"Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Biography of Crystal Hemesath, PhD, LMFT, LMHC
Owner, 515 Therapy and Consulting
I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Licensed Mental
Health Counselor in the state of Iowa. I am also a Clinical Member of
the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy-AAMFT.
I recently obtained a PhD from Iowa State University in Human
Development and Family Studies. I received my master’s degree
in Marriage and Family Therapy from Kansas State University in 1997.
I also hold a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Iowa State University.
I have been practicing in the mental health field since 1998 with
experience in hospitals, emergency rooms, community agencies,
residential treatment facilities, schools, and the insurance industry.
I have been in private practice since 2002 where I have been providing mental health therapy to individuals, families and couples.
I grew up in a small rural Iowa community prior to receiving my higher education and landing in the Des Moines area. I am married and have three children. In my free time I enjoy exercise, gardening and landscaping, spending time with friends and family, pedicures, and being outdoors.
Professional Affiliations and Licenses
- Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, State of Iowa
- Licensed Mental Health Counselor, State of Iowa
- Clinical Member of American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy-AAMFT
- Member of Iowa Association of Marriage and Family Therapy-IAMFT
- Former Legislative Chair of the Iowa Association of Marriage and Family Therapy-IAMFT
- Former editor of Iowa Marital & Family Therapist, publication of the Iowa Association of Marriage and Family Therapy
My Approach to Therapy
I believe my clients have the strength and resources to resolve their problems and are temporarily “stuck” when they decide to enter treatment. Although I believe it is best for clients to come to their own conclusions about what is right for them, I consider myself an active therapist who gives feedback. I work closely with my clients in creating goals and setting up a plan of action, which helps the client achieve these identified goals. I also believe that therapy does not have to be long-term to be productive. The therapeutic models I work from are Solution-Focused, Brief Therapy, Cognitive-Behavioral, Narrative, and Family Systems Theory. My treatment approach is determined by the presenting problem I am treating and the best fit for the client. I also utilize education to assist my clients in gaining skills that will help them realize their full potential currently and in the future. I value the importance of communication and collaboration with physicians or other helping professionals involved in my client's care that my client may want me to have contact with. I am also happy to refer to other professionals such as family physicians, psychiatrists or other providers who together we feel may be of benefit to my client's improved wellbeing. I will provide a straightforward approach to my client's treatment with guidance and practical solutions.
Who do I treat?
I treat a variety of clientele and presenting problems including, individual (12 and up), couple, and family therapy. I specialize in family and couple relational difficulties, adolescent struggles, relationship enrichment, blended families, parenting, depression, divorce, career or work related issues, personal growth, stress management, anxiety, victims of sexual abuse, adjustment/phase of life issues, women's issues, online therapy and a variety of additional emotional and adjustment concerns both male and female.
Biography of Kari Uhl
I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the state of Iowa. I am also a National
Certified Counselor, and a member of the Iowa Mental Health Counselor Association –
IMHCA. I earned my Master of Arts in Counseling from the University of North Dakota in
2000, focusing on community mental health, after completing my undergraduate studies
in the area of Family Science and Child Development.
Since 2000, I have worked in two community mental health agencies, primarily with
children, adolescents, and their families who experience significant mental health
concerns. I provided community-based, in-home, and school based therapy. Most
recently, I spent two years as a counselor at Simpson College, and am passionate about
issues faced by young adults. I have a special interest in helping adolescents and young
adults process their experiences and struggles in their transitions into adulthood.
My Approach to Therapy
I believe counseling can help encourage clients to draw upon their strengths, experiences, abilities, and resources to improve overall well-being. As a strengths-based therapist, I value developing a safe and supportive relationship with clients, as well as actively engaging in exploration of issues and potential solutions.
My interventions are largely influenced by training and interest in the following therapeutic models: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Family Systems, Positive Psychology, and Mindfulness. I work closely with clients to identify goals for therapy based on their presenting concerns, and cater my approach to best suit the needs of the clients’ unique circumstances.
