Kevin Oliver, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder

Kevin founded Phoenix Counseling in 2003 and serves the agency as Chief Executive Officer. Phoenix Counseling is a non-profit agency, providing a wide-array of behavioral health crisis, residential, and outpatient services throughout Gaston, Cleveland, and Lincoln Counties. He is a Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist with over 30 years of experience in the behavioral health field and throughout the years he has worked in a variety of clinical settings, including residential/detoxification treatment, opiate maintenance services, and outpatient treatment services.

Kevin received his Master of Arts in Counseling from Gardner-Webb University and a Master in Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Kevin currently serves as a member of the North Carolina Mental Health Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Commission and is the Chair of the Rules Committee.

Celine Villax, Chief Financial Officer

Celine serves the agency as the Chief Financial Officer and has been with Phoenix since 2017. She is responsible for overseeing the agency’s financial resources and supporting managers achieve their revenue and budget goals. Celine manages the agency’s financial risks and is focused on building and maintaining strong internal controls. She also prepares all financial statements and helps the Board of Directors and Leadership Team make sound financial decisions aligning with the agency’s strategic goals.

Celine has been working in the behavioral health field since 2002 and has extensive experience working with private providers, managed care organizations (MCOs), and non-profit agencies.
Celine graduated from Western Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science in International Business and a Master’s degree in Project Management. She also has an Associate’s degree in accounting.

Kristen Litvak, Chief Clinical Officer

Kristen serves the agency as the Chief Clinical Officer and has been with Phoenix since 2012. She is a Certified Clinical Traumatologist, Clinical Field Traumatologist and NC IVC First Examiner. Kristen has also been certified as a Crisis Negotiator and serves on the Gastonia Police Department Crisis Negotiations Team. Kristen is trained in EMDR (Level II), Neurofeedback, and Somatic Experiencing (Intermediate III). She is licensed to provide supervision for NCBLCMHC and NCASPPB licensure/certifications and enjoys contributing to growth of new clinicians.


Kristen has been deeply involved in the field of trauma since 1998. She has presented on trauma at many public forums including the 2019 NCSCA District 6 Drive-In Workshop and the 2018 ACA Preconference Learning Institute in Atlanta, Georgia. Kristen is a passionate advocate for those impacted by trauma, and by extension those impacted by substance use disorders. In practice, she focuses on the neurobiological aspects of trauma and the perspective that pathological behaviors are survival strategies that served a purpose at the time of a trauma but have transitioned from adaptive to maladaptive behavior based on circumstances.


Kristen graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and earned her Master’s in Community Counseling from John Carroll University. 

John Weatherford, Chief Human Resources Officer / Corporate Compliance Officer

John serves the agency as the Human Resources and Corporate Compliance Officer and has been with Phoenix since 2022.
He has been licensed as a Human Resources professional with theSociety of Human Resource Management since 2013, with over 20 years of direct Human Resources, Executive Leadership Team, and non-profit experience. John is also a Qualified Mental Health and Developmental Disability Professional, with over 27 years of direct experience in the field.

Kyle Button, Chief Operations Officer

Kyle serves the agency as the Chief Operations Officer and has been with Phoenix since 2017. Kyle is responsible for new program development, program effectiveness and efficiencies, quality management, health information management, and information technology. Prior to taking over as the agency COO, Kyle worked in the finance department and in various clinical departments.


Prior to beginning a career in the behavioral health field, Kyle was employed as a Relationship Manager with Wells Fargo Bank’s Technology Group in CA. Kyle also proudly served eight years in the United States Army.


Kyle is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science.
He also completed his Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix and his Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Gardner-Webb University. Kyle is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate in the state of North Carolina.

Phoenix Counseling Center Directors and Managers

Crisis Services Director Tequila Sanford

Director of NursingMarina Laliberte

Information Technology DirectorDana Teaque

Quality Management Director Kim Jonas


Mobile Crisis Management ManagerArlene Govan

Cleveland Crisis and Recovery Center ManagerMisty Hill

Gaston Crisis and Recovery Center Manager Allieta Elmore

Shelby Outpatient ManagerJanet Cannon

Gastonia Outpatient ManagerMary Branch

Lincolnton Outpatient ManagerCathy White

Gaylain’s House of Hope ManagerSaundra Crego

Tailored Care Management ManagerMercida Banks



The Client Handbook contains helpful information about Phoenix services, programs and therapies. It also outlines your rights and responsibilities as someone who uses our services. We encourage you to keep this guide handy for reference.

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Please tell us how we’re doing.

If you’ve had a great Phoenix experience, we’d love to hear about it.  And if your experience was unsatisfactory in any way, please contact us — we’d really like to hear about that too. Your feedback is important because it helps us to provide the best care possible.

Please contact us:

Email: kim.jonas@phoenixcc.us
Or call: 704-682-9884

Phoenix Counseling has the right team and resources you need to
get to where you want to be in your life

Additional Services We Provide

Mobile Crisis Management Services

Mobile Crisis Management Services

Outpatient Services

Facility Based Crisis Services

Facility Based Crisis Services

Women’s Residential Services

Women’s Residential Services