Men's Next Step 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 Next Step staff member by clicking on their image below:
John Herrington, MS, LPC
John Herrington is the Clinical Director for Pine Grove’s Next Step and Legacy programs. He received his undergraduate degree in psychology and master’s degree in counseling psychology from The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. John worked for five years with Pine Belt Mental Healthcare at Oak Arbor working with clients struggling with addiction. He has experience working with drug court, VA, and other local and state resources. John began his work with Pine Grove in March of 2011 working with the Next Step and Sober Living programs providing individual and group therapy for those struggling with addiction.
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 55 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 20 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.
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.
Chaz Richardson, DO
Dr. Charles “Chaz” Richardson is a graduate of Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, in Blacksburg, VA and completed his psychiatry residency at The University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, MS. Dr. Richardson completed his fellowship in Addiction Psychiatry at Emory University in Atlanta, GA and is a member of the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, American Psychiatric Association, and Mississippi State Medical Association. Dr. Richardson joined the Pine Grove staff in 2018 and currently evaluates and treats adult patients for Pine Grove’s inpatient and residential treatment programs.
William S. Turner Jr., PMHNP-BC
William Turner is a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP-BC) board-certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). He earned both his Bachelor and Master of Science in Nursing from The University of Southern Mississippi, graduating with honors, and receiving the National Collegiate Nursing Award. William is an associate member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), and provides treatment to patients within Pine Grove’s addiction treatment programs, including the Women’s Center, Next Step, Legacy, and Gratitude programs.
Justin Defee, MS, LPC, NCC
Justin Defee earned his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from The University of Texas in Austin, Texas. He later earned his Master of Science in Counseling Psychology from The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. His university research background includes post-traumatic growth, childhood sexual abuse & trauma, and spirituality & psychology during disaster relief and recovery. Mr. Defee has previously worked in a community mental health setting with children and families in office, school, and home based settings. He also has experience working with patients experiencing chronic pain and has worked with patients in Pine Grove’s residential Legacy program. Mr. Defee incorporates an eclectic approach to counseling, focusing on cognitive-behavioral therapy, existential therapy, mindfulness-based therapy, and positive psychology.
Kyle Birdwell, LCSW
Kyle Birdwell earned his Bachelor of Science in Religion from William Carey University in Hattiesburg, MS. He later earned his Master of Social Work from The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, MS. Before coming to Pine Grove in November of 2020, Kyle worked for five years with Pine Belt Mental Healthcare Resources as a school-based clinician serving both children and families in office, school, and home based settings. He also has previous experience working as a local and state coordinator for suicide and drug prevention. Kyle approaches therapy with a strength-based, person-centered method that places focus on the individual’s value and worth to overcome problems and challenges.
Carnelius Dantzler, MSW
Carnelius Dantzler is a Clinical Therapist with the Family Program for Pine Grove’s Next Step and Legacy programs. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and a Master’s degree in Social Work with a concentration in Hispanic in Children/Youth/Families from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, TX. Dantzler joined the Pine Grove team in 2014, where he served as a Counselor Associate for Pine Grove’s Legacy program. Since then Dantzler has worked with those who are struggling with addiction and their families.
Olivia Miller, MS, P-LPC
Olivia Miller is a Clinical Therapist for Pine Grove Behavioral Health & Addiction Services. She received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Sociology from Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL and then completed her Master of Science degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi, in Hattiesburg, MS. Olivia completed a summer internship with Pine Grove before joining as therapist for both Pine Grove’s Next Step and Legacy programs.
Vanessa Cox, MSW, LCSW, CMAT
Vanesa Cox is a Licensed Certified Social Worker and Social Work Supervisor. She received her Bachelor of Social Work and her Master of Social Work Degrees from The University of Southern Mississippi and is certified in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and as a Certified Multiple Addiction Therapist (CMAT). Cox presently provides EMDR therapy to Pine Grove’s Specialty Treatment Program patients and has been a part of the Pine Grove team since October of 2005. She has also worked as the Clinical Director for Pine Grove’s Women Center and Next Step programs. Cox worked in the fields of addiction and mental health for sixteen years as House Manager, Counselor Associate, Counselor, and Clinical Director prior to joining Pine Grove.
Roland Johnson, Experiential Therapy
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.
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.
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.