Counseling Center

The Joy House Counseling Center exists for the purpose of providing a faith-based option for residents in our North Georgia area who seek guidance with life’s problems. We are a pastoral counseling resource for struggling families, individuals, and children. We have locations in Pickens, Gilmer and Cherokee Counties with fees based on income and ability to pay.

We offer counseling for a variety of issues such as marriage, family, parenting, adolescence, anxiety, grief, depression and spiritual growth.


In the Bible, we are commanded to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind (Luke 10:27). Pastoral counselors recognize that each individual has emotions, desires, will, and intellect and they strive to offer individuals support in all of these areas. Pastoral counselors receive their direction through the infallible word of God and are guided by the Holy Spirit through prayer. It is within a “grace and truth” framework that pastoral counselors approach their sessions with each individual.


Pastoral counselors are mental health professionals, but they do not take the place of clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, therapists, or physicians. If a pastoral counselor discovers that a person’s needs require more extensive and/or specialized services than they themselves are trained for, they are ethically responsible for referring an individual to a person who is properly trained in the needed area

Team Members

Bill Wattenbarger holds Masters and Doctoral degrees in Counseling from the universities of Florida and Georgia with 35 years of counseling experience. His orientation has always been Christ-centered and faith-based while his career emphasis has been working with persons with disabilities or special needs and their families.

Heather McGinty holds a Bachelors degree in Human Services from Kennesaw State and a Masters in Marriage and Family therapy from Liberty. Previous experience includes Juvenile Probation officer, private counseling practice and Community Based Therapist in a public school setting. Her compassionate and friendly presence put those hesitant to try counseling at ease.

Kathryn Bracher joined our team as Administrator and Intake Coordinator of the Counseling Center in 2021. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education (UGA) and a background in administrative work. She oversees all initial contact, intake, and scheduling with clients. To schedule an appointment or learn more about our services, Kathryn is the one to call.

We consider it our privilege to serve God through serving people. It is our goal to see that people just like you, your family members, and your neighbors find healing and hope through biblically-based pastoral counseling.

We have three locations in our area.
Pickens Office – 148 Nations Rd. – Jasper, GA 30143
Gilmer Office – CORE Building – 142 River Terrace – Suite 101 – Ellijay, GA 30540
Cherokee Office – 4206 N. Arnold Mill Rd. – Woodstock, GA 30188

Need Assistance?


Watch a video from Garry Barber talking about The Joy House Counseling Center