About Our Founder, Dr. Williams

Dr. Williams has come a long way from childhood trauma and has become a force to be reckoned with since entering the counseling field. No matter what obstacles have come her way, she has managed to overcome them and emerge stronger.

Her life hasn’t been easy. She was raised by an alcoholic father and an emotionally absent mother. That negativity as a child followed her through grade school and into high school. Growing up in a hostile home environment prevented her from learning the way a more typical parenting environment would have fostered. This fact became increasingly evident to Dr. Bridgette later in life when she was tested and diagnosed as dyslexic, a learning disability that almost prevented her from completing high school.
Dr. Williams did attend high school into her senior year but was denied graduation because she had not satisfactorily completed a course in government. She was determined to graduate, so she attended summer school to make up the missing class that she needed. Not only was studying an issue (due to her reading disability), but she was also bullied and harassed by other girls.

The challenges of summer school were even greater because her parents nor her school provided transportation to and from school. Eventually she decided to quit because she couldn’t deal with the constant harassment from classmates, transportation issues, and other obstacles.

Five years later, she decided to complete her missing class through a correspondence school. At that time, she was living on base as a military wife in Washington, DC. About 10 years after being stationed with her husband in South Carolina, they moved back to Virginia to claim an official diploma from her original high school. This was a milestone she thought she would never achieve. The positive energy from this personal achievement put her on a path of helping others and becoming a leader within her community, values that she hopes will continue through her life.

In 2003, while pursuing her bachelor’s degree in human service counseling, her brother, Angelo, died from an accidental heroin overdose. She became spiritually inspired by this tragic event, and decided to pursue a master’s degree, with the eventual goal of assisting those who were suffering from a substance abuse problem and others who were suffering from mental health issues. In 2011, she received a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Argosy University, and in 2016 she received her Master Addiction Counselor (MAC) Certification from the National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals (NCCAP).

She worked briefly for another substance abuse agency that administered methadone and Adderall as drug therapy for addicts. She quickly realized she did not like this approach because in her words, “That is just substituting one drug for another.” So in 2017, she opened her own addiction center in Richmond, Virginia, eventually moving the center to Fredericksburg, Virginia, where she grew up. She named the center after her deceased brother: Angelo Recovery and Counseling Services, Inc. The center focuses on cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), which basically means you must understand your behavior before you can change your behavior.

Dr. Williams has since gone on to achieve many additional diplomas, certifications, and awards. A partial list.

  • 2001 AA/AS from Germanna Community College.
  • 2003 Bachelor’s from Old Dominion University.
  • 2011 Masters in Mental Health Counseling.
  • 2016 Master Addiction Counselor from NCC AP.
  • 2017 Certification of Ordination as an Interfaith Minister from the Esoteric Interfaith Church.
  • 2017 PhD in Pastoral Clinical Counseling from Colorado Theological Seminary.
  • 2023 Honorary PhD in Divinity from Eastern Theological Seminary.
  • 2021 Received Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) certification from NAADAC.
  • 2022 Licensed as a Chaplain from Global Oved Dei Seminary and University.
  • 2022 Facilitator for Jacksonville Theological Seminary and University.
  • Sits on RACSB board as a member representing clients for mental health and substance abuse services.
  • Provides free grief counseling as a peer mentor for Tragic Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)
  • Provides free grief counseling for elderly widows and widowers within the community.
  • Works with Virginia State delegates to enact legislation to benefit minority and disabled populations.

While serving the community and doing God’s will, she had to face another tragedy in 2019 when she unexpectedly lost her husband due to a heart attack. After 31 years of marriage, she found herself being widowed, and her life seemed to have stopped. She was so unsure of herself after the loss of her husband that she found it necessary to look within and ask God why He would take her husband, and what did He expect of her at this point?

The death of her husband created a unique problem that she had never had to consider before: The existing law in Virginia stated that she must give up her husband’s veteran-insignia license plate because he had passed on and she was not a veteran herself. This issue opened a new chapter in Dr. William’s life: political activism.

She petitioned the Virginia Legislature to change the existing law so that the widow of a retired military member could continue to show patriotism by keeping ownership of the veteran’s license plate. Not only did she help pass the law that was later recognized by Governor Youngkin, but she also helped inspire a new law that all veteran’s license plates can now be held by the widow/widower of the deceased veteran.

Dr. Williams recently published an autobiography of her experiences with abusive pastors, dysfunctional churches and spiritually based mental health issues. Writing this book had been in her thoughts for many years and had been encouraged by her husband. After his death, she became spiritually motivated to write the book The Shepherd’s Pie in his honor. She made a promise to God when her husband passed away that all counseling services to widows and widowers would be free and all proceeds from the sale of the book would go towards funding free grief counseling.