Meet the Clinical Team

Jeff Agaton Howes
MSW, LADC

HDC Program: St. Louis County Adult Outpatient Therapy

Certifications: MSW, LGSW, LADC, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR I & II)

University: University of Minnesota – Duluth, University of Wisconsin Superior, and Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College

Areas of Professional Interest: Working with adults and young adults experiencing a wide range of human experiences including grief & loss, addiction, depression, anxiety, and trauma.

About Me: I was born in Olongapo City in the Philippines and grew up in the Midwest United States. Currently, I live with my beautiful and talented wife on the Fond du Lac Reservation with our two kids, two dogs, and chickens. I enjoy practicing Aikido, sailing my catamaran, and attempting to not drown with my new hobby of scuba diving.

Why HDC: I am fortunate to be part of a team at HDC where we value access to affordable, quality, culturally respectful mental health services that fosters hope, self-determination, and recovery. I enjoy being alongside, listening to, and bearing witness to the many stories of people that live here in the Northland. It’s an honor to work with my peers and with people from this community.

Haley Aldinger
MSW, LICSW

HDC Program: St. Louis County Adult Outpatient Therapy

Certifications: MSW, LGSW, and Eye Movement and Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR) trained 

University: University of Minnesota – Duluth

Areas of Professional Interest: Working with adults and adolescents experiencing mental health concerns and am interested in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).

About Me: Whether it is being on a pontoon or four-wheeling with friends, I love spending time outside! I also enjoy shopping, traveling everywhere and anywhere, trying new restaurants, and spending hours watching Friends on Netflix.

Why HDC: One of the biggest reasons that I work in community mental health is because I want to empower and strengthen the self-determination for all individuals in a broad spectrum of populations and backgrounds. HDC works hard to empower everyone’s right to self-determination, while respecting their dignity and need for healthy connection with their community.

Samantha Arneson
MSW, LGSW

HDC Program: Saint Louis County Child and Family

Certifications: MSW, LGSW, TF-CBT, EFT, CBITS, and Bounce Back

University: University of Minnesota – Duluth, College of Saint Scholastica

Areas of Professional Interest: Children and Families, Trauma, Anxiety, and Depression

About Me: I enjoy spending time outside, whether that be running, hiking, or agate picking. I also enjoy being at home looking at Pinterest for my next knitted or crocheted project.

Why HDC: I chose HDC because I see the impact this agency has on the community. HDC has set roots down in the community and schools to help gain better access to mental health services and normalize what it means to get help.

Anna Balsimo
MSW, LGSW

HDC Program: St. Louis County Adult Outpatient Therapy

Certifications: Bachelors of Science in Psychology from UMD, Bachelors of Arts in Criminology from UMD, MSW and LGSW from College of St. Scholastica, Certified Peer Support Specialist

University: University of Minnesota Duluth, College of St. Scholastica

Areas of Professional Interest: Criminal justice, jail/prison systems, rehabilitation, restorative justice, young adult population, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, trauma, CBT, EMDR, and somatic experiencing.

About Me: I am someone who also struggles with mental health issues, and I am on my path to recovery. I am in the mental health field to help normalize mental health concerns and help others on their paths to recovery. My partner and I live in Duluth with our cat, gerbils, fish, and many other small animals. I enjoy photography, playing video and board games, hiking, binge-watching TV, and taking care of others. I am looking forward to working with many of you!

Why HDC: HDC has supported me since the beginning when I first graduated from UMD with my undergrad degrees. The agency has supported me as I worked on my MSW degree along with providing me internships and schedule accommodation. HDC is a great nonprofit organization that supports our community. I cannot wait to help HDC grow, expand, and provide more services to our community. Mental health is important and should not be stigmatized. All human beings are worthy and deserve equitable access to mental health and physical health care.

Racheal Barnaal
MSW, LGSW

HDC Program: St. Louis County Outpatient Therapy

Certifications: Eye Movement and Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR) trained and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)

University: The College of St. Scholastica

Areas of Professional Interest: Grief and loss, depression, anxiety, trauma, and life changes throughout the stages of adulthood.

About Me: I enjoy cooking, reading, and spending time with  family and friends.

Why HDC: Community Mental Health is inspiring because I am provided the opportunity to work with a diverse and unique population. Working at HDC and within my community has been and continues to be rewarding. 

 

 

Shannon Bayless
MSW, LGSW

HDC Program: St. Louis County Child and Family

Certifications: MSW, LGSW, TF-CBT, CBITS, and EMDR

University: College of St. Scholastica

Areas of Professional Interest: School-age and adolescent children, Depression, Anxiety, and Trauma

About Me: Most of my free time is spent coaching cheerleading or with my family and my dog.

