Completion
from EMDRIA in Basic EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
Therapy). She is on the professional referral networks for Focus on the Family, Crisis
Care Network, and Finding Balance. She is a professional provider for Samaritan’s
Purse, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC).

Donna graduated from North Carolina State University in 1993 with a BA in Psychology.
She has post-graduate training in the specialization of School Psychology and an MS in
Community Counseling, which she earned in 1997 from Western Carolina University. She earned a PhD in Christian Counseling and Psychology from Louisiana Baptist University in 2007.

Donna frequently enjoys speaking and training engagements, and would be honored to
come to your church or organization to share a word of instruction or encouragement.

Follow Donna’s author page at for
encouragement and updates regarding events.


Donna developed Summit Wellness Centers, PLLC in partnership with Kevin Wimbish
in 2018 in an effort to provide more accessible resources to various organizations in
WNC. In 2008, she developed and directed A Clear Word Counseling Center (CWCC),
which became a thriving resource for those experiencing emotional or relationship
struggles. Donna has authored various books and resources, and is commonly featured
on radio broadcasts and podcasts across America.

Donna has been married to her husband, Mark, for 28 years, and is the mother of four
amazing boys. She loves spending time with family and friends and hiking in the
beautiful mountains of WNC.

Rev. Kevin Wimbish, MS, LMFT

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist


Education &Training

Kevin received a Bachelor of Science in Human Development with a minor in Sociology from UNC – Greensboro in 2002. He then completed his MS in Marriage & Family Therapy at Auburn University in 2004. After graduating from Auburn, Kevin was trained in Charlotte, NC while working as a therapist at The Barnabas Center.  The training at The Barnabas Center was strongly influenced by the works of Dr. Dan Allender & Dr. Larry Crabb.

Kevin has been devoting a significant amount of time over the last number of years to becoming trained in executive coaching and in studying neuroscience and it’s impacts on individual’s quality of life and couple dynamics.  He is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in North Carolina (1198).


Kevin developed Summit Wellness Centers, PLLC in partnership with Donna Gibbs in 2018 in an effort to provide more accessible resources to various organizations in WNC.  Kevin began his professional career as a substance abuse counselor at Stonewall Jackson Juvenile Detention Center.  He then began the adolescent counseling arm at The Barnabas Center in Charlotte, NC.  Kevin and his wife Julie moved to Asheville, NC to work with the Hope Network at Biltmore Baptist Church in 2007.  While at Biltmore Baptist, Kevin worked with the Online Campus as the Online Campus Pastor.  Kevin was then asked to be on the team to start the first multi-site campus as the Family Pastor.  While serving in this role, Kevin led the kids, students, and guest services teams, comprised of volunteers who led the various ministries.

Kevin left Biltmore Baptist in 2014 to start Family Life Coach to work with individuals and families and in 2015 started Maximum Dynamic, Inc. to work with organizations. Kevin was also a Pastor In Residence at The Cove from 2017 – 2022.  He developed Summit Wellness Centers, PLLC in partnership with Donna Gibbs in 2018 in an effort to provide more accessible resources to various organizations in WNC.

Summit Wellness Centers, PLLC is pleased to be able to make the services of independent contractors available:

Rev. Boone Leigh, MDiv, MA, LCMHC

Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor

Education and Training

Boone graduated from NC State University with a BS in Biology. He graduated with a Masters of Divinity from Reformed Theological Seminary in 2001 and a Masters in Professional Counseling from Liberty University in 2012.  Boone served in Florida as a youth pastor and pastoral intern, and then served as a solo pastor to a church in Huntington, WV.


Boone has been providing pastoral counseling for the past twelve plus years working with children, teens, adults, singles and couples. He loves to help people with the struggles they are having by pointing them first to the ultimate answer, which is Jesus Christ. He has been married for 12 years to the love of his life and has two daughters. Boone is licensed in both North Carolina and South Carolina.

Lori Heagney, MS, LCMHC

Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor

Education & Training

Lori graduated from Southeastern College of the Assemblies of God (now Southeastern University) in Lakeland, Florida in 1990 with a BA in Psychology. She earned her Master’s in Mental Health Counseling at Stetson University in Deland, Florida in 1997. She was licensed in Florida as a Mental Health Counselor in 2000. She became licensed in the state of North Carolina as a Licensed Professional Counselor (now Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor) in 2009 after moving to NC in the fall of 2008. She is on the professional counselor referral network for Focus on the Family, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), and a contributor to the Summit Wellness Centers, PLLC blog.


