Stephen James

About Stephen

As the founder and executive director of Sage Hill Counseling, Stephen splits his professional time between his leadership responsibilities with Sage Hill Counseling, Sage Hill Consulting and Sage Hill Resources.

Executive Counsel and
Organizational Consulting

Stephen helps growth-minded leaders and organizations realize transformational change. He partners with entrepreneurs, executives, professionals, and their families and leadership teams to find clarity, develop innovation, and create more value.

Professional and Elite Athletes

Stephen works with professional and elite college athletes so they can play with heart. He helps them develop and sustain the passion, mental endurance, and emotional resilience to achieve their dreams by realizing changes that not only impact their performance on the field, but more importantly improve their entire lives. He has worked with athletes who have competed in D1, Olympics, MLB, NFL, and NHL.

He also works with retired professional athletes and their families to make the sometimes difficult transition to life away from the game.

Therapeutic Intensives

Stephen is available to work with individuals, couples, and families for brief therapeutic intensives (typically 3-4 days) to help them recover heart and live fully.

Stephen is a best-selling author of five books, including Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys.

Before starting Sage Hill Counseling, Stephen worked in private practice in Nashville, TN, for more than a decade. He and his wife have four children together.


Stephen earned his master’s in Counseling from The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology (formerly Mars Hill Graduate School). He holds a bachelor’s from Belmont University.

Training and Certifications
  • Licensed Professional Counselor, Mental Health Service Provider, TN LC#2939
  • Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC), National Board of Certified Counselors

Stephen's Books


Dane Anthony

About Dane

Dane is the Director of Spiritual Formation for Sage Hill Counseling. He also facilitates multiple groups each week, leads pre-marital counseling, and teaches various classes.

Dane has practiced as a spiritual guide and mentor for nearly 30 years.  His work with individuals and groups includes spiritual direction, group therapy process, and higher education.  Dane’s practice is rooted in the traditional understanding of Spiritual Direction as “holy listening,” a context in which God’s presence directs our conversation and leads us to live an “undivided life” with ourselves, others and God.

Dane also has more than 15 years’ experience teaching and consulting with the StrengthsFinder Inventory for students, businesses, and individuals.

Learn more about Dane.
Other Interests

As Belmont University faculty, Dane teaches survey-level biblical studies courses, including Jesus in the Gospel & Film.

Dane also created and presents “College Parent 101” focusing on guiding parents of new college students in the relational transition.  Dane has published print and on-line articles, as well as his blog:


Dane earned his Masters of Divinity from Midwestern Theological Seminary and holds a bachelor’s degree from Missouri State University.  He is also received his certification for Spiritual Direction from Stillpoint Center for Spiritual Formation.


Sarah Aughtman

About Sarah

Mission Statement: Sarah believes therapy is a sacred place where people come to do the courageous work of discovering the truth of their lives so they can live in the freedom they long for. She has a passion to encourage women to see who they are made to be by inviting them to reflect upon their lives and connect to their hearts (and thus the heart of others), and to engage their desire for abundant life.

Her therapy practice is a place where her clients can pause, evaluate, and get in the dirt of their lives in a way that is otherwise difficult to do routinely. She helps challenge, encourage, and restore people to their truest identities.

Learn more about Sarah.
  • Grief and loss
  • Spirituality
  • Life transition
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Codependency
  • Relational dysfunction
  • Self-worth
  • Career issues
  • Women ages 18-30

Sarah earned a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from Trevecca Nazarene University and a BS in Human Development and Family Studies from Auburn University.

Training and Certifications

Sarah is currently pursuing licensure in Tennessee.


Blake Blankenbecler

About Blake

Blake believes the hard work of healing, growth, and change can only occur in relationship. She creates a place for others to wrestle with the gravity and delight of their own story. Through curiosity, compassion, and perseverance Blake invites clients to do the courageous work of telling their truth and living fully with themselves and others.

Blake’s practice is grounded in psychodynamic and existential theories along with the Allender theory. Her approach integrates the fullness of a person by incorporating the biological, emotional, spiritual, and physical parts of a person’s life.

Prior to moving to Nashville, Blake worked in various college and women’s ministry settings across the country. Blake enjoys spending time with her husband Jordan, practicing yoga, and finding new books to read.

Learn more about Blake.

  • Anxiety / Depression
  • Trauma
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Self-Harm
  • Sexuality
  • Body Image
  • Play Therapy
  • Spirituality
  • Adolescent Therapy
  • Self-esteem
  • Group Therapy

Bachelor of Science, University of South Carolina
Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with Play Therapy specialization, Lipscomb University

Training and Certifications

Blake is pursuing licensure in the state of Tennessee under the supervision of Dr. Joy Samuels
EMDR Trained
Play Therapy Specialization


Alex Derry

About Alex

Alex provides a safe place for individuals, couples, and families to engage their heart and begin to live fully. He helps them more deeply explore their story and the effect of key relationships (both historically and currently), allowing them to heal in areas of relational woundedness/brokenness and become who they are made to be.

His practice is grounded in the Spiritual Root System™ and influenced by narrative therapy, psychodynamic theories, existential philosophy, as well as other psychosocial theories. Alex brings a diverse approach to his counseling practice by integrating the psychological, spiritual, social, and biological aspects of a person’s life.

  • Adult Individual Therapy
  • Couples Therapy
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Life Transition
  • Grief and Loss
  • Self-esteem
  • Relationship issues
  • Sexual abuse
  • Addiction
  • Trauma
  • Men’s Issues
  • Codependency

Alex earned his Masters of Marriage and Family Therapy from Trevecca Nazarene University and a Bachelor of Business Administration, Business Marketing from Belmont University.

Training and Certifications

Member of the American Association of Marital and Family Therapy (AAMFT)


Beth Gillem

About Beth

Beth is passionate about helping people live fully, better understand how to care for themselves, and encourage them toward the life they were made to have. She believes that healthy relationships ground in truth and vulnerability are essential to this process.

Beth has a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy, a Master’s in Global Leadership, and is a certified yoga instructor (RYT 200). She brings a well rounded perspective into her therapy practice that integrates the psychological, emotional, spiritual, and physical aspects of a person’s life. Her practice is grounded in the Spiritual Root System as well as other psycho-social theories.

Personally, Beth is a Nashville native who enjoys playing in the kitchen, gardening, traveling and being an avid sports fan (WDE!).

Berief Intensive Therapy

Beth is available to work with individuals for brief therapeutic intensives (typically 3-4 days) to help them address specific issues. Each intensive is tailored to meet the uniques needs of the client.

Individual Therapy

She meets regularly with clients in a one on one format. This establish a regular rhythm where people can intentionally care for themselves as they learn to become more of who they are created to be.

Group Therapy

Beth leads several small groups that meet weekly where participants actively provide support, encouragement and hope to one another.

Learn more about Beth.

Beth created and leads a workshop called “At The Table,” that helps the participants begin the conversation around their unique relationship with food.

Speaking Engagements

Beth is available to speak. Email her for more information.

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Life Transition
  • Grief and Loss
  • Depression
  • Self-esteem
  • Relationship issues
  • Sexual abuse
  • Addiction
  • Body image
  • Trauma
  • Codependency

Beth has earned a Masters in both Marriage and Family Therapy (from Trevecca Nazarene University) and Global Leadership (from Dallas Baptist University). She also has a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Auburn University.

Training and Certifications
    • Pursuing licensure in the state of Tennessee under the supervision of John Marshall
    • Level One Certification at the Allender Center of The Seattle School. This certification is for learning to work more effectively with survivors of abuse through the utilization of trauma-focused narrative therapy.


Cresson Haugland

About Cresson

Cresson has worked in both community mental health and private practice settings. She has extensive experience working with families in transition, couples, adolescents, and individuals. Much of her practice is influenced by systems theory, an attachment perspective and a psychodynamic approach. She also strives to consistently stay up to date with the latest research in neuroscience and relational theories of psychotherapy.

Our earliest relationships have an incredibly strong impact on how we develop, and exploring them provides great insight into the unique things that have shaped you, the implications of particular relational patterns, and the effect unresolved conflict may be having on your day to day interactions.

Cresson returned to her college home town of Nashville after several years on Young Life staff and further continuing her education at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. When she isn’t enjoying a good cup of coffee in the therapy room, you will likely find her lost in the mountains, opening up a bottle of red wine around a table of friends, or planning which country to cross off of her bucket list next.

Learn more about Cresson
  • Couples
  • Adolescents
  • Individuals
  • Family Conflict
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Substance Use Disorders
  • Stage of Life Transitions
  • Anger Management
  • Developmental Disorders
  • Domestic Violence
  • Divorce
  • Self Injurious Behaviors
  • Sexual Identity
  • Trauma
  • Relational Discord
  • Self Awareness and Identity Formation
  • Emotion and Affect Regulation

Cresson earned a Master of Science in Marital and Family Therapy from Fuller Theological Seminary Graduate School of Psychology. She also has a Bachelor of Science in Human and Organizational Development with a minor in Spanish from Vanderbilt University.