Why HDC: I completed my clinical internship with HDC and was exposed to the coordination between clinical care and supportive services, as well as the school-based mental health services HDC provides. I view this service coordination as quality client care, and it was something I wanted to continue to be a part of.

Tanya Bednarek
MSW, LGSW, LADC

HDC Program: Addiction Services

Certifications: Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor

University: University of Wisconsin – Superior, College of St. Scholastica, Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College 

Areas of Professional Interest: Addiction/Substance Use, Trauma, and Attachment, the neuroscience of addiction and relationships, ABC, Relational Cultural Theory and Somatic Literacy, and EMDR.

About Me: My hobbies and interests include reading, continuing education, painting, and baton twirling.

Why HDC: I have always had a connection and understanding of people’s struggles with addiction and mental health. In today’s world, the need to work with individuals who are suffering is high and having compassionate people working in this profession is a dire need. I feel blessed to be one of those people. When I completed my undergraduate program, I applied to work at HDC because of the reputation it has within the community. I quickly found that I enjoyed the atmosphere I work in, and it was unlike any other place I have been employed. I am also very fortunate that I have been supported by the agency as I continue my education and grow as a professional. I feel that HDC has great employees that truly care about the populations they serve and providing treatment within HDC’s mission statement.

Lauren Borndal
MSW, LGSW

HDC Program: Child and Family Team

Certifications/Licenses: MSW, LGSW

University: University of Wisconsin-Superior, College of St. Scholastica

Areas of Professional Interest: Children and Families, Trauma, Anxiety, Depression

About Me: Outside of work, I can be found with my two dogs, crafting, and spending time with my family. I enjoy beach vacations, summertime at the lake, and new experiences.  

Why HDC: I worked for HDC as a CTSS Practitioner prior to joining the Clinical Team, and I appreciate the integrated approach to treatment with the wide variety of services available to members of the community.

Eric Carlson
MSW, LICSW

HDC Program: St. Louis County Community Support Programs

Certifications: MSW, LICSW, Clinical Supervisor

University: College of St. Scholastica

Areas of Professional Interest: I primarily work with adults, from a variety of backgrounds. I enjoy engaging people around their strengths and am grateful for the opportunity to connect with people every day. I appreciate playing a role in the development of new staff entering this field.

About Me:  My free time can include hiking, camping, and biking. I also spend a lot of my time playing guitar, listening to music, drawing, cooking, and spending quality time with my partner and our two cats.   

Why HDC: I appreciate the variety of services HDC has to offer. HDC has access to many grant programs that allow us to provide services to individuals who may not be eligible otherwise. Lastly, the quality of teamwork and coordination at HDC is second to none. These things truly make HDC a great place to work. 

Vicki Chaffee
LADC

HDC Program: Addiction Services

Certifications: LADC

University: Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College; University of Wisconsin – Superior

Areas of Professional Interest: I enjoy learning about psychology, mental health, and substance abuse.

About Me: I was a server for 30 years. Two years ago, at the age of 47, I decided to go back to school. I have lived in Duluth and Cloquet all my life. I have been married for 16 years. I have three kids, ages 24, 22, and 19; two daughters and a son. I became a grandma in March for the first time and it is the best thing ever. My son, daughter, her boyfriend, and the baby live with us. My other daughter lives in Hawaii. I love to travel. For our 25th Anniversary we were lucky enough to join a friend on a trip to Africa which was the trip of a lifetime. 

Why HDC: I attended the Fond du Lac LADC program and now am at UWS to finish my Bachelor’s. I am always interested in learning something new. I did my internship at HDC, I love the team I work with, and appreciate how organized, and well-run the program is. I love what I do, I love working at HDC, and I am very fortunate to have this opportunity to make a difference.

Melissa Clark
MSW, LGSW

HDC Program: Carlton County Assertive Community Treatment 

Certifications/Licensures: MSW, LGSW 

University: College of St. Scholastica and Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College 

Areas of Professional Interest: Working with severe and persistent mental illness, trauma-based disorders, and dual diagnosis. Interested in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Somatic Experiencing, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.  

About me: I love spending my free time immersed in numerous genres of novels, spending time with family and friends, and roaming the shore of Lake Superior with my dog. I also enjoy relaxing with my cat, traveling, and finding the best places to eat.

