Women's Center Staff
At Pine Grove Behavioral Health & Addiction Services, our treatment staff are known for their leadership and expertise in the diagnosis, management, and treatment of addictive diseases and psychological disorders. Learn more about the background and experience of each Women's Center staff member by clicking on their image below:
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Stephanie Smith, DSW, LCSW
Dr. Stephanie Smith is the Clinical Director of the Women’s Center at Pine Grove Behavioral Health & Addiction Services in Hattiesburg MS. Dr. Smith earned her Doctor of Social Work (DSW) in Clinical Practice and Leadership from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She has been a LCSW in the State of Mississippi since 2009. She served on the Mississippi National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Board as a Region 3 Representative from August 2015 - July 2017. Dr. Smith has specialized training in TF-CBT, child-parent psychotherapy, integrative treatment for complex trauma and forensic interviewing. She served as an expert witness testifying on behalf of vulnerable women and children from 2009-2017. Her areas of expertise include emerging adult depression, adult and child trauma, child welfare, mothers with borderline personality disorder, chemical dependency and couples engaged in high conflict divorce. Prior to joining the Women’s Center, Dr. Smith practiced as a Clinical Instructor and Clinical Field Specialist at The University of Southern Mississippi School of Social Work. Additionally, she practiced as a family therapist and clinical supervisor for the School of Social Work’s MSW Interns at the Family Network Partnership Counseling Center.x
Russell C. Rainey, MS, LPC
Russell Rainey is the Administrative Director of Addiction Services at Pine Grove Behavioral Health & Addiction Services, where he works with Pine Grove’s chemical addiction treatment programs including Next Step for men, the Women’s Center, which also treats co-occurring eating disorders, and the Legacy program for men and women ages forty plus. Rainey completed his Bachelor's degree in Religion, Biblical Studies and Language before earning his Master's degree in Counseling Psychology at William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Rainey holds a license in Professional Counseling and has nearly 15 years of experience in the addiction treatment field. Prior to his current role, Russell served in various capacities at Pine Grove including Director of the Legacy program as well as Clinical Director of Pine Grove’s Next Step treatment program for men. Rainey is nationally recognized for his lectures on spirituality and addiction treatment.x
Leah Claire Bennett, Ph.D.
Dr. Leah Claire Bennett is a licensed psychologist with Pine Grove Behavioral Health & Addiction Services, where she serves as the organization’s Clinical Operations Director. In this role, she provides clinical direction and supervision for Pine Grove’s addiction treatment programs including the Women’s Center, Legacy, Gratitude, and Next Step. Dr. Bennett also oversees Pine Grove’s professional treatment programs, including the Professional Enhancement Program, known as PEP, and Pine Grove’s Professionals Recovery Track, which is designed for the organization’s addiction treatment patients who hold a professional license. She earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Baylor University in Waco, TX and her Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Counseling Psychology from The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, MS. Dr. Bennett has worked with the Professional Enhancement Program since 2005 where the focus is working with professionals with vocational and relational issues, maladaptive personality problems, addiction, disruptive workplace behavior and sexual issues. Dr. Bennett’s primary focus is to help patients who have struggled in a variety of ways live their lives in a manner where they are able to engage at their highest potential.x
Thomas Miller, MD, FASAM
After completing a two year enlistment in the United States Army, Dr. Miller attended The University of Southern Mississippi and graduated highest honors with a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry. Dr. Miller obtained his medical degree from The University of South Alabama College Of Medicine. He completed his residency in adult psychiatry at Brown University. He completed a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at The University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Miller is board certified in psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, and addiction medicine. Additionally, Dr. Miller is certified in hypnotherapy by the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. Dr. Miller’s professional memberships include the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis.