Lori joined the team of Summit Wellness Centers, PLLC after having been in practice with A Clear Word Counseling Center since 2010. Prior to this she practiced in the community mental health and substance abuse field in both inpatient and outpatient treatment facilities since 1987. She has a great passion for neurobiology and helping empower individuals to recognize their God-given ability to be “Transformed by the renewing of their mind (Romans 12:2).” Her areas of expertise include working with mental health issues of depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder as well as extensive experience in women’s issues, divorce recovery, tween/teen issues, grief, and couples/marital therapy. Lori is the proud mother of two wonderful girls.  She enjoys home improvement projects, gardening, and time spent in the beautiful outdoors of North Carolina with her family.

Pam Nettles, LCMHC

Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor

Education and Training

Pam earned her Master’s degree in Professional Counseling at Liberty University in 2010 and is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (8716).  Pam works with children, adolescents, men and women dealing with individual, relationship, marital and family issues.  Pam especially enjoys working with individuals struggling with depression and anxiety.  As a PREPARE/ENRICH Counselor Pam provides premarital counseling.  


Pam is passionate about providing professional and spiritual counseling.  She provides integrative counseling that is based on biblical principles, as well as research-based theoretical principles that are geared to a client’s individual issues and/or circumstances.  Pam works collaboratively with her clients to determine their specific needs and goals; then a plan is established to help the client succeed in meeting those goals.  

In addition to Pam’s professional training, she has a variety of life experiences that help her to identify with the needs of her clients.  Pam is married and has three young adult children.  Prior to becoming a counselor, Pam’s work history includes working in a professional business setting and also in public and private educational settings for about 15 years.  Pam enjoys spending time with family and friends and her two dogs, reading, working out, yard work, and relaxing by the campfire.

Ashleigh Beason – Herrington, LCMHC

Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor

Ashleigh was raised in Western North Carolina. She graduated Appalachian State University, magna cum laud, where she received her degree in Nutrition. She received her Master’s Degree from Liberty University in Counseling to gain her LPC (now LCMHC). Ashleigh completed her practicum at Tapestry Eating Disorder Clinic and her internship with Summit Wellness Centers, PLLC. She works with adults, young adults, teens and kids with anxiety, depression, OCD, trauma, grief, and eating disorders. She has completed training for Trauma with children and adolescents and play therapy as well as EMDR for adults and children. She also provides counseling services at West Henderson High School.

Abbey Bruce, LCMHC

Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor

Education & Training

Abbey received her Bachelor’s degree from Berry College in Psychology and Dance, and her Master’s degree from the University of Georgia in Professional Community Counseling. Abbey’s clinical focus during her graduate training was trauma therapy for children and adolescents. Abbey is a certified PREPARE/ENRICH facilitator, and is currently a trainee in the North Carolina Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Treatment Collaborative.


Abbey enjoys working with children, adolescents, young adults, and married couples. Abbey has worked with many individuals and families that have experienced trauma, adoption issues, pregnancy related loss, marriage, and parenting issues. Abbey’s primary experience includes working at Bethany Christian Services as an adoption specialist and pregnancy counselor; and working at two child advocacy centers to provide therapy for children and families who have experienced trauma.

Abbey is passionate about helping her clients integrate their faith and experiences as they learn more about themselves and reach their goals in therapy. Abbey believes that therapy is a collaborative process and strives to walk alongside clients in a warm and supportive way. In her free time, Abbey enjoys spending time with her husband and son, leading middle school students at Biltmore Church, and working on art projects.

Chad Barron, LMFT

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

Education and Training

Chad graduated in 2006 from Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas with a BA in Youth and Family Ministry. After serving as a youth minister in the Tampa Bay area for six years, Chad felt called to work more closely with families going through crisis and returned to Harding to pursue his MS in Marriage and Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling. He is now a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in North Carolina (Lic. No. 2133).