Why HDC? HDC’s mission, comprehensive and integrated set of services, dedication to clients, and dedication to staff is why I work here.  I am grateful to be part of such a great team, doing such great work, and I am thankful of all the support HDC had offered to me through my academic and career aspirations.   

Kylie Cochran
MSW, LGSW

HDC Program: Adult Outpatient Therapy

Certifications: MSW, LGSW

University: College of St. Scholastica, University of Wisconsin-Superior,

Areas of Professional Interest:  Anxiety, Depression, Personality Disorders, Trauma-Informed Care, LGBTQIA+,

About Me: In my time outside of work, I enjoy hiking, snowshoeing, and cooking. I also enjoy playing and listening to music.   

Why HDC: HDC strives to provide integrated, high-quality care to everyone in our community. 

Erin Durkee
LAMFT

HDC Program: St Louis County Child and Family Program

Certifications/Licensures: MA

University: University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, California Institute for Integral Studies

Areas of Professional Interest: Trauma, LGBTQIA+, Children and Families, Couples, Somatic Psychotherapy

About Me: Coming to the Northland after 10 years in San Francisco, CA, I have enjoyed getting to know Duluth and the surrounding communities. In my free time, you’ll find me riding my bikes, running or learning how to ski in the winter.

Why HDC: Community mental health is important to me because people rely on their communities to build resilience, a sense of place, empowerment and meaning, which are core components of mental health in my practice. For me, HDC’s mission incorporates these values and the people who work for HDC don’t just care, they are part the communities they work in.

Deb Ellison
MSW, LICSW

HDC Program: Lake County Outpatient Therapy

Certifications: MSW, LICSW, Clinical Supervisor

University: University of Minnesota – Duluth

Areas of Professional Interest: Addictions Treatment, Trauma Work, General Mental Health Counseling, and Geriatric Populations.   

About Me: In my spare time I enjoy hiking, spending time with friends, and just hanging out at my home on the North Shore. I love to cook (and eat)! 

Why HDC: HDC has an inclusive mission statement, and in my almost 16 years of working here, I have found no hint or evidence of anything but professional, respectful services to our clients.

Sara Fijalkiewicz
MSW, LGSW

HDC Program:  St. Louis County Adult Outpatient Therapy

Certifications:  MSW, LGSW

University: College of St. Scholastica, University of Wisconsin – Superior

Areas of Professional Interest:  Working with mostly adults who are experiencing a wide variety of mental health symptoms, lifestyle changes, addictions, and trauma.

About Me: In my free time I enjoy spending time with my friends and family. I love traveling to new places. I am an avid sports fan for both professional sports and my child’s teams!

Why HDC: I chose HDC because of the positive impact HDC is having in the community. HDC continues to provide the best care and services possible.

Theresa Gogins
MSW, LGSW

HDC Program: Carlton County Outpatient Therapy  

Certifications: MSW, LGSW

University: Bethel University; College of St. Scholastica

Areas of Professional Interest: Trauma Informed Practice: Children – Adults.

About Me: I was born and raised in the Twin Cities and moved to the Duluth area in 2017. I love spending my down time in nature, going on hikes with my husband and our dog, or just taking a drive up the North Shore. I also enjoy cooking and trying cuisine from around the world.

Why HDC: For me, community mental health is incredibly important. Working alongside individuals dealing with their mental health is a wonderful experience, and HDC provides me that opportunity. It’s amazing to watch the positive transformations individuals make for themselves.

Lindsay Hansen
MSW, LGSW

HDC Program: St. Louis County Adult Outpatient Therapy  

Certifications: MSW, LGSW

University: University of Wisconsin Superior, College of St. Scholastica

Areas of Professional Interest: Trauma, Mindfulness, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Somatic Experiencing, Addiction, Grief and Loss, Restorative Practices and Restorative Justice, SPMI, and Relational Cultural Theory and LGBTQIA+.

About Me: I like to spend time with my partner and our dog, Sygge. We spend time enjoying our families and being active in the community together. I enjoy roller skating, cooking, gardening, music, movies crafting, and a whole bunch of other nerdy things!

Why HDC: HDC recognizes the importance of access, inclusivity, and reducing the stigma surrounding mental health care. I enjoy working for an organization that values the people it serve and honors people’s own visions for their lives and recoveries.

Mikayla Head
MSW, LGSW

HDC Program: St. Louis County Child and Family

Certifications: MSW, LGSW

University: College of St. Scholastica

Areas of Professional Interest: Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy within a client centered model

About Me: I enjoy spending time with my family and enjoying nature. 

