top of page

Get To Know Us!

Laquita Courman is a fully licensed Clinical Social Worker with a certification in Trauma Focus Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFCBT). She is rostered with the NC Child Treatment Collaborative for TFCBT.  Laquita earned her Masters in Social Work at Boston University in 2015.  

 Laquita brings a wealth of over 20 years of professional experience in the field of social work.  She offer knowledge and experience in Department of Social Services (DSS), Department of Youth Services (DYS) working with juveniles, Owned and operated Residential level III group homes, Targeted Case Management, Therapeutic level II Services, Intensive Alternative Family Services (IAFT), Intensive in Home (IIH), and Community Based Therapy Services.  This range of knowledge and experience will assist her in effectively serving individuals and families.  

Laquita is very passionate about serving children, adults, and families and she inspires and motivates change in others.  She believes that every individual and family are strong and hold the key to their way of healthy living.  Laquita will provide effective guidance through the use of evidence-based models and professionals who have the skills and heart to serve the individuals in her community and surrounding areas.  Her agency will offer cultural diversity and advocate for the individuals they serve.  No matter the road the individuals and families have chosen, we will inspire and encourage positive growth. We do understand that where ever you are on your journey is a Great Place to Start (GPS).

About : About Therapy

Meet Our Team!

Nicole Richardson, Clinical Director

Screenshot 2023-12-18 at 1.59.50 PM.png

  My name is Nicole Richardson and I have been with GPSBHS since 2020. I was born and raised in mid-Michigan and moved to Eastern NC when I was stationed at Cherry Point in the Marine Corps. I

started my own journey with mental health around the age of 22. In 2017 I started my professional 

journey with my undergrad degree in social work at UNCW. I then went on to obtain my master's

through The University of Southern California. Before I landed at this wonderful agency, I worked

both in child protective services and with foster care children through a fostering agency.

I have always wanted to be the voice that I needed in my formidable childhood years and be a  support to those who have faced adversity in many forms throughout their lives. I believe that a trauma-informed and focused approach is important for the world that we live in today. I am a rostered clinician for the treatment modality TF-CBT with NCCTP since 2022. As of late 2023, I am working on my DBT certification. So many of those who come to our agency have been affected by some form of complex trauma. This is something that I am passionate about in my personal and professional life. I have formed a philosophy that I am always learning and always training to be my best and do my best as this world is ever-evolving. I truly enjoy the therapeutic process and believe in a strong therapeutic bond as being one of the most important factors in your journey. 

Carly Rios, Office Manager

I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to work for Great Place to Start, an organization with a purpose and a mission to help those in our community. I originally hail from Wildwood, NJ and moved to North Carolina in 2011. I obtained my Associate's Degree from Craven Community College in 2018 and have worked in many fields ranging from food service to retail and healthcare, gaining valuable experience along the way. I am grateful for the chance to help others and have access to the wonderful locals that we serve every day, as well as the opportunity to be a good example for my daughter. I love the people of Craven County and hope to make this area my home for years to come!


Danielle Jones-Higginbottom, LCSWA, CPT


I'm Danielle Jones-Higginbottom. I am a Licensed Clinical Social Work Associate.  I specialize in cognitive processing therapy (CPT) engaging with clients to assist with change in response to trauma. I have worked in both the healthcare setting and several education systems assisting children’s behaviors and individualized education plans. I provide services to individuals, couples, and families. I have a passion for young people who are trying to find their way. 

I am a Maryland native, after high school, I joined the U.S. Navy serving our nation honorably for five years as a Hospital Corpsman, Third Class Petty Officer, managing the Multi-Service Ward, Medical Evacuations, and the Exceptional Family Member’s Program. I earned my bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Management and a Master’s in Clinical Social Work.

I enjoy plants, being outdoors in warm weather, and exploring other cultural foods. 

Noella Dowers, LCMHC, TF-CBT

Screenshot 2023-12-11 at 8.18.59 PM.png
Screenshot 2023-12-11 at 8.18.59 PM.png

Renea Davis, LCSWA

Minerva Gibbs, LCSWA

Screenshot 2023-12-11 at 8.18.59 PM.png

Anthony Courman, LCSWA

Hi, my name is Anthony Courman, I’m a Licensed Clinical Social Work Associate, and I’m a native of New Bern. New Bern High school is my alma mater, “Go Bears!” This community is a big part of my life. My wife and I actively participate in the community doing outreach through our church, working with at-risk youth in the community, and fostering children. I consider the professional service I provide as a licensed clinical therapist a calling. I am very passionate about serving others with the intent of impacting lives that inspire change and hope within those I serve and in the community. I believe every human being has value and purpose..

My educational background includes an Associate Degree in Human Service Management, BS in Criminal Justice, and a Masters in Social Work, Indiana Wesleyan University. My professional background is in the Criminal Justice system as a correctional officer and Case manager, Residential Group Home Level III at-risk youth males, as an Owner/Residential Coordinator, Mentoring, and Intensive Alternative Family Treatment Foster Parent.

I enjoy working with individuals,couples, families, and groups. I’m currently certified to teach the Thinking For a Change program, a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) model and Nurturing Fathers Curriculum. I am currently trained in Attention- Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). My treatment approaches are CBT, Solution- Focused Therapy ,Person-Centered, Strength-based Approach using a trauma informed lens. I especially love and enjoy seeing the children who are challenged with ADHD learn to manage their symptoms.  I inspire hope in others and love being a part of the change process. 

My work here at Great Place to Start Behavioral Health Services has been enlightening and fulfilling in many ways. I enjoy the camaraderie as a community with my fellow Clinicians/Staff and individuals, families, and couples that come through our doors. I look forward to being a part of your journey. You're almost there, don't quit.

Motto: You were born with purpose and for a purpose

Roland Winston, LCSWA

My name is Roland A Winston.  I am a Licensed Clinical Social Work Associate and Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist Associate.  I specialize in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) engaging with clients to assist with change in trauma responses. I have worked in secondary education systems as  a math and science teacher, and with the US Marine Corps in drug abuse prevention efforts.  I specialize in providing services to children, youth, and adolescents.  I possess a passion for young people who are trying to find their way.

I am a Pennsylvania native, enlisted in the Marine Corps after high school.  I served our nation honorably for 24 years, retiring as a Sergeant Major.  I earned my bachelor’s of science degree in Electronics Systems Engineering, a Masters in Secondary Education, and a Master’s in Clinical Social Work.  I enjoy being outdoors, traveling, and experimenting in culinary experiences, both cooking and eating.


Queena Washington, LCSWA

My name is Queena Washington. To start, I was not born a social worker nor have I lived a perfect life. I grew up in poverty and faced obstacles, but I decided early on that this was not my assignment. I live in a world as challenging and nuanced as yours. And I believe that we are all surviving in this crazy world together, so I want to assist where I can in making that just a little easier for everyone I meet the same way that it was done for me. 

I am a mother, first and foremost (and a single one at that) to a teenage daughter, which in and of itself comes with certain challenges. I am also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker Associate with over 20 years of experience working with and caring for people. The first 12 years of my career, I spent in nursing with a focus on geriatrics. I then worked for 5 years as a Medical/Administrative Assistant. I finally got my introduction to the mental health field as a Qualified Professional and Peer Support Specialist working with children in an Intensive In-Home environment, and in-home and the community with individuals who suffer with severe and persistent mental illness respectively. In 2018 I began my work at the Department of Social Services, with the majority of my time spent as an Adult Protective Services Social Worker. 

I hold an Associate of Arts in Health Administration (2008), a Bachelor of Science in Psychology (2011), and a Master of Social Work (2022). I have a thorough knowledge of social work principles, techniques, and practices, along with their application to complex cases, group work, and community challenges. I have a considerable knowledge of family and group dynamics in addition to governmental/private organizational and community resources. I am skilled at working with behavior and socio-economic problems and their treatment, including individuals suffering with severe and persistent mental illness. 

I hope that you will allow me to meet you where you are and assist you in attaining your goals. It will be my pleasure to walk with you on your journey to wellness and holistic health. I look forward to meeting you and until then, in my best Iyanla Vanzant voice, “Stay in peace not in pieces.”

Donna Wolff, LPA 

Screenshot 2023-12-11 at 8.18.59 PM.png

Lukisha Newton, Intake Coordinator/Qualified Professional

My name is Lukisha newton. I was born and raised in the Bronx, NY. I am a mother of four children and grandmother of three. I moved to NC where I attained my Associate's degree in Business Administration as well as a Bachelor’s in Psychology.


Screenshot 2023-12-11 at 8.18.59 PM.png

Marissa Akers

Indiana Wesleyan University

Screenshot 2023-12-11 at 8.18.59 PM.png

Katrina Brown

Indiana Wesleyan University

Screenshot 2023-12-18 at 3.24.49 PM.png

Shannel McDorman

University of Kentucky

College of Social Work

Screenshot 2023-12-11 at 8.18.59 PM.png

Porsche Spruell

George Mason University 

bottom of page