I have been privileged to work with diverse populations with a wide range of concerns, and welcome the opportunity to meet with clients from varying backgrounds. My areas of interest include, but are not limited to, stress management, phase of life issues, adjustment, depression, anxiety, relationship concerns, anger management, grief/loss, trauma, parenting issues, work/academic concerns, and any other emotional distress that impacts personal well-being. I also appreciate collaborating with other professionals to ensure continuity of care.
Biography of Mollie Mertens, MS, LMHC
Hello! I am originally from Burlington, Iowa, and am excited to bring my education and
experience in therapy to my home state. I obtained my Bachlor’s degree in Psychology
and Education from St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, then furthered my
education at Austin Peay State University obtaining Master’s Degrees in both
Community and School Counseling.
For the past 5 years I have been working in the Des Moines area with community/
outreach mental health programs in addition to doing individual therapy, and now am
excited to focus more of my time and abilities on helping individuals improve their
mental health in a variety of ways.
I am currently accepting new adult patients age 18 and above, and have day time, evening and weekend hours available. I have experience working with and enjoy treating a variety of symptoms and issues including depression and other mood disorders, anxiety, psychosis, victims of abuse, stress management, personal growth, women’s issues, phase of life issues, grief and loss, relationship stressors, academic and vocational issues. I strive to connect with each of my clients at their level, and together, work toward achieving their personal goals.
Biography of Crissi Johnson, MS, CADC
Hello! My name is Crissi Johnson. I received my Master’s degree in Mental Health
Counseling at Drake University in 2014. Prior to receiving my Master’s I obtained
a Bachelor’s degree through Upper Iowa University in 2008 and a Certification in
Substance Abuse Counseling in 2010.
During my time at Drake University, I was able to do research on college and career
readiness with a focus on “soft skills.” Examples of soft skills are teamwork,
communication, work ethic, problem solving, time management, flexibility and motivation.
These skills can be developed and are intrinsic in working toward a balanced lifestyle.
I have prior experience working in a local community mental health organization and a
residential treatment facility providing individual and group therapy. In the past I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with a diverse clientele and a variety of therapeutic issues. I’m dedicated to working with individuals on furthering their goals for therapy while developing internal motivation towards positive outcomes and change.
In therapy my focus is on building self-efficacy, defining goals and motivation through an eclectic therapeutic approach, which includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Psychodynamic and Solution Focused therapy with a style that is person-centered. I enjoy working with individuals in the age range of 6 years old to 75 and older. Clinical issues I work with include but are not limited to depression, anxiety disorders, self-esteem, substance abuse disorders, vocational, work-life balance and geriatric issues.
Biography of Kelcee Foss, MA, LMHC
I have been practicing in the mental health field since 2004 with experience in private
practice, schools, residential treatment facilities and community agencies.
B.A. Northwestern College, Orange City, Iowa
M.A. Expressive Therapy
Lesley University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Professional Licensure, Affiliations
Licensed Mental Health Counselor (Iowa)
Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (Iowa)
National Certified Counselor
Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor
President, Iowa Art Therapy Association* 2012-2014
Secretary, Iowa Art Therapy Association 2009-2011
Professional Member, American Art Therapy Association
**EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) Level I and II trained
My Approach to Therapy
I am an active and client-centered therapist offering a range of therapeutic approaches to meet your needs and preferences including: talk therapy, expressive arts therapy, sand tray therapy and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). I strive to create a therapeutic space that is supportive and safe in order to foster growth and change. I am knowledgeable about the biological, emotional, relational and spiritual aspects of mental health and have both respect and compassion for the complexity of these factors in your life. As a therapist, I am interested in gaining an understanding of your unique needs and resources, and collaborating with you to create a plan that supports meeting your goals.
I am currently accepting new clients and have day and evening appointments available. I work with adults, adolescents and school-aged children with a variety of needs including:
Depression, anxiety, mood disorders, trauma, grief and loss, abuse, behavioral concerns, adjustment, phase of life issues, womens’ issues, work and career issues, co-occurring needs, addiction and recovery, ACOA, stress management and identity work.