Dr. Miller has a special interest in understanding how emotions interplay with the disease of addiction. At the Women’s Center he leads a weekly educational group titled Welcome to Your Emotions. During the Family Program workshop week, Dr. Miller presents the Addiction as a Brain Disease lecture for patients and their families.x
Nikki Dear is a Clinical Therapist with Pine Grove’s Women’s Center. Dear graduated from The University of Southern Mississippi earning both her Master’s and undergraduate degrees in Social Work. Prior to joining the Pine Grove team, Dear worked for the Mississippi Department of Child Protective Services where she helped parents and children involved in the child welfare system.x
Brooke Helton, Dietitian
Brooke Helton works as a Registered Dietitian and has been a part of Pine Grove's team since 2007. She received her Bachelor's Degree from Mississippi State University where she also completed her dietetic internship. Brooke works primarily with the dual diagnosis patients in meeting their nutrition goals and challenging their eating disorders.x
Stephen Alfonso MT-BC
Stephen Alfonso MT-BC, is a board certified Music Therapist. Alfonso earned his degree from Loyola University in New Orleans and he has worked with clients who have experienced sexual trauma, sexual compulsivity, eating disorders, and other addictions since 1995. Alfonso is experienced with using non-verbal, expressive modalities. He has conducted psychodrama groups with sexual trauma clients, those with sexual compulsion, and clients with eating disorders since 1997. During the last five years, Alfonso has also worked with male eating disorder clients. Alfonso is classically trained in voice and he is a professional drummer and band leader with a popular band in the New Orleans area. He has also presented several lectures on the use of Expressive Therapy with survivors of trauma, eating disorders and sexual compulsion. Additionally, Alfonso uses his musical talents during drumming workshops to promote community and healing.x
Mimi Leeds, MS, ADTR
Mimi Leeds holds a Bachelor of Arts in both psychology and dance from Sarah Lawrence College and a Master's Degree from Hunter College. Currently, living in Houston, Texas, she works as a certified Life and Wellness coach in private practice. She also has an established Skype therapy practice focusing on addiction, trauma resolution, lifestyle coaching and as a facilitator of her individualized healthy weight, and balanced life program. Her past experience includes working as a department head and therapist for River Oaks Psychiatric hospital in New Orleans for seventeen years. She has also been a group leader for onsite workshops in Nashville TN, and as a group therapist for Arizona Family Therapy Intensives. She has been a national speaker and created workshops focusing on the use of creative arts therapy in the treatment for adult survivors of trauma as well as self-care, compassion and nurturance as a means to healing and growth.x
Roland Johnson has worked for Pine Grove Behavioral Health & Addiction Services since 1993. He currently serves as the Outreach Coordinator for Pine Grove’s REACH Program, which stands for Realistic Experiences and Challenging Horizons. REACH is an experiential therapy ropes course for Pine Grove’s residential patients. Each participant accomplishes key goals by pushing themselves past their personal comfort levels. This experience enhances the patients’ self confidence, communication skills, and self esteem while increasing their teamwork and trust building skills. After graduating from The University of Southern Mississippi with a degree in Coaching and Sports Administration, Johnson completed his certification as a ropes course facilitator and trainer. In 2012, Johnson received the "We C.A.R.E. Award" presented by Forrest General Hospital. This award recognizes staff members who make a positive impact on the patient’s experience.x
Ralph Carson, R.D. B.S., B.H.S., Ph.D.
Ralph Carson, R.D. B.S., B.H.S., Ph.D., is a nationally recognized clinical nutritionist and exercise physiologist. Dr. Carson is a frequently requested speaker on a variety of nutritional topics for medical groups, pharmaceutical companies, universities, athletic training camps and corporations. He has a successful clinical practice as well as being a faculty member of The University of Alabama at Huntsville for over 20 years. Dr. Carson is also a nutritional advisor to numerous university athletic departments including The University of Tennessee National Basketball Champion Lady Volunteers. Dr. Carson received his B.S. from Duke University, his B.H.S. in pathology from Duke University Medical School, and his Ph.D. in nutrition from Auburn University.x
David Sellers, M.Div.
David Sellers served as associate pastor at Parkway Heights from 2005 to 2011. He is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, a member of the Order of St. Luke and part of SDI (Spiritual Directors International). He has over 20 years of experience in ministry as a youth director, retreat leader, hospital chaplain and church pastor. He received his M.Div. from Emory University with emphasis in Spiritual Formation. David facilitates group and one-on-one spiritual direction across all programs at Pine Grove.x