We are a psychotherapy practice dedicated to providing comprehensive and compassionate mental health services. With a team of highly skilled and experienced psychologists, therapists, and counselors, we strive to support individuals in their journey towards emotional well-being and personal growth.
At University Psychological Associates, P.A., we are committed to maintaining the highest standards of care and utilizing evidence-based practices to address a wide range of psychological concerns. Whether it’s managing stress, coping with anxiety or depression, improving relationships, or navigating life transitions, our multidisciplinary team is here to provide expert guidance and personalized treatment tailored to each individual’s unique needs.
We believe in fostering a warm and inclusive environment where individuals feel heard, understood, and supported throughout their therapeutic journey. Partner with us and take the first step towards a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life.
“The Therapists have been wonderful during our years of appointments!”
Faye Sultan is the Director of University Psychological Associates, P.A. She specializes in the assessment and treatment of adolescents and adults, conducting individual, couple, and family psychotherapy. Dr. Sultan earned her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Georgia in 1982. She has acquired some wisdom during her more than 40 years in clinical practice. Her clinical interests include working with perpetrators and victims of physical and sexual violence, treatment of sexual dysfunction, and the assessment and treatment of clients for whom medical and psychological difficulties overlap. Dr. Sultan is a Level II EMDR trained clinician. The rapid reduction of trauma-related psychological symptoms has become a recent focus for her work.
During her lengthy career, Dr. Sultan developed a distinguished clinical and academic reputation. She served for six years on the faculties of both the Psychology and the Criminal Justice Departments at UNC-Charlotte. She led mental health treatment initiatives in many community and criminal justice
organizations throughout North Carolina. She is the author of numerous scholarly articles and book chapters about various aspects of psychotherapy, sexual dysfunction, and forensic psychology. Dr. Sultan is also the author of two novels, Over the Line and Helpline, published in the United States and many other countries throughout the world. When not at work, Dr. Sultan can be found kayaking on Lake Norman, traveling the world, or goofing around with her grandchildren.
Julie Pruitt specializes in working with adult individuals and couples who are survivors of abuse, are struggling with depression, having marital difficulties, or have issues around grief and loss. Her primary therapeutic orientation is family systems theory and incorporates behavioral and cognitive techniques. Dr. Pruitt earned her doctorate from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1987. She is a Certified Grief Informed Professional. In her spare time she loves to travel, read and take photographs.
Heather Anschuetz-Jeffers is a licensed psychologist and has been practicing in the field of psychology since 1999. She specializes in the treatment of adults with depression, generalized anxiety, phobias, social anxiety, grief and loss, relationship and adjustment issues, and provides couple’s counseling. Dr. Jeffers earned her graduate degrees from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, obtaining a master’s in marriage and family therapy in 1999 and a doctorate in educational psychology in 2005. Her therapeutic orientation is psychodynamic and relational in nature. She also integrates cognitive-behavioral interventions and mindfulness practices and will design a treatment plan to suit specific client-needs.
David F. Oates, Ph.D. provides psychotherapy and evaluations for adolescents 14 and older and adults of all ages. His clinical background includes having worked in the student counseling center at the University of Georgia during an internship year following his doctoral studies at Auburn University (Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, 1995), seven years at Lincoln Counseling Center, a community mental health center in Lincolnton, NC and 23 years as a therapist at University Psychological Associates. He provides treatment primarily for depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, interpersonal relationship problems, ADHD, and other disruptive behavioral disorders. He would describe his theoretical orientation as eclectic featuring interventions from cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy and Young’s schema therapy. Evaluations include helping community primary care physicians diagnose and treat ADHD in adults and bariatric surgery screenings.