As a clinician, Chad has worked in private practice, substance abuse counseling, adolescent residential treatment, and as an Intensive In-Home therapist. Chad has a passion for coming alongside families, couples, and individuals struggling with a wide variety of mental health and inter-personal struggles. His therapy is solution-focused, family systems oriented, and rooted in building healthy communication skills. The opportunity to work with Summit Wellness Centers, PLLC is the realization of a long time dream to offer therapeutic services that not only heal the mind but also the Spirit in accordance with the teachings of Christ.

Chad grew up in a military family but lived mostly in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. He has been married to his beautiful wife, Justine, since 2006 and has three amazing kids. He loves exploring the mountains of Western North Carolina with his family, finding the best “hole in the wall” restaurants in small towns, and playing guitar and piano.

Michelle Hipp, LCSW

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Education and Training

Michelle Graduated from Spring Arbor University located in Spring Arbor, Michigan in
2017 with a Bachelor of Social Work. In 2018 she completed her master’s degree from
Spring Arbor University. She is a licensed clinical social worker with the state of North
Carolina and a Licensed Independent Social Worker CP in the state of South Carolina.
She has been trained in basic Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
(EMDR) through EMDRIA. Michelle is also a Certified Clinical Anxiety Treatment
professional with training in Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) therapy.


Michelle began her clinical career working at a trauma assessment center in Detroit,
Michigan before relocating to North Carolina in December of 2018. Michelle has
experience working with adolescents, teens, adults, and families. Her passion and
specialties include those who have suffered complex trauma and attachment wounds.
She also has experience working with individuals who battle anxiety, depression, self-
injurious behaviors, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive
compulsive disorder (OCD) and reactive attachment disorder (RAD). She is passionate
about helping individuals and families break the cycles of generational trauma by
digging into God’s word for powerful truths and then pairing those truths with clinical
modalities such as cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing and problem
solving and decision-making therapy. Michelle firmly believes that healing begins with
believing and receiving our identity in Christ and by working to peel off the false labels
we or others have placed on ourselves. It’s true that healing can be both hard and
painful work but with self-examination, determination, and intentionality you can
experience healing. You can expect to work both in and outside of the therapy session
by completing occasional homework assignments that may include scripture reading,
prayer and self-examination to assist in the healing process.


Michelle is a wife and mother of two grown children. She enjoys studying and teaching
the word of God and is passionate about guiding women towards uncovering their
identity in Christ. She loves Jesus, writing devotionals, hiking, and learning new things
(in that order).

Ella Autrey, LCMHC-A

Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate

Ella graduated from Appalachian State University in 2010 earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and Marketing Education.  She has teaching certifications in Middle School Math and Business and Marketing Education, with experience teaching middle school and high school students.  After several life events and teaching in the classroom, she felt the Lord leading her to pursue a degree as a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor. Ella earned her LCMHC degree from Liberty University and is a National Certified Counselor. Ella is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors.

Being a native of Western North Carolina, Ella has a strong desire to offer the benefits of professional counseling integrated with true hope of Christ throughout her community. Ella works with individuals, couples,families, children and adolescents experiencing a wide variety of issues such as  grief, anxiety, depression and OCD.  She is a certified SYMBIS marriage assessment facilitator and offers premarital counseling.  

Ella is a firm believer of the importance of spending quality time with family and friends when possible, and will take any opportunity to travel with her husband and two daughters.   

Shalom Littrell, LCSW-A

Licensed Clinical Social Worker Associate

Education and Training

Shalom received her Bachelor’s degree from Appalachian State in Education and Recreation Management and her Master’s Degree from the University of South Carolina in Social Work. Shalom completed her clinical internship at Safelight. Her clinical focus has been trauma, eating disorders, and working with survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Shalom is certified in EMDR, TF-CBT and has completed trainings for using Sandtray therapy and CBT with chronic anxiety, OCD, depression, trauma and PTSDS and Tray. Shalom is a certified Darkness to Light Stewards of Children facilitator. 


Shalom enjoys working with adults and married couples. Shalom has worked with survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse, eating disorders, and individuals who have experienced trauma. Shalom’s experience primarily includes working at the Believe Child Advocacy center as the program manager, where she provided forensic interviews and therapeutic services to children and families who experienced trauma and abuse. Shalom has also worked with adults in helping them process childhood trauma, eating disorders, anxiety, and depression. She has also worked with the school system as a school social worker. Shalom is passionate about working alongside couples and individuals through their own healing journey of any trauma that they have experienced as a child or adult. 

