ABOUT ELLIE Minneapolis
Our Ellie Family Services Minneapolis clinic is conveniently located in North East Minneapolis, between 280 and 35W. This is a great location for people who live in Minneapolis, St. Paul and the surrounding suburbs. We are just a few minutes away from the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus, and easily accessible from both downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul. Our clinic is easy to find on Hennepin, and there’s plenty of free off-street parking (the parking lot is huge!).
At Ellie Minneapolis, we’ve put the Ellie vibes into a great historic building and are proud of the amazing atmosphere we’ve created. The atmosphere doesn’t feel “medical” (no uncomfortable chairs or terrible artwork), but like a place you’d want to go to hang out (we also play some really good music). We have a great group of amazing providers here who offer therapy, psychiatric medication management, ARMHS and CTSS. At Ellie Minneapolis, we see individuals and families of all ages, and our staff include several child specialists who incorporate play into their work with kids.
At Ellie Minneapolis, we also LOVE to work with college students, and conveniently we’re located right near a few of the major local campuses. Our providers understand the grind of college (we’ve been there too!) and are passionate about helping students navigate the challenges, and highs and lows of college life.
Additionally, we are proud to have several trauma therapists on-site, who utilize cutting edge treatments, including EMDR to help support adults and children to deal with and navigate trauma related stress. Within our trauma-specialist staff, we do have some bi-lingual providers who can provide therapy services in Spanish.
At Ellie, a few of our most important core values are authenticity, humor and creativity. Our therapists cut the “formal” (no suits and ties) and don’t act “differently” because of their title. We do our best to make mental health what it is: normal! We all have it, we all need to take care of it. No need to be ashamed to be here, and we can even have fun doing this work!
We use humor as a means of connection, and laughter is truly a medicine. Last but not least, we work hard to create a culture of creativity- we want our staff and clients to be able to use their own inner resources to come up with new ways of doing what they do! Our staff utilize all sorts of creative methods in doing their work, and we hope to inspire this kind of creative problem-solving in our clients as well.
After you’re done with a session at Ellie Minneapolis, consider checking out other cool things happening in the area! The North East area is a great place to find restaurants, breweries, historic shops and cool houses, and is well known for its Arts and River Front Districts. To learn more about the NE community, check out the link below for places to visit after your appointment with Ellie!
Meet Our Minneapolis Team
Lydia Cotch, MA
Clinic Manager, Therapist
Lydia is a warm and determined therapist who is solution focused and strengths based. Lydia does her best to meet clients where they’re at and form goals thoughtfully and collaboratively along side them. Her approach to therapy is an open and honest conversation, grounded in respect, commitment, and humor. Lydia works to create a therapeutic space where client’s can feel safe to confidently explore their journey thus far. Her education is grounded in marriage and family therapy, bringing a systemic based lens that always considers how her client’s environment, relationships, and other influences impact their experience.
Lydia has experience working with adolescents, couples, families and individuals. She has worked in intensive in-patient hospital settings, high schools, out patient clinics, in client’s home and communities, and in group therapy settings.
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, Masters of Arts. Marriage and Family Therapy.
University of Minnesota. Bachelors of Psychology.
Huda Badri, MA
I am passionate about working with teenagers and young adults who are navigating growth and change in their lives. My goal is to provide a respectful, genuine, safe, and accepting space in order to establish a strong therapeutic relationship. I believe the client is the expert in their life’s story. I am honored and excited to partner together in order to create a space to slow down, explore, challenge, and move to a space of balance.
I have had experience working with adolescents and their families going through a spectrum of challenges. These challenges have included trauma, mood disorders, suicidal ideations, self-harm, self-esteem issues, eating disorders, difficult transitions (i.e foster homes, shelters, group homes, JDC etc.), and severe and persistent mental illness (SPMI). I have provided culturally sensitive therapy in schools, assisting children and their families with adapting to the unique challenges brought on to refugees and immigrants. Also included was providing in-home services to adults, children and their families.
The modalities I use include holistic and culturally responsive approach, strength-based and client-centered approach, solution-focused therapy, motivational interviewing, dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and narrative therapy.
I am deeply committed to serving clients from an array of populations, with an emphasis on underserved and marginalized communities. I am honored to join clients on their journey of healing and I am excited to collaborate.
In addition to English, I speak Somali.
