Our Staff
Syed Zafar Ahsan, M.D.
Jo-Ann Wagner, M.S.W.
Licensed Clinical
Social Worker

Jennifer C. Walk, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor

Brent C. Peterson, Ph.D
Licensed Professional Couselor
Registered Art Therapist

Melvin G. Snead, JR. MS
Licensed Professional Couselor
Licensed Marriage and Family Terapist

Elsa I. Beck, LPC, RPT
Licensed Professional Counselor
Registered Play Therapist
Hasmuk A. Vyas, MD

Maria V. Kokolis, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor

Brendina D. Tobias, MSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Jamie Ware-Jondreau, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor



1307 Jamestown Road,
Suite 202,

Williamsburg, VA 23185

Family Living Institute Staff Bios

About Dr. S. Zafar Ahsan
Dr. S. Zafar Ahsan was born and raised in Pakistan. He obtained his medical degree from Sindh Medical College, in Karachi, Pakistan. He migrated to the USA in 1984. He attended New York Medical College, graduated School of Public Health and obtained a MPH degree in 1988. He completed his Psychiatric training in general/adult psychiatry at Lincoln Medical Center, in Bronx, New York. Dr. Ahsan completed his Child and Adolescent fellowship at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York in 1994.

Dr. Ahsan is Board Certified in General Psychiatry and Board Eligible in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He is a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a member of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Dr. Ahsan moved to Lee County Virginia to establish Psychiatric services at Lee County Community Hospital, in 1994. He entered private practice in 1999, until 2003. Keeping in mind the concept of providing the best care to the community, he joined the local community Services Board to provide Psychiatric services to children, adolescents and adults, through a team of more than a dozen counselors and therapists. He also serves as consulting-contract Psychiatrist for the Virginia Department of Corrections for more than the past 10 years.

Treatment Philosophy
Dr. Ahsan's diagnostic and treatment approach is based on an eclectic philosophy with emphasis on an Bio-PsychoSocial model. He strongly believes in empowering the patients so that each individual under his care is able to regain optimal functional capacity. Along with medication, he utilizes all available resources particularly an individuals faith and belief systems. Dr. Ahsan strongly believes in treating each individual with respect and dignity. He is married to Dr. Saira Ahsan, a pediatrician, affiliated with Sentara Hospital. Together, they have two sons, who attend local public schools.

Jo-Ann Wagner, MSW

Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Board Certified Diplomate
Academy of Certified Social Workers

Education: Master of Social Work from University of Georgia, one year Advanced Certificate in Family Therapy from Eastern Virginia Medical School's Family Therapy Institute
Experience: 25 years of experience with children and families in outpatient and inpatient treatment in public and private settings
Expertise: Extensive training and experience in the areas of Attention Deficit Disorders, Child Sexual Abuse, Childhood Grief, social skills groups for children and young adolescents, use of registered dog therapy dog "Emma" the Shih Tzu to facilitate therapy with children and adults (such as those fearful of dogs, abusive to animals, resistant to traditional psychotherapy or who are difficult to reach)
Jennifer C. Walk, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor 
National Board Certified Counselor
Education: Master of Education in Community Counseling and Addiction Counseling from the College of William and Mary.
Experience: Over the past decade, experience has been gained by working with adolescents, adults families and groups in a variety of settings: an inpatient psychiatric hospital (Princeton Medical Center), an outpatient substance abuse treatment program (Bacon Street), a college setting (The College of William and Mary), a community counseling program (Functional Family Therapy), a community mental health center (Colonial Behavorial health, formerly The Colonial Services Board) and an emergency room (Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center).
Expertise: Extensive research, training and a strong interest in the area of eating disorders, particularly anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Extensive experience, research and training in substance abuse and chemical dependancy. Extensive experience with crisis intervention pertaining to suicidal ideation, and acute mental illness. Additional experience in counseling includes depression, anxiety and other mood related disorders.
Brent Peterson, Ph. D.
Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)
Registered Art Therapist (ATR)
Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC)
Tricare Certified Mental Health Counselor (TCMHC)

Education: Ph. D. in Art Therapy, Department of Art Education, The Florida State University. M.S. in Art Therapy and Counseling, Eastern Virginia Medical School. B.S. in Psychology, University of Utah.

Experience: Over 10 years experience in treating children, adolescents and adults in various outpatient and residential settings including The Department of Juvenile Justice, Community Mental Health, Private Practice, and Pastoral.