Kristen Martin, LCSW

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Education & Training

Kristen graduated from Messiah University in 2003 with a BA in Sociology and a concentration in criminal justice.  She went on to earn her Masters in Social Work from West Chester University in West Chester, Pennsylvania in 2005.  She earned a certificate in Trauma and Resiliency from Florida State University in 2023.  She also obtained a certificate in Clinical Supervision from the National Association of Social Workers in 2023. She is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and the North American Association of Christians in Social Work.  


Kristen began her career working with children and teenagers that were in alternative school settings in Pennsylvania in 2005. When she moved to North Carolina in 2009 she began practicing in an outpatient setting serving adults.  Most recently she was the Executive Director of a regional nonprofit meeting the mental health and homelessness needs of the community for over a decade.  Kristen’s passion is helping others see their God-given potential, helping them to find their path out of trauma, anxiety, relationship conflict, grief, whatever season of life they are in, so that they can find hope, healing, and joy.  

Kristen has been married to Rob since 2006. They have 5 resilient children who keep them on their toes daily. They enjoy the outdoors, spending time with family and friends, and traveling.  

Michael Hayes, LCMHC

Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor

Education & Training

Michael graduated in 2014 from Western Carolina University with an MS in Community Mental Health Counseling. He is a member of the National Board of Certified Counselors, and has completed Sue Johson’s Emotionally Focused Therapy Externship training. He has been a clinical supervisor in Illinois for the past two years. He has a passion for helping adult individuals and couples sort through relational and emotional conflicts. He has experience helping people overcome addictions related to alcohol, drugs, and pornography. He has walked alongside people who struggle through job and life transitions, and grieving losses while finding hope.


Michael has six years’ experience in private practice, eight years of experience working in community mental health clinic setting as part of an Assertive Community Treatment team, one year working in a veteran’s rehabilitation program, and 20 years of experience in leadership in various church settings such as Celebrate Recovery, teaching marriage enrichment classes, leading small groups, and working in AWANA ministry.

Michael has been married for 31 years, and in his free time enjoys making pizzas, walking in the mountains, working on art projects, laughing with family and friends, and recently has taken up bonsai. 

Christa Powell, LMFT (NC), LPC-MHSP (TN)

Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (NC), Licensed Professional Counselor/ Mental Health Service Provider (TN)

Education & Training

Christa graduated from Milligan University, formally Milligan College, with a BA in Public Leadership and Service in 2007. She earned her Master’s in Christian Counseling from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in 2014. In 2018, she was licensed in Tennessee as a Licensed Professional Counselor with a Mental Health Service Provider Designation. After moving to North Carolina, she became a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in 2021.


As a clinician, Christa has worked in a faith-based community mental health center, substance abuse outpatient treatment facility, and a community college counseling center seeing a wide range of clients. Christa has a passion for working collaboratively with her clients to reach their goals in ways that consider the whole person. She works with adults, couples, and teens and is especially passionate about walking alongside those struggling with depression, anxiety, grief, and life transitions. Christa was born in Western North Carolina but grew up in the foothills of Tennessee. She enjoys adventuring with her husband of 15 years and their three spunky kids.

Catherine (Katie) Hutchinson, LCSW, LCAS

Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist

Education and Training

Katie received her Bachelor’s degree in Politics and History from Converse College and then earned her Master’s degree in Social Work from Western Carolina University. Katie’s clinical focus during graduate school was in substance use disorders, eating disorders, and trauma in women. Katie is licensed in the state of NC as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist.


Katie began her career in social work over 10 years ago working in a safe home for adolescent girls who were sexually exploited. Since then, she has worked in an array of settings, including residential treatment centers, a substance use outpatient program, a behavioral health urgent care, an adoption and foster care agency, and provided outpatient counseling in a community mental health clinic.

Katie particularly enjoys working with women and is passionate about helping her clients
uncover their identity in Christ. She believes that true healing occurs through the pairing of faith with evidence-based modalities so she integrates biblical principles in the counseling sessions. Katie takes a collaborative approach to counseling, allowing the client to lead in identifying their needs and goals.

In her free time, Katie enjoys spending time outdoors, hiking and running, planning her next
travel adventure, hosting dinner parties, and spending time with her husband, kids, family and friends.

