outpatient MENTAL HEALTH THERAPISTS

Call (515) 557-2256 to speak with Hope Hall staff or to schedule an appointment. YESS' main line is also available any time at (515) 282-9377.



 

Sara Swansen, Ph.D.

Dr. Swansen enjoys working with children and families to help them increase their resiliency as they navigate the challenges of childhood and adolescence.  As the Chief Behavioral Health Officer, Dr. Swansen oversees all of YESS’ clinical services, which includes counseling services for youth in shelter as well as outpatient mental health services for youth in the community.

Dr. Swansen received her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Iowa State University. She worked in the Des Moines area as a Child Psychologist serving children and families in an outpatient clinical setting for 12 years prior to joining the team at YESS in 2009.

Areas of expertise: Adolescent mental health, trauma-informed care, mood disorders, behavioral concerns, and teaching parenting skills

 




Julie Bles, LISW

Julie believes children and their parents are doing the best they can, and that everyone needs a little help from time to time. As an Outpatient Therapist, Julie provides therapy for children and their families. Her special interests include working with children and families utilizing play, working with children with a history of trauma, assisting foster and adoptive families and working with families to enhance communication and build relationships and attachment.

Julie received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Iowa and has received training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Julie has been providing counseling and therapy services for children and families since 2004.

Areas of expertise:
 Working with foster and adoptive families, helping kids with attachment deficits and a history of trauma, and working to build healthy relationships within families

   

 

Tina Leaf, LISW

Tina is awesome, fun, and has comfy chairs. As the Counseling Services Director at YESS, Tina oversees the home skill-building services that counselors provide to children and their families. She also provides therapy to individuals ranging in age from preschool to adulthood. Tina helps children experiencing a variety of challenges including childhood trauma, grief and loss, anxiety, depression, and ADHD.

Tina is a Licensed Independent Social Worker who received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Northern Iowa in 2011. She has received specialized training in trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectal behavior therapy, and mindfulness.

Areas of expertise: Play-based therapy, attachment/trauma focused therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy

 

 

Christine Sherrod, LMSW

Christine embraces every opportunity to use creativity, humor, and a strengths-based perspective to support others and help them achieve their full potential. As the Residential Empowerment and Advocacy for Children’s Health (REACH) Program Coordinator, Christine oversees the REACH program and helps children gain access to immediate support, advocacy, and counseling while in shelter. Christine also acts as the Residential Resource Team Supervisor and a member of the Clinical Team.  In her free time, Christine’s enthusiasm for strengths-based counseling is matched by her love for fossils, martial arts, and playing guitar.

Christine received her Master of Social Work degree from University of Iowa with an emphasis in Family Centered Theory and Practice. She has also received training in social and emotional learning at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Christine worked with children and adolescents in a wide variety of residential and academic settings prior to joining the team at YESS in 2016.

Areas of expertise: Attachment Theory, Cultural Responsiveness, Trauma Informed Care, Anxiety & Depression

 

 

Emilie LeLaCheur, LMHC-T

Emilie uses creativity and fun to help her clients heal. As an Outpatient Mental Health Clinician at YESS, Emilie works to understand the challenges that families are facing and help them find solutions. She focuses on the strengths of each person and helps kids learn to identify their feelings and cope with strong emotions.

Emilie received her Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Northwest Christian University and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Christian Counseling. She enjoys working with those struggling to integrate their faith in difficult situations such as working through forgiveness,  hopelessness, anger, fear, and loss. She also has experience working with those struggling with eating disorders and with youth on probation. Outside of work, she loves running and anything related to Harry Potter. Emilie joined the team at YESS in 2017.

Areas of expertise: Juveniles on probation, EMDR, strength-based counseling, marriage and family therapy

 

 

Jacob Stastny, LMSW

Jacob believes that even the largest obstacles can be conquered through empathetic engagement, an open mind, and a little bit of goofiness. As a Mental Health Clinician at YESS, Jacob provides therapy to adults, kids of all ages, and families. He utilizes the strengths of his clients to help them overcome a variety of challenges.

Jacob received both his Bachelor and Master of Social Work degrees from the University of Iowa with an emphasis in Family Centered Theory and Practice. He joined Team YESS in 2017.

Areas of expertise: trauma-focused therapy, EMDR, court involved adolescents, mood disorders

Alex Piedras, LMHC-T

Alex strives to understand the challenges that individuals and families face and help them find their own solutions. As a part time Mental Health Clinician, he assists each person in recognizing his/her strengths and helps them manage their feelings and thoughts.

Alex received his Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Drake University.  He enjoys working with individuals and families struggling to adjust to new situations, especially recent immigrants, as they face issues of anxiety, fear, anger, and sadness.  Alex has worked with several youth on probation. Alex enjoys his time off by spending time with his family and helping the ever-growing Latino community.

Areas of expertise: Juveniles on probation, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Adlerian Therapy, and family therapy

 

 

 

Alli Conrad, LMSW

Alli uses her love of play and a strengths-based perspective to engage with her clients and assist them through the therapy process. As a Mental Health Clinician at YESS, Alli provides therapy to children of all ages, adults, and families and for a variety of situations including trauma, anxiety, depression, and ADHD. She especially enjoys utilizing play-based interventions with youth under the age of 10. Alli is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).

Alli received her Master of Social Work from the University of Northern Iowa with an emphasis in trauma-informed care interventions. Alli has specialized in training in trauma and play-based interventions. She previously worked at YESS in the Blumenthal Crisis Nursery before rejoining Team YESS in 2018.

