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

Michael Jacob, MS michael@affinitypsych.com

Michael Jacob, MS

michael@affinitypsych.com

Hello! My name is Michael (he/him). Thank you for stopping by and congrats on taking the first step to improve yourself! I have a Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling degree from the University of Wisconsin – Stout, with an emphasis in eating and personality disorders. I am currently working on becoming a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Minnesota.

My role as a therapist is to help you become the most authentic version of yourself and I am honored to be part of that journey with you. I work with individuals and couples who are experiencing a wide range of difficulties in life. Mental health is never as simple as one problem or one solution, so I have a tool kit full of clinical knowledge, techniques, understanding, empathy, and practicality to help you better yourself.


Michael 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

I have two jobs as a therapist: My first job is to learn about you; When things aren’t going well, it can be hard to be heard or feel seen by others, so my job is to offer you a space to have those feelings validated. My second job is to educate and guide you on this new path towards being a better you! As a therapist, I view you as the pilot and myself as the navigator. You know the destination but maybe not how to get there, so I can offer you some guidance and direction. Along the way, we may make some side trips or find a new path to take, but in the end we’ll work together to reach the goals you’ve set for yourself. 


What Sets Me Apart As a Therapist?

As a gay man, I bring my own experiences and knowledge of what it is like to live in a world that is not always the most supportive of being your true self. I am aware of and sensitive to the struggles that LGBTQIA+ individuals have, but I also know that my experiences are unique and not the same as yours. I am always learning and being educated on different issues to provide better services for clients and to be a better member of the community.

I also enjoy bringing some fun and laughter to sessions. It is as important to celebrate the positives and successes in life as it is to explore the struggles. I like to make references to TV shows, especially my favorites like The Golden Girls, and other pop culture staples that bring me joy (and hopefully, you too)! 

Clients have shared that they feel comfortable with me, that they can trust me, that they feel heard and respected, and that I have helped them make sense of the experiences they have had. Clients also have shared that they love my Olaf tattoo!



Issues I Treat:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sexual Orientation 
  • Gender Identity
  • Sex/Intimacy issues
  • Grief
  • ADHD
  • Body image
  • Self-esteem
  • Anger issues
  • Eating Disorders
  • Life changes/adjustments
  • Relationship/Interpersonal challenges
  • Trauma
  • LGBTQIA+ issues

Populations I Serve:

  • Adolescents (13+)
  • Young adults
  • Adults
  • Couples (monogamous, non-monogamous, poly)
  • LGBTQIA+
  • Students

Professional background:



Education

  • Masters of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, University of Wisconsin – Stout

  • Bachelors of Psychology, University of Wisconsin – River Falls

Trainings

  • Diagnosing and Treating Eating Disorders
  • Treating Personality Disorders
  • Cognitive Processing Therapy for Trauma

Meridee Rilen, PsyD, LP, Foundermeridee@affinitypsych.com

Meridee Rilen, PsyD, LP, Founder

meridee@affinitypsych.com

Hello! I’m Dr. Meridee Rilen, founder of Affinity Psychological Services. I’m a psychologist, licensed in both Minnesota and California, where I offer individual therapy and couples therapy. I am also a coach and consultant for entrepreneurs and executives who want to strengthen and grow their businesses through deepening insights into themselves and others in their organization.

I hold an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Yale University and a doctorate in Clinical Psychology from The California School of Professional Psychology. In addition to private practice, I’ve held clinical positions at Stanford University and Kaiser Permanente Medical Center.




How I Work

I’ll admit it – I am obsessed with information-gathering in the self-improvement space. My personal libraries are chock full of books, podcasts, videos, webinars, journals, etc. And this non-fiction work represents over 95% of my information-intake in the world.

I am super intentional in surrounding myself with a range of perspectives and theories on a wide variety of topics including emotional well-being, leadership, communication, culture, relationships, change management, parenting, and on and on. There is so much incredibly useful information out there! It’s important to be aware, though:

There is no right way, and there are only a few definitively wrong ways. Seriously.

Every human, relationship, family, or organization is too unique to believe that there’s one thing that will work for everyone. Therefore, you’ll find that I have an approach more in line with: “If it works, use it. If it doesn’t work, let it go.”

That’s what I’m here for – to help you figure out what, specifically, will be useful to you in this exact situation in this exact moment of your life. You are a capable, successful human who is used to figuring things out on your own. I understand that it’s new and stressful and uncomfortable to recognize that you need different strategies right now.

My job is to work with you to: first, figure out what needs to be different; second, understand why it needs to be different; and third, learn how to make it different. With the right tools and information, I believe you are capable of reaching your goals, and we will make sure you believe that as well!


What Sets Me Apart As a Therapist?

