Melissa Larson

Melissa Larson, MSW, LICSW melissa.larson@affinitypsych.com

Melissa Larson

Melissa Larson, MSW, LICSW

melissa.larson@affinitypsych.com

Hello, I am so glad you are here! My name is Melissa (she/her/hers) and I am a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. I work with individual adults and couples who are interested in dedicating some well deserved time to explore themselves and their relationships with those around them. I love spending time outdoors and at the lake, listening to music, eating Italian food, and connecting with family and friends.




How I Work

Experiencing issues like depression, abuse, addiction, grief, infertility, or relationship problems often make us feel like we are invisible and alone. In addition to a multitude of other issues you may be facing, sometimes in combination, it can feel like day-to-day tasks are impossible. Maybe you are feeling scared, hurt, stuck, misunderstood, unfulfilled, or numb.

These things do not make you weak or crazy, and they do not make you a failure. Maybe what you need is someone to tell you that you do not have to carry those feelings alone. Regardless of what you’re feeling, YOU MATTER. You are important and you have value. I want to hear your story and help you figure out what you want, and more importantly, what you need.


What Sets Me Apart As a Therapist?

I am very down to earth. I believe in being real with my clients. I have a great sense of humor and enjoy opportunities to bring humor into the work. I will do everything I can to make sure you feel supported and validated, while also challenging you to grow.

I have done extensive research in the presence of postpartum mood disorders in new fathers/non birthing parents.



Issues I Treat:

  • Depression
  • Life Transitions
  • Grief
  • Pregnancy/Perinatal/Postpartum
  • Adoption
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Codependency
  • Coping Skills
  • Depression
  • Divorce
  • Domestic Abuse
  • Family Conflict
  • Infertility
  • Infidelity
  • Marital and Premarital
  • Men’s Issues
  • Parenting
  • Peer Relationships
  • Relationship Issues
  • Self Esteem
  • Stress
  • Transgender
  • Trauma and PTSD
  • Women’s Issues

Populations I Serve:

  • Adults
  • Young Adults
  • Couples
  • Parents

Professional background:



Education

  • MSW from University of St. Thomas/St. Catherine University, St. Paul, MN

Trainings

  • Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Training Program – Minnesota
  • Psychoanalytic Society and Institute

Previous Employment

  • PrairieCare
  • Associates in Psychiatry & Psychology

Licensure

  • Minnesota: LICSW #26844

Vlad Gordeyev, MS, LMFT vlad@affinitypsych.com

Vlad Gordeyev, MS, LMFT

vlad@affinitypsych.com

Greetings! My name is Vlad. I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist currently working towards becoming fully licensed in Minnesota. I have six years of experience providing services in the Des Moines, IA area in home, school, and office settings. My goal is to be more than just a listening ear. I am here to offer you constructive, unbiased support for anything from difficult life changes, to trauma, or complex communication patterns in your personal relationships. I aim to give you the space to explore and express your thoughts and desires while helping you build resilience along the way.




How I Work

If you are the type of person who has paved their own way without asking for much help, I get it. However beneath that exterior strength you may feel lost and isolated, yearning for a chance to finally let someone in. You are not alone! By tapping into the insight and strengths you already possess, we will work towards becoming less dismissive of these feelings and help you begin to understand yourself better than before. I know this can be challenging and anxiety-provoking. Because, let’s be real, change is never easy. But let me tell you, it’s worth it.

I use a client-centered, strengths-based and collaborative approach to help you navigate life at your speed. Here you will be safe, listened to, valued, respected, and understood. We will explore different solutions to best meet your needs at all levels – individual, couple, family, professional, community. I am passionate about helping you find motivation and confidence in yourself. Let’s break those unhealthy behaviors and thought patterns so we can identify your goals to live a more meaningful and value-driven life!


What Sets Me Apart As a Therapist?

Deep down, I am all about having a good time and I love having exciting things to look forward to! I enjoy bringing that same energy into therapy. Part of that includes humor, which almost always happens in my sessions! I have been described as relatable, open-minded, and easy to talk to. I believe that I bring an atmosphere that is always going to be attentive to your needs. I have been told that I make couples and families feel safe and understood without taking sides.

In my office, you will find board games, cards, and fidgets to mess around with. When adults see this, they typically think they are just for the kids, however, life is filled with many responsibilities and it never hurts to lighten things up through a game while we chat.

