Angela Ackerman, MA, LPCCangela@affinitypsych.com

Angela Ackerman, MA, LPCC

angela@affinitypsych.com

Hello there, I am so glad you are seeking out support through therapy! It can be a big step to commit to addressing life’s difficulties and I’m here to help you in finding and walking your healing path. My name is Angela (although my youngest clients have called me “Ms. Angie”) and I am a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor. I went back to graduate school to understand the significant mood struggles my own child was having from a young age. I graduated from Argosy University – Twin Cities with a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. My passion is for helping children and their caregivers navigate challenges with regulation, relationships, and development.

As a clinical counselor, I can provide services for any age through individual, couples, or family therapy for a broad range of life experiences and problems. I have a special affinity for very young children and their caregivers, especially those who have experienced trauma such as experiencing family violence, separation from a caregiver, medical trauma and accidents, or natural disaster.

Personally, I have experience living with multiple family members with bipolar disorder. I truly get how tough it can be to navigate a caring role as a spouse, parent, and sibling. I worked so hard to learn positive ways to support those caught in the ups and downs of mental illness. It’s time now for me to share hope for surviving and thriving when someone you love has a serious mental illness.




How I Work

I’m here to offer a new perspective and support you in creating a new story! I love to work collaboratively with clients toward their goals, discover their strengths, and to celebrate the small successes along the way. Finding meaningful metaphors to understand the problem and ways to tackle it head on are my jam.

In therapy, we can reflect on the difficulties you are having, and explore where they may be coming from. Together, we’ll set some goals toward healthier functioning and create a plan for healing. Sometimes we may “do the work” through talking and writing, sand tray, or play therapy. Other times we may practice regulation skills, make a family values game, create a personalized chart, or find other community resources to complement your growth.

One of the best parts about this job is that I am learning as much from you as I hope you are from me. We are all working to become better humans and I am so honored to be part of clients’ personal development.


What Sets Me Apart As a Therapist?

I have lived and worked in rural settings for many years and I have served marginalized populations with limited access to resources. Because of this, I am often creative in addressing a wide range of mental health issues and take a holistic approach to healing.

I love to make things (I’m an avid home improvement DIYer!) and incorporating hands-on activities during the session can really be helpful for both kids and adults. One of my favorites is a Calm Down Bottle to bring home for self-regulation. Especially when we are addressing painful issues, having something to keep your hands busy can make a huge difference in allowing emotions to flow and be processed.

I am comfortable holding space for intense emotions and exploring the darker sides of life as well; accepting all parts of ourselves is a lifelong journey and I will hold up a light for you to find your way through. In the end, my hope is that you will find your own light again and eventually shine that back for someone else who is having a hard time!



Issues I Treat:

  • Social-Emotional-Behavior challenges in young children (B-5)
  • Parenting special needs children
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder (especially loved ones of those with BP)
  • Relationship problems
  • Parent-child issues
  • Trauma
  • ADHD
  • Attachment/children in foster care
  • Divorce

Populations I Serve:

  • Birth-5 and their caregivers
  • Children
  • Adolescents
  • Adults
  • Couples
  • Families
  • LGBTQ+
  • Low income families

Professional background:



Education

  • Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from Argosy University-Twin Cities, Minnesota

  • BS in Applied Psychology from Bemidji State University


Previous Employment

  • Greater Minnesota Family Services, Willmar, MN

  • Bi-County Community Action Program Head Start, Backus, MN


Licensure

  • MN LPCC: cc01666

  • Registered provider for CPP, an evidence-based practice using dyadic, reflective interventions to treat trauma in young children

Stephanie Ess, MA, LMFT stephanie@affinitypsych.com

Stephanie Ess, MA, LMFT

stephanie@affinitypsych.com

Hi. I’m Stephanie, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Minnesota Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Approved Supervisor. I earned my Masters and Post-Graduate Certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota and a certificate in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health from the University of Minnesota. Now I am pursuing a PhD in Developmental Psychology as well.

Ever the learner, I enjoy constantly updating my skills so that I can more effectively help my clients understand the ways their life experiences impact their connection to themselves as others. Whether you are 3 years old or 103 years old, an individual, a couple, or a family, I am passionate about working with you to acknowledge and nurture your inherent wholeness.




How I Work

I am most interested in meeting you where you are and understanding how your personal, family, work, and community relationships intersect to shape who you are today. We are relational beings and as such, our relationships are vital to our wellbeing. Just as important, however, is the relationship we have with ourselves. In our work together we will travel the path of discovering your inherent worth and value that most often is clouded by experiences of depression, anxiety, illness, relational stress, and substance abuse.


What Sets Me Apart As a Therapist?

I am a firm believer that a diagnosis is not who you are, nor does it define your lived experience. As a therapist, I am entrusted with the privilege of bearing witness to your life. I honor this trust by understanding that you are your own unique individual, and the path that brings you to therapy and that guides you following therapy is similarly unique and valuable. Together we will create a space in which you can feel safe, curious, seen, heard, and valued as a vehicle for discovering your authentic self.



Schedule an Appointment!

Issues I Treat:

  • Anxiety and stress
  • Depression
  • Trauma and PTSD
  • Addiction
  • Disordered eating
  • Relationship stress
  • LGBTQ+ identified and allies
  • Identity exploration
  • Prenatal and Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders
  • Parenting conflicts/stress

Populations I Serve:

  • Children (3 and older)
  • Adolescents and young adults
  • Adults
  • Couples in conflict
  • Overwhelmed parents
  • LGBTQ+ communities
  • Foster care families
  • Underrepresented Peoples

Professional background:



EDUCATION

  • PhD, Developmental Psychology – Walden University (In progress)
  • Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health Certificate – University of Minnesota
  • Marriage and Family Therapy Post-Graduate Certificate – St. Mary’s University of Minnesota
  • MA, Counseling Psychology – St. Mary’s University of Minnesota
  • BS, Psychology – University of Mary

TRAININGS

  • The Effect of Trauma on the Next Generation – Dr. Rachel Yehuda
  • The Body Keeps the Score: Trauma and Healing – Bessel van der Kolk, MD
  • Mindsight in Childhood & Adolescence: Strategies to Help Kids Thrive – Daniel Siegel, MD
  • Attachment Training/Strange Situation – Alan Sroufe, PhD and Elizabeth Carlson, PhD
  • Circle of Security Parent Trainer
  • DC 0-5 (Diagnostic Classification of Mental Health and Developmental Disorders of Infancy and Early Childhood)
  • An Adlerian Model of Supervision, using Family Constellations and Early Recollections – Marina Bluvshtein, PhD

PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT

  • Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe
  • University of Minnesota
  • St. David’s Center for Child & Family Development

LICENSURE

  • Minnesota: LMFT #2577