Quite simply: expressive therapy is a form of psychotherapy that integrates creative arts into the healing process. While talk is the most common mode of exchange in therapy, we know that as humans, verbal communication is only one of the numerous ways we communicate. Expressive therapy honors the diversity in our communication styles and needs, and invites the client to utilize expressive art forms within a therapy session to communicate, clarify, explore, soothe among other goals. We all have feelings and memories that are not easily put into words. In fact, our brain and body frequently store emotions and memories without words. When words are not enough, the expressive arts can often help us access and transform what we need to heal.
Expressive Arts Therapy encourages clients’ active participation in the therapeutic process. It fosters self-expression and imagination, and makes important mind-body connections. Emerging research in neurobiology is teaching us that to make lasting change in therapy, we need to make changes with both the body and mind engaged. Expressive arts therapy can be described as a primarily non-verbal form of therapy; however verbal processing can often be an important component of this work as well. In my practice, I primarily offer visual art, sandtray therapy, writing and movement.
Expressive therapy can be used as the primary mode of therapy or combined with traditional talk therapy and incorporated into sessions to enrich your therapeutic process. Expressive therapy can be helpful for children, adolescents or adults with a variety of needs and goals. Previous arts experience is not required, and the emphasis is on the creative process rather than the product.
Expressive Therapy Services in the Des Moines Metro Area
If you are interested in adding expressive therapy groups or other services in your school, community organization, or elder care facility, please contact me.
“Art therapy changes lives. When words are not enough, we turn to images and symbols to tell our stories. And in telling our stories through art, we find pathways to wellness, recovery and transformation.” Cathy Malchiodi, Ph.D
“Art can permeate the very deepest part of us, where no words exist.” Eileen Miller
Biography of Haley Wedmore, PhD, LMFT
I received my doctoral degree through Iowa State University (ISU) from the Human Development
and Family Studies program in 2013. Prior to that, I received my Master of Science degree in the
Couple and Family Therapy program through ISU in 2011. In 2005, I received my Bachelor of Arts
degree in Psychology through Grand View University.
Prior to working at 515 Therapy, I provided psychotherapy to a diverse clientele at the Couple and
Family Therapy Clinic through ISU. I have also provided psychotherapy for male inmates who
experienced a wide array of concerns within a controlled environment at the Fort Dodge
Correctional Facility. Prior to my clinical work, I provided supported community living services for
adults who lived with mental health concerns and intellectual disabilities.
For my dissertation research, I studied attachment and parenting. Through my educational and
practical experiences, I have had the opportunity to teach classes and present at various professional conferences on topics relevant to the human services field. I have also taught as an adjunct faculty at Des Moines Area Community College.
I enjoy spending time with family and friends, being outside, crafting, exercising, hiking, travelling, and collecting children’s literature to share with my children.
My Approach to Therapy
I view my role as therapist as being an advocate for my client’s personal and relational well-being. Because we as individuals do not exist within a vacuum I am interested in learning more about how family, friends, society, and other factors may influence my clients and how these factors may contribute to the problem(s) faced or be sources of strength.
I believe that we are all influenced by internal factors (genetic predispositions, personality, attitudes) as well as by our relationships and other external factors (SES, gender, cultural background, race, societal expectations, etc.). Such factors can negatively or positively impact one’s situation. Each individual also plays an influential role towards many of these factors. I am interested in helping my clients to maximize the positives in their surroundings as well as the positive impact they can have on their surroundings. My goal is to empower clients to change what can be changed and to learn to effectively cope with what cannot be changed.
I am trained to understand the complexities of both the individual and relational problems that clients may present with and to provide appropriate intervention. However, I believe that the client is the expert as well as the best resource for understanding and resolving his or her problems. Each client/couple/family is unique with unique circumstances to consider. My goal is to help my clients reach necessary insights in order to understand and tackle the problem(s) they are facing and then to help to draw on/actualize their strengths and to move towards more positive outcomes in their lives.