Why HDC: I chose to work in the Community Mental Health realm because I feel that working on a micro level is rewarding. I enjoy working with individuals on a personal level in order to foster positive relationships and build a sense of community.

Taushia Henkel-Johnson
MS, LPCC

HDC Program: St. Louis County Child and Family Team

Certifications: MS, LPCC, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Emotion-Focused Couples Therapy (EFT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Lifespan Developmental Psychology

University: College of St. Scholastica and Indiana State University

Areas of Professional Interest: Working with survivors of trauma, grief, anxiety disorders, couples therapy, repairing parent-child relationships that are impacted by factors such as parental substance use, depression, and childhood behavioral concerns.

About Me: I have 2 dogs – an English Springer Spaniel and a Golden Retriever! I grew up in a rural farming community (Crookston, MN), and I have 6 nieces and nephews who could make my heart explode with love. I got last place in my junior high track meets several times, and I have the ribbons to prove it!

Why HDC: As a therapist, I wanted to make sure that I was not only serving clients who were privileged enough to have wonderful healthcare that covers all of/most of the cost of therapy but also those who could not afford to pay out of pocket for the service. It is important to me that I serve a diverse range of clients. I love that HDC has a sliding-fee scale considering a client’s income/ability to pay for services. I also love the emphasis on integrative care (collaborating with psychiatry, case management, primary care doctors, teachers, etc). Additionally, I highly value the extensive training in assessing and treating trauma—rather than chasing behaviors, HDC always assesses for and treats trauma that may be contributing to disruptive behavior. I have experienced some significant loss in my life, and I often wish my family and I had a place like HDC to go to for help when I was younger.         

 

Mark Hunt
MA, LPCC

HDC Program: Carlton County Outpatient Therapy

Certifications: Co-occurring Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders. Eye Movement and Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR) Trained, and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) Trained

University: Adler Graduate School

Areas of Professional Interest: Trauma, Midlife Transitions, and Addictions.

Why HDC: I chose Community Mental Health because I like being part of helping a small community thrive.

Meg Justison
MSW, LGSW

HDC Program: Carlton County Outpatient Therapy

University: The College of Saint Scholastica Kids and trauma

About Me: I love being outside and hanging out with my dog. Hiking is our favorite 🙂 

Why HDC: I chose HDC because of the integrated way of treatment and all the staff. Everyone is willing to help and support you no matter what.

Ashley Kamantauskas
MSW, LICSW

HDC Program: Lake County Outpatient Therapy

Certifications: MSW, LGSW

University: University of Minnesota – Duluth

Areas of Professional Interest: Women’s Issues, Anxiety/Depression, and Trauma.

About Me: I live in Duluth and enjoy spending time with my family and beachcombing for agates and sea glass.

Why HDC: Mental health issues are just as real and important as physical health challenges and should be addressed as such. Healing should come from a multi-dimensional approach including support from friends and family, psychotherapy, appropriate medications, substance abuse treatment, physical health care, hobbies/interests, and spirituality. Often times, individuals who live in smaller communities have fewer resources available to them. I am grateful to be able to provide guidance and help clients see their challenges and strengths in a new way.

Taryn Lepisto
MSW, LGSW

HDC Program: St. Louis County Child and Family

Certifications: MSW, LGSW, TF-CBT, CBITS, MAP, and Motivational Interviewing

University: College of St. Scholastica

Areas of Professional Interest: Families, adolescents, psychosis, trauma work, depression, and anxiety.

About Me: I love spending time with my dog and my family. I grew up in Duluth and have lived here most of my life. I like to travel when I get the chance. When I’m not traveling or spending time with my dog, I like to craft and read.

Why HDC: I like being apart of what HDC stands for and what the agency brings to this community. HDC can reach so many different people and provide so many different resources.

Cody Lindquist
LADC

HDC Program: Addiction Services

Certifications: LADC

University: College of St. Scholastica

Areas of Professional Interest:  Addiction and Mental Health services.

About Me/Why HDC: I am a person in long-term recovery, and as a result, I know what it is like to walk in the shoes of our clients. Having recovered from my own addiction and mental health issues in the past places me in a position to be of maximum service to those seeking recovery themselves.

Abigail Lingwall
MSW, LICSW

HDC Program: Lake County outpatient Services

Certifications: MSW, LICSW, TF-CBT, PCIT, DC0-5

University: College of Saint Scholastica 

Areas of Professional Interest: I am most passionate about working with young children, adolescents, and their families.  

