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

Heather Brinkman, MS, LPCC heather@affinitypsych.com

Heather Brinkman, MS, LPCC

heather@affinitypsych.com

My name is Heather and I am a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC), and a MN LPC and LPCC Board-approved Clinical Supervisor.

First, I want to congratulate you on your courage. Taking the first steps towards therapy can be a very scary feeling and it takes strength to know when to ask for help. So congratulations – you are taking those all-important first steps! I know your struggles are real and can feel overwhelming at times. I also know that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to therapy. Together we can explore the most effective strategies to help you navigate through your current struggles and become a more positive, focused, and confident you.




How I Work

My philosophy about therapy comes from a strong belief that each person has the power to make positive life changes, and my approach is to provide focused guidance when it is too difficult to move forward alone.  If you feel isolated, stuck, or lost, I believe that working together we can help you overcome those not-so-good feelings.

Different people work best with different approaches, and you and I will find the best approach to help you feel comfortable, positive, and motivated.  To do this, we might explore past hurts and challenges, family dynamics, current and past relationships, stressors, accomplishments, achievements, and the list goes on.  I will be there with you to support you and encourage you through the hard parts, and to celebrate your successes. My job is to help you heal and to help you feel empowered, and I always feel honored to be part of that journey.


What Sets Me Apart As a Therapist?

As a multiracial female being raised in an adoptive family, my experiences have helped me understand the importance of understanding diversity and the difficulties that can present. First and foremost, I believe that establishing a rapport is essential to any good relationship, so I make sure that I am always authentic, honest, direct, compassionate, empathetic, and reliable. That also includes laughing a lot, quoting “The Office,” occasional dad jokes, and finding playful ways to work together.  However, the end goal is always a commitment to your success. To quote the great Ted Lasso, “If you care about someone, and you got a little love in your heart, there ain’t nothing you can’t get through together.”


Issues I Treat:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Attachment
  • Trauma (including but not limited to racial trauma, sexual assault, bullying, domestic violence,
  • childhood abuse or neglect)
  • Significant stressors
  • Adoption
  • Abandonment
  • Behavioral issues
  • Racial identity
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Relationship difficulties – specifically interracial relationships
  • Parent-child-family issues
  • Shame and guilt
  • Life transitions
  • Grief and loss
  • Women’s issues

Populations I Serve:

  • Children 7 and older
  • Adolescents
  • Young adults
  • College Students
  • Adults
  • Parents
  • Families
  • Marginalized Populations
  • BIPOC individuals
  • LGBTQIA+

Professional background:



Education

  • Master’s in Mental Health Counseling – Minnesota State University Mankato
  • Bachelor’s in Psychology – Minnesota State University Mankato 

Trainings

  • MN LPC and LPCC Board Approved Supervisor
  • Permanency and Adoption Competency
  • Attachment Theory and Play Therapy
  • Clinical Supervision Training
  • EMDR Therapy Training
  • North Central Association for Counselor Education and Supervision
  • Playing in a Post-Modern World: Narrative, Solution Focused, and Resiliency Based Play Therapy
  • Psychological First Aid
  • Suicide Prevention Summit
  • Ten Core Competencies of Trauma, PTSD, Grief, and Loss
  • Trauma Competent Caregiver Training
  • Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)
  • Trust Based Relational Interventions (TBRI)

Previous Employment

  • Christian Family Solutions
  • Adult, Child and Family Services, LLC

Licensure

  • Minnesota: LPCC # cc02251

Sierra Barger, MA, LMFT sierra@affinitypsych.com

Sierra Barger, MA, LMFT

sierra@affinitypsych.com

Hello there! I’m Sierra and I’m a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I work with teens, adults, parents/guardians, and families who are committed to bringing greater fulfillment and meaning to their lives. I am so glad you are here and working to find the right therapist for yourself or a loved one! Regardless of your specific struggle, I know you’re wondering what you can do to change the way you’re feeling and how you can maintain your well-being throughout life’s ups and downs. You want to believe – and feel! – as though you have control of your life. I can help you explore strategies that will help you manage the difficult experiences impacting your life, so that you can feel confident in the decisions you make day-in and day-out.




