Meet Our Team

Our Team

First Choice Counseling was founded to ensure that individuals who are struggling with trauma, challenges with mental wealth, or relationships problems, will have a place to come and heal in an atmosphere that is therapeutic, non-judgmental, and conducive to healing.

Jiles Walker, MA

Jiles Walker, holds a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Argosy University. As a therapist, he uses an eclectic therapeutic approach which focuses on helping clients make better choices so they can live a quality life complete with well-connected relationships.
He is able to quickly build rapport with his clients by meeting them where they are which is beneficial in helping them meet their goals. He accepts the responsibility of helping clients find healthier ways to fulfill their needs. This is accomplished by evaluating maladaptive behaviors, making plans for change, and working towards healthy goals.

Jiles is passionate about helping couples, individuals, and families experience successes and build on perceived failures. We all experience rough days, and it is healthy to acknowledge anger, frustration, and hurt. When working with Jiles, clients learn to make peace with the past while learning coping skills designed to meet their needs and enhance overall functioning.

Jiles has been successful in working with populations from young adulthood to senior citizens. He is skilled in providing psycho-education for communication and coping skills to help improve self-esteem, self-worth, relationships, and conflict resolution.

Jiles is a registered mental health intern working towards licensure in the state of Florida His specialties include: Addiction/Substance Use, Anger Management, Anxiety/Depression, Codependency, Self Esteem, Sexual Identity, Stress management, Impulse Control Disorders, Mood Disorders and Thinking Disorders.

Jiles can be contacted at:

Kayla Moran, MA

Kayla Moran holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Central Florida. Through her work in the Tampa Bay area, she has been able to provide therapeutic services to the children and adolescents. These services have ranged from working within in the foster care system, to providing behavioral therapy to children diagnosed on the autism spectrum. Through these experiences, Kayla has developed a passion for guiding young adults to use healthy decision making skills for their future.

Kayla specializes in treating clients dealing with ADHD and other behavioral disorders, anxiety/depression, anger management, childhood trauma, conflict, self-esteem, stress management and other mood disorders. She conducts individual therapy, family therapy and currently facilitates the children's support group.

She values the importance of understanding the client’s background and environment to help aid in their care and find a healthier solution. It is most important to Kayla that she creates a safe and non-judgmental space for all clients and allows for them to express themselves. Kayla believes in the importance of utilizing the client's strengths to help foster lasting change. She primarily incorporates the use of CBT, mindfulness techniques, solution focused therapy, and similar evidenced based practices.

She strives to help the community develop a positive way of coping and achieving their goals and continues to empower the youth.

Kayla is currently a Registered Clinical Social Work Intern, working towards her licensure in the state of Florida.

Kayla can be contacted at

Brittany Ellis, MA

Brittany is a clinical counseling graduate from Northwestern University and uses a multi-cultural approach to create an affirming and understanding space while working with clients from all backgrounds. Brittany's passion for helping others is shown in every aspect of her working. She has been successful in helping clients grow through anxiety, depression, relationship struggles, and navigating life transitions.

Brittany can relate, therapy is a big step and change can be scary. It is Brittany's goal to travel alongside this journey with her clients,  to help them uncover the underlying causes of life's challenges, cultivate self-awareness, and gain a better understanding of how negative thoughts are affecting the cycle of life and ways to better manage them.

Brittany can be contacted at

Niki Lopez, MA

Niki Lopez, holds a master’s degree in Human Services from Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Her pursuit towards helping people professionally began after her husband died unexpectedly and she attended equine assisted grief therapy. The almost 2 years she spent with her grief therapist ignited a passion to help others through their grief. After opening a private practice in Oregon, Niki expanded her client base to include clients from all walks of life. She has a therapy horse named ‘Big Red’ she uses with some of her clients and enjoys that modality very much.

Niki provides a warm and welcoming environment in therapy where she is able to build rapport and foster relationships with her clients. It is important for Niki to help clients feel safe in therapy and she accomplishes this by listening and being genuinely concerned for their well-being. She helps clients identify their struggles and their underlying causes and together they make a plan and set goals to effect growth and change.

Niki has experience with clients from pre-adolescent through older adults. She enjoys couples therapy and helping clients learn new ways of communicating more effectively to improve their relationships. Niki offers pre-marital sessions as well where engaged couples learn the skills they will need to navigate a happy and healthy life together.

Niki specializes in working with individuals and couples who have experienced grief, trauma, depression, anxiety, life changes and transitions, conflict and codependency issues. She helps bring about change through the use of CBT, person centered therapy, talk therapy, and equine (horse) assisted therapy, life coaching and solution focused counseling techniques.
In her free time Niki enjoys spending time with family and friends, riding Big Red, SCUBA diving, kayaking, and enjoying the Florida sunshine.

Niki can be contacted at

Joe Calhoun, MSW

Joe Calhoun holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from Florida State University.  Joe has over 20 years of experience as a clinical therapist.  His educational and professional experiences have afforded him the opportunity to work with many diverse populations across the Tampa Bay Area.

Joe is able to quickly build rapport with his clients by meeting them where they are and listening closely to understand them as a unique individual. This approach leads to a healthy and fulfilling therapeutic relationship where clients feel supported and equipped with the tools to resolve challenges and live a more fulfilling life.

Joe helps clients who struggle with addiction by teaching relapse prevention and harm reduction strategies.  He has continued success with teaching clients how to manage their anxieties and depressive symptoms and prevent re-traumatization in those who have experienced PTSD.  Joe uses evidenced based techniques to help clients gain control of their anger while learning alternative and healthy ways of expression leading to improved communication skills and healthier relationships. Joe incorporates client’s personal values and beliefs into their sessions, which helps clients become more grounded in their spirituality, and remain focus on establishing and achieving personal goals. When working with Joe, clients learn to make peace with the past while learning coping skills designed to meet their needs and enhance their overall functioning.
Joe specializes in treating Addiction, Anxiety, Anger Management, Behavioral Issues, Codependency, Depression, Relationship issues, Self-Esteem, Self-Harm, Spirituality, Stress, Suicidal Thoughts, PTSD and others.  Joe uses various evidence-based interventions like CBT, RET, DBT, and Motivational Interviewing to help clients meet their treat treatment goals.
If you’re searching for a therapist that not only hears you, but sees you for who you are, schedule with Joe today.

Joe can be contacted at

Andrea Anderson, MA

Andrea Anderson, holds a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Denver. She is a combat veteran, serving 12 years in the Air Force. During deployment, she became interested in working in psychology after seeing how the reintegration, both after deployment and after service, had adverse effects on service members and their family members.

Andrea has received extensive training and has been very successful with helping individuals struggling with moderate to severe eating disorders regain control of their lives and adopt healthier lifestyles. She is able to help clients identify and work through underlying trauma leading to healthier coping skills and more positive outlooks on life.

Andrea uses a strength-based approach in her work with adults and adolescents to build on inherent skills, while fostering positive mindsets, positive self-talk, and growth. She enjoys working with individuals and couples on communication styles, setting healthy boundaries, and reconnecting with themselves and one another.  Andrea is a collaborative, solution-focused therapist who has been described as easy-going, understanding, and motivating as she challenges clients to be their change.

Andrea prides herself on offering a multiculturally sensitive and accepting therapeutic environment where her clients can freely explore different sides of themselves. She can quickly build rapport leading to a solid therapeutic alliance with clients by creating a collaborative environment where the client is a part of the team. Andrea’s top priority is providing a space where clients feel safe in their vulnerability.

Andrea understands that therapy is not a one size fits all, and everyone’s mental health journey is unique unto them. Therapy is about working together and finding the best approach for the individual to make progress in their lives and feel in control again. Together therapist and client(s) cultivate the tools needed to overcome personal struggles and strengthen mental fortitude.
Andrea is a registered mental health intern working towards licensure in Florida. Her specialties include ADHD, Adolescent issues, Anger Management, Anxiety/Depression, Eating Disorders, Impulse Control Disorders, LGBTQIA issues, Mood Disorders, PTSD, Relational Issues, Self Esteem, Self-Harm, Stress management, and Suicidal thoughts.

