Priority One Team

Feature Story and Photos by Larry H. Oskin

Priority One Coaching, Counseling and Consulting of Clermont got started by two extremely inspiring men who planned to go from prison life to get their PhD’s, while helping others who are desperately in need!

Dr. Tommy Moore and Everett Coffman are both from South Lake County. They met and discovered that they both had very similar backgrounds as well as a coordinated desire to help others here in our local community through counseling, coaching and therapies. They spent three months creating a sound business plan, before becoming co-owners of Priority One.

Now celebrating three-year anniversary this month, they are proudly celebrating their combined hard-working and passionate success stories with hundreds of happy clients, many positive testimonials and a growing staff to offer even more diverse specialty counseling services. Besides plenty of awards and certifications for their specialties, both men have proudly earned their Dean’s List honors throughout their college lives and their honored Phi Kappa Phi memberships.

Priority One Beliefs: Priority One provides the community with a special concept by putting proven academic research into practice in the substance abuse and mental health fields.  Research has shown that mental health and substance abuse issues have an overwhelming correlation with insecure relationship attachment lifestyles.

Relational trauma can be a great predictor of substance abuse users. Newer research has shown that people who have learned to reconnect with healthy safe people in their recovery have a greater chance of changing their attachment style to secure, predicting greater length of sobriety, better cognitive functioning, positive interpersonal relationships and overall healthy mental health functioning. Priority One strives to help people learn how to connect to safe, healthy and loving people. With over twenty years of combined experience working in the recovery fields, they have found that when people learn to connect and differentiate between healthy and unhealthy people, their attachment styles can become safe and more secure.

Priority One has become a valuable local resource for impactful change and positive connections. They believe in neuroscience research by a psychologist, Susan Johnson, which says “we are all hard-wired for connection”. Moore notes, “It is our goal to take out the blocking agents that are preventing those positive connections from happening. By creating a safe and secure base, our clients learn to better navigate their world with not only a new perspective but with a new felt sense of identity, self-esteem, safety and security. We are able to provide great personalized care for each of our clients whether it be individual, couples, families or groups.”

Dr. Tommy Moore, PhD, MBA, CPC, NCIP is a business/financial consultant, a certified life recovery coach and an intervention professional. He enjoys helping and supporting those who struggle with the negative impact of substance abuse and other challenging life issues. He believes people can apply the twelve steps to succeed in all issues of your life. He thrives when working with clients ready to put effort into taking the steps needed for positive and productive change. He enjoys working with people and coaching them on how to focus on their well-being. His specialty entails coming alongside people and being part of their support team. Dr. Tommy brings a Christ-centered perspective to his treatment programs. He is the Ministry Leader of Celebrate Recovery and has seen hundreds of lives changed through accountability and developing important SMART goals for healthy living. He always has the clients’ best interests in mind while working to resolve their hurts, bad habits and hang-ups. Today, Moore is married with children and he has become a successful motivational speaker.

Challenging Start For Moore: Earlier in his life, Dr. Moore was addicted to alcohol and drugs. He was sexually assaulted and lived through an abusive life of insanity. After endless addictive troubles, he paid the price by serving over 9 years of an eleven-year prison sentence, before getting out on probation in 2009. Even though he struggled with employment with a ‘mark on his back’ as an ex-felon, everyone told him you can’t go back to school. Nonetheless, he went back to Lake Sumter (State) College to earn his Associate’s Degree. He enrolled in a program at UCF. Since he lost his license for life and is only allowed to ride a bicycle as part of his probationary challenges, he had to ride his bike 5 miles per day to attend his classes for the next 2 years before he was able to take advantage of online classes. With plenty of extra effort, he earned his MBA from the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne. This past June, he earned his Doctorate Degree from Northcentral University. Over the course of Dr. Moore’s academic journey, he realized that online degrees are much more difficult to achieve, needing a lot of self-discipline, and to learning without face-to-face interactions with professors.