My personal interests are playing and watching hockey (GO WILD!), watching football (SKOL!), playing video games, exercising, spending time with my two dogs, and watching movies (particularly thrillers and suspense). I also have a major sweet tooth and love my Reese’s and DQ blizzards! I am always open to talk about your interests as well without losing sight of your goals and areas of importance. I’m humbled by the opportunity to learn more about you.



Issues I Treat:

  • Trauma
  • Life Stressors
  • Low Self-Esteem
  • ADHD
  • Life Changes/Adjustment
  • Relationship Issues
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Populations I Serve:

  • Adults
  • Teens and Young Adults
  • Children (7+)
  • Couples and Families

Professional background:



Education

  • Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy – St. Cloud State University
  • Bachelors in Community Psychology – St. Cloud State University

Trainings

  • Psychological Trauma and Juvenile Justice: Impact on Mind, Body, Behavior and Community
  • New Approaches to Managing Trauma
  • Interventions with Grieving Children and Adolescents
  • Family Interventions for Therapists
  • Using Sand Tray Play Therapy to Treat Anxiety and Trauma
  • Bowen Family Systems Conference
  • Technology and Ethics
  • Safety Training for Therapists

Previous Employment

  • ELEOS Psychology Center, St. Louis Park, Minnesota
  • Lifeworks, Inc., Ankeny, Iowa
  • The Village Family Service Center, St. Cloud, Minnesota

Licensure

  • Iowa: LMFT # 082182

Melissa Stricklin, MA, LPCC melissa@affinitypsych.com

Melissa Stricklin, MA, LPCC

melissa@affinitypsych.com

Hello! My name is Melissa (she/her/hers or they/them/theirs), I am a Queer, neurodivergent, “ExVangelical” with lived experience having an invisible disability/chronic illness. I am a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor who enjoys helping adults find practical techniques to improve their mental health symptoms. All are welcome in my office.




How I Work

I offer Cognitive Processing Therapy (not to be confused with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy!) for PTSD.

Are you bothered by things that happened a long time ago? Do you put a lot of effort in avoiding things that remind you of past events? Have you tried everything to improve your depression and anxiety symptoms but nothing seems to help? If you have symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, I understand that the idea of starting trauma therapy can be overwhelming. Many who have PTSD are concerned that it will take years of weekly therapy sessions to start feeling relief. Others worry about having to share details about trauma that they hoped they would never have to talk about. Fortunately, I offer Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) which is a type of trauma therapy that is scientifically shown to reduce symptoms of PTSD as little as 12 sessions (AND it doesn’t require clients to share their trauma story if they don’t want to).

I understand that beginning trauma therapy can feel vulnerable, so my goal is to provide you with a safe space where you can begin your healing process. I want you to be able to make informed decisions about your health, so if you have any questions feel free to contact me via email (melissa@affinitypsych.com) or schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation by using our online scheduling portal.


What Sets Me Apart As a Therapist?

I am committed to providing evidence based treatment, doing my own work, and continuing to educate myself about intersectionality. My style has been influenced by Feminist Theory which emphasizes intersectionality and the ways that systemic oppression affects mental health. I practice from a sex positive perspective, and I believe in health at every size. I promise to avoid the “Minnesota nice” approach and instead show up in a way that is honest, straightforward, and kind. Let’s work together to help you start thriving instead of just surviving.



Issues I Treat:

  • Codependency
  • Peer relationships
  • Low self-esteem
  • Work-life balance difficulties
  • Relationship conflict and conflict avoidance
  • Procrastination
  • Identity exploration
  • Body image issues
  • Behavioral issues
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Depression
  • Anxiety/stress
  • Letter-writing for gender affirming surgery or hormones (after only 1 session)

Populations I Serve:

  • Adults
  • Undergraduate and graduate students
  • BIPOC individuals
  • LGBTQIA+ individuals
  • People with disabilities
  • People with chronic illness and/or chronic pain
  • Open, poly, and non-monogamous relationships
  • Sex workers
  • Perfectionists
  • Transplants to MN
  • Teletherapy

Professional background:



Education

  • MA in Counseling – Oral Roberts University, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Trainings

  • Cognitive Processing Therapy: An Evidence-Based Approach to Treat PTSD and Related Conditions
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

  • Clinical Trauma Professional Level 1

  • Treatment Approaches for Co-Occurring Chronic Pain and Mental Health Concerns

  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

  • Multiple Trainings focused on how to better serve BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities

  • Telehealth for Mental Health Therapists

Previous Employment

  • Mental Health Systems (MHS)

Licensure

  • Minnesota, LPCC, cc02560

Abby Wulfing, MA, LMFT abby.wulfing@affinitypsych.com

Abby Wulfing, MA, LMFT

abby.wulfing@affinitypsych.com

Welcome! My name is Abby Wulfing, and I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in the state of Minnesota. In the past, I have worked in crisis settings and a day treatment program, but most of my professional career has been spent in an outpatient clinic, which has been a great fit for me. I love that this setting allows me to focus on building a trusting and connected relationship with my clients, where we can collaboratively venture into meaningful territory that will facilitate healing.

I am passionate about working with older adolescents, young adults, couples, and family dyads. Many of the people I work with have a history of trauma, are in a life transition, have difficulty in relationships, struggle with eating-related issues, and have experienced loss, anxiety, and depression. I utilize an integration of approaches including relational and attachment-based modalities, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Emotionally-Focused Couples Therapy (EFCT), and Internal Family Systems (IFS).




How I Work

I am a human first, therapist second. I strive to help my clients feel safe, connected, and understood. Together, you and I will identify your hopes and goals for therapy and work towards what progress looks like for you. I tailor my approach to each person, and you will notice that I often check in with you about what’s working and what isn’t.

Clients often tell me that they are overwhelmed by undesirable thoughts and unsure of themselves. They are fearful of being judged and frustrated because they know what they want to do, but just can’t seem to do it. They wonder what is wrong with them and may believe they are “lazy.” I challenge these interpretations because I believe that there are always understandable reasons for what people do. Challenging circumstances and traumatic experiences can activate our minds and bodies to deploy protection to keep us safe. Over time, that prolonged protection can lead to distress including avoidance, feeling disconnected, repeating unhealthy patterns, and buying into unhelpful and discouraging thoughts and beliefs about ourselves.

Our environment, including micro- and macro-level systems, greatly impacts mental health and needs to be recognized and considered in the therapeutic process. I believe people often know or want to discover the resources they already hold within, and therapy can help you identify, uncover, and use those resources to help accomplish your goals. I will meet you where you are at in order to offer you guidance in meeting your goals. This can help you do things like connect to your values, become more skilled at managing your emotions, be more able to take meaningful action, engage in healthy relationships, feel more in control of your thoughts, and decrease your suffering.


What Sets Me Apart As a Therapist?

I truly enjoy hearing about people’s stories and consider it a privilege to be a therapist. My clients have shared with me that I am down-to-earth, thoughtful, honest, non-judgemental, and present. I will join with you using humor, your interests, and creativity, and I will be there with you through life’s difficulties and joys. I am proud that you made this courageous step and look forward to meeting with you!



Issues I Treat:

  • Trauma
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Eating Disorders
  • Body Image Concerns
  • Low Self-Esteem
  • Parent-Child Struggles
  • Effects of Mental or Physical Abuse
  • Sexuality and Gender Issues
  • Grief

Populations I Serve:

  • Teens 15 and up
  • Adults
  • Couples
  • Families
  • Mixed-Race and Multiethnicity Relationships
  • LGBTQI+
  • Those in poly/open/non-monogamous relationships

Professional background:



Education

  • BA in Psychology – University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

  • Master’s in Counseling Psychology – University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis, MN

Previous Employment

  • The Lorenz Clinic

  • The Bridge for Youth

Licensure

  • Minnesota: LMFT #3475

Ami-Lyn Sussman, MSW, LGSW ami-lyn@affinitypsych.com

Ami-Lyn Sussman, MSW, LGSW

ami-lyn@affinitypsych.com

Hi there! I am so glad you made it here. This is the first step on the journey toward healing. That’s a big deal. Exploring options and making decisions that align with your true self can be a wonderful experience. You have a lot to be proud of! Not everyone is brave enough to take this first step. In light of making this decision, let me tell you a little bit about myself. My name is Ami-Lyn. I am a social worker in New York and Minnesota and am currently working on becoming licensed in Minnesota. My Master’s degree is from Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College in NYC, and my Bachelor’s degree is from Queens College. My journey to becoming a licensed therapist was in fact my own journey toward healing.

Learning about the brain, the mind-body connection, social systems, and therapeutic tools all helped me personally, and that allows me to help others in their own process. Now I work with individuals, families, and couples across the lifespan, working with them to integrate their full selves in the healing process.