I am chatty, a quick thinker, and I’m endlessly optimistic. I think both systemically (big picture) and systematically (details), which means I will quickly help you to put the pieces together so that you can see both the forest and the trees.

If you want to feel challenged and pushed towards your goals, I provide a lot of authentic, informed feedback to help you get there. I will see the good in you and be compassionate about your struggles, while holding you fully accountable to the changes you need to make in order to get where you want to be.

I believe that we can always do better, individually and collectively. I am highly invested in my own personal process, and I get the privilege of living out those values collectively in ensuring that Affinity as a whole is also constantly improving.

If these are the kinds of characteristics and experiences that resonate with you, then there’s a good chance you and I will work well together!



Schedule an Appointment!

Issues I Treat:

  • anxiety and stress
  • self-confidence, self-esteem, and assertiveness
  • sexuality and gender exploration
  • dating challenges and issues arising from actively seeking a relationship
  • parenting conflicts
  • gender transition, including letter-writing for hormones or surgery
  • break-ups
  • career development and navigating the work-life ratio
  • depression

Populations I Serve:

  • individuals adults and couples
  • managers, executives, entrepreneurs, and business owners
  • “type A” personalities
  • LGBTQI communities
  • couples with a partner who is transitioning
  • new parents
  • couples in conflict
  • therapists and mental health professionals
  • open, poly, and non-monogamous relationships
  • undergraduate and graduate students
  • gifted and talented individuals
  • commuters and others needing teletherapy services

Professional background:



Education

  • Doctorate in Clinical Psychology – California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University, San Francisco
  • BA in Psychology – Yale University

Trainings

  • Gottman Method Couples Therapy – Level 3
  • Externship in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT)
  • Relational Life Therapy (Terry Real) – Level 1
  • Discernment Counseling
  • Telehealth for Mental Health Professionals

Previous Employment

  • Stanford University Counseling and Psychological Services
  • Post-Doctoral Residency at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center
  • Pre-Doctoral Internship at University of the Pacific

Licensure

  • Minnesota: LP #5842
  • California: PSY #23007

Jeffrey 5x7

Jeffrey Brunsgaard, MA, LPCC jeffrey@affinitypsych.com

Jeffrey 5x7

Jeffrey Brunsgaard, MA, LPCC

jeffrey@affinitypsych.com

Hi! I’m Jeff Brunsgaard, a licensed professional clinical counselor licensed in Minnesota. I have lived in Minnesota for my entire life, from as far south as Rochester to as far north as Andover. I provide therapy to adolescents, adults, individuals, and couples. I hold a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Winona State University and a master’s degree in Clinical Counseling from the University of St. Thomas’ Graduate School of Professional Psychology.

Professionally I am at my best when I can see a wide range of clients – younger and older, individuals and couples, neurotypical and neurodiverse – all with a wide range of personalities and challenges bringing them to therapy. My training and expertise make me well-suited to work with this breadth of clients, as I pull from a variety of therapeutic approaches in order to meet the needs of each individual person. I have particular interest in working with adolescents, those with neurodevelopmental diagnoses, and individuals who have experienced trauma.




How I Work

I believe in constantly learning, growing, and improving my skills. So I could tell you that I have training in everything from narrative therapy, to solution-focused therapy, to EMDR. But that might not mean much to you, and it probably shouldn’t. Ultimately, all those theories and techniques are simply tools in a toolbox. Our task is to figure out which tools are going to be helpful for you in your unique circumstance.

For us to effectively figure that out, my foremost priority is developing a safe and collaborative relationship with you. With that in place, we will work together to try out the tools, discarding the ones that don’t work and honing your ability to use the ones that do.

As you build confidence in these new skills, you’ll see the discomfort and distress that brought you to therapy begin to transform. You will again find yourself pursuing your aspirations. It is powerful to rediscover those feelings of agency and purpose in your life!


What Sets Me Apart As a Therapist?

One – I love, seriously love, to listen to people’s stories. When you dive deep into the heart of your personal story in therapy, allowing us to really examine and understand your place in that story, then I know we’re on our way to making big things happen for you. I know you’re going to be able to write and re-write the story of your life in a conscious, authentic way.

Two – I am a highly non-judgmental therapist. Your story, your goals, your dreams, your challenges are what make you unique. And your uniqueness is what makes our work together so interesting to me. I believe that there is always room to improve our lives, and I want to follow your direction in terms of setting goals and striving for the improvements you want to achieve. You bring your expertise about yourself and your life, and I bring my clinical expertise. Together, that collaboration allows us to address immediate problems on the way to pursuing your larger aspirations.



Schedule an Appointment!