The therapeutic approaches I am most influenced by include: Family Systems Theory, Narrative, Solution-Focused, Feminist, Acceptance and Commitment, and Cognitive Behavioral. In my work with couples, I often incorporate elements from Emotionally Focused Therapy as well as elements from John Gottman’s work. The particular approach I take depends on the presenting problem as well as the unique needs of the client.
Who do I treat?
I treat individuals (adults and adolescents), couples and families. I see clients with a variety of issues including: Relational Problems, Anxiety, Depression, Other Mental Health Concerns, Problems of Living, Marital/Relationship Enrichment, Premarital Concerns/Exploration, Parenting/Co-parenting, Blended Families, Parent-Child Conflict, Stress Management, Personal Growth, Vocational/Academic Concerns, Issues Unique to Diverse/Minority populations, Trauma and Healing, and Spirituality.
Biography of Erica A. Krolak, LMHC, NCC
I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the state of Iowa and a National Certified
Counselor. I attended Drake University where I received my master's degree in
Community Counseling, bachelor's degree in psychology, and bachelor's degree in
I have enjoyed working in the mental health field since 2006 and in private practice since
Who I Treat and My Approach to Therapy
I enjoy working with children ages 5 to 11. When working with children I utilize a team approach due to my belief that parent involvement can make a child's therapy experience increasingly more successful. I encourage checking in on a regular basis as well as parent sessions as you or myself deem necessary. I understand that your child's areas of concern can affect the entire family system and I am able to provide supportive parenting and family services through this process.
Therapy for your child is designed to be specific to your child's needs through my use of cognitive behavioral therapy, solution focused brief therapy, mindfulness, and play therapy activities and techniques.
I can help you and your child with the following areas of concern: ADHD, Anger Management, Anxiety Disorders, Bipolar Disorders, Child Behavior Problems, Depression, Grief and Loss, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Oppositional Defiant and Conduct Disorders, Parenting and Family Issues, School Behavior and Academic Issues, Self-Esteem, Sexual, Physical, and Emotional Abuse, Stress Management.
Adults and Couples
I provide a safe and comfortable environment where you can discuss your feelings and difficulties. I utilize cognitive behavioral therapy, solution focused brief therapy, and mindfulness techniques with an active and direct approach. I will assist you in identifying the goals you would like to set for yourself and provide you with the education and tools available to understand and approach the struggles you are experiencing in your daily life.
I can help you with the following areas of concern: ADHD, Anger Management, Anxiety Disorders, Bipolar Disorders, Child Behavior Problems, Depression, Grief and Loss, Marital and Relationship Issues, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Parenting and Family Issues, Self-Esteem, Sexual, Physical, and Emotional Abuse, Stress Management, Substance Abuse and Chemical Dependency.
Biography of Rachel Klobassa, MA, LISW
I am a Licensed Independent Social Worker in the state of Iowa. I received my Master’s
degree in Social Work in 2011 from the University of Iowa. Prior to that, I attended the
University of Northern Iowa, receiving my Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and Family
I have been in the mental health field since 2007. I have worked in two residential
treatment facilities focusing on traumatized and severely mentally ill youth. I have also
provided in home and in school skill building to children and families with mental health
issues. My clinical experience includes providing individual and family therapy in the
My Approach to Therapy
I focus on creating a therapeutic relationship that is cooperative, trusting and encouraging. I aim to create a safe, open environment for my clients to express their feelings and work through issues while feeling accepted and validated. I consider myself an active therapist that offers suggestions, tools and homework based upon my client’s needs. I use a client centered approach to assist with identifying personal goals and action plans to meet them. I work with young children, adolescents, adults and families.
With children I utilize play therapy, art projects, toys, music, games books and workbooks to make therapy a different and fun experience.
The therapeutic models that influence my work are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Family Systems and Solution Focused Therapy. I am also trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) parts 1&2.
I enjoy scrapbooking, cooking and baking, going on walks and playing with my kids.