Training and Certifications
  • Cresson currently holds a temporary license as a Marriage and Family Therapist in the state of Tennessee and is pursuing licensure under the supervision of Jennifer Black, LMFT.
  • Completed Level 1 Training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy
  • Level Two Certification in the Restoration Therapy Model
  • Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)
  • Certified Domestic Violence Counselor


Kate Hughes

About Kate

Kate’s therapeutic approach is brought to life through the Spiritual Root System™. She works through a Narrative Therapy lense while bringing Here and Now Therapy into the room to expose and heal relational brokenness and trauma. She carries a holistic approach that considers and cares for the brain, the body, the mind, and the heart.

Since graduating with a Bachelors in Business Management from the University of Kentucky, Kate has been mentoring and coaching college students at Wake Forest University and Trevecca Nazarene. She also spent a year in eleven different third world countries working with victims of trauma. She was led to Sage Hill through her own personal story of recovery and interned for a year and a half while she was getting her Masters in Counseling at Trevecca Nazarene University.

  • Adult Therapy
  • Adolescent Therapy
  • Couples Therapy
  • Group Therapy
  • Sexual Abuse Recovery
  • Addiction
  • Depression/Anxiety
  • Trauma/Grief
  • Sexuality
Training and Certifications

Kate is currently working under supervision for Licensed Professional Counselor-MHSP.


Christen Johnson

About Christen

Before joining Sage Hill as a therapist, Christen worked as a family counselor at Youth Villages in Nashville. It was through that experience that she developed a deep compassion for those who have suffered from traumatic life events.

Christen is passionate about working with those who have lost heart on their journey whether through trauma, abuse, or relationship hardship. She desires to move near the painful parts of people’s stories in order to help them find their own voice.

She spent her post-graduate internship at the Hope Clinic for Women in Nashville where she gained experience working with women in crisis pregnancy situations and with young women and men who struggled with depression, anxiety, relationship issues and personality disorders.

Learn more about Christen.
  • Anxiety/Depression
  • Addiction
  • Body image issues
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • PTSD
  • Grief and loss
  • Relationship issues
  • Adjustment disorders
  • Divorce recovery

B.A. in Sociology and Theater, Tennessee Tech University, Cookeville, TN
Master’s in Counseling, Trevecca Nazarene University, Nashville, TN

Training and Certifications
  • EMDR
  • Effective Trauma Care Certificate, Dan Allender Training
  • Certification, Trauma-Focused Behavioral-Cognitive Therapy (TF-BCT)
  • Member, American Counselor Association (ACA)


Nick McCollum

M.Div., MMFT
About Nick

Nick uses a dynamic approach to help his clients recover their hearts and redeem their stories. His therapeutic approach is grounded in the Spiritual Root System™, and is informed by the Barnabas Model and the Allender Theory. He also integrates perspectives from Judeo-Christian traditions, existential philosophy, and family system theories, along with other psychodynamic theories.

Nick works with individuals and couples to help them come to bless the space between where they are and where they want to be. He seeks to become a place of hope where clients can tell the truth about the pain of where they are, grieve the tragedy of where they’ve been, and dare to hope and dream again about where they want to go.

Prior to moving to Nashville in 2014, Nick and his family lived in Charlotte, NC for 14 years. While there, he completed a Master of Divinity degree in 2004, spent several years in project management working with the healthcare industry, and was also part of the ministry staff at Hope Community Church (PCA). In 2013-2014, Nick completed a counseling residency at The Barnabas Center, a counseling, training, and teaching ministry in Charlotte, NC.

Nick has been married to his wife, Juliana, for 17 years and together they have two children.

