We are two friends who became colleagues who share a passion for helping and training families and clinicians.  A healthy family is the best family!  With a combined experience of over 20 years we have been able to work with families and children through many different situations.  Below you can get to know us a little better!!  We consider each other family, and we can’t wait for you and your family to join us! Welcome to the family!


Anna George-Trietley, MA, LPCS, RPT       Co-Founder of Art of Therapy Center, PLLC

Anna is a graduate of Liberty University with a Master of Arts in Professional Counseling. Anna’s education and professional career have been focused on children and families with a specialization in infant mental health and trauma. She is also trained in Theraplay – Level One and is certified as a Foundational Practitioner. In 2010, Anna completed a fellowship program to become specialized in infant and young child mental health from Zfive in Mecklenburg County. Anna has trained other professionals, including law enforcement, social workers and early childhood specialists on the effects of toxic stress on infants and children. Prior to co-founding the Art of Therapy Center, Anna worked as a mental health clinician then clinical supervisor for the Child Development-Community Policing Program. During her time there, she worked with children and families exposed to trauma and violence while partnering with uniformed law enforcement officers. Anna also spent her time training law enforcement officers on responding to children exposed to trauma. Anna believes in the importance of early intervention; not only for infants and young children but intervening early after a trauma. She has seen firsthand the positive impact of acute trauma care on the well-being of children and families. Anna is the mother of two rambunctious little boys. 

Jennifer Pennington, MA, Eds, LPCS, NCC                            Co-Founder of Art of Therapy Center, PLLC

Jennifer is a graduate of Gardner-Webb University and University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  She obtained her Bachelor of Science, Master of Arts, and Education Specialist Degrees from Gardner-Webb University and her Post Master’s Certificate in Play Therapy at University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  She is passionate about working with children and their families during stressful and traumatic situations.  Jennifer believes that all children can benefit from self awareness, improved self esteem, and improved relationships with their parents and siblings.  Jennifer has focused the last 5.5 years on working specifically with children, adolescents, and their parents overcome struggles of all kinds.   Jennifer is a therapist and co-owner of Art of Therapy Center. Jennifer is also licensed as a supervisor for students and other clinicians looking for clinical supervision.  Jennifer is a native of Gaston County, is married to her high school sweetheart and has 2 boys.  She is looking forward to working with your family!

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Dr. Shane Gomes, PhD

Shane earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology in San Diego, CA.  He is a North Carolina Licensed Clinical Psychologist (License #5359) and a National Register Health Service Psychologist (Registrant #55863). Dr. Gomes had spent several years treating children and adolescents diagnosed with bipolar disorder and other mental disorders in an outpatient mental health clinic.  He has given several trainings and workshops to mental health professionals on assessing and treating children and adolescents with bipolar disorder, attachment disorders with foster/adoptive children, and on law and ethics. Dr. Gomes has spent several years in education teaching psychology to undergraduate and graduate students at the university and community college level at National University, California State University – Los Angeles and Long Beach City College in California, and Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, NC.  He has taught Introductory Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Law and Ethics, Child Therapy, Child Psychopathology, Counseling Theory, Trauma, Clinical Assessment, Personality Theory, Social Psychology, Biological Psychology, Violence and Aggression, Child Maltreatment and Developmental Psychology courses for several years to undergraduate students and graduate Marriage, Family Therapy students. Dr. Gomes’ research interests include analyzing the current trends with law and ethics for mental health professionals; studying attachment and attachment disorders in children, especially children in the foster care system and adoptions; studying effective treatment strategies for abused/neglected children; and studying the cultural influence and impact on intimate partner violence reporting. He has an extensive work history in inpatient psychiatric care, outpatient psychotherapy and day treatment with adults, children, adolescents, couples, families and groups.  Dr. Gomes had a small private practice in California working with adults, couples, families, children and adolescents struggling with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, drug/alcohol addictions, sexual addictions, trauma, foster care/adoption issues, attachment issues, couples counseling, intimate partner violence, personality disorders, men’s issues and other mental health challenges. Dr. Gomes incorporates Christian/Catholic principles into his psychological therapy techniques and utilizes cognitive and behavioral treatment methods. Dr. Gomes is a member of the Catholic Psychotherapy Association. He currently works part-time at Art of Therapy Center’s office in Gastonia, NC.

Tiffany Rikard, MA, LMFTA

Tiffany is currently a doctoral student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She graduated from Appalachian State University in 2016 with a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy, and specialty certificates in Expressive Arts Therapy and Systemic Multicultural Counseling. Tiffany believes in a holistic approach to counseling and incorporates Art, meditation, mind-body techniques, and Reiki into therapy sessions. She specializes in adult individual, couples, and family therapy. Her research interests center on experiential learning, multicultural and diversity related issues, study abroad training, and transformative learning outcomes in counselor education. Tiffany currently works part time at Art of Therapy Center’s Gastonia office. 


Nick Asa, MA, LPCA, NCC

Nick came to counseling as a second career. His undergraduate degree is a Bachelor’s of Science with a double major in Math and Computer Science from Appalachian State University. Nick spent 16 years in IT with the investment banks and human resources in Charlotte before getting his Master’s from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. While there, he took a special interest in working with children, and obtained a Graduate Certificate in Play Therapy. He is a Board Certified National Certified Counselor (NCC). His approach is to emphasize the positive strengths in children, while empowering them to minimize less effective behaviors. He practices a child-centered approach in play therapy for children 10 and under, where children gain self-esteem and learn self-responsibility. He believes children are capable of remarkable change when supported by a caring team.