CEO of Mental Health

Melissa Paulsen LMFT, RPT

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Melissa has been working at Life Connections since October 2014. Melissa is an Independently Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She provides individual counseling, couples counseling, and family therapy. She also does assessments for Behavioral Health Intervention Services (BHIS). Melissa is Life Connections’ CEO of Mental Health.
Melissa is a member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) and the Association for Play Therapy (APT). Melissa served on the Iowa Association for Play Therapy Board from March 2015 to December 2019. Melissa attended Mount Mercy College where she graduated in 2010 with her Bachelor of Arts in psychology and criminal justice while also minoring in sociology. She received her Master of Arts in marriage and family therapy from Mount Mercy University in 2012. While in college, Melissa interned for the Sixth Judicial District and worked at Tanager Place in the PMIC facilities.
Melissa specializes in adjustment-related stressors, anxiety, depression, grief and loss, self-harm, and trauma. She works with all populations from as young as three-years-old to the elderly. Melissa is certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, is a Registered Play Therapist with over 270 hours of play therapy-specific training, received Level 1 Theraplay training, and is an EMDR Clinician. She completed training in Evidence-Based Assessments.
Melissa also facilitates Mediation Education and Children In The Middle Classes in Jones County. Melissa is on the Wyoming Library Board of Directors (Secretary), Paul Petersen Fitness Center Foundation, Jones County Community Partnerships for Protecting Children (Chair), Jones County Family Council (President), and Jones County Safe & Healthy Youth Coalition (Planning Committee).

 

 

CEO of Behavioral Health

Alyssa Hennings LMHC

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Alyssa’s career with Life Connections began in April of 2014. She began as a Behavioral Health Intervention Services (BHIS) counselor and is now our CEO of Behavioral Health! Alyssa is a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) and provides individual counseling, couples counseling, and family therapy. She also completes assessment for BHIS.
In 2013, Alyssa graduated from Loras College with her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and a minor in biology. In 2016, she received her Master of Arts degree in psychology. While in college, Alyssa worked in a group home with children who had behavioral and developmental diagnoses, particularly Autism Spectrum Disorders. Alyssa transitioned from that role into behavioral support at an alternative agency working with children diagnosed with Conduct Disorder and had truancy concerns. Alyssa joined Horizons, a Family Service Alliance Team, in 2013 as a BHIS provider, which later merged with Life Connections.
Alyssa specializes in play therapy and is working toward becoming a registered play therapist. She is also experienced in treating trauma, depression, and anxiety. Alyssa utilizes person-centered therapy techniques, meeting clients where they are and building upon their strengths. She is trained to provide Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. She also utilizes aspects of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, which focuses on values-based living and accepting uncomfortable emotions. Alyssa draws on aspects of each modality in order to create a customized treatment plan in collaboration with the client, focused upon their unique experiences and goals.

 

 

 

 


Director of Clinical Compliance

Tim Weltzin CPIP


View BioTim began working for Life Connections in January of 2019. Tim is a Certified Program Integrity Professional (CPIP), a credential the Medicaid Integrity Institute awards to state employees who complete three weeks of training at the National Advocacy Center in Columbia, South Carolina. He is the Director of Clinical Compliance at Life Connections.
Tim attended Dana College in Blair, NE where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in social sciences in 1986.Tim reviews and writes organizational policies to assure compliance with state and federal regulations and contracts. Tim conducts new employee background checks and credentialing of therapists. He is responsible for managing and oversight of all internal and external audits and addressing any documentation deficiencies. Tim manages and conducts the Life Connections Advisory Board.
Tim has 14 years of experience providing in-home family counseling and 12 years of experience working for the Iowa Department of Human Services and the Iowa Medicaid Enterprise. Tim’s roles within the Department included contract management, auditing provider records, and working as the Program Integrity Manager at the Iowa Medicaid Enterprise.


Director of Human Resources

Mickey Peterson


View BioMickey began her career with Life Connections in May 2018. She started as a part-time office assistant and developed quickly from office assistant to Executive Assistant and on to Administrative Coordinator. In 2019, Mickey graduated with a diploma in Human Resources, and is now Life Connections’ Director of Human Resources. Mickey also supervises all office administrators.


