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Faculty/Staff

Photo - Virginia P. Williams, Ph.D.

Virginia P. Williams, Ph.D.
President

Dr. Virginia Williams co-authored Anger Kills, LifeSkills, and In Control.

Along with Dr. Redford Williams, she researched and assembled the ten skills taught in the Williams LifeSkills workshops. Over the past several years, she has worked with a variety of groups, led numerous LifeSkills workshops, and trained many facilitators. She is a member of the American Psychosomatic Society and Society of Behavioral Medicine.

Dr. Williams received her MA in Teaching at Brown University, and her MA and PhD in History from Duke University. As a cultural historian, she provides a unique perspective from which to examine the changes in our culture over time and the effects of those changes on our well-being. In particular, she discusses the increasing complexity of living in our culture and the effect of that complexity on our ability to cope and find satisfaction at home and work.





Photo - Redford B. Williams, M.D.

Redford B. Williams, M.D.
Chairman of the Board

Dr. Redford Williams has authored or co-authored more than 200 peer-reviewed publications in scientific and medical journals. He has authored or co-authored ten books including Anger Kills, LifeSkills, and In Control. These three books draw on his well-publicized research concerning the effects of personality and behavior on health and quality of life.

Dr. Williams has been president of four leading scientific/behavioral societies: American Psychosomatic Society, Society of Behavioral Medicine, Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research, and International Society of Behavioral Medicine. He has served on several National Institutes of Health advisory groups and has received awards for his contributions as a behavioral scientist.

He received his AB at Harvard College and his MD at Yale, where he also did his internship and residency training in internal medicine. He has been at Duke University Medicine Center since 1972. He is Professor of Psychiatry, Professor of Psychology, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Behavioral Medicine Research Center.



Stephanie Nilsen, Ph.D.
Workshop Facilitator and Trainer of Facilitators

Dr. Stephanie Nilsen both facilitates Williams LifeSkills workshops and trains other LifeSkills facilitators. Her training and expertise as a psychologist have given her significant experience in working with a wide variety of individuals to help them reach their goals. Stephanie is a Certified Williams LifeSkills facilitator.

Dr. Nilsen formerly worked at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center, where she used her skills and creativity to assist individuals with making dramatic lifestyle changes through group workshops and individual counseling. She held a faculty appointment as an Assistant Clinical Professor with the Department of Psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center. Her research on body image and eating disorders has been published in psychological journals.

Dr. Nilsen received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Duke University. She completed her internship at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center.

Jennifer Davis, MS, CRC, LPC
Workshop Facilitator

Jennifer Davis is a Health Psychology Counselor at the Duke Center for Living. Ms. Davis received her BS in Psychology at Appalachian State University in 1997. While at ASU, she researched multicultural and gender differences in body image.

Ms. Davis received her Master's Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling and Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1999. While at UNC, she was involved with research looking at the impact of spirituality on heart and lung disease risk and rate of recovery from a heart or lung transplant.

She completed a one-year internship at the Duke Center for Living and has continued to work at the Center for Living. At the Center for Living, she works with several different groups of clientele, including cardiac rehabilitation, pulmonary rehabilitation, weight management, stress management and local members of the community; focusing on mind-body health and managing stress. She provides both individual therapy and group therapy, as well as teaches behavior change, stress management and relaxation classes.

Ms. Davis is a Williams LifeSkills Certified Workshop Facilitator.

Robert A. Ferguson, Ph.D.
Workshop Facilitator

Dr. Ferguson was a staff psychologist at the Counseling and Testing Center at the University of Kentucky prior to coming to Williams LifeSkills. He currently has a private practice in Durham, NC. Dr. Ferguson received his A. B. from the University of Florida, his M.A. from the University of South Florida in Rehabilitation Counseling, and his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Kentucky. He completed his internship and post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Kentucky. Additionally, Dr. Ferguson has completed programs in Gestalt Therapy and Psychodrama. Robert Ferguson is a Certified Williams LifeSkills Facilitator.

Susan Head, Ph.D.
Workshop Facilitator

Dr. Head was formerly the Program Director at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center. She maintains a consulting faculty appointment with the Department of Psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center. Dr. Head received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Louisiana State University. She completed her internship at Duke University Medical Center, specializing in Cognitive-Behavioral Health Psychology. Dr. Head currently has a private practice in Durham, NC. Dr. Head is a Certified Williams LifeSkills Facilitator.

Deborah Graves McFarlane, Ph.D.
Workshop Facilitator

Dr. McFarlane is a Clinical/Health Psychologist, working with Adults and Adolescents who are experiencing general mental health problems related to medical conditions. She also works with EAP clients. Dr. McFarlane received her B. A. from Wake Forest University, her M.A. in School Psychology from the University of West Florida, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical-Community Psychology from the University of South Florida. She completed her internship at Fairfield Hills Hospital in Newtown, Connecticut. Dr. McFarlane is a Certified Williams LifeSkills Facilitator.