Affinity Counseling Center Clinicians & Staff

Karen Timmer, LPC, RPT, Child and Family Therapist, Play Therapist, Owner/Founder
Executive Director

Karen Timmer is the owner and founder of Affinity Counseling Center. She earned her Master’s Degree from Georgian Southern University. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of GA, and a Registered Play Therapist. She has been working with children and families for over 10 years. Prior to this, Karen obtained experience working in homeless shelters, jails and prisons, and doing outreach work in the community with a population of individuals who were classified as having a severe mental illness. Karen has served as an Assertive Community Treatment team leader, an Intensive Family Intervention team leader, and as a Child and Adolescent Clinical Director. 

Karen’s varied experience gives her a unique perspective when working with individuals with different cultural, ethnic, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Karen’s areas of specialty include: anxiety, depression, grief and loss, divorce transitions, domestic violence, abuse and trauma, and gender dysphoria for young children. Karen uses a variety of counseling techniques depending on the needs of her clients, such as: Cognitive Behavior Therapy, DBT, attachment based therapies, trauma based therapies, brain-based interventions, play therapy, Theraplay, mindfulness therapy, various expressive arts, and sand tray therapy.  

Karen is passionate about working with children, parents and families. She engages with her clients in a sincere and playful way, and focuses on building a healthy, authentic therapeutic relationship. Her goal is to empower her clients to live out a life that is meaningful and joyful, to help them to identify their strengths, and to assist them in overcoming obstacles to achieving a joyful life.  In addition to working with children and teens, Karen enjoys working with the entire family, and assisting parents by offering support and education.

Karen is married with 3 children, and 4 dogs. She loves to spend time with her family, learn new things, read, and travel. 

Lydia Gamble, LPC, CRC, Therapist
Clinical Director

Lydia Gamble is a graduate of Georgia State University and a Licensed Professional Counselor.  Her goal is to help individuals to understand how all parts of their well-being are interrelated and to facilitate their individual journey in the growth process. Lydia’s specialty area includes counseling adolescents and emerging adults that are struggling to manage academic, behavioral and family issues, as well as helping parents to understand the developmental and cognitive changes that are taking place with their children. Lydia also works with adults whom are in the midst of transition and need additional support through life’s “ups and downs”.

 As a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, Lydia advocates and assists individuals with developmental and physical disabilities navigate various aspects of vocational planning, as well as short and long term health care management. Additionally, Lydia provides information and resources to families about the similarities, differences and needs of individuals with various disabilities. Lydia’s individualized approach helps unique populations overcome various obstacles in order to obtain educational, employment, and social opportunities.

Patricia Shively, MD, Psychiatrist
available by phone only

coming soon!

Sarah Brown, LPC, Child and Family Therapist

Sarah Brown is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Georgia and a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC).  She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of West Georgia and her Master of Arts in Community Counseling from Argosy University.  She is a member of the Association for Play Therapy.

Sarah has worked in a variety of counseling settings since 2003.  She has worked at a residential facility for boys who have experienced sexual abuse.  Sarah’s Masters’ Internship was at a private school specializing in children and adolescents with learning disabilities, anxiety, ADHD, and other behavioral issues.  For over 5 years she has been providing in-home and in-office therapy to families.

Sarah is known for her nurturing and calm disposition. Sarah specializes in working with children, adolescents, and their families. She has experience in the areas of anxiety, depression, grief and loss, anger management, low self esteem, family transition and parenting.  Sarah is passionate about helping children and their families heal and grow together.  She believes that parents are a truly integral piece of the process and encourages their participation during this journey.

Sarah’s approach to therapy is integrative and individualized to each client’s unique need.  She utilizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, client centered therapy, DBT and mindfulness.  Sarah enjoys making things fun and includes play therapy techniques and creative arts expressive techniques in her sessions. 

Amanda Davis, BA, Executive Assistant

coming soon!

Cara Helsel, LCSW, Adult, Couples, and Family Therapist

Cara Helsel is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in the state of Georgia since 2003.  She graduated from High Point University in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Human Relations and a Concentration in Social Work. Cara graduated from Barry University in Miami, Florida with a Masters of Social Work (MSW) with a Concentration in Children & Families in 1999. She completed her graduate internship with the Broward County School Board as a School Social Worker where she worked with elementary school students that had behavioral and emotional problems. Cara has over twelve years of clinical experience in the Metro Atlanta Area in private practice. In addition, her experience includes working with children, teens, and adults in public and private mental health clinics, in home therapy, juvenile court, and daycare settings.  

Cara utilizes a variety of techniques to guide individuals through the therapy process. Most importantly, she believes the connection between client and therapist is essential to a satisfying relationship. She uses person centered therapy, where one identifies areas of change and sets goals for therapy. Cara enjoys working with adults, that suffer from anxiety and depression as well as relationship problems to help facilitate positive change and personal growth. With younger children, she integrates play in her work as well as behavior modification with the parents as a component to counseling.  

As a Social Worker, she also utilizes the systems theory with all of her clients. The systems theory emphasizes how parts relate to each other and to the whole system. With regard to individuals and families, the systems theory is used to understand the dynamics, relationships, and roles within families and how these things affect individuals. Cara strives to create a warm and friendly atmosphere with her clients. 

Cara is a mother to two active children, ages 11 and 8, who are involved in competitive dance and soccer. She enjoys working out and playing tennis, shopping, going to movies, and traveling with her family. She has two rescue dogs, George and Hershey, who keep her busy as well.