With all of his education and degrees in hand, Dr. Moore went back to looking for work. He had a very positive interview for a new position and was hired until the final process required a drug, alcohol and background check. Then admitting his many life challenges, they retracted the six-figure job offer on the spot. Moore notes, “I believe that my faith still drives me and that I remain favored to succeed. My goal was to complete a PhD, help others, and to write a book with a theme of ‘From Prison to PhD’.” Later discovering Dr. Stan Andrisee, an endocrinologist from Baltimore was in a very similar situation who already wrote a book by the same title he long dreamed of doing. They work together today as long-distance partners in a national program designed to help others re-enter society with therapeutic help after serving time in prison.

Everette Coffman M.S — LMHC/LMFT: Coffman is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist as well as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Florida majoring in Psychology. He then received his Master’s Degree in marriage and family therapy with a certification in professional counseling from Southeastern University. He is currently an instructor and researcher at the University of Florida, while finishing up his PhD. Coffman has a unique ability to connect with people and has a natural gift for providing hope to his clients. He has been trained in Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing for Trauma Therapy. He has been trained in Emotional Focus Therapy for couples. His passion also lies in helping those affected by addiction, whether it be the addicted or their family. With his own long personal journey through addiction and coming from a family of addicts, he has an ability to provide a unique dimension to more personally understanding these dynamics.

A Challenging Life For Coffman!  Before his success story, Coffman grew up in a family of substance abuse users. With family members that were heavy meth abusers, he started doing drugs by the time he was twelve years old. While struggling with drugs and an unhealthy family, he managed to attain straight A’s in school. He even received a full undergraduate scholarship to USF. Yet, he struggled to find purpose in his life and he was lost with no real direction. He worked for Marriott as a bartender while in college, earning his Psychology Degree in 2007. At the same time, he became severely addicted to opioids, while selling and taking them.

After having his son in 2009, the challenges kept rising. He knew he was severely addicted to drugs, needed help and he tried to move back home to his family’s property. Within the month, the police raided their home and his father was arrested for manufacturing and selling methamphetamine. The opioids led Coffman down a dark path for 5 years. After being continually high and addicted and using drugs 24/7, he decided to go through treatment in 2012. After treatment, he was still an occasional user, and eventually got arrested. As a first-time felon, he signed a plea agreement that he would stay clean for the next 9 months. He couldn’t do it. With probationary drug tests, he was put back in jail.

Then after numerous court visits, he met a man who worked in the drug court system who helped him sign up for a twelve-step addiction recovery program called ACE opportunities and there he found his faith. For the first time in his life, he felt that he was on fire and in a positive new direction. He successfully completed that program, finding that this intensive spiritual awakening worked. With plenty of personal first-hand experiences with drugs, an unhealthy family, jail, and counseling, many friends and mentors suggested he use his valuable insights to go back to school to earn the necessary degrees and to become a counselor. He re-entered school on academic probation, earned straight A’s while successfully becoming a mentor and counselor to others.

Coffman got deep into neuroscience research to better understand all of the mental challenges he faced. He studied under Dr. Goodrich and Dr. Manley, who were the mentors who suggested he pursue a PhD to fulfill a renewed life and career. After numerous challenging rejections, he got accepted into \the University of Florida with a full scholarship. Again, he earned straight A’s. He started to professionally teach others with alcohol, drug, marriage and family therapies. This year, Coffman was honored the ‘Outstanding Doctoral Student of The Year’ at the University of Florida.

Veronica Lightsey Archer — RMHCI: Veronica Lightsey Archer is a registered mental health counseling Intern who works on the Priority One Team. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business and as well as Master of Arts Degree in Mental Health Counseling with both from Webster University:  She has a certification in Trauma. Veronica is a US Army Veteran. She has made it her lifework and mission to help those who need help, so that they may get back on track to handle their everyday life. Archer has experience working with children, adolescents and adults while treating them with group and individual therapies.  She uses Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, reality therapy and motivational interviewing in her services. She has learned that putting self-first and learning to love thyself will help to create a positive mind.

Sasha Rankin M.S. — RMHCI: Sasha Rankin is a member of the Priority One Team working as a Registered Mental Health Counseling Intern. She achieved a Bachelor of Science in Social Science at the University College of the Cayman Islands. She earned a Master’s of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Nova Southeastern University. As a dual-citizen, Rankin offers a unique perspective on multi-cultural issues, especially regarding assimilating into the majority culture. As a victim of bullying, her keen interest is in providing a safe space for children and adolescents to express emotions and experiences that are unhealthy for them to suppress and make them uncomfortable. Rankin utilizes the concepts of family therapy systems in treating child and adolescent client populations with their families. He wrote and received a grant from SAMSA – Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services with a program designed to help others. Coffman is married with his son and he has also become a successful motivational speaker.