Expertise: Anxiety Disorders, Depression, ADHD, Trauma, Medical and Health Issues, Psychological Testing and Evaluations, Substance Abuse, Mood Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, Stress Management, Attachment Disorders, Crisis Intervention, Military Issues/PTSD, and Faith-Based Counseling.
Melvin G. Snead, JR. MS
Licensed Professional Counselor
Licensed Marrage and Family Therapist


Education: Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling from the Medical College of Virginia and Bachelor of Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Experience: Melvin "Mel" Snead has 18 years experience providing individual and group mental health and substance abuse treatment in public and private agencies.

Expertise: Substance abuse treatment, lifestage issues, men's issues, couples counseling, anger management, workplace issues, mood disorders, family abuse survivors, and adult children of alcoholics. Mel utilizes a cognitive behavioral, psychodynamic, and problem solving approach to help his clients to cope with and resolve their presenting issues.
Candice Jenkins, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor 
Education: Masters in Guidance and Counseling
                The College of William & Mary
Experience: Have treated adolescents and adults in inpatient as well as various outpatient settings (community substance abuse/mental health and private practice). Experience working with impaired professionals.

Cognitive/Behavior Therapy
Mood Disorder
Substance Abuse
Women's Issues
Military Issues

Population Served: Ages 16 and older

Elsa I. Beck
Licensed Professional Counselor
Registered Play Therapist (RPT)

Education: Elsa holds a Master's of Counselling Psychology and is a Registered Play Therapist. She is a native Spanish speaker and a Licensed Professional Counselor.

Experience: Elsa has worked with children in the U.S., Germany, and the United Kingdom, both in school systems and in childcare settings. Furthermore, Elsa has experience working with parents, groups, families, couples and individuals.

Treatment philosophy: Elsa tailors her approach to the unique needs and preferences of child and adult clients, using an integrative perspective that is based on the following:

  • Valuing humans' innate potentialfor health and the importance of finding a sense of meaning in life.
  • Actively exploring feelings, thoughts and behaviors; testing our assumptions; and experimenting with new ways of being.
  • Strengthening our relationships with others and recognizing the importance of early childhood experiences in creating the mental maps that guide us in adulthood.
  • Recognizing how our abilities--and the tasks expected of us by our culture--evolve over the course of our lives.

Expertise: Children, Adolescents and Adults; Divorce, Couples; Anxiety and other Mood Disorders; Anger Management; Trauma:

Maria V. Kokolis, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor
Enhancing Physical Health and Performance Through Mental Well-Being

Education: Currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Health Psychology; Master of Education in Community Counseling from the College of William & Mary; Master of Liberal Arts and Bachelor degrees from the University of Richmond.

Experience: Maria has almost 10 years of counseling experience working with adults, children and adolescents and their families in mental health and health care settings.  Maria designed and implemented a successful multidisciplinary treatment program for obesity and other health conditions with a large health system in Hampton Roads.  She also has extensive experience working with high school and college athletes with sports performance issues.

Expertise: Maria’s primary research and clinical interests are in the management of psychological concerns such as anxiety and depression relating to chronic medical conditions and illnesses.  Most of her training is in the psychological treatment of obesity, and other food/eating behavior issues.  She also has extensive training in the areas of primary care, chronic pain and sports injury, sleep health, cardiac rehabilitation and autoimmune disorders.  She is certified as a therapeutic weight management specialist, and a certified bariatric counselor.  Maria also works with athletes and professionals in order to assist them in managing stress unique to their sport, work and lives.

Brendina D. Tobias, LCSW, MSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Licensed School Social Worker

Masters of Social Work from Norfolk State University
Board Certificate in Clinical Supervision

Experience: Provided therapeutic counseling and clinical social work services to individuals, families and groups for over twenty-six years. Service delivery in various settings: Department of Mental Health In-patient, Residential- Private, Child Abuse Prevention, Community Mental Health-Out Patient, Private Practice, The American Red Cross-Mental Health, School Social Work & Victim Assistance.

Expertise: Assessments, Attention Deficit Disorder, Bereavement due to Violence, Case Management, Crisis Intervention, Parents of Murdered Children, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, School Social Work, Victim Assistance &Work with military families. 

Jamie Ware-Jondreau, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor

Education and Credentials:
Masters in Community Agency Counseling from Hampton University.
15 years of Experience.

Specialty and Expertise: Ms. Ware-Jondreau has dedicated her career to providing mental health care to children, adolescents, and their families.  Jamie has worked in areas of dual disorders behavioral concerns, ADHD, PTSD, Affective Disorders and Emotional Dysregulation Disorders.  She provides treatment in the areas of domestic violence prevention, anger management substance abuse education and prevention, self-injury, and trauma-related areas.  She has always implemented a strength-based treatment approach to include Motivational Interviewing, Motivational Enhancement, Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy.Ms. Ware-Juneau has a wide range of experience, which includes working in psychiatric hospitals, detention centers, and in outpatient community-based settings.

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