Master of Arts, Counseling & Psychological Services
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
Nikki Braaten, MA, LPCC
Nikki is a true believer in embracing the authentic self, as well as the power of vulnerability. She takes a holistic and systemic approach to helping others, but also understands that healing comes in many forms and is specific to an individual’s needs.
Nikki has provided mental health services in a variety of settings/needs, including community mental health centers, school-based therapy, adult and child group therapy, and serving kids, families and caregivers in crisis following trauma at a child advocacy center. She has worked with kids ages 5 and up, as well as adults of all ages, but has done the most significant work with kids, teens, and parents/caregivers with experiences of trauma. Nikki also has experience with individuals struggling with anxiety, depression, somatic and medical symptoms, experiences of grief and loss, and family conflict.
She is both inspired and honored to be part of the healing journey for clients she serves and looks forward to accompanying the client as their own expert in the movement towards healing and connection. Nikki looks forward to creating and holding a safe space for clients to share, cry, just ‘be’, and work towards healing; she knows how sacred finding a good fit with the right therapist can be.
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, Master of Arts, Counseling & Psychological Services
University of Minnesota, Bachelor of Science, Family Social Science
Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT), Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET), Motivational Interviewing, Grief/Loss, and Trauma-informed care.
Maggie believes that everyone, even little ones, deserve a space to feel safe and heard no matter what. She has a passion for helping kids and their families understand their feelings and behaviors through authentic connection and relationship. She values family involvement and sees the family as critical to the child’s ongoing development and growth. Maggie uses play, art, books, mindfulness, and more to help explore and meet the emotional, social, and mental health needs of her clients.
Maggie has experience working with both children and adolescents, but has a unique passion for and specialization in work with children under 6. Her clinical experience has been in individual and family therapy, clinical care consultation with school teachers/staff and other service providers, and intensive outpatient group therapy. Maggie’s perspective relies heavily on attachment, child development, the impact of family systems and is trauma-informed.
University of St. Thomas and St. Catherine’s: Master of Social Work
University of St. Thomas and St. Catherine’s: Bachelor of Social Work
DC:0-5 Diagnostic Criteria for Children Under 6
Jorgen Knutson, MA
Jorgen brings a unique experience and passion into her work as a therapist, having worked with diverse families, couples, individuals, and communities . She embraces a holistic approach and believes healing comes from connecting to our communities as well as our spiritual, physical, and emotional well being.
Jorgen is committed to providing culturally attentive therapy in a nurturing environment where differences are valued and respected. She appreciates the complexity of relationships and collaborates with her clients to foster trust, safety and respect on the path to healing. She believes that individuals are the experts of their own lives, thus entering into this journey with clients is one where she focuses on building her clients’ strengths while also honoring their unique life experiences.
Jorgen has worked in various community settings serving youth and families. She loves working with children, teens, and adults in various life-stages. She is a passionate advocate for issues of equality & social justice as well as holding the space for individuals to question and explore their own spirituality.
Cari Kokotovich, PsyD, LP
Cari is a licensed clinical psychologist who provides psychological evaluations and therapy for children. When working with kids through the evaluation process, Cari’s goal is to find ways to help provide a picture of the child that will lead to an increased sense of understanding and more effective support from caregivers, therapy providers, and educators. Through these evaluations, she can assess for diagnoses such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, screen for learning difficulties, as well as other mood and behavioral disorders.
When Cari works with kids in therapy, her goal is to find ways to work with the child and caregivers to maximize the child’s success in his/her environment. While play is definitely a part of any session with kids she works with, she also works to build skills and follow evidence based practices. In addition to working with the child, Cari works to help problem solve and build strategies with the caregivers. Cari has received certification in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and has worked with many children through their trauma and grief. Healing from trauma is a process, and Cari is grateful to be a part of that journey for children and their families.
Cari has worked with children and their families in a variety of contexts and she greatly enjoys seeing the world from a child’s perspective and joining them in their play. Cari will bring creativity, energy and research based ideas on how to best address a kid’s needs in therapy.
When Cari is not at work, she is enjoying new adventures and experiences with her family, spending time outdoors, trying new theaters, and, of course, curling up on a couch with a good book or show.
Psy.D. – Clinical Psychology
Minnesota School of Professional Psychology
Bachelors – Child Psychology
University of Minnesota
Penn-State Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, PA (APA-Accredited)
Post-Doctoral Fellow, Fraser
Certified Therapist, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Erin Moeller, MSW, LICSW
Kelly Pieper, MSW, LICSW
Child Services Manager, Therapist
Even little people can require support! Kelly has expertise in working with children ages birth through age 18 with specific emphasis on early childhood (birth through age 6) and children and families on the permanency spectrum (foster care through adoption). She maintains a trauma-informed, strengths-based perspective and aims to involve the family in problem solving, solution finding, and resilience building. Kelly is also a board approved supervisor with specific training in reflective supervision and serves as a consultant for childcare providers on early childhood social and emotional development.