Director of Tele-Mental Health Services

Erin Elm LISW, BC-TMH


View BioErin began her career with Life Connections in June of 2016. Erin earned her masters’ degree in social work from St. Ambrose University and is licensed by the State of Iowa (LISW) to practice independently. For her undergraduate degree, she attended Minnesota State University-Mankato, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in business management with a minor in business administration. Additionally, Erin is a Board Certified Tele-Mental Health Provider (BC-TMH) and works with clients from all over Iowa using tele-based services. Erin not only provides assessments and therapy services to clients from the age of three, but is also the Director of Tele-Mental Health Services for Life Connections. She has been working to increase access to quality mental health services for those in every corner of the state. Erin is a member of both the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).
Erin is extremely passionate about her work with the LGBTQ+ Community and works almost exclusively with this population. She helps clients (and their families) of all ages navigate the social and emotional needs of those who are questioning their identity and/or their orientation. Erin will provide gender- affirming services to anyone who is going to begin Hormone Replacement Therapy or is seeking surgical interventions to complete their confirmation/transition. She is knowledgeable in this process from start to finish and she can help you, or your loved ones, to navigate and understand these changes.
Erin utilizes an integrative approach to therapy which is person-centered, motivational and strengths-based. The specific intervention techniques will come from a variety of modalities depending on the needs of her clients. Generally, you will find that Erin uses techniques from Motivational Interviewing, Reality Therapy, Jungian, Mindfulness, Narrative Therapy and Internal Family Systems. You can count on Erin to be straight-forward, open, and honest with you in a way that is warm and caring. She can also assist you in enrolling in Life Connections’ behavioral health supports. While she works well with children, her current work is done primarily with adolescents and adults.


Director of Behavioral Health

Renée Snyder M.A.


View BioRenée’s career with Life Connections began in February of 2016. She is the Behavioral Health Manager as well as a Behavioral Health Intervention Services (BHIS) counselor. Renée graduated from Ashford University in Clinton with her Bachelor of Science degree in psychology, and then went on to obtain her master’s degree in counseling psychology from Capella University. While studying, she spent time researching how exercise therapy can be helpful in patients with depression and anxiety as a replacement for medication. Renée has been working in the mental health field since 2006, and has gained experience in several areas including substance abuse, assisting individuals with intellectual disabilities, and working with displaced children and families. She also has significant training and experience working with men, women, and children who survived sexual assault and/or domestic violence.

Brand Manager

 

Alyssa Edwards tLMHC


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Alyssa’s career with Life Connections began in November of 2018. Alyssa is a master’s level therapist licensed in the state of Iowa as a Temporary Licensed Mental Health Counselor (tLMHC) as well as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Illinois. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in psychology along with multiple minors and obtained her master’s degree in professional counseling. Alyssa is also able to provide Behavioral Health Intervention Services (BHIS) assessments. Alyssa is a Mental Health Counselor and also the Brand Manager for Life Connections.
During her master’s degree study, Alyssa interned in group settings with the geriatric population, individual and group settings with college students, and also in a private practice setting with adults and children. Alyssa also worked in public schools with children aged Pre-K through grade 12 as a substitute teacher while obtaining her master’s degree. Alyssa worked as a drug abuse therapist until joining the Life Connections team in 2018.
Alyssa utilizes a warm, person-centered, empathetic, and motivational style of communication which assists her clients in feeling heard, understood, and supported in their endeavors. Alyssa utilizes an eclectic and integrative approach to counseling and specializes in selecting the most effective approach for each individual’s needs throughout the therapeutic process. She has completed training in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and especially enjoys utilizing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques and theories. Alyssa continuously seeks education, professional development opportunities, and resources in the counseling field in order to constantly develop her practice. She is particularly skilled in assisting clients with challenging and changing irrational thinking and behaviors, developing healthy coping skills and effective communication, self-esteem building, and identifying goals in order to live their best lives. Alyssa enjoys working with many ages, populations, relationships, and supporting those experiencing life changes, grief, transitions, and other challenges. Alyssa’s office is a safe and welcoming space for the LGBTQIA+ community.

 

Executive Administrative Assistant

 

Mackinsey Taggart B.S.


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Mackinsey Taggart’s career with Life Connections began in November 2016. Mackinsey provides Behavioral Health Intervention Services (BHIS) to children and families in Jackson, Clinton, and Jones counties. She is also Life Connections’ Executive Administrative Assistant. Mackinsey attended Kaplan University, where she graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in psychology in 2015.
Mackinsey utilizes strengths-based curriculums including Stop and Think, 7 C’s of Resilience, 15 Cognitive Distortions and more through her work as a BHIS provider. She enjoys building authentic relationships with her clients and helping them master the skills necessary to overcome behavioral and emotional concerns. Mackinsey is especially interested in working with anger, anxiety, difficulty in interpersonal relationships, problem solving, and oppositional defiance.

 

IT Specialist

 

Bo Becker


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Bo started his career at Life Connections in 2014 and has a decade of experience in the IT field.