About Me: I live with my partner and our dog just outside of Duluth, MN. I enjoy spending my free time doing nearly anything outdoors including hiking, biking, kayaking, running, and camping. I am passionate about traveling and exploring new places. My family is very important to me, and I love watching my nephews and nieces grow up. 

Why HDC: I chose HDC because the agency’s integrated approach to services and commitment to community partnerships and clients is admirable and aligns with both my personal and professional goals as a mental health professional. I am grateful to be part of such a dedicated, passionate, and knowledgeable team! 

Matt Livingston
LADC

HDC Program: Addiction Services 

Certifications: LADC 

University: Lawrence University; New England Conservatory; Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College

Areas of Professional Interest: Pursuing an MSW and/or Personal Trainer/Health Coach certification. 

About Me: I consider myself fully retired from the music field. I enjoy staying busy, helping others, and signing up for the occasional ultramarathon. 

Why HDC: HDC’s brand of comprehensive behavioral health continues to help so many in our community. I am so proud to be a part of it.

Paige Lorenz
MSW, LGSW, LADC

HDC Program: St. Louis County Adult Outpatient Therapy & St. Louis County Adult Addiction Services

Certifications: MSW, LGSW, LADC/Chemical Dependency

University: Fond Du Lac Community College, University of Minnesota- Duluth, College of St. Scholastica

Areas of Professional Interest: Dual-Diagnoses/Co-Occurring Disorder, Trauma- Informed Care, LGBTQIA+, Ethical-Non-Monogamy, Women’s Issues, Depression, Anxiety

About Me: I live in Duluth and enjoy spending time hiking and running in the outdoors. I also enjoy playing video games, board games, and all things Harry Potter. During my free time I enjoy making new recipes and crafts.

Why HDC: Mental Health and Addiction impacts more than an individual, but the community in which they live. HDC fosters community services that uplift and support our community members so that, we may become stronger together. I believe in comprehensive services that can aid individuals in accomplishing their goals and dreams.

Jaime Mallory
MSEd, LPCC

HDC Program: Carlton County

Certifications: PACC (Permanency and Adoption Competency Certificate), TF-CBT, Early Childhood Certified, MSEd, and LPCC

University: University of Wisconsin – Superior

Areas of Professional Interest: Trauma-based therapy, Clinical Supervision, teaching others, and clients of all ages. 

About Me: I love spending time with my family, friends, and children. Seeing my children learning, growing, and becoming their own people is amazing and rewarding. I enjoy picking agates, singing, bowling, and reading. 

Why HDC: I love working for an agency that works so hard to help others. I see the passion that HDC has for supporting our communities and feel lucky to be a part of that. 

Mariah McAndrew
MSW, LGSW

HDC Program: St. Louis County Adult Outpatient Therapy

Certifications: MSW, Temporary LGSW

University: University of Minnesota – Duluth

Areas of Professional Interest: Working with children, adolescents, and adults experiencing a wide range of human experiences including traumatic or stress related events, depression, anxiety, and addiction.  I am interested in Dialectal Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT) with couples, and mindfulness-based interventions.

About Me: I enjoy spending time out in nature backpacking, gardening, biking, and exploring! I also love music and am attempting to teach myself how to play the guitar!

Why HDC: I completed my clinical internship at HDC and was exposed to the exceptional services they have to offer while truly caring about the people they serve. I wanted to continue to be a part of an organization that is making a positive difference in the community and empowers people in their life journeys.

Bethany Miletich
MSW, LGSW

HDC Program: Child and Family Team

Certifications: MSW, LGSW

University: University of St. Thomas/St. Kate’s School of Social Work (Clinical Social Work Program)

Areas of Professional Interest: I enjoy working with teenagers, helping them sort out their emotions and figuring themselves out. I also enjoy working with the families of teenagers to facilitate better communication, empathy, and understanding between them and their kid(s). I have worked with teens, kids, and families helping them navigate through trauma, anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicidal ideation, and coping with the developmental changes that go along with growing up. I am all about promoting self-love and self-worth. I love helping kids, teens, and families grow and become confident in their ability to make positive changes.

About Me: I grew up in small town MN, then spent several years in the twin cities before realizing that living on the north shore could not be beat. I have three daughters who have taught me a lot about humility, patience, love, and being flexible. I love hiking, reading, fishing, SUMMER, and talking about complex topics with people who agree and disagree with me.

Why HDC: When I moved up to Duluth, it became very clear that HDC was a respected member of the mental health community. It’s important to me to work with people and for an organization that not only cares about people, but has the ability to follow through with providing a level of service that is commendable.