Erika Young-Thompson is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, and Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist. She graduated from Capella University with a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. Erika has extensive experience working with adults, couples, adolescents, groups, and families with mental health and/or co-occurring substance issues within diverse outpatient and inpatient settings. She specializes in counseling people experiencing anxiety; depression; emotion and/or thought instability; issues with adjusting to difficult and/or uncontrollable life changes; interpersonal relationship conflict; and addiction issues, including (MAT) medication assisted therapy. Erika utilizes various evidence based therapeutic interventions from an integrated approach, using theories such as Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Attachment Theory, and Internal Family Systems. Empathically understanding that we all face various challenges in this life’s journey, she believes in meeting you right where you are; working with you to gain empowerment, growth, self-awareness, and self-compassion. Therefore, assisting you in developing the healthy skills you need to be resilient in achieving your personal goals toward healing and wellness.
Blair B. Harrington is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in the state of North Carolina. Blair graduated in 2014 from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte with an M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and a certificate in play therapy. Prior to joining the UPA practice, Blair gained experience counseling individuals, groups, and families in school and agency settings. Blair currently works with clients that are 18 years and older. She believes in the importance of building rapport & utilizing a person-centered approach within all of her therapeutic relationships. Occasionally Blair may incorporate other counseling philosophies such as: Solution Focused or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help clients reach their desired goals. She has experience working with individuals with anxiety, depression, grief & loss, major life transitions, relational stressors, and a variety of mental health disorders. Blair is passionate about creating a non-judgmental, empathetic space for clients to openly express their thoughts and feelings thus allowing for positive changes to occur naturally over time. In her spare time Blair enjoys going to concerts, trying new restaurants, traveling, and spending time with her loved ones. Blair frequently listens to the Therapy Thoughts podcast by Tiffany Roe & is a fan of anything written by Brene Brown (Mental Health advocate).
Alicia Lightfoot is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker that specializes in the treatment of individuals that struggle with anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, self-esteem, and social issues.
She earned her Bachelors in Science from Texas A&M in Education, and later went on to get her Masters in Social Work from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. In her therapy practice, she uses an eclectic therapeutic approach, based on the individual and presenting problems of the client.
Many clients benefit from varied interventions, including but not limited to technique from; cognitive behavioral, reality, dialectical behavioral, empowerment, interpersonal, EMDR and relational techniques. She has extensive experience with adolescents, adults and families. She also has experience working with diverse populations including individuals with ID/DD.
Her approach to using her strength based therapeutic interventions is individualized and she strongly believes that a person’s therapeutic experience should not be one size fits all.
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 20 years of experience treating adolescents, adults,
and families in various treatment settings including residential, partial hospitalization, and
outpatient therapy. I found over the years that my true passion is working with women who have experienced trauma and narcissistic abuse. I believe secure connections with others play a part in one’s healing.
My focus in treatment is on learning emotional regulation skills, modifying limiting life scripts, education, enhancing the quality of relationships in my client’s lives, and increasing their self-efficacy and empowerment to live meaningful and fulfilling lives.
I use an evidence based eclectic approach which includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Solution Focused Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).
I am EMDR Level II trained by EMDRIA and hold certification as a Certified Complex Trauma Therapist.
Kay Reed is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of NC. Kay graduated with a master’s degree in social work at Barry University in Miami, FL. Kay has over 20 years of experience and she has worked with individuals in diverse settings.
Kay uses a strengths-based perspective approach and meets client where they are in a non-judgmental and collaborative manner. She has experience working with anxiety, depression, trauma, and life adjustment issues.
Kay utilizes various evidence based therapeutic interventions such as Cognitive Behavioral, Solution-focused therapies, Psycho-dynamic approach and Mindfulness.
Kay strives to develop an individualized treatment plan that promotes increased awareness, emotional growth and stability.
Catherine Buckner is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of North Carolina. She graduated from Michigan State University with a master’s degree in Clinical Social Work in 2012 and has experience working with individual adults, adolescents, and couples.
Some of her specific clinical interests are clients who are experiencing anxiety, depression, and anger, as well as individuals and couples who are navigating life transitions related to parenthood, employment, or relationships.