Dr. Adrian Manley PhD — LMFT:  Dr. Manley is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist as well as a Professor of Counselor Education at Southeastern University. Dr. Manley received both his Masters and PhD in Counseling from the University of Florida. He is a Qualified Supervisor for both Registered Marriage and Family Therapy Interns and Registered Mental Health Counseling Interns. (Not pictured)

Top Priority One — Counseling Services:

Anxiety & Depression: Depression, fear and anxiety are some of the most common and uncomfortable emotions that we can experience at some point in our lives. Through counseling and treatment, we help you recover motivation, perspective and joy in your life.

Trauma & PTSD: Many people experience symptoms associated with painful and traumatic life circumstances. Anxiety, fear, and hopelessness are some of the emotions that will linger with post-traumatic events. Priority One helps you overcome these symptoms and they will guide you through the process of grief and healing.

Relationship Therapy: Relationship counseling may be beneficial to couples who are looking to strengthen their emotional connection through all of the stages of their relationship. Therapy sessions are held with couples as a supportive place to discuss challenging issues and potential positive solutions to better strengthen relationships.

Business: Priority One consultants carefully analyze your business and financial statements to help you find any inefficiencies that may exist. Together, you will we brainstorm and implement ideas that take your business to the next level.

Personal Finances & Coaching: They will provide unbiased opinions on your personal financial portfolio. They will help evaluate your financial investments to educate you on your potential future risk levels and performance. They will work one-on-one with you to help set smart new objectives and goals while creating budgets to achieve your optimal success.

Life Recovery: Their recovery coaching emphasizes how to make the best principle-based decisions, while creating a clear plan of action and by using your current strengths to reach all of your future goals. They will provide the guidance for accountability to help you stay sober and on track.

Life Coaching: They will help coach you to operate at your optimal level by creating challenging, yet realistic goals and by providing the pathway for how to achieve them.

Priority One — Life Skills Workshops:

Life’s Healing Choices: Life’s Healing Choices’ offers freedom from our hurts, hang–ups and habits through eight healing choices that will help you find your true self-happiness and a potential new life transformation. Through making defined choices, you will find a spiritual new pathway to wholeness, growth, spiritual maturity, happiness and healing.

Boundaries: Learn how to set and maintain clear boundaries that are essential to a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

Leadership Training: Learn the differences between managers and leaders. Learn about how to have the primary characteristics and skills of good leaders with more flexibility and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. They will teach you the leadership skills that are highly sought after by employers to help you motivate, enthuse and build respect.

Marriage — Created For Connection: They will teach you how to understand that most marriages do not fail because of financial problems, too much fighting, conflict or a lack of sex. They will research which shows the primary reason any marriage is likely to fail is because of a lack of positive emotional responsiveness and affection. The goal of this workshop is to help couples repair, enhance and grow the connection in their love relationship.

 Priority One Extras: Priority One offers complimentary pre-visit telephone consultations, so you can explore the perfect program for you and your family. They do work with Cigna and will soon offer the benefits from Florida Blue insurance coverage. They are open Mondays to Fridays from 9 AM to 7 PM and on weekends by appointment.  They are conveniently located off of Highway 27 across from the Citrus Tower in Clermont near Minneola with free parking and handicap accessibility.

Priority One Promise: Moore and Coffman note, “We really are different! We have lived through many of life’s most difficult challenges derived from substance abuse, incarceration, marriage and relationships. We know the steps to help you overcome adversity and to achieve success. We promise to be there for you every step of your journey. Our goal is to help you grow from your struggles, heal from your pain and move forward to where you want to be in your life!”

Priority One Coaching, Counseling & Consulting: For a complimentary first preliminary telephone consultation and for more Information, contact Dr. Thomas Moore, Everett Coffman & Team at 301 Frontage Road, Clermont, FL 34711,  352-988-5999, Email: or visit:

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