Maureen Neustel
MSW, LGSW

HDC Program: Child and Family Outpatient

Certifications: MSW, LGSW

University: College of Saint Scholastica

Areas of Professional Interest: Adolescents and Young Adults

About Me: I love to travel, especially to the mountains where I enjoy skiing. At home I love to cook and bake, and spend time with friends and family.

Why HDC: HDC’s commitment to integrated and comprehensive care is important to me as a clinician who values whole person care and community accessibility.  

Cortni Osterhues
MSW, LICSW

HDC Program: St. Louis County Child and Family

Certifications: MSW, LGSW, TF-CBT, DC: 0-5, and Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up for Infants (ABC)

University: College of St. Scholastica

Areas of Professional Interest: Early Childhood (Ages 0-5) and trauma and family work.

About Me: When not at the office, my time is spent with my Goldendoodle, going for walks, hanging out at the dog park, and spoiling him with treats and cuddles.

Why HDC: I chose to work at HDC because of my interest in working with the Early Childhood population to provide preventative and trauma-informed services to young children and their families.

 

Virginia Pappas
MSEd, LPCC

HDC Program: Carlton County Outpatient Therapy

Certifications: LPCC

University: University of Wisconsin – Superior 

Areas of Professional Interest: Substance Abuse, Depression, Anxiety, Eating Disorders, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills.

About Me: I love dogs, movies, being outdoors, knitting, crocheting, and Lake Superior.

Why HDC: As a therapist, I want to be involved in coordinated care and the availability of mental health treatment to every person who needs care.

Rachel Phillips
MSW, LICSW, LADC

HDC Program: Addiction Services and Adult Outpatient Therapy 

Certifications: MSW, LICSW, LADC, EMDR

University: University Wisconsin – Superior; University of Minnesota – Duluth; Fond Du Lac Tribal and Community College

Areas of Professional Interest: Trauma, Addiction, Treatment Groups, Depression, Anxiety, and Eating Disorders.

About Me: I strive to do something I love on a daily basis, like running, spending time in nature, being with my family, or training my dog to be service certified. 

Why HDC: I chose HDC nearly ten years ago because I believe in our mission statement: “Helping those most in need improves the quality of life for all.” The work we do here helps reduce the stigma of receiving mental health services, and that’s very important to me.

Jean Pierce
MA, LP

HDC Program: Carlton County Outpatient Therapy

Certifications: Licensed Psychologist

University: University of Minnesota – Duluth

Areas of Professional Interest: Working with the full range of mental and behavioral health diagnoses across all ages (infants, children, adolescents, and adults).

About Me: I have lived in this area for 43 years. I have three adult children and five wonderful grandchildren. This area is fantastic and beautiful and has been great for me as I love to skate, ski, walk by the lake, agate hunt, and feed the birds and all other creatures that live in my backyard. My family loves to return to this area to enjoy all that Duluth and the surrounding area provides.

Why HDC: Community mental health breaks down the barriers for receiving treatment for mental health and addiction services by providing more people the opportunity to recover while maintaining family relationships, social relationships, and work schedules. HDC staff recognize and validate the needs of our clients as our first priority. HDC has given me the opportunity to learn a tremendous amount about mental health and life in general via training, consultation with knowledgeable colleagues, and exposure to a wide range children, adolescents, and adults. I have experienced a supportive, flexible, respectful, and responsive culture while being employed at HDC.

Alli Pikul
MSW, LICSW

HDC Program: St. Louis County Child and Family

Certifications: MSW, LICSW, TF-CBT, EMDR, DC 0-5, LGSW, and LPC Clinical Supervisor

University: University of North Dakota

Areas of Professional Interest: Children and Families, Traumatic or Stressful Events.

About Me: I enjoy spending my free time baking and cooking or being active. I often spend time hiking or with my family and friends at the lake.

Why HDC: I feel passionate about community mental health because as a service agency, HDC allows us to work more comprehensively with our clients. I was originally drawn to HDC because of the agency’s prioritization of evidence-based treatment models and school-based therapeutic services.

KayLa Polson
MSED, LPCC

HDC Program: St. Louis County Child and Family

Certifications: MSEd, LPCC, and EMDR Trained

University: University of Wisconsin – Superior

Areas of Professional Interest: Trauma, First Episode Psychosis, and postpartum mental health .

About Me: I enjoy running, yarning, reading, but most of all, spending time with my family.