Andrea can be contacted at

Candise Taylor, MSW

Candise Taylor, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from National University and Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from Walden University. She has worked with many different populations and age groups throughout Southern California, New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania, Boston, Kentucky, and Southern Florida.

Candise uses evidenced-based practice and treatment to identify and cultivate different therapeutic techniques within sessions. She also uses strength-based approach to empathize and motivate effective coping skills to be adapted and personalized for individuals based on their culture, interests, spirituality, and circumstances. She believes in intermixing holistic therapy within mental health support.

She has over 12 years of experience working with school-age, youth, adolescents, and adults. Candise’s experience has been working with and treating: Behavioral Issues, Youth and Adolescent Counseling, Childhood and Adult Trauma, LGBTQ+ Community Support, Stress and Anxiety, Depression, Suicidal Ideation, Couples/Partners Counseling, Autistic Behavioral Support, Domestic Violence, Substance Use, Family Counseling, Holistic Support, and Self-Care.

She is currently a Registered Clinical Social Work Intern in the State of Florida.

Candise can be contacted at

Lizandra (Liz) Monterow, MSW

Lizandra (Liz) has a Master of Social Work (MSW) from the University of South Florida. She has therapy experience across various populations including children, adolescents, adults, couples, and military personnel bringing a unique and diverse skillset to the field of social work. With over 12 years of service in the Air Force, Liz possesses a rich background that contributes to her understanding of the challenges faced by military personnel and their families.

Liz prides herself in providing a warm welcoming and safe space for all her clients to grow while fostering a healthy therapeutic relationship designed to meet treatment goals. She does this by listening, being empathetic, and tailoring interventions to the individual’s needs. Liz is able to understand the unique challenges faced by children and adolescents which enables her to provide helpful tools and solutions to children and families.

As a licensed Social Worker intern working towards licensure in the state of Florida, Liz provides therapeutic support and intervention to individuals across the lifespan. She assists clients in understanding developmental stages, family dynamics and the impact of various stressors and behaviors on mental health.

Liz focuses on evidence-based interventions to address behavioral issues, emotional struggles, and familial conflicts promoting healthy growth and development. Liz also uses a client-centered approach to address a broad spectrum of mental health concerns, including anxiety, depression, trauma, and relationship issues. This is done by using several therapeutic modalities such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy, and solution focused therapy.

Liz can be contacted at

Annalise Story, BA

Annalise studied at the University of Florida, where she pursued her Bachelor's degree in Health Education. Following her undergraduate studies, she is currently working towards her Master's degree in Health Administration at the University of South Florida, Tampa. At First Choice Counseling, she is our office scheduler. Her healthcare background equips her with a deep understanding of the healthcare industry, enabling her to efficiently coordinate appointments and have compassion when assisting our clients.

Annalise can be contacted at

Doris Kearns

Doris Kearns, is the Office Manager for First Choice Counseling. She has over 45 years of dedicated client service experience in both the public and private sector. She is extremely passionate about helping individuals who are struggling with mental wealth get the help they deserve.

She is often the first people to welcome you to First Choice either in person or by phone. She happily assists clients with scheduling appointments, answering questions about eligibility, benefits, billing, or just offering genuine support along the way.

insurances WE ACCEPT

Insurance & EAP

  • Aetna
  • Oscar
  • United Health Care
  • UHC / Optum
  • Cigna

Insurance Only

  • Aetna / Maritain
  • Advent Health
  • All Savers
  • Alliance
  • Anthem BCBS
  • Arm (Aetna)
  • AvMed
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Champ VA
  • Cyra Com
  • Geha
  • Humana
  • Tri-Care
  • UMR

Medicare & Medicaid

  • Aetna Better Health (Medicaid)
  • Magellan (Medicaid)
  • Medicare

EAP Only

  • Curalinc
  • Health Advocate
  • Mutual of Omaha
  • Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield EAP
  • ESI