Issues I Treat:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Trauma
  • Adjustment difficulties and stress
  • Life transitions (phases of life, major life changes)
  • Parenting challenges
  • Relationship issues
  • Identity issues

Populations I Serve:

  • Adults
  • Transitional/Young adults and adolescents
  • Families
  • Parents and caregivers
  • Military, Law Enforcement, and First Responders
  • Survivors
  • Students
  • Professionals

Professional background:



Education

  • MA in Clinical Counseling – University of St. Thomas
  • BA in Psychology – Winona State University

Trainings

  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) through EMDRIA
  • Rising Strong (Brené Brown, Ph.D, LICSW)
  • Telehealth for Mental Health Professionals

Previous employment:

  • Conscious Healing Counseling
  • Fraser
  • Minnesota Autism Center
  • Volunteers of America
  • Practicum at Domestic Abuse Project

Licensure:

  • Minnesota: LPCC #cc01755

Jessica McBride, MPS, LPCC, LADC jessica@affinitypsych.com

Jessica McBride, MPS, LPCC, LADC

jessica@affinitypsych.com

Hi! Welcome to my little blurb! I hope that you feel like you get to know me just a bit. I am a licensed professional clinical counselor and a licensed alcohol and drug counselor. I have a Masters in Professional Studies, a graduate certification in Addiction Studies, and a BA in Psychology, all from the University of Minnesota. I have worked in a gender-specific treatment program for women as a counselor and in leadership roles. I also worked for two years as an addiction therapist in Hong Kong, with the expatriate population. I have seen that, across the world, people are yearning for the same thing: connection. We humans are a funny bunch; what we are yearning for is what we also push away, out of fear of rejection and vulnerability, shame, and low self-worth. I practice what I preach in my own life and I am genuinely excited about helping you do the same!




How I Work

Feminist theory and relational-cultural theory (RCT) are the anchors in the framework of my counseling theory and direct my professional and personal life. Through these theories, connection and empowerment are able to thrive and start the motion of change. When I work with someone, I don’t ask, “why the issue?” I ask, “where is the pain?” I believe in validating each persons individual experience because each person I work with, matters. My belief is that we are ultimately seeking connections, and those connections help us to nurture and cultivate change. To be self-actualized does not mean to be in complete harmony with the path one is on or to not have questions or difficulties. When a human is self-actualized, they are connected to others in empathic, supportive, empowering relationships that foster empathy and support. Together, we will work on accessing all of the strengths that you may not know you have. I am a stickler for language because the words we use about ourselves matter, and together we will build a new and empowering framework for your inner monologue, which sets the foundation for how you ultimately treat yourself.


What Sets Me Apart As a Therapist?

I am highly empathic and in-tune with other people’s emotions and with the energy that is in the session. I really believe in giving you space to feel what you are feeling and empowering you to name it. The space that I create and nurture is safe, respectful, culturally responsive, and empowering. Clients have repeatedly told me that they feel at ease very quickly in my presence. I work with people on seeing and experiencing their own vulnerability as signs of strength and courage; bravery is not about stoicism, it is about authentic connection and allowing yourself the gift of really being “seen.” My clients tell me often that they feel “seen” and heard by me, which is ultimately how trust is built. I value getting to know my clients’ stories and helping them understand how they want to change the narrative, in order to live the most satisfying and fulfilled life possible. Humans are hard-wired for connection and I believe that the connections we have in our lives set the foundation for everything else. I love being a therapist and, dare I say, I do believe that therapy can be a fun and enlightening process! I look forward to working with you.



Schedule an Appointment!

Issues I Treat:

  • Addiction (substance and process)
  • Anxiety
  • Behavioral issues
  • Body image issues
  • Co-occurring disorders
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Family conflict
  • Grief/complicated grief and loss
  • Intimacy issues (physical and emotional)
  • Life transitions
  • Loneliness/isolation
  • Mental health and family issues related to addiction
  • Relationship issues
  • Self-esteem issues
  • Trauma and abuse

Populations I Serve:

  • Adults
  • Young Adults/college age
  • Expatriate population
  • Tele-therapy
  • LGBTQ+ Community
  • Healthcare/licensed professionals
  • HPSP involvement
  • Adults involved in legal system (CP/Probation)

Professional background:



Education

  • Master of Professional Studies in Integrated Behavioral Health – University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
  • Graduate Certification in Alcohol and Drug Counseling
  • BA in Psychology – University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Trainings

  • Level 1 Certification in Narrative Therapy (in progress)
  • Gottman Method Couples Therapy – Level 2
  • DBT
  • Trauma-informed care
  • Relational Cultural Therapy
  • Co-occuring Disorders
  • Telehealth for Mental Health Professionals

Previous Employment

  • Wayside Recovery Center
  • HCMC Addiction Medicine
  • St. John’s Counseling Center

Licensure

  • Minnesota: LPCC #cc01586
  • Minnesota: LADC #303010

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