Naser Kargar, Ed.S., LPC, Therapist

Naser Kargar is a fully licensed LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor) in the state of Georgia.  He has five years of experience in providing counseling services to various populations. Naser graduated from Georgia State University with a Master’s degree in Professional Counseling in 2009, and then received an Educational Specialist degree in 2011. Naser completed an internship at Anchor Hospital, and Associated Evaluation and Psychological Services. After graduating, Naser continued to work at Anchor Hospital conducting group therapy sessions, family sessions, assessment, and and discharge planning. Naser also began working as a community clinician, working with teens and youngsters in their homes in the Roswell and Alpharetta area. Naser joined the staff at Affinity Counseling in 2014 where he provides counseling to teens and their families.

Naser often utilizes Gestalt therapy and emphasize the here and now and present moment. He also uses adventure therapy techniques in his sessions at parks and community places and he assists his clients in gaining more awareness and wisdom. As an Iranian-American, he emphasizes multicultural counseling and advocacy to minorities. When Naser is not working, he likes to travel, read, watch good movies, and ride his motorcycle. Naser is bilingual in Persian and English. 

Faithe Kimsey, LAPC, Child and Family Therapist

coming soon!

Christie Newson, LPC, Child and Family Therapist

Christie is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a graduate of Richmont Graduate University where she received her M.A. in Professional Counseling with a specialization in Children/Adolescents. She also received a B.S. in Human Relations from Atlanta Christian College. She gained extensive experience in her internship work at Peachford Psychiatric Hospital where she worked with children and adolescents as well as their families in an inpatient setting.

Christie specializes in working with children and adolescents along with their families in order strengthen relationships and bring peace to the home. She uses various modalities in order to best help her clients, but often uses play therapy techniques and is working toward becoming a registered play therapist. Christie is also trained as a spiritual sensitive therapist and feels incorporating faith into therapy can be tremendously beneficial to bring true healing.

Christie has been employed at Affinity for over five years and her training and experience has prepared her well for working with individuals, families and groups.  Christie’s specializations include children, adolescents and their families dealing with issues of self-harm, social and behavioral problems, impulsivity, experiences with bullying, trauma, anger and self-esteem. As well as, those working through transitions such as life-stage transitions, relationship changes, boundary setting, grief and loss, divorce and blended families. Those having feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, low self-esteem, loneliness and isolation, and excessive worry and anxiety. She also has a passion for helping parents become the best parents they can be and improving family communication.

Christie is married to a first-responder and has a unique understanding of the challenges faced by those working on the front lines of law enforcement, fire and rescue, and emergency medical services. She and her husband have 2 young children, one of which has a disability, which gives her insight as to what it is like raising a child with special needs.

Eight years of being in this field and being with people during their deep brokenness and seeing the amazing hope of healing has resulted in a profound appreciation for the human capacity for healing. Christie considers herself extremely blessed to walk with others through difficult and painful life experiences towards growth, healing, and restoration. She feels that each of her clients has come to her for a reason and truly sees being entrusted to be their therapist as a privilege and honor.

Marta Stefanyshyn, Ed.S., LPC, RPT, Child and Family Therapist, Play Therapist

Marta is a Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in counseling individuals, couples, and families. She is dedicated to her profession and feels honored to be able to help people on their life journeys. She has worked in hospitals, communities, and private practice with diverse populations and various presenting concerns including depression, anxiety, relationship challenges, as well as a variety of other concerns.

 Marta holds these qualifications:

  • Masters and Educational Specialist degrees in Professional Counseling from Georgia State University
  • Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Georgia.
  • Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC).
  • Member of the American Counseling Association, North American Society of Adlerian Psychology, and Georgia Society of Adlerian Psychology.
  •  Registered Play Therapist (RPT).

As a counselor, Marta’s purpose is to fully understand the client’s experience and provide interventions that will help in overcoming life challenges. To best meet her clients’ needs, she uses various techniques including Adlerian theory approach that helps understand which thoughts and behaviors sabotage your goals. She also uses therapy skills based on neuroscience findings, particularly with issues such as trauma, emotional-regulation, anger-management, and relationships. When working with children she utilizes developmentally appropriate techniques such as play therapy, sand-trays, and expressive arts. Marta is passionate about helping children discover their unique talents and gifts and in this way successfully function and thrive.

Marta also offers therapy services in Russian and Ukrainian language and multicultural counseling

Danielle Tidwell, MFT, Child and Family Therapist, Play Therapy

Danielle is trained as a Marriage and Family Therapy therapist. She been working with individuals, couples, families and children to promote positive changes in mental health and wellbeing in her clients’ lives. She earned her B.S. in Psychology with a General Arts concentration from Georgia State University. She is a graduate of Mercer University School of Medicine, where she earned her Master of Marriage and Family Therapy degree.

Danielle’s diverse experience includes working with individuals, couples, families, adolescents and children from all different cultural, ethnic, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds. Being a multiracial woman helps her connect with her clients on multiple different cultural levels. Danielle feels privileged to work with multicultural clients with all types of diagnoses, including (but not limited to): depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, adjustment disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and ADHD.

Danielle has extensive experience in working with children and teens with symptoms of anger/aggression, impulsivity, low self-esteem, communication struggles and family/social relational conflicts. Being a Marriage and Family Therapist helps Danielle think of the family as a system, and being able to help create positive and effective change among the whole family instead of just one individual. Danielle uses a Solution Focused Therapy approach along with expressive arts therapy in her work with children, adolescents and adults.