Ami-Lyn is able to accept all of our contracted insurance plans except the following. Feel free to ask about out-of-network or sliding scale availability.
  • Medicare
  • Multiplan
  • Tricare



How I Work

My job is to help you create a filing cabinet for yourself. A safe place you can contain your memories, ideas, and reflections. We will sort and revisit them together, at your own pace, in good time, and without judgement. I use a lot of mindfulness practices and exercises that we will do together in session so that you can access them on your own outside of therapy. These exercises will help build the muscles needed for healing. There may be some trial and error in the process, but that’s part of the work. Each step you take is one step closer to becoming the person you want to be and achieving the goals you want to achieve.

I believe in creating a place to explore who we truly are, how we see ourselves, what was expected of us, what we want, and all the other questions that are important to ask and answer about ourselves. That’s what therapy is all about. It’s not an overnight process, but it’s worth the time and effort you put into it.


What Sets Me Apart As a Therapist?

When I work with clients, I’m always trying to see the big picture while also trying to understand the way the pieces fit together and how each piece affects all the others in your life. I’m thinking about your mind, your physical self, your emotional world, as well as all the relationships, groups and systems you’re a part of and that wrap around you.

No one is an island. When we locate you in that web, it’s a bit like locating you on a map in relation to other places. From there we can more fully understand where you are, where you’re trying to go, and what will need to happen in order for you to reach your destination.



Schedule an Appointment!

Issues I Treat:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Self-Esteem
  • Adoption Issues
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
  • ADHD
  • Anger Management
  • Anxiety
  • Behavioral Issues
  • Coping Skills
  • Eating Disorders
  • Family Conflict
  • Oppositional Defiance
  • Parenting Challenges
  • Peer Relationships
  • Relationship Issues
  • Body Image Challenges

Populations I Serve:

  • Children (5+) and Adolescents
  • Adults
  • Families
  • Adoptees
  • Families Created Through Adoption
  • Trauma Survivors
  • Creative Folks
  • LGBTQ+
  • People Questioning/Changing Careers

Professional background:



Education

  • Master’s in Social Work – Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College-CUNY, NYC
  • BA in Psychology – Queens College, NY

Previous Employment

  • TheraCare
  • Maspeth High School, Queens
  • P.R.O.V.E (Project for Return and Opportunity in Veterans Education)

Licensure

  • MN LGSW 29643 (working towards independent licensure)

Becca Sawyer-Smith, MA, LPCC becca@affinitypsych.com

Becca Sawyer-Smith, MA, LPCC

becca@affinitypsych.com

Hello! I am a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Ancient Studies from Saint Olaf College and a Master’s degree in Counseling from the University of St. Thomas. I have over 5 years of experience in the mental health field, working in community-based, residential, and school-based care settings. I work with individual adolescents, young adults, and adults around issues of depression, anxiety, shame, perfectionism, body image, and adjustment challenges.




How I Work

My therapy style is creative, direct, approachable, and person-centered. In our work together, we will collaborate on identifying and implementing functional skills to make long-lasting change. We will use a combination of exploration, supportive listening, psychological education, clarifying patterns, and other tools and interventions in order to find solutions that are the best fit for your personal experience. As you move through this journey of self-discovery, you will find that you feel more connected to your inner self and more fully present in the moment.


What Sets Me Apart As a Therapist?

It’s important to me that my clients receive good, comprehensive care in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. I work to strike a balance between quiet reflection and engaging conversation during sessions – clients have told me that this helps them find their own answers without feeling alone. I truly love this work and am passionate about helping people. I look forward to working with you!



Schedule an Appointment!

Issues I Treat:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Body image
  • Body acceptance
  • Grief and loss
  • Life transitions
  • Stress
  • Self-esteem, self-confidence, and assertiveness
  • Shame

Populations I Serve:

  • Adolescents
  • Millenials
  • Young Professionals
  • LGBTQI+
  • Perfectionists
  • Young Professionals
  • Creative Types
  • Gifted Individuals

Professional background:



Education

  • Master’s in Counseling Psychology – University of St. Thomas
  • BA in Psychology and Ancient Studies – St. Olaf College

Trainings

  • Telehealth for Mental Health Professionals

Previous Employment

  • The Emily Program, St. Louis Park, Minnesota
  • Edison High School, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Licensure

  • Minnesota: LPCC#cc01599