Kelly Sternhagen, MSW, LICSW

Hello and welcome! I appreciate you taking the time to get to know a little bit about me and consider whether we might work well together. I’m Kelly (she, her, hers) and I am a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. I received my BSW undergraduate degree from Winona State University and my MSW from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

My “therapist gift” is being able to see the whole system that surrounds my client, and all the dynamics within that system that are impacting my client’s ability to thrive. I developed this ability through many years of working with children, adolescents, and their families, and now I bring that expertise to my work with adults as well.

How I Work

We are continuously being shaped by the important people in our lives and situations that have happened to us, all of which have made us into who we are today. These experiences, both positive and negative, can either drive us to reach our full potential and goals or can get in our way. That’s what can cause us to feel stuck and hopeless, to re-live painful experiences over and over again, or to recreate unhealthy relationship patterns.

I will work with you to explore and understand these past experiences so we can get to the root of what’s keeping you from reaching your full potential. When you feel empowered to reshape your future, nothing can hold you back!

What Sets Me Apart As a Therapist?

I have a calm, steady, unflappable energy that helps to create a safe environment for us to do the sometimes challenging, always gratifying work of therapy. I will help to guide you through the process. At times, you will take the lead, and at times I will help you to figure out how to take the lead, in therapy and in your own life. This holds true for my work with children as well. I use experiential play therapy to help children work through their experiences and feelings so that they can find and create the healing they need.

Issues I Treat:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Grief and loss
  • Life transitions
  • Self-esteem, self-confidence, and assertiveness
  • Shame
  • ADHD
  • Body image and body acceptance
  • Eating disorders
  • Behavioral issues
  • Divorce
  • Trauma

Populations I Serve:

  • Adults
  • Young Adults
  • Children (5 and older) and adolescents
  • Stressed out students
  • Families in conflict
  • Kids with social or emotional struggles
  • Parents with parenting challenges or differences

Professional background:


  • Winona State University – Bachelor of Social Work

  • University of Minnesota-Twin Cities- Master of Social Work


  • Yoga Calm Integrated Approach to Wellness 1-3 courses

  • EMDR Part I, EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Programs

  • Experiential Play Therapy

  • Sand Tray Play Therapy

  • Filial Play Therapy

  • Intro to DC:0-3R, MN of Human Services

  • Minnesota Psychoanalytic Society Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Training Program

Previous Employment

  • Prairie Care-PHP program

  • Headway Emotional Health Services

  • Children’s Minnesota St. Paul Hospital

  • Family Connections


  • Minnesota: LICSW #20679