Catherine is trained in and utilizes a variety of treatment approaches, including but not limited to Cognitive Behavioral, Dialectical Behavioral, and Solutions Focused Therapies, and can draw in techniques from other modalities to support clients based on their individual needs or concerns. Catherine uses a strengths based and collaborative approach, and creates a trauma informed environment in which her clients can feel safe and supported.
She believes that an important part of her role is to provide the tools necessary for each client to be empowered to achieve their own goals and to create the change they desire in their own lives.
Heather C. McCarley embarked on her career as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker after she graduated from Florida State University in 1999, to work as a School Based Therapist in the Miami-Dade County school system.
She has since worked as a Clinical Therapist in North and South Carolina in private, public and school agencies providing therapy to support clients with behavioral health and substance use difficulties.
Heather specializes in working with Children, Adolescents, Families and Adults. Heather utilizes Cognitive Behavioral and Solution Focused Therapies to address symptoms of Grief/Loss, Trauma, Depression, Anxiety, Oppositional Defiant and Adjustment Disorders. She has experience in individual and group process with Anger Management, Conflict Resolution, Self Esteem, Study Tips and Coping Skills.
Heather’s focus is to assist others with healing, empowerment, positive problem solving and coping strategies.
(She, Her, Hers)
Brittany Hammonds is a licensed clinical social worker, licensed clinical addiction specialist, and a certified clinical supervisor. Brittany received her MSW from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2015. Brittany also received her doctorate in social work from Tulane University in 2021. Brittany has experience with working with adults and adolescents. Brittany specializes in working in substance abuse and/or other addictions. Brittany also has experience with anxiety, depression mood disorders, and life adjustments. Brittany utilizes Motivational Interviewing, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for treatment approaches. Brittany offers a safe place for her clients. Brittany utilizes a strengths-based approach and empowers her clients. Brittany refers to herself as the guide and her clients are the experts of their own lives. Brittany thrives with working with diverse clientele.
Celeste McFee is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC) and Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist (LCAS). She completed her undergraduate degree in Social Work with a minor in Psychology and her Master of Science degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.
She specializes in trauma-healing, self-compassion, self-esteem, empowerment, addiction, anxiety, and depression. Celeste utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, person-centered therapy, as well as solution focused therapy.
Celeste enjoys helping people find meaning in life, by setting attainable goals, identifying and changing harmful thought patterns, and cultivating feelings of happiness and contentment.
Celeste views the therapeutic relationship as collaborative and interactive, where she often includes discussion, mindfulness, education, and reading materials during therapy sessions. She is experienced in working with children (11 years old and older), teens, and adults.
Shawn Trifoso is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the states of North Carolina and New York. He earned his Masters in Social Work with a concentration in clinical social work in 2015 from the University at Albany, State University of New York.
Shawn has experience working with adolescents (15 years and older) and adults (including adults with intellectual disabilities) experiencing a range of mental health challenges including anxiety, depression, OCD, trauma, and adjustment disorders.
Shawn utilizes an eclectic approach, incorporating evidence-based treatment modalities such as cognitive-behavioral therapy while integrating compassion-focused and mindfulness-based techniques. With a therapeutic foundation in strengths-based, person-centered, and trauma-informed care, Shawn strives to empower clients to grow through adversities and make positive changes in their lives.
In his spare time, Shawn enjoys spending time with his family, walking his dog, traveling, and trying new food.
Amanda Adams has been with the practice since 2000. She is responsible for the day to day operations within our practice, including working directly with our clients and clinicians. She strives to make people feel heard and supported with any questions or concerns that they may have about starting therapy and all that entails. She enjoys gardening in her spare time.
Tiffany Doggett has been with the practice since 2018. As part of the support staff, Tiffany’s role is to fulfill administrative functions such as scheduling and ensuring operations transition smoothly. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends and also traveling.