How I Work

Relationships, education, and health are the factors I most strongly value and focus on when we’re talking about helping you improve your emotional well-being. I am always dedicated to partnering with you to identify the things that motivate you and help you be your best self. When your mental health is compromised you can experience difficulties with managing responsibilities and taking care of yourself.

Depending on your specific strengths and challenges, we will pull from a wide range of strategies and interventions to figure out how best to get you back on track! I’m not a therapist that thinks a particular approach is best for everyone. Instead, I’m committing to exploring and learning with you what works, why it works, and how you can do more of what works. When all is said and done…YOU call the shots! I thoroughly love teaching and providing information that can improve your overall well-being, but I know the importance of listening to and learning from your unique experiences.


What Sets Me Apart As a Therapist?

Listen, I know I don’t have all the answers to all life’s problems, and I don’t pretend to. But I will never stop trying to find them! I’ll be open-minded, validating, humorous, and direct in our work together, as I encourage you to keep looking for those answers as well. Growing up and identifying as a multiracial woman, I’ve had the privilege of learning at an early age how to acknowledge, accept, and celebrate differences. Diverse experiences are something I particularly love holding space for in my work with clients.



Issues I Treat:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Relationship issues
  • Foster Care
  • Adoption
  • Domestic violence or abuse
  • Eating Disorders
  • Life transitions
  • Parenting
  • Pregnancy, prenatal, postpartum
  • Racial identity
  • School issues
  • Self esteem
  • Sexual abuse
  • Trauma

Populations I Serve:

  • Children (6+)
  • Adolescents
  • Adults
  • Parents
  • Families
  • Marginalized Populations

Professional background:



Education

  • Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy- University of St. Thomas
  • Bachelors in Clinical Psychology- Augsburg University 

Trainings

  • Circle of Security Parenting (COS)
  • Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFCBT)
  • Diagnostic Classification of Mental Health and Developmental Disorders of Infancy and Early Childhood (DC:0-5)

Previous Employment

  • St. David’s Center for Child and Family Development
  • People Incorporated
  • Nystrom & Associates Ltd.

Licensure

  • Minnesota, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, 3437

Denise Wing, MA, LMFTdenise@affinitypsych.com

Denise Wing, MA, LMFT

denise@affinitypsych.com

Hello! My name is Denise. Thank you for the opportunity to introduce myself. I am a licensed marriage and family therapist with an extensive practice history in both acute short-term settings and as a long-term out-patient therapist. I earned my graduate degree in psychotherapy and counseling at the Alfred Adler Graduate School in MN. It has been my privilege and passion to utilize my years of experience to now focus on work with adults of all ages. Our work together would likely center on guiding and deepening understanding about root problems affecting you, as well as identifying your strengths and building appreciation of yourself while making sense of your story. We will collaborate to support and further develop your hopes for the future.




How I Work

I work from a belief that to understand oneself is to love oneself. Much emotional pain and suffering can be centered and sustained by factors developed at times in our lives when we had little say or help in making meaning of what is happening around us. This can lead not only to mental health symptoms but also deep feelings of inadequacy, guilt, doubt, and confusion about ourselves, our interactions with others and life in general. My job is to build trust and understanding in the therapeutic relationship so that it can be uniquely used for your healing and empowerment. Along the way, we will consider parts of your story that have gone unprivileged when problems are too strong. These are your real, but perhaps underdeveloped plots, subplots, and counter plots of your life story. Once considered and thickened, thy can create a sense of being transported (not unlike a moving novel or movie.) I believe good therapy is both artful and scientific in its approach and theory.


What Sets Me Apart As a Therapist?