Areas of expertise: Play-based therapy, trauma-focused therapy, EMDR, mental health and behavioral symptoms related to trauma.

 

 
 

Bennett Zielinski, LMHC-T

Bennett believes that our experiences shape who we are and that our strengths allow us to grow and heal.  As a Mental Health Clinician at YESS, Bennett uses a variety of techniques to help children, teens, families, and adults build on their strengths, process trauma, and achieve goals.  Bennett particularly enjoys utilizing sand tray techniques and play therapy to help both children and adults process and reflect.  He also has a passion for working with youth and families in the LGBTQ+ community, helping navigate and understand their changing identities. 

Bennett earned his Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Drake University.  He is trained in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and has completed over 200 hours of play therapy training, putting him in his final stages towards becoming a Registered Play Therapist (RPT).  Bennett previously worked as a Resident Advisor at YESS before joining Hope Hall in 2018.

Areas of expertise:  sand tray, play-based therapy, trauma-informed approaches, LGBTQ+ populations, adult populations, attachment

 

  

 

Melissa Reyerson-Slifer, LMSW

Melissa aims to empower both children and adults in order for them to recognize their inherent potential, harness their individual strengths, and overcome life's challenges. Melissa works with clients using a variety of evidence-based interventions including EMDR, mindfulness, trauma-informed yoga, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and art interventions. As a mental health clinician at YESS, Melissa provides therapy to children, adults, couples, and families.

Melissa received her Master's Degree in Social Work from the University of Iowa with an emphasis in Family Centered Theory and Practice. Melissa has worked in a variety of settings in the mental health field for over 9 years. She joined Team YESS in 2018. Melissa has received training in EMDR, art-based interventions, and couples counseling. 

Areas of expertise: trauma, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and life transitions

   

 

In-home skill-based Counselors (BHIS)

 

  

 

Jessi Allard

Jessi loves cats, and she loves using empathy and a strengths-based approach to help kids build skills and reach goals through creative activities including arts and crafts, journaling, and creative writing. As a Behavioral Health Intervention Specialist at YESS, Jessi works with children experiencing a variety of challenges using a Trauma Informed approach in order to build rapport with her clients and families and best meet her clients' needs.

Jessi received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Drake. Jessi has many years of experience working with children. She joined Team YESS in 2015 as a Resident Advisor, then became a YESS Child Advocate Counselor for preteen and teenage girls with a specialized focus working with teen trafficking victims, before transitioning to BHIS in 2019.

   

 Tanner Whipple

Tanner finds fulfillment in seeing healthy changes in attitudes and behaviors among his clients. As a Behavioral Health Intervention Specialist at YESS, Tanner works with youth and their families to provide valuable life skills and develop positive habits. He has experience working with diverse populations and children with a variety of mental health challenges.

Tanner received his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Central College. He has worked with children and families to provide behavioral health intervention services since 2010 and joined the team at YESS in 2014.

 

   

 

 

Robin Lacquement

Robin has a passion for helping children and adolescents overcome their struggles with new coping and communication skills. As a Behavioral Health Intervention Specialist at YESS, Robin works with youth and their families to provide new skills and reach their goals through individual and family services. She works with youth to build positive relationships and to develop healthy coping skills.

Robin received her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from University of Northern Iowa. She has been working with adolescents and families since 2014 and joined Team YESS in August 2017.

 

    

 Mariah Rodriguez

Mariah loves helping children and adolescents overcome past and present obstacles so they can obtain successful futures. She began her time with Team YESS as a Resident Advisor before becoming a Behavioral Health Intervention Specialist. Mariah brings the experiences and skills she learned while working with shelter youth to her current role working with children and families in their homes. She enjoys teaching positive coping skills and creating strong family units. Mariah has previous experience working with adolescents with anxiety, depression, trauma, PTSD, and substance abuse.

Mariah received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Northern Iowa. She has worked with youth since 2012 and joined team YESS in 2017.

 

 

   

 

 Ebony Harper

Ebony believes in always doing your best in everything you do to rock it. As a Behavioral Health Intervention Specialist, she works with children and their families to build practical skills and improve day-to-day coping skills. She hopes to model behaviors and work closely with families to maintain positive communications and aid them in making healthy and positive choices. Ebony has experience working with families and youth through work within the community.

Ebony received her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and joined Team YESS in 2018.

 

   

 

Madde Burma

Madde has a passion for advocating for children and helping them develop healthy coping mechanisms to become successful in their future. Before becoming a Behavioral Health Intervention Specialist, Madde worked as a Resident Advisor for Team YESS. Bringing in her skills from working in the shelter, Madde will help children and families develop healthy relationships through skill learning and modeling. Madde’s background is with adolescents coping with mental illnesses like anxiety, depression, PTSD, and complex trauma.

Madde received her Bachelor’s Degree in Neuroscience from Wartburg College. She has been working with children and families since 2015 and joined Team YESS in June 2017.

 

   

 

 Abbey Tiecke

Abbey strives to engage with her clients in an efficient, empowering and fun way. As a Behavioral Health Intervention Specialist, Abbey works with families and children to help find success and positivity in each and every day through reinforcement of coping skills and relationship building.

 Abbey joined Team YESS as a Resident Advisor before switching to BHIS. She received her bachelors degree in Interdepartmental Studies from the University of Iowa. She has worked with children and families since 2015 and joined Team YESS in 2017.