Family therapy involves work with families to facilitate change and development. It focuses on the systems of interaction among family members and emphasizes family relationships as an important factor in psychological health and well-being. There are different types of family therapy approaches. Most have a common belief that, regardless of the problem and regardless of whether it is in fact an individual or family issues, involving families in therapy solutions often benefits clients.
Our Therapists Who Specialize in this Area
Laura A. Jaap, MA, LP
I am devoted to providing solutions-focused therapy to help my clients improve their quality of life. My therapeutic style is direct, dynamic and change-oriented. I combine compassionate understanding of present problems with enthusiastic pursuit of future goals. I have a holistic view of physical, mental and spiritual health, seeking mind/body balance.
As a therapist I draw from a range of therapeutic approaches including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Narrative, Systemic and Family-Based Therapy tailored to fit each individual and their specific situation. I use strategies that encompass faith-based and strength-based concepts.Education:
Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from St Mary’s UniversityExperience:
20+ years of experience in community mental health and health care settings and experience with assessing and treating adults and adolescentsSpecialties:
- Eating and weight challenges
- Life transitions
- Family conflict
- Relationship concerns
- Mood problems
- Anxiety difficulties
Lori Ann Wagner, LPCC, CCMHC, NCC
I offer my clients an innate respect and compassion for their unique story. My mission is to activate an individual’s inner courage to overcome their fear so they can enjoy healthier, more productive lives and relationships. My style is creative and intuitive, combined with common sense and practical judgment. I focus on the whole person in the context of the present and past, helping clients to discover life choices – those that keep them stuck and those that can help them move forward. I find great joy in helping my clients obtain that understanding.
As a therapist I use Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Mindfulness approaches along with Adlerian Psychotherapy. I offer Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) services for children and teens. I also offer Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy and employ alternative therapy techniques (e.g. arts/crafts, play therapy) to tailor treatment to the unique needs of my clients.Education:
Master’s Degree in Adlerian Counseling and Psychotherapy with concentrations in Professional Clinical Counseling and Marriage and Family TherapyExperience:
Multiple years of experience in clinical settingsSpecialties:
- Individual (adult adolescent, child) and family therapy
- Behavior problems
- Coping skills
- Family conflict
- Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) - evidence-based behavioral therapy for families with children ages 2-6
- Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) - evidence-based trauma therapy for children and adolescents ages 3-18
Melissa Treff, PsyD, LP
For whatever is bringing you to therapy, I will foster a safe and open space that provides support and validation while being a non-judgmental witness to your personal story. Working collaboratively with you, we will create and work towards therapeutic goals through the exploration of past and current experiences and how they have built beliefs, making connections from past and present. As we tie together these connections, we will work to identify how they create negative or unrealistic core beliefs, while instilling more helpful and positive ones that can lead to greater overall wellbeing and a more positive sense of self.
As a clinician, I utilize a psychodynamic approach that is informed through developmental and strengths-based lenses, as well as incorporating a family systems orientation. I believe the relationships formed between clients and their families serve as a catalyst for therapeutic growth and change. It is through this relationship that core beliefs can be explored in order to gain further understanding of their impact on current thoughts, behaviors, and emotions. In my clinical work, I like to utilize tailored inventions, respecting personal needs, culture, and goals, to create a personalized treatment plan.Education:
BA is Psychology - St. Cloud State University
MA in Psychology - Argosy University, Twin Cities
Psy D in Clinical Psychology - Minnesota School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University, Twin CitiesExperience:
Multiple years of experience working in community mental health settings and outpatient clinics, conducting therapy services and psychological assessments for clients. Several years of providing clinical and administrative supervision services to trainees and clinicians seeking licensure.Specialties:
- Psychological Assessments for children, teens, and adults (ages 6-65)
- Behavioral issues in childhood
- Parenting skills
- Mood and Anxiety Disorders
- Trauma/PTSD/Past experiences of abuse or neglect
- Life Transitions
- Self care/Stress Management
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 passed an exit exam after a six-month self-directed course in Lean Process Theories. 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 Minnesota
- Masters Certificate Marriage and Family Therapy (2003), St. Mary's University of Minnesota
- Individual therapy
- Family and Group therapy
- Adolescents and Adults
- Specific Phobia
- School Avoidance
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
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…More info Alejandra Aschittino-Rodriguez LADC, Post-Master's Fellow
Alejandra Aschittino-Rodriguez, LADC, Post-Master's Fellow
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.
- BA is Psychology and Philosophy – Grinnell College, Iowa
- MA in Addiction and Mental Health Counseling – University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
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 an intensive training regarding working with Minnesota’s minorities in palliative care and collaborated with The Hubs Center for lifelong learning, and the More Center to create an education course on Job loss and grief as the Covid-19 pandemic elevated the unemployment rates across the state and nation. The later efforts awarded me the President's Student Leadership and Service Award upon graduation from my program at the University of Minnesota.Specialties:
- Loss of meaning / “Existential anxiety”
- Spiritual and Life Issues
- Culturally Sensitive Therapy/Culturally Specific Issues
- Life’s transitions
- Dual Diagnosis
Sara Ruiz, MS, 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.
BS of Psychology, Edgewood College (2015)
MS of Marriage and Family Therapy, Edgewood College (2019)
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