I continually work hard to understand the needs of those that choose to consult with me and recognize the great honor of being allowed to do this work. I know that some people need help feeling contained, some need a reflective surface in which to see parts of themselves so they can feel whole. Others need a relationship in order to process and make sense of their lives while experiencing the unconditional regard they deserve. While many clients have noted a sense of fulfillment around getting to the root of what they consider problems in their lives, I will always honor your timing, emotional safety, and control in the therapy process.



Issues I Treat:

  • Depression
  • Self-esteem/self-worth issues
  • Trauma and abuse issues
  • Developmental trauma including exposure to violence/disaster, neglect, bullying and other emotional abuses, assault and chronic distress in childhood
  • PTSD
  • Family of origin issues and dynamics
  • Anxiety, worry, panic episodes and chronic stress
  • Parenting challenges
  • Anger/aggression
  • Chronic interpersonal conflict
  • Grief
  • Shame or excessive guilt

Populations I Serve:

  • Adults of all ages
  • Creatives
  • People interested in understanding themselves on a deeper level
  • Parents

Professional background:



Education

  • The Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis, MN

  • Alfred Adler Graduate School, Richfield, MN


Trainings

  • Two year Psychoanalytic Training Course, Minneapolis Psychoanalytic Society and Institute (“MPSI”)

  • Eight years of specialized analytic supervision with MPSI Analysts

  • Narrative Therapy Certification Training

  • Several years of Advanced Narrative Therapy study/learning group


Previous Employment

  • PrairieCare Medical Group – Edina Partial Hospitalization Program, Woodbury Outpatient Clinic

  • Family Innovation, Anoka, Eden Prairie

  • Perspectives Supportive Housing Program, St. Louis Park


Licensure

  • MN Marriage and Family Therapist, License #1812

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

Kelsey Miller, MA, LPCC kelsey@affinitypsych.com

Kelsey Miller, MA, LPCC

kelsey@affinitypsych.com

Welcome! Look at you reading a therapist’s bio and taking a big step towards improving your mental health! I’m Kelsey and I’m a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and MN Board Approved Supervisor. I work with children, adolescents, young adults, adults, and parents. I have a background in working with adoption as well as children in foster care. I specialize in helping those that struggle with anxiety, depression, transitions, life stressors, relationships, and parenting difficulties. I have a Masters in Counseling from the University of North Dakota. I look forward to helping you explore, challenge, and re-frame the factors that are preventing you from living the life you want.




How I Work

The three hardest things to say: 1. I was wrong. 2. I need help. 3. Worcestershire Sauce. As a therapist I am humorous, genuine, direct, passionate, validating, and creative. I take the context of your life experiences and help you understand how they link to your current challenges. This could be reflecting on how you were parented and the challenges you currently have with your children or how the way you handle certain life stressors impact how you handle stressors in other areas of your life.

Also, you will learn that I bring LOTS of interventions to our sessions! I use different tools and techniques depending on the exact needs of my clients. This could be crafts and books to support children and adolescents who are working through difficult experiences. Or visual aids (which I LOVE) to explain why “we do what we do” when we feel different emotions or have reminders of past painful experiences. And as you can tell, I enjoy bringing humor and motivational quotes to sessions as a way to lighten the mood and allow you to leave the office feeling ready and able to take on big changes!


What Sets Me Apart As a Therapist?

I show up to sessions ready to create a space with you where you feel comfortable being vulnerable. When you are going through some of the most challenging parts of your life, you need someone who will be right there with you. I think of us as partners on this journey, and I truly value that you allow me to be a part of your process. There is no better professional gratification than seeing you take what you’ve learned in session and begin to use it in your own life!