Biography of Lynn Martin, Ph.D., LMFT
Although I was born and raised in Iowa, I received my BS degree from the University
of Nebraska, and as a senior project, developed an employee sponsored child care
program for Mercy Hospital and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa. After graduating,
I directed Mercy Child Development Center for ten years, followed by two years as
manager of Mercy Pediatric Clinic, and then, with four small sons, returned to ISU for
my MS and PhD degrees. After managing and providing counseling in a variety of
programs with Lutheran Social Services, then counseling at Spectrum Child and
Adolescent Services, I switched gears and was hired to develop and direct the academic
and emotional support services for Des Moines University. For seventeen years I was
fortunate to work with a wonderful staff, amazing faculty, and bright, dedicated young
professionals. In addition, I recently completed my third, three-year term as a member
of the Iowa Physician Health Committee, a committee of the Iowa Board of Medicine
that monitors and supports physicians with physical, mental, or substance abuse impairments.
With four grown sons, my husband and I longed for more free time to travel and pursue other interests, including travel, reading, volunteer work, writing, and each other! I have given up the stressors of the full time job, but I have found that I enjoy working with individuals and couples way too much to give it up as well!
My Approach to Therapy
One size does not fit all in therapy. I don’t believe that any diagnosis requires a given number of appointments to manage its symptoms. My job is to assist the client in identifying goals and in strategies to meet those goals. The client and I work together and continually review progress to make any needed changes to the treatment plan. Although diagnoses are required for insurance purposes, I am not terribly invested in labels. My goal is to meet the client where s/he is and provide assistance in moving to the desired outcome. I come from a “systems” approach, which means I will explore with the client how life is impacted by any/all systems interacted with, i.e., partner, extended family, job, friends, community supports, etc.. I draw from a number of theoretical modalities including Cognitive Behavioral, Brief, Solution Focused, and Mindfulness. I believe in relationship-building, honest communication on both sides, and shared effort. I value positive psychology and a good sense of humor!
Who do I Treat?
I enjoy working with adults and children over the age of 16 years as individuals, couples, and families. I specialize in relationship concerns, communication building, premarital and marital counseling, adjustment/phase of life issues, career/job concerns, grief and loss, and stress, anxiety, and depression management. All of these issues may be particular to an individual and may have significant impact to the couple and/or family. I will also work with dual diagnosis issues as long as the client is also receiving treatment for the primary diagnosis of substance abuse from a qualified provider.
Biography of Angela Porath, MS, LMHC, RPT, CADC
I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the state of Iowa, as well as a Registered Play
Therapist and Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor. I received my Master’s degree in
Community Counseling in 2005 from Drake University. Prior to that, I attended the University
of Northern Iowa, receiving my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology.
I have been practicing in the mental health field since 2005 with experience in private practice,
schools, residential treatment facilities and community agencies.
My Approach to Therapy
I believe that therapy needs to be individualized in order to meet each person’s need. I strive
to create an environment that is inviting in order to provide a therapeutic relationship that
allows trust and safety. I use a client-centered approach to therapy in order to allow each client to identify personal goals that address their needs. I work with children, adolescents, adults, and families using a variety of approaches including talk therapy, Play Therapy, sand tray therapy, and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing). I am a Level II Certified AutPlay Therapy Provider, a Play Therapy and Behavioral Therapy based approach to working with children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder, neurodevelopmental disorders, and other developmental disabilities.
Play Therapy is a powerful tool for addressing cognitive, behavioral, and emotional challenges. I have extensive training that allows me to use play therapeutically to help clients better process their experiences and develop more effective strategies for managing their worlds. In the words of Virginia Axline, “Play Therapy is based upon the fact that play is the child’s natural medium of self expression…It is an opportunity which is given to the child to ‘play out’ his feelings and problems just as in certain types of adult therapy an individual ‘talks out’ his difficulties.”
How does play therapy work? Children are usually referred to play therapy to solve problems and deal with issues that are troubling the child. Often, children have used up their own problem solving tools and express themselves in negative ways, such as acting out at home, with friends, or at school. I use play therapy to help children cope with difficult emotions and find solutions for their problems. By using a play therapy setting, children find healthier solutions and learn new ways of coping with their issues.