 

Cecelia Preston
MSW, LGSW

HDC Program: St. Louis County Adult Outpatient Therapy

Certifications: MSW, LGSW

University: College of St. Scholastica

Areas of Professional Interest: I enjoy working with adults throughout the lifespan who may be experiencing anxiety, depression, grief, trauma, psychosis, and various life stressors. My particular areas of interest include First Episode Psychosis, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Co-Occurring Disorders, and Relational Cultural Theory.

About Me: Outside of work, you can find me snowshoeing or reading a good book in the winter months and by the lake combing for sea glass and soaking up the sunshine for the remainder of the year. I am usually crafting or creating and spending time with my beloved pets and family.

Why HDC: I started working at HDC as an ARMHS provider and Targeted Case Manager and have experienced great support from the agency every step of the way. I admire HDC’s involvement with community partners and dedication to meet the diverse needs of our community. I am grateful to be a part of an organization that provides integrated care and recognizes the importance of fostering connection.

Kiley Pronschinske
MSW, LGSW

HDC Program: Carlton County Outpatient Therapy

Certifications: MSW, LGSW

University: College of St. Scholastica

Areas of Professional Interest: Children and Adult Community Mental Health services.

About Me: Outside of work, I can be found outdoors, hiking, reading, watching sports, attending concerts, or visiting friends and family.

Why HDC: The Human Development Center is a wonderful place to work because we put the clients first. My overall goal is to establish and maintain positive working relationships with clients to assist them in living healthier lives and achieving their goals. 

Nichole Reynolds
LADC

HDC Program: Addiction Services

Certifications: CD Certification in 2014, ADC-T in February 2015, Bachelor’s Degree in August 2016, and LADC in September 2016

University: University of Wisconsin – Superior

Areas of Professional Interest: Addiction and Mental Health Services, Specialty Courts/Criminality, and Family Dynamics.

About Me: I live in the country with my husband and our four children. We have more pets than people in our home and I wouldn’t change anything. My hobbies and interests include camping, fishing, traveling, being with family, and crocheting. I am not a fan of winter so we plan to move to Florida once the last of our children become independent.

Why HDC: I want to help raise awareness to the Community and help lower the stigma of Mental Health and Addiction. HDC encompasses a wide array of expertise and being a part of such a wonderful team will allow me to have resources readily available to those in need, along with their families and loved ones.

Celia Ross
MSEd

HDC Program: St. Louis County Adult Outpatient

Certifications: MSEd

University: University of Wisconsin-Superior

Areas of Professional Interest: My target population is those with Serious and Persistent Mental Illness, but I love to work with a variety of populations.

About Me: I wish I could say that I love hiking and the outdoors but – let’s be real – I’m kind of a nerd (though I do love a beautiful day or evening at the beach). I love any opportunity to learn and experience something new, including new places, new people, and new ideas. In my spare time I love to paint, draw, and write music, and I’m always searching for new inspiration.

Why HDC: I have always wanted to work in community mental health to serve those most in need – often those with the fewest resources. I was drawn to HDC for their diverse programming and, as an intern, I took note of the positive, supportive environment and decided I would like to stay.

Lucas Scherer
MSW, LICSW

HDC Program: Duluth Outpatient Therapy

Certifications: MSW, LGSW

University: UWS, College of St. Scholastica

Areas of Professional Interest: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

About Me: My wife and I hail from the beautiful upper peninsula of Michigan and enjoy spending time outdoors. Other hobbies I enjoy include camping, hiking, and drinking coffee, and I love playing disc golf!

Why HDC: I have been blessed to grow from trials and struggles in life which I feel lead me to help others in doing the same.

Justin Schmiesing
MSW, LGSW, LADC

HDC Programs: Carlton County Addiction Services and Adult Outpatient Therapy

Certifications: MSW, LGSW, LADC

University: College of St. Scholastica, University of Wisconsin-Superior, Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College

Areas of Professional Interest: Working with adults to navigate the complexities associated with addiction and mental health.

About Me: I grew up in West Central Minnesota and moved to Duluth to soak up the natural beauty and enjoy the diverse landscape. When not at work, I can typically be found hiking the north shore with my dog Jasper. A few of my passions are the outdoors, picking rocks, running, music, yoga, and Qigong. 

Why HDC: What attracted me most is how HDC takes a multifaceted approach to healing through the comprehensive integration of services.

Maria Shermoen
MSW, LGSW

HDC Program:  Lake County Outpatient Therapy

Certifications: MSW, LGSW

University:  Bemidji State University; College of St. Scholastica

Areas of Professional Interest:  My passion is working with children and families, young adults, and the LGBTQIA+ community. I enjoy working with the following diagnosis and approaches, but am not limited to, anxiety disorders, grief and loss, depression disorders, mood disorders, autism spectrum disorder, cognitive behavioral therapy, attachment theory, and trauma informed care.

About Me: I have lived in the Duluth area for the past four years and have completely fallen in love with the city. I’m originally from a small town tucked right on the Canadian border. I love spending time with my friends and family. My two favorite hobbies include traveling and doing puzzles (no more than 1,000 pieces though!)

Why HDC: I chose HDC to be apart of an agency that provides integrated services that are trauma informed and person-centered. My passion comes from working with children and families, and I felt HDC provides opportunities and training where I can continue building my knowledge on this population of clients. I am excited to be part of a team/agency that provides quality service in the Northland.

Lori Sternal
MA, LP

HDC Program: St. Louis County Adult Outpatient Therapy

Certifications: Licensed Psychologist, MA

University: College of St. Scholastica

Professional Interests: Working with adults to utilize mindfulness, narrative, cognitive behavioral therapy approaches for treatment of anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, trauma, and personal growth.

Why HDC: I am privileged to have worked thirty five years for HDC in its dedication to create comprehensive services to meet the mental health needs of our community.

Rachel Turner
MSW, LGSW

HDC Program: Saint Louis County Child and Family

Certifications: MSW, LGSW

University: University of Wisconsin Superior, College of St. Scholastica

Areas of Professional Interest: Grief and loss, depression, anxiety, trauma, EMDR, somatic experiencing, addiction, mindfulness, Relational Cultural Theory, children and families, LGBTQIA+, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

About Me: Outside of work, I can be found cooking, baking, spending time with my friends and family, walking my sweet dog Louie, and enjoying time by Lake Superior.

Why HDC: I have always been drawn to serving the greater community that I grew up in through mental health work. HDC allows us to meet people with where they are in life and offer diverse resources to assist everyone’s unique experiences. For me, it was important to work with people and for an organization that cares for the people they serve, and HDC is an agency that recognizes the importance of care and connection.

Phoenix Walker
LADC

HDC Program: Addiction Services

Certifications: Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Relapse Management Specialist, Woman’s Ways Facilitator, and Change Companies Facilitator

University: College of St. Scholastica

Areas of Professional Interest: Addiction Studies, Neuropsychology, Relapse Management, and Organization Management.

About Me: I have worked with rehabilitation of abused dogs. I am an avid gamer who enjoys board games, RPG’s and video games. I enjoy reading research papers as a way to relax.

Why HDC: The Addiction Services program at HDC was designed from the beginning with a focus on harm reduction and client strength building. I believe working with clients to increase their periods of sobriety while also supporting long term changes in their lives will enable anyone to obtain and maintain recovery as a lifestyle.

Lynn Whalen
MSW, LGSW

HDC Program: St. Louis County Adult Outpatient Therapy

Certifications: MSW, LGSW

University: College of St. Scholastica

Areas of Professional Interest: I work with individuals from late adolescence all the way into late adulthood. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is the base of my strengths-base, client-centered practice. However, I take an integrated approach by combining other therapeutic approaches to meet clients’ needs and provide multiple skills and tools to help them reach their goals.

About Me: I grew up outside of Duluth in the country. I absolutely love being outdoors, and I find a lot of peace being surrounded by nature. Outside of work, I enjoy a whole variety of different things! Some things that come to mind…trying not to kill my veggie garden, using chainsaws and woodchippers, camping in beautiful places, hiking, road trips to the mountains, campfires and star gazing, exploring new places that are off the beaten path, reading, music of all kinds, spending time with family, attempting to lift heavy weights in my garage gym, and chillin’ with my dogs and hubby at our home north of Duluth.

Why HDC: I have a strong passion for Integrated Behavioral Healthcare, and HDC provides me the opportunity to provide integrated, collaborative services. I am proud to be a part of a team of people that work daily to utilize these integrated behavioral healthcare approaches to assist clients in overcoming the multiple health disparities they face!

Paige Wright
MSW, LGSW

HDC Program: St. Louis County Child and Family Services

Certificates: MSW, LGSW

University: University of Wisconsin-Superior, University of Minnesota-Duluth

About Me: I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I have a 10-month-old German Shepherd and a cat that love to take walks together. I enjoy paddleboarding, reading, and cookouts.  

Areas of Professional Interest: Children and Family, Trauma, Anxiety, and Depression.

Why HDC: I wanted to work in an agency that invests in community mental health. Being a CCBHC increases access to individuals and families to services that they may not otherwise have been able to participate in.