About Us

About Us

White Picket Fence Counseling Center, LLC

Sandee S. Nebel, MS LMHC, CEDS-S, E-RYT 200

Sandee Nebel is a licensed mental health counselor in the state of Florida, a certified eating disorder specialist and approved supervisor (iaedp), a certified and registered yoga teacher and educator, and the founder of the White Picket Fence Counseling Center, LLC.

Along with her private practice at White Picket Fence Counseling Center, Sandee is welcoming new clients in her Clearwater office, where her Better Body Esteem®, provides yoga-based psychotherapy specializing in body image and self-esteem. Contact her today to get started

Sandee received her Masters of Science in Mental Health Counseling from Nova Southeastern University and is a practicum supervisor for students in that program. She devotes much of her time to educate and supervise registered interns working toward state licensure, as well as licensed therapists seeking certification as specialists in treatment of eating disorders.

She is a past-president of The Eating Disorder Network of Central Florida, where she was active on the board of directors since its inception, continuing on as a board member and member of the newly formed central Florida iaedp chapter.

She is a frequent guest lecturer at high schools, universities and colleges and at professional conferences, and she co-facilitated the initial national training webinar for NEDA’s proud2Bme campaign.

Sandee is the past Executive Director of Sunspire Health Hyde Park (formerly called Hyde Park Counseling Center) in Tampa, which at the time treated eating disorders and substance use disorders in women.

Prior to her work at Hyde Park, she was the Clinical Supervisor and Consultant to the Eating Disorders Program and created the Yoga Therapy Program at The Recovery Village. She provided staff trainings in the treatment of co-occurring disorders (eating disorders and substance use disorders) on site and in the professional community.

Sandee draws on her vast experience to provide individual and group training and supervision, consulting, and Better Body Esteem™ workshops for treatment centers, private practice therapists, and yoga teachers.

In Sandee’s own words: “Creating and building White Picket Fence Counseling Center has been most rewarding. Clients have the opportunity to work with me and my well-trained staff of mental health clinicians, along with the dietitians and other therapists who have their private practices here. I am proud of how our clients benefit from the integrative and individualized treatment setting I created.”

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Christina Purkiss, MA, LMHC, CEDS

Christina Purkiss received a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from the University of Central Florida. She is a licensed mental health counselor in the state of Florida and a certified eating disorder specialist through the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals.

She has experience treating anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, avoidant restrictive food intake disorder, and related disorders. In addition, she has worked with various other clinical disorders including substance abuse, depression, and anxiety.

Christina’s therapeutic approach integrates different theoretical frameworks such as dialectical behavior therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy, based on each client’s individual needs and goals in treatment. She strives to develop a therapeutic relationship consisting of compassion, trust, and collaboration in effort to create an environment in which change can occur. She is passionate about eating disorder recovery and believes that full recovery is possible.

Christina has previously worked as a therapist and program director at an eating disorder IOP and PHP treatment center and serves as a board member of the Central Florida Chapter of the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals. At White Picket Fence Counseling Center, she provides individual, family, and group therapy to adolescents and adults.

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photo_1 copy WEBJaki Hitzelberger, MA
Licensed Mental Health Counselor
Primary Therapist

After completing a B.A. in psychology at Rollins College, Jaki earned her Masters in Mental Health Counseling to further her life goal of helping others manage and overcome their personal challenges. While at the UCF Counseling Center, she facilitated eating disorder process groups and collaborated with dietitians, primary care physicians and psychiatrists as a member of the UCF Eating Disorder Treatment Team.

At White Picket Fence Counseling Center, Jaki works with her clients individually and in groups to help them better understand their eating concerns, change destructive beliefs and behaviors, and build self-esteem.

In Jaki’s own words: “I utilize a creative, positive and strength-based approach that focuses on personal empowerment. I am inspired and energized by the opportunity to be an integral part of the client’s journey toward their unique goals.

I have a strong passion and interest in the important connection between physical health and mental health and therefore greatly enjoy working with those who struggle with, and overcome, eating disorders and body image issues. I am trained in working with concerns related to self-esteem, depression, and performance anxiety in sports.

At White Picket Fence Counseling Center,following evidence-based protocol, I work closely with a treatment team. I believe that working with a team approach provides the best opportunity for recovery.”

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Shawn Johnson, MS, LMHC
Primary Therapist
Group Therapy Program Specialist

Shawn Johnson is a licensed mental health counselor in the state of Florida. She received her Masters of Science in Mental Health Counseling from Nova Southeastern University. Shawn is an experienced professional, specializing in eating disorders, body image disorders, and other psychological issues. Shawn is in private practice at White Picket Fence Counseling Center where she provides psychotherapy for children, adolescents, adults and families, as well as facilitating group therapy. Her previous clinical experience includes being a primary therapist at a residential eating disorder treatment facility with adolescents suffering from eating disorders and their families.

Shawn has a particular passion for working with individuals as well as working with the families and others affected by a loved one’s eating disorder. Shawn believes that family involvement with therapy is essential, and that family therapy can be equally important for adult clients.

Her focus in psychotherapy is to guide clients to embrace their challenges as opportunities for growth. Through counseling clients to seek their truth, she holds the relationship as a source of healing and empowerment. She combines her passion for serving others with evidence-based techniques and in-depth clinical knowledge to offer hope to the hurting soul and to walk beside them on their journey of self-discovery and healing.

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Jessica Fortunato, MA, Registered Marriage and Family Therapy Intern

Jessica Fortunato is a registered marriage and family therapy intern working towards licensure. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Houghton College in upstate New York. While there, she minored in family studies, already aware of both the positive and negative impacts families have on individual mental health.