Kelly Burch

Masters Level Student

After high school, Kelly took a break from school for a few years to ride horses professionally before receiving her B.S. in Finance from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business – Indianapolis in 2002. Following graduation, Kelly completed one and a half years of law school at Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis when the Lord stirred her heart to work with people in a different capacity. In 2005, Kelly joined staff with Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru), and she has been on staff with them for 18 years working with college students and ministry leaders. Kelly is currently working on a master’s in Biblical and Theological Studies at Denver Seminary and a master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Montreat College. She is completing her clinical hours for her master’s program at Summit Wellness Center, PLCC with Donna C. Gibbs, LCHMCS as her supervisor.

Kelly enjoys working with individuals in full-time ministry/missionaries, those struggling with anxiety, depression, chronic illness, OCD, and spiritual issues for those going through a crisis of faith.  She works with women, young adults, and college students.

Kelly is passionate about helping others experience the hope, healing, freedom, and transformation that Jesus offers. 

Reduced fee opportunity. Contact our office for details.

Meredith Koontz

Awaiting Licensure

Meredith graduated from Appalachian State University in 2010 and received a Bachelor of
Science degree in History, Secondary Education and a minor in Philosophy and Religion. She acquired a secondary education teaching certificate in Social Studies, and gained experience teaching high school students. Eventually, several unexpected life events—along with promptings from the Holy Spirit and trusted confidants—re-directed her to pursue a degree in counseling. She is currently a student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Charlotte working toward a Master of Arts in Christian Counseling.

Meredith completed her practicum and the first phase of her internship at Restoration Place Counseling in Greensboro, NC, where she worked with women in a range of life stages facing a myriad of challenges. She has now moved into her final internship phase at Summit Wellness Centers, PLLC with Lori Heagney, MS, LCMHC as her supervisor. She works with individuals experiencing a variety of issues, including anxiety, depression, trauma, grief, and transitional life phases. She has come to rest in the idea that it is possible to find healing within one’s story if there is a willingness to retrace one’s steps, assess one’s current circumstances, and imagine the possibilities that lie ahead.

Meredith has walked through her own journey of suffering and personal loss. Her experiences have informed her focus in the world of mental health, and they have also provided her with strong hope that beauty can come from dark places. While Meredith views spiritual integration as an important part of the therapy process, and approaches counseling through a Christ-centered lens, she respects each person’s beliefs and meets every client where they are spiritually.

Meredith is originally from Western North Carolina and enjoys spending time in the mountains with her family. Her Appalachian heritage has developed in her a deep appreciation for the healing beauty found in the natural world. She enjoys traveling, reading excessively long books, and large cups of coffee.

Kristi James

Masters Level Student, MA in Christian Counseling Candidate
Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary

Kristi graduated from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in Religion with the intention of pursuing a career in counseling in the future. After graduation, Kristi relocated to Columbia, South Carolina where she worked with youth at First Presbyterian Church before joining the staff at the Governor’s Office.

Upon moving to Asheville in 2011, Kristi worked as a freelance copywriter, eventually joining the acquisitions team at P&R Publishing as an editor. After working with women to bring their writing projects to life for several years, Kristi transitioned to a ministry role at her church, where she oversaw discipleship for children and women.

In 2021, Kristi enrolled at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary in Charlotte to pursue a
Master’s in Christian Counseling. She is completing her clinical hours at Summit Wellness
Centers, PLLC, under the supervision of Lori Heagney. Previously, Kristi completed a practicum at Carolina Pediatric Therapy.

Kristi works with individuals of all ages, couples, and families seeking hope and restoration.
While she sees spiritual integration as a valuable part of the counseling process, she is
committed to respecting client beliefs and meeting individuals where they are.

When not at the office, Kristi enjoys hiking, reading, and recently rediscovered a love for
rollerblading on the greenway.

Reduced fee opportunity. Contact our office for details.

Leigh Beddingfield: Practice Manager

From scheduling, working with insurance companies, and coordinating the processes throughout our locations, Leigh is the essential glue that holds our team together.

Felicia Baker: Administrative Assistant

Felicia assists Leigh in working with all of our counselors at the different locations to keep things working smoothly.

Heather McMinn – Garren: Administrative Assistant

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