Issues I Treat:

  • LGBTQIA+ issues
  • Trauma
  • Anxiety
  • Life Stressors
  • Adoption
  • Foster Care
  • Parenting Challenges
  • Behavioral Issues
  • Depression
  • Self-esteem
  • Relationship Issues
  • Parent-Child
  • Relationship Difficulties

Populations I Serve:

  • Individual Adults
  • Adolescents and Young Adults
  • Children 7 and older with anxiety difficulties
  • Blended-Families
  • Parents with young children

Professional background:



Education

  • Masters in Counseling – University of North Dakota
  • Bachelors in Rehabilitation and Human Services- University of North Dakota

Trainings

  • MN LPCC Board-Approved Supervisor
  • Certified Circle of Security Parent Facilitator
  • Certification in Permanency and Adoption Competency
  • Certification in Trauma Focused- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Previous Employment

  • St. David’s Center for Child and Family Development
  • Clinical Team Lead of the Treatment Foster Care Program
  • Clinical Supervisor in the Intensive Family Mental Health Program providing individual/family psychotherapy and clinical supervision.

License

  • Minnesota: LPCC #cc01511

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

Matthew “Matt” Thompson, MA, LPCC matt@affinitypsych.com

Matthew “Matt” Thompson, MA, LPCC

matt@affinitypsych.com

Hi! I’m a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and hold a Master of Arts in Counseling from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. I work with adults and older adolescents who are looking to figure out how to have a happier, more rewarding, or less lonely time on planet Earth.

I became a therapist because I don’t want anyone to have to go it alone. The world can be unfair, frightening, stubborn, and lonely. I know the power of one person taking the time to listen and care. I hope I can be that person for you.




How I Work

There are as many ways to do therapy as there are therapists in the world, so everyone’s got their own set of beliefs and expectations about what it means to be in therapy. Here’s what it means to me: therapy is a conversation and a journey of exploration. Sometimes we look at big questions. What do you want out of your life? What’s getting in the way? What do you wish was different? Sometimes the questions are a little smaller. Are you having trouble saying something to someone? How do you feel about your job? What are you having trouble with right now?

Either way, I strive to create a space where your story is heard and taken seriously. It’s easy to talk ourselves out of prioritizing our feelings, needs, and boundaries only to end up feeling stuck, unhappy, and alone. My job is to help you become your best resource in order to make positive change. I will listen with an open mind to help you explore how your past experiences have shaped both your present and your expectations of the future. I will also provide honest feedback and challenge you to take ownership of the power you have in your life. Together, we’ll chart a course that allows you to move forward and make the changes you want.


What Sets Me Apart As a Therapist?

I believe who we are and what we value is reflected in our hobbies, views on current events, and everything else we spend time and attention thinking about. I want to hear about what’s important to you, not just what’s weighing you down.

As a therapist, I embrace my own humanity, meaning my individual experiences, quirks, and limitations play a role in our work together. I don’t promote a rigid single model of what it means to be mentally healthy and I don’t presume to be an authority on every person’s life experience. Therapy works not because I have all the answers that apply to everyone, but because we can team up and share our unique perspectives to figure out the answers that are right and helpful to you.

Also, I use a lot of hastily-improvised nautical and automotive metaphors that inevitably fall apart halfway through and go off the rails. Train metaphors, too, apparently.



Issues I Treat:

  • Life Transitions
  • Adjustment issues
  • Romantic/Family Relationships
  • Peer/Colleague/Friend Relationships
  • Identity Exploration
  • Men’s Issues
  • Toxic Masculinity
  • Grief & Loss
  • Anger
  • Anxiety & Stress
  • Depression
  • Self-esteem
  • School/Work/Life Balance

Populations I Serve:

  • Adults
  • Motivated Adolescents
  • Undergraduate/Graduate Students
  • LGBTQIA+
  • Nerds, punks, misfits, and others who never felt they had a place to belong

Professional background:



Education

  • MA in Counseling & Psychological Services – Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota – Minneapolis, MN

  • BA in Theatre Arts & Japanese – University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, WI

Previous Employment

  • Headway Emotional Health
  • Radias Health (formerly South Metro Human Services)
  • Walk-In Counseling Center
  • Prior work in fields of Information Technology & International Education

Licensure

  • MN: LPCC #2226

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