Kelly’s specific passion in working with children and their families lies in the unique way every child develops differently and the way that keeps a therapist on her toes! Kids have different brains and have different social, emotional, and mental health needs than adults. Every kid deserves a provider that understands them and does not make attempts to fit them into an adult-sized mold. Therapy with kids is dynamic, challenging, and incredibly important! This is the work that brings Kelly energy daily.
Advanced Training and Certifications:
Trauma-Informed Child Parent Psychotherapy (rostered provider)
DC:0-5 Diagnostic Criteria for Children Under 6
Permanency and Adoption Competency Certificate
University of Minnesota Twin Cities – Masters of Social Work
University of Wisconsin Madison – BS
Terry is a strength-based therapist who believes It takes great courage to seek support, whether it be during times of suffering or during a period of change, and the focus of his practice is to provide support by working together to cultivate inner strength and self-understanding.
Terry utilizes an integrative and holistic approach to psychotherapy. His practice is rooted in mindfulness, CBT and DBT approaches, and contemporary Psychodynamic therapy. His work also draws from the mind-body connection, spirituality, social/cultural influences, neuroscience, and compassion.
There are countless reasons why people seek therapy – whether it’s the daily stressors of life, relationship struggles, or painful experiences and emotions. Challenges are a part of life, and no one is immune to them.
Sometimes these challenges become too much to bear on our own, or we find that our efforts to solve the problem simply aren’t working. When an individual is hurting, confused, troubled, anxious, alienated, terrified; or when he or she is doubtful of self-worth, uncertain as to identity, then understanding is called for. The gentle and sensitive companionship of an empathic stance… provides illumination and healing. In such situations deep understanding is, Terry believes, the most precious gift one can give to another.
As a therapist, Terry is open and affirming and strives to foster a climate of purposeful inclusion of all people. Terry values the diversity of racial and cultural identity and background, nationality, sexual and affectional orientation, gender identity and its expression, religious background and belief, marital status, family structure, age, mental and physical health, appearance, size, political perspective, educational and class status.
Issues and concerns Terry commonly works with include: Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Co-occurring disorders, Communication and Relationships issues, Identity and transition concerns, Grief and loss, Self-esteem, Stress management and relaxation, Thought and mood disorders as well as Early Adulthood Transition.
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, Master of Arts, Counseling & Psychological Services. University of Minnesota, Bachelor of Science, Psychology.
Christina Potter, MA
Christina is a therapist who is passionate in meeting clients where they are in their recovery while emphasizing on being a guest in the client’s journey. Christina gravitates to a strengths based approach while focusing on the present and what the possibilities are for the future. Christina takes on the coaching role while working with client’s finding their best way to cope with what life throws at us and decreasing emotional reactivity.
Christina offers client-centered therapy for adults, couples, and families. Christina has a history of providing in-home services with adolescents and their families and adults in ARMHS and in-home therapy. Christina also has a history of working with victims and survivors of sexual violence, homeless families and adults with SMPI. Christina has her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota and is in the process of seeking licensure.
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, Master of Arts, Marriage and Family Therapy
St. Cloud State University, Bachelor of Arts, Major in Community Psychology, Minor Psychology
Beth has worked with range of ages, across issues of anxiety, depression, grief, illness, attachment, life transition, relationships, identity, trauma, emotional development, and skill building. She has experience working with children and families, toddler-age through teenagers, in home, school, and office settings. Beth is trained in end-of-life issues and have extensive experience in support of hospice, palliative communities.
Beth’s ideal client is someone or someones searching to engage in their change and seek wellness, which can look like growth, respite, evolution. I enjoy working with issues of grief and loss, death/dying, parent-child relationships, young children, life phase or life change transitions. “If it’s a time for building relationships, connections, identity, or existential musings – I’m in!”
Described as having a very easy-going and calm temperament, she uses her energy to help support clients. Her approach emphasizes affirming partnerships with clients built on trust, a sense of optimistic and playful curiosity, and a focus on expression and experiences. Through creative exercises, body-based strategies, experiential and play activities, and facilitation of new skills, Beth hopes to present clients with new experiences or perspectives that inspire change.
It’s important to Beth to empower persons, help them find peace and security, and discover ways to make sense of their worlds. She aims to bring open-mindedness, creativity, curiosity, and lots of encouragement and affirmation to the therapy process. Therapy is about partnership – exploring, playing and learning together, showing respect and finding enjoyment along the way. And it calls for witnessing – a special presence and space to live into the honesty, compassion, and care we all need in order to heal.
Beth uses a person-centered approach that prioritizes collaboration, respect, and curiosity… and play if it fits your age-bracket or your preference! Through a range of modalities, such as narrative, experiential, solution-focused, body-based, creative and play interventions, and some CBT, she hopes to tap into the creative space or caring space that client’s can use to find their wellness.
Masters – Saint Mary’s University
Licensure and Certifications:
- Trained as End of Life Doula from INELDA/International End of Life Doula Association (NOTE: not a license, yet)
- Prepare/Enrich Pre-Marital Counseling Certification
- Pursing licensure as LMFT
Alysia Schwartz, MA, LADC, LPCC
Alysia is a strengths based, trauma informed therapist who believes in building an authentic and trusting therapeutic relationship. She provides a safe and non-judgmental environment where clients can feel their story matters. Alysia empowers clients through a holistic approach and mindfulness techniques. She recognizes therapy is a collaborative process and each individual has a unique set of needs and goals.
Since 2013 Alysia has worked as a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor in various settings including inpatient, outpatient, and medication assisted treatment. While working in the addiction field she recognized the connection between addiction and mental health and was motivated to pursue a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology.
Through her experiences she discovered a passion for working with individuals who identify in the LGBTQ+ community. Alysia focuses on helping clients explore their identity, feelings of shame and guilt, and cultural marginalization.
Outside of work Alysia enjoys spending time with her rescue dogs, exploring Minnesota, thrift shopping, and discovering new music.
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, Master of Arts, Counseling and Psychological Services
Metropolitan State University, Bachelor of Science, Alcohol and Drug Counseling
Samantha Taleff, MSW, LGSW
My ideal clients are folks that demonstrate willingness, workability, and have a good sense of humor.
Clients can expect a warm and kind environment, which prior (and post) pandemic, included a nice cup of tea.
My practice focuses on the mental health of adults and older adolescents. Clinical areas of interest include anxiety, adoption, depression, grief/loss, LGBTQ+, life transitions, and trauma.
My clinical orientation is primarily rooted in CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and in ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy) while utilizing tools from other domains. I am certified in ART (accelerated resolution therapy) through Rosenzweig Center for Rapid Recovery. ART has been shown to be effective in processing traumatic memories. Passionate about incorporating the arts and creativity into therapy while helping others find what moves them.
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities-MSW
Licenses and Certifications
Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW)
Andrea Torres-Guerra, BS
Jessica Van Berkum, MA, LMFT
I enjoy working with a variety of clients: individuals, couples, and families. I embrace working with clients of diverse backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities/races, genders, sexual orientations, religious/spiritual beliefs and ages. I work with people ages 6 and up.
I work with individuals, couples, & families. My training contains experience in parenting assessments, co-parenting, conflictual family systems, community- based work, and school-based therapy. I enjoy family systems work, particularly working with families dealing with family members with critical disabilities/illness. I find work with individuals moving through life transitions, grief and loss, anxiety, and depression rewarding. My experience with children includes diagnoses of Anxiety, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
I use person-centered and systemic approach in my therapy. Clients are the experts of their own lives and their systems and family impact their lives significantly.
I incorporate self-care, mindfulness, and activities in treatment. I also believe coordination of care with other members of the client’s system is beneficial.
Argosy University – MA
Licenses and Certifications
-Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
-Diagnostic Classification of Mental Health & Developmental Disorders of Infancy and Early Childhood (DC 0-5 for early childhood)
Colleen Zimmer, MSN, PMHCNS-BC
Psychiatric Medication Prescriber
Colleen’s career in psychiatry started by working as a registered nurse in a community mental health center. She supported individuals with a wide range of mental health needs. That experience provided the foundation for advancing her career and she obtained her advanced practice license. Due to the significant shortage of mental health providers with prescribing privileges, Colleen knew this was a vital piece needed to assist individuals towards mental wellness.
In a variety of settings throughout her career, Colleen has worked with populations who experience a range of mental health issues, people with chemical dependency issues and those with diverse backgrounds. She believes everