Bruce Lee, therapy dog extraordinaire came to be after Mrs. Stephanie adopted him and trained him at Southeastern Guide Dogs to become a Canine Good Citizen. He passed his therapy dog exam and graduated at the top of his canine class.
Bruce loves treats, balls, swimming and comforting. He thinks he is part human and he is afraid of heights. Bruce greets everyone and helps them feel at home.
Together, Bruce Lee, Mrs. Stephanie and Ms. Nikki facilitate counseling therapy sessions in a friendly, warm and relaxed atmosphere (Bruce only attends sessions with Mrs. Stephanie).
Serene Mind's Director, Mrs. Stephanie specializes in providing boutique counseling + coaching services to teens and young adults. She has over nine years experience counseling clients and over seven years experience conducting vocational evaluations. She has a passion for helping women experiencing infertility and postpartum diagnosis, after experiencing infertility herself and a traumatic delivery with her miracle baby boy.
Mrs. Stephanie was born in Peru and from a young age was interested in helping individuals. Since Kindergarten, when she was asked what she would dream of studying, her answer was always medicine. This developed into the study of psychology, while an undergrad at the University of Florida. During her time there, she began to grow her interest in social psychology and the field of counseling. While at the University of Florida, Mrs. Stephanie volunteered with children at Camp Boggy Creek and the pediatric unit at Shands Hospital.
She graduated with her master's degree in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling from the University of South Florida. While completing her masters, she worked with children and teens at two Tampa Bay Baker Act receiving facilities. Through her experience she learned how much improvement is needed for individuals with mental health diagnosis. The stigma placed on mental health is alarming. Many people do not seek help due to feeling embarrassed about having a diagnosis or needing some extra guidance. Mrs. Stephanie has made it her mission to de-stigmatize mental health and empower individuals to speak about their own mental health symptoms.
As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Mrs. Stephanie has specialty training in counseling suicidal, homicidal, abused or neglected children. Aside from counseling Mrs. Stephanie conducts vocational evaluations for the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. She works with people of various physical and mental disabilities who are attempting to gain employment, attend college or a vocational program.
Mrs. Stephanie is a feature blogger and expert contributor with Tampa Bay Moms Group and Tampa Bay Moms Blog. She has presented to University of South Florida students interested in joining the vocational field. As well as, Tampa Bay Preparatory Parent Education Committee, in regards to depression and anxiety in the modern culture. Mrs. Stephanie has been featured on: Tampa Daytime, WFLA NBC News Tampa Bay, WFLA NBC News Tampa Bay, WFLA NBC News Tampa Bay, P&G Everyday, Careers in Psychology, Healthline News, Talkspace, Romper, Girl Boss, ABC Action News Tampa Bay, ABC Action News Tampa Bay and Tampa Bay Fox 13 News.
In her spare time, Mrs. Stephanie previously volunteered with Frame Works of Tampa Bay at low income schools, where she educated students on social emotional learning. She contributes to the Tampa Bay community by volunteering with Paws for Friendship, along with her pet therapy dog, Bruce Lee. Her passion in ending the negative stigma associated with mental health, is a daily task she works towards with each person throughout the Tampa Bay community.
Ms. Nikki Tucker is a great asset to our team, she is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern and our Virtual Assistant. She counsels children ages 5 and up (plus she is available on weekends). Ms. Nikki has had a passion for listening and working with others from an early age. She developed a true love for working with children through opportunities tutoring and volunteering. This love for working with children and their families lead her to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education at Auburn University.
After her undergraduate experience, Ms. Nikki pursued an opportunity working with children as a preschool teacher. Through teaching, she discovered an interest in her young student’s behavior as it related to their home life and innate personality. Ms. Nikki returned to school to pursue a master’s in Mental Health Counseling at Stetson University after two years of teaching. While completing her master’s, Ms. Nikki worked with children, adolescents and adults at an outpatient counseling program in Orlando.
As a Registered Mental Health Counseling Intern, Ms. Nikki has training in play therapy, expressive arts and sand tray therapy. She has been verified by Psychology Today and is passionate about helping a wide variety of clients experience their own inner worlds through creative outlets, especially for those that may struggle with traditional talk therapy. She is also counseling children, teens and their parents in home for a local agency.
Nikki is particularly passionate about working with children, adolescents and their parents to increase communication and bonding. Her additional areas of interest include using mindfulness and creativity with those that struggle with chronic illnesses.