Learn more about Nick.
  • Individuals
  • Couples
  • Relationship & Marriage Counseling
  • Pre-Marital Counseling
  • Infertility
  • Parenting
  • Grief & Loss
  • Men’s Issues
  • Life Transitions
  • Vocation, Career, & Calling
  • Anxiety & Depression
  • Addiction & Recovery
  • Self Image & Identity
  • Spiritual Issues & Concerns
  • Pastoral & Ministry Professionals
  • Master of Marriage and Family Therapy, Lipscomb University, 2016
  • Master of Divinity, Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, 2004
  • Bachelor of Arts, English, Berry College, 1999
Training and Certifications
  • Certified Facilitator for SYMBIS Premarital Assessment
  • Member of the American Association of Marital and Family Therapists (AAMFT)
  • Currently under supervision for licensure in Tennessee


Douglas Ribeiro

Licensed Professional Counselor
About Douglas

Since becoming a Professional Counselor in 2006, Dr. Ribeiro has dedicated his clinical and research efforts to helping survivors of trauma achieve the psychological well-being and freedom we are all worthy of enjoying. Beyond his interest in psychological trauma, Dr. Ribeiro is interested in issues related to interpersonal relationships, masculinity, mood difficulties, struggles with attention and concentration, career and life planning, cultural adaptation, and recovery from substance and behavioral addictions such as “sex addiction.”

Dr. Ribeiro integrates several theoretical approaches that have been empirically shown to be effective. These include traditional approaches such as interpersonal, emotive, and cognitive psychotherapies as well as avant garde approaches that draw from neuroscience, narrative theory, and constructivism.

Learn more about Douglas.
  • Trauma Recovery
  • Interpersonal Relationships
  • Identity Development
  • Substance Recovery
  • Mood Difficulties
  • Career and Life Planning

Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology – Georgia State University
M.S. in Professional Counseling – Freed-Hardeman University
B.S. in Biblical Studies – Freed-Hardeman University

Training and Certifications
  • Licensed Professional Counselor, TN


Melanie Rogers

About Melanie

Melanie has worked with adolescents, young adults, and families for over 20 years in a variety of roles including youth and college ministry, outdoor adventure programs, and school counseling. She enjoys working with women within a wide range of ages including adolescents, college students, and adults.

Melanie’s therapeutic work involves developing an honest and caring relationship where her clients feel seen and heard. Melanie creates a space safe for clients to acknowledge and bear the truth of their lives through Story Work. When clients are met with kindness and acceptance as they tell the truth about their painful life experiences, hope is awakened and the process of healing can begin.

Melanie believes the therapeutic relationship is a major instrument of healing and change, which is why she offers her clients the opportunity to give and receive “real time” feedback about what they are experiencing in the therapeutic relationship. These experiences create real and lasting change in the way clients learn to relate to themselves and others.

  • Addiction Recovery
  • Anxiety/Depression
  • Adolescent Therapy
  • Co-dependency/Self Identity
  • Eating Disorders/Body Image
  • Grief and Loss
  • Parent-Child Relationships
  • Relationship Issues
  • Sexual identity
  • Sexuality
  • Sexual Trauma

Melanie earned her Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, MS. Melanie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Family and Child Development from Auburn University.

Training and Certifications
  • Licensed Professional Counselor, Mental Health Service Provider, TN LC # 1945
  • Spiritual Root System Certification, 2017
  • EMDR Trained (September 2017)


Miriam Tate

About Miriam

Miriam has worked at the Center for Professional Excellence, a long-term alcohol and drug treatment center founded by Dr. Chip Dodd in Nashville, since 2001. She has therapeutic experience working with the spouses of the patients there, as well as couples counseling. She also has experience in outpatient counseling with individuals and marriage counseling.

Miriam helps people tell their story and reawakens them to who they are. As her clients becomes clear on their early story, she shows them how the defenses that they learned to help them survive childhood are now blocking them from healthy relationships in adulthood. She does this by introducing them to the Eight Feelings™ and their needs which are essential to having relationship.

As a certified Imago Relationship Therapist, Miriam helps her clients learn to listen to others while still maintaining there own feelings and needs.

Learn more about Miriam.
  • Codependency
  • Depression
  • Marriage Counseling
  • Addiction and Recovery
  • Anxiety

Miriam earned her Bachelor of Arts in Education from Belmont University and a Masters in Counseling from Trevecca Nazarene University.

Training and Certifications
  • Licensed Professional Counselor, Mental Health Service Provider
  • Certified Imago Relationship Therapist



Sage Hill Counseling Interns

Interns & Practicum students

Committing to counseling can sometimes be a financial challenge. To help you live fully, Sage Hill Counseling offers cost-adjusted therapy through access to our graduate interns and practicum students who are in the process of completing the requirements for a masters degrees in a mental health field. Our interns are directly supervised by licensed Sage Hill counselors and are trained to use the Spiritual Root System™.

Contact us

Nashville Office Information

Call (615) 499-5453

400 Overbeck Lane, Suite 202
Nashville, TN 37204

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