Alyssa Edwards tLMHC
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.
Erin Elm LISW, BC-TMH
Erin began her career with Life Connections in June of 2016. Erin earned her master’s 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.
Lianne Garcia, tLMFT
Lianne joined the Life Connections team in January of 2021. Lianne holds a temporary license as a Marriage and Family Therapist (tLMFT) in Iowa and as an Associate Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (ALMFT) in Illinois. Lianne earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Davis, with a B.S. in Human Development. She earned her master’s degree from the University of Central Texas (now Texas A&M – Central Texas) in Counseling Psychology, with an emphasis in Marital and Family Therapy. Lianne has experience working with individuals and families of varying backgrounds and ages. She has worked in many non-profit and private therapy settings including military Family Life Centers, foster care, at-risk youth, and in-home therapy. Having lived as a military spouse and mother, Lianne has worked with a large variety of individuals and families, in a variety of cultural and geographical settings, dealing with situations that are unique to specific clients and populations. Lianne utilizes a trauma-informed approach to therapy, techniques of Solution-Focused Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Narrative Therapy. Lianne believes in promoting an empathic and therapeutic relationship to foster growth and change for her clients to achieve their goals.
Michelle Mehrens, LMSW
Michelle began her career with Life Connections in 2020. Michelle provides therapy services and completes assessments for Behavioral Health Intervention Services (BHIS). Michelle graduated from Western Illinois University with her bachelor’s degree in Social Work and she received her master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Iowa. Throughout her career, she has cultivated a passion for working with children and families. She practices using a strengths-based approach and is trauma informed. Michelle has training in Adlerian Play Therapy techniques and is working toward becoming a Registered Play Therapist.
Taaron Stinocher, LMSW
Taaron is a Masters Level Social Worker licensed in the state of Iowa. Taaron completed her bachelor’s degree in Human Services in 2014. After completing her bachelor’s degree, Taaron went on to serve two terms with AmeriCorps through the Public Allies Iowa Program. During her first term, she worked with men in recovery from alcohol and substance abuse. From there, she served a second AmeriCorps term where she worked with grieving and traumatized youth in group-based settings. Taaron began her Master of Social Work program at the University of Iowa in 2016. During her graduate studies, she worked in a housing program that assisted survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence find safe, permanent housing while working toward self-sufficiency. Taaron graduated with her Masters in Social Work in 2019 and currently works as a Program Coordinator at an alternative education center for at-risk youth. Additionally, Taaron provides Therapy services at the Life Connections Bettendorf location.
Although Taaron has worked with a variety of populations over the course of her career, she specializes in working with adolescents and teens. She has experience providing group therapy, play therapy, and art therapy. Taaron has been trained in Trauma Informed Care and Crisis De-Escalation. Taaron utilizes a strengths-based, person-centered therapeutic approach as well as motivational interviewing, mindfulness, and cognitive-behavioral therapies. She collaborates with each client to incorporate aspects from a variety of therapeutic techniques to ensure that every client has an individualized treatment plan to help them overcome hardships and life barriers.