Continuing her education, Jessica completed her graduate program at the University of Central Florida, where she earned a Masters of Arts in marriage, couple, and family therapy. After completing her practicum at UCF’s Community Counseling and Research Center, she dedicated her graduate internship to working at Total Health Guidance, a private practice that takes a holistic approach to mental health.

Over these hours Jessica has worked with clients to address concerns such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, anger management, identity exploration, conflict resolution, effective communication, and boundary setting within relationships. Jessica currently co-facilitates a therapy group at White Picket Fence Counseling Center for recovery from binge eating disorder.

In Jessica’s own words: “You are not who you’ve become. There is still hope – you can still reclaim your life. I’m here to tell you that a connected life – fully lived – is available for you. It’s yours if you want it. And we can get there together. 

Counseling is about a lot of things, but most importantly it’s about finding a safe place to become the best version of yourself, one step at a time. You don’t need to rush the process; you just need to start it. And when you’re ready to take that first step I’m here.”

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Lori B. Hernberg, MA, LMHC 

Lori has a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from New York University (NYU) and a Masters of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Rollins College. Currently, Lori is a registered clinical mental health intern working toward licensure, already having accumulated approximately 1,700 hours. Before joining our clinical team, Lori was an assessment specialist at Aspire Health Partners in Orlando, where she assisted individuals in crisis and linked the clients to psychiatric and counseling services. She has also participated in other internship experiences such as: conducting classroom based group counseling and individual sessions with emphasis on health and wellness, and attending collaborative team meetings with counselors and dietitians at Blue Horizon Eating Disorder Services. At NYU, she reviewed and edited nutrition newsletters and peer-reviewed articles that were eventually used in a published book for sports nutrition.

Lori’s interest in healthy living originated in high school as an athlete seeking to fuel her optimal performance and skill, which led her to attend NYU to learn more about nutrition and dietetics. Upon graduating, Lori chose to combine her nutrition background with another one of her passions – helping individuals struggling with maladaptive eating behaviors, compulsive overeating/food addiction, body image, and self-esteem issues. As a result, she pursued a master’s degree in mental health counseling to enhance her therapeutic skills. After nearly two years of clinical-based experience and community-based mental health experience at Aspire with a broad population of individuals facing a variety of challenges, she knew she was now ready to focus solely on helping individuals with eating disorders. She helps her clients with integrating lifestyle and behavioral modification to achieve, improve upon, and maximize wellness — her true calling.

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Sharon Schmalbach, MS, Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern

Sharon Schmalbach is the newest member of the clinical team at White Picket Fence Counseling Center. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies from Florida International University in Miami, Florida. It was her passion for helping others that influenced her decision to further advance her education. Sharon completed her graduate program at Nova Southeastern University, where she earned a Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling. She dedicated her graduate internship to working at Winter Springs High School with the New Horizons program that is under the direction of Aspire Health Partners, fulfilling over 1200 hours of clinical experience. Sharon discovered her interest in the treatment process of eating disorders while working as a recovery coach for adolescents and adults at Oliver-Pyatt Centers in Miami, Florida. Sharon is bilingual and speaks Spanish fluently.

In Sharon’s own words: “It is an honor to be a part of White Picket Fence Counseling Center. I value and believe in their reputable approach in the treatment of eating disorders . I have a true passion for helping others and find this to be the most rewarding aspect of my career. It is an honor to work alongside my clients in their journey to recovery.”

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Georgeanne Little, MS,RD,LD/N

Georgeanne is a licensed and Registered Dietitian. After earning a bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition from Florida State University, Georgeanne went on to earn a master’s degree in nutrition from Appalachian State University where she also completed her dietetic internship.

She focused part of her dietetic internship on the treatment of eating disorders by interning at the Renfrew Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. It is here where she found her true passion in eating disorder dietetics.

Since completing her supervised practice Georgeanne worked as the dietitian with eating disorders, where her role included individual and group therapy for clients struggling with eating disorders and substance abuse disorders. She developed individual nutrition therapy plans for each patient. She also helped patients understand how food works within their bodies and coached them through grocery store and restaurant outings.

She has also served as a clinical dietitian in the outpatient setting at Joyful Nutrition in Winter Park, Florida for over two years, in addition to facilitating groups and client care for clients struggling with eating disorders.

In addition, Georgeanne is a registered dietitian at the Center for Discovery in Orlando Adolescent residential program. Here she works with adolescents from 10-18 years old. She conducts several exposure groups such as kitchen skills and restaurant and meets with clients and families on a weekly basis.

Georgeanne has also served on the Orlando Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics board for the last two years.

Georgeanne uses a non-diet approach to counsel individuals to challenge distorted food beliefs, learn to trust their body with food, eliminate “good” food/”bad” food thinking, and learn how ALL foods can fit into a healthy lifestyle. 

Georgeanne loves her work, getting to know her clients, listening to their stories and, most of all, witnessing their progress.

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Jillian Pankow

Jillian’s passion for eating disorder awareness, body image issues, and wellness brought her to the White Picket Fence Counseling Center team. Jillian has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and women’s and gender studies from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. She is currently a graduate level student at the University of Central Florida seeking a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling.

Jillian’s role at the White Picket Fence Counseling Center is as outreach specialist and  assistant to the owner, Sandee Nebel, supporting administrative needs, client intake, and community outreach.

In Jillian’s own words: “I am so honored to be a part of the White Picket Fence Counseling team as we provide an incredible resource to our community. We work closely together to support each person who walks into our office and are able to meet each client where they are on their journey in recovery. I am inspired every day by the support, atmosphere and hard work. From the first steps on your path, the staff of White Picket Fence Counseling Center is here to empower and support you.”

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