Who do I Treat?
I treat children, adolescents, adults, and families with a variety of issues. I specialize in working with clients with a variety of issues including stress management, phase of life issues, adjustment, depression, anxiety, relationship concerns, grief/loss, parenting issues, work/academic concerns, and any other emotional distress that impacts personal well-being.
Biography of Elizabeth Young, LMFT
I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and clinical member of the American Association
of Marriage and Family Therapists. I received my Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy
from St. Mary’s University in Minneapolis in 2007. Prior to that, I received my Bachelors degree
in Family Social Science from the University of Minnesota. Since graduating from St. Mary’s, I
have experience working in a variety of settings, including a supervised visitation program,
community mental health agencies and a college setting. In 2011, I received my Master’s
degree in Secondary School Counseling from Drake University. Prior to joining 515 Therapy,
I had the opportunity to work with a diversity of clientele. I worked with families participating in
supervised visitation, women and children in a supportive housing program in Minneapolis,
conducted in-home family therapy with adolescents and their families at two community mental
health agencies, as well as worked at Simpson College in their counseling center for two years.
I want to work with individuals, couples and families, and I have a special interest in working
with adolescents and young adults, helping them navigate their transition into adulthood.
My Approach to Therapy
I view the therapeutic relationship to be client-centered, meeting the client where they are at. I believe in utilizing a strength-based, holistic approach in working with clients, and I focus on relationships for the basis of making change. I tailor my approach to fit your individual needs, to help create sustainable change in your life, encourage hope and personal empowerment. I am a family systems oriented therapist, although I utilize a variety of therapeutic orientations, including cognitive-behavioral, solution-focused and narrative therapy. I strive to provide a caring, safe and comfortable environment for clients to explore their feelings and concerns, challenge themselves and experience personal growth, drawing upon personal strengths and abilities.
I am currently accepting new clients, and I offer flexible daytime and evening appointments. I see clients with a variety of issues including, but not limited to: mood disorders, relationship concerns, divorce, Discernment Counseling, parent/child issues, work or education related issues, adjustment/phase of life issues, personal growth and stress management.
I enjoy spending time exercising, gardening, knitting, being outside, spending time with friends and playing with my kids.
Biography of Paula B. McManus, ARNP, BC
Paula B. McManus, ARNP, BC, is a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. She is board certified in Adult
and Child/Adolescent Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing. She has earned the Master
Psychopharmacologist designation through the Neuroscience Education Institute. Degrees
were obtained at the University of Iowa and Drake University.
Paula’s experience in nursing is extensive, including clinical work in both inpatient and outpatient
settings, and management/administrative roles at two Des Moines hospitals. She has worked in
the psychiatric field since 1978. In the past several years, Paula has worked in private practices,
joining 515 therapy and Consulting in July 2016. She primarily works with children, adolescents
and young adults, but enjoys working with patients of all ages and their families.
Paula is experienced in providing supportive psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and
medication management in the treatment of psychiatric disorders, including Mood Disorders,
Anxiety Disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD and other childhood disorders. She enjoys working with therapists in providing comprehensive, individualized care.
Please feel free to contact Ms. McManus at 515-402-4399.
Biography of Sarah McNew, LISW
I am a Licensed Independent Social Worker in the state of Iowa. I received my Bachelor of
Social Work degree from the University of Iowa in 2006. After working in the field for a couple
of years I returned to the University of Iowa, earning my Master of Social Work degree in 2010.
I am a member of the Association of Pediatric Oncology Social Workers.
I have been practicing in the mental health field since 2010 in a variety of settings including
schools, hospitals, community agencies, and in-home.
I strongly believe in empowering individuals in a collaborative environment to help them reach
their goals. I use a strengths based family centered approach that builds on one's already
I work with children, adolescents, individuals, couples, and families. I have extensive training in
grief and loss but enjoy working with individuals, families, and couples experiencing a variety of issues including but not limited to; depression, anxiety, chronic illness, marital, relationship issues, adjustment, and work related issues.