Couples, marriage, or relationship therapy is offered to support people in relationships who may be considering a separation or divorce. Or they may be seeking improved communication, conflict resolution skills, intimacy, connection, or understanding. In couples counseling, the relationship is the primary focus. However, each partner should anticipate focusing on their own self-improvement and self-awareness.
Our Therapists Who Specialize in this Area
Gene Nisja, MA, LMFT
If anxiety and depression are holding you back from reaching your full potential, you are not alone. I understand how that happens to people and ways to move you to a better place. I have counseled others for more than 25 years in a variety of settings and can use what I have learned to help you replace nonproductive behaviors and propel you into reaching your full potential. If you are in a position of leading others, I am in a unique position to provide support to help you maximize your leadership role. I am on the leadership team in a hospital setting and I recently earned a Bronze Certification in Lean Process. I can assist you in understanding how to remove waste and assist your business in operating more efficiently. I can leverage my experience as a therapist and a leader. I use cognitive behavioral techniques to treat anxiety and depression. I approach therapy with humility and gratitude as a foundation of my approach.Education:
Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology (2001), St. Mary's University of MinnesotExperience:
Gene Nisja has over 30 years experience in the mental health field.Specialties:
- Individual therapy
- Family and Group therapy
- Adolescents and Adults
- Specific Phobia
- School Avoidance
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Scott Guldseth, PhD, LP
Hi. There is no perfect day to start therapy. There is only the day you are ready. When stressors in our lives become overwhelming or confusing they challenge our ability to maintain the balance for which we strive. Just as each person’s struggle is patented to them, whether in their social, personal, recreation or business life, so too I strive to make my connection with them.
I have worked with people suffering from depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, relationship issues, sexual issues, personality disorders, and many more. I embrace building rapport with my clients in a way that allows us to engage in a collaboration of unique, innovative and effective techniques to overcome the challenges, problems and/or difficulties they are facing.
While I have grounded myself in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), I use all my clinical experiences, resources and flexibility to meet my clients where they are in their journey. I take pride in listening to my clients and trying to provide them thoughtful tools they can use long after our sessions are complete. This might include mindfulness work, existential questions, focus and performance exercises, and often includes movie quotes and clips, books and readings, and laughter.
Doctoral Degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of North DakotaExperience:
18+ years of outpatient clinical and forensic psychology using individual, family and group modalities. 10+ years of clinical supervision of other providers for licensure.Specialties:
- Obsessive-Compulsive Issues
- Sexual Addictions
- Relationship Issues
- Increasing Behavioral Performance
Alejandra Aschittino-Rodriguez, MA, LPCC, LADC
I believe personal agency is key to finding meaning in distressing scenarios and growing from them. I use both Existential and solution-oriented approaches when engaging with clients and strives to provide individuals and families with tools for self-awareness and self-empowerment through a mixture of theoretical models tailored to the client’s strengths and needs. I work to help clients establish more adaptive patterns of thinking with humor, empathy, and respect. While I will explore root causes of issues, I emphasize the importance of personal growth and identifying personal strengths.
I work with adults and teenagers who are experiencing life-phase transitions, substance and alcohol use, and grief and loss. I have experience in working with depression/anxiety, PTSD, and general stress management. I often utilize psychodynamic-Adlerian, existential, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills with a culturally sensitive lens to provide a personalized care based on evidence-based practices.
I will do my very best to ensure you are seen in a holistic manner and with your personal history taken into consideration while we are working together. Your dignity, safety, and self-actualization are always a priority in my work. I currently work with adults, older adolescents in individual or family therapy.
- MA in Addiction and Mental Health Counseling – University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
- BA is Psychology and Philosophy – Grinnell College, Iowa
I had the opportunity to work with individuals and institutions in Ecuador, South Africa, India, and Slovenia for a research project examining the effect culture has on grief as a Watson Fellow after graduating college. Additionally, I have worked with Family Means to create intensive training regarding working with Minnesota’s minorities in palliative care and collaborated with The Hubs Center for lifelong learning to create an education course on Job loss and grief as the Covid-19 pandemic elevated the unemployment rates across the state and nation. My latest project is being an Adjunct instructor at St. Catherine University, where I teach undergraduate students about theories, methods, and concepts central to Psychology and how cross-cultural and ethnic diversity must be considered before concluding the validity of psychological concepts or theories.Specialties:
- Loss of meaning / “Existential anxiety”
- Spiritual and Life Issues
- Culturally Sensitive Therapy/Culturally Specific Issues
- Life’s transitions
- Dual Diagnosis
Sara Ruiz, MS, LAMFT, Post-Master's Fellow
The space created in therapy means something different to each of us. Sometimes we are looking for healing or safety. Other times, we may be looking to be present with ourselves. As you reflect on what the space you want to create, you may consider what kind of therapist may be compatible with that vision. Here is more about me.
I am a Master’s level clinician, pre-licensure, with training in marriage and family therapy. With individuals, intimate partners and families, my goal is to hold the many stories and systems that impact internal and external relationships. My style is collaborative, rather than prescribed or directive. I work to provide the balance of offering practical strategies alongside opportunity for self-understanding.
MS of Marriage and Family Therapy, Edgewood College (2019)
BS of Psychology, Edgewood College (2015)Experience:
I have over five years of experience in a variety of mental health settings. My experience extends across the lifespan, including individual therapy services for teenagers and beyond, intimate partners, and families with children of all ages. I have extended experience working with families with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I have attended additional trainings in the areas of couples, trauma, and supporting youth/families as they dialogue topics related to the gender spectrum.Specialties:
- Adjustment and Life Transition
- Family Dynamics
- Couples and Other Intimate Partner Relationships
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Individual Therapy
MaryBeth Ehlert, MSW, LICSW
In my therapy work, I use a blend of approaches to meet the unique needs of each person, drawing from theoretical frameworks such as psychodynamic, attachment, and systems theories while utilizing skills and techniques from areas such as mindfulness, dialectical behavior therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy. My ultimate goal in combining these is to help you develop a deeper understanding of yourself and your motivations while also giving you tangible techniques to manage each difficult moment. I strive to be collaborative and non-judgmental in session, providing a safe therapeutic space to explore old patterns and create new ones.Education:
Master of Social Work from University of St. Thomas/St. Catherine University
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from University of MinnesotaExperience:
I enjoy working with clients with a wide variety of presenting concerns, such as anxiety, depression, trauma, eating disorders, personality disorders, and family/interpersonal conflict. As a former Human Resource professional, I also specialize in helping clients learn to self-advocate and successfully navigate interpersonal or structural stress in their careers.Specialties:
- Adolescent and Adult Individual Therapy
- Depressive Disorders
- Anxiety Disorders
- Family Conflict
- Emotional Regulation
- Eating Disorders
Connie Palacio, LMFT, LICSW
Therapy is a journey of growth, healing and self-discovery. I would be honored to embark on your life journey by your side. Together we will tailor our dialog and treatment plan to meet your unique and specific needs. It takes courage to seek a more fulfilling and happier life and to take the first steps towards change. As you get ready to start this journey, I will be there to support and empower you. I feel honored to be a part of my client’s therapeutic journey, as our problems and feelings are unique and yet we are all one and together.
I am a bilingual and multicultural Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker with over 13 years of experience providing in person and online therapy for individuals, couples, and group counseling.
I have worked with clients with a wide range of concerns including depression, anxiety, couples’ problems, sexual health and sexuality, intimacy problems, attachment, divorce separation, parenting problems, grief and loss, immigration and adjustment issues.
I have also helped many who have experienced trauma, post-traumatic stress, emotional/verbal, physical, or sexual abuse or assault.
My counseling style is warm, patient, kind and interactive. My approach combines client centered, cognitive behavioral, solution focused, trauma informed, narrative, attachment theory, emotionally focused couples therapy, Gottman, and systemic counseling.
Together we will tailor our dialog and treatment plan to meet your unique and specific needs. It takes courage to seek for a more fulfilling and happier life and to take the first steps towards change. As you get ready to start this journey, I will be there to support and empower you.
I feel honored to be a part of my client’s therapeutic journey, as our problems and feelings are unique and yet we are all one and together.
That is the way I like to approach our sessions, as a team, addressing challenges together to become free from judgement, criticism, pain, changing our negative perceptions, and to live a joyful and peaceful life.
For my professional growth, I read related literature, keep myself up to date with ethical and legal guidelines in the field, and the latest research and attend conferences and trainings. In my personal free time, I like to spend time with my family and our new puppy. I love traveling, playing tennis, skiing, and going to any fun event.
Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy from Saint Mary’s UniversityExperience:
- Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
- Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
- MFT Board Approved Supervisor
- SW Board Approved Supervisor
- Mediation Training
- EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) Training
- TFCBT (Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) Training
- Prepare-Enrich Couples Certified (Pre-marital counseling)
- Anxiety and Depression
- Postpartum depression
- Trauma & Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
- Coping with life changes
- Parenting issues
- Intimate Relationship issues
- Sexual health & Sexuality
- Domestic Violence
- Sexual abuse and assault
- Immigration and acculturalization issues
Mary Auster Shanesy, PsyD, LP
Dr. Mary Auster Shanesy is a Licensed Psychologist whose professional journey has taken her from an inner-city community mental health clinic, to a brain injury hospital, to working with the serious and persistently mentally ill, to helping incarcerated offenders, and finally to her current work with every day, average, “normal” people just like all of us. Throughout these many and varied experiences, Dr. Shanesy has focused her energies on helping individuals who want to free themselves from the suffering created by the lies that are at the heart of anxiety, depression, trauma, substance abuse, life transitions, grief, and loss, and is the author of Becoming the Hero of Your Own Life: The Lies That Bind, and the Problem with Happily Ever After. In addition, Dr. Shanesy offers cognitive, psychological and neuropsychological testing including adult ADHD evaluations, adult Autism Spectrum Disorder evaluations, cognitive and memory assessments, and personality evaluation.
Best part of my work: Helping people realize they can live happier, healthier, and more satisfying lives.
Why I became a psychologist: I'm fascinated by the way our minds work and the incredible impact our minds have on our overall health. I am lucky to be able to do what I love.
What I tell friends and family: Keep your mind active and engaged - it is the key to better mental and physical health.
Doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from the Wisconsin School of Professional PsychologyExperience:
12+ years of experience in a variety of settings including community mental health, inpatient and outpatient settings, and forensic facilities.Specialties:
- Grief and Loss
- Substance abuse
- Relationship and communication difficulties
- Family of origin issues
- LGBTQ issues
- Cognitive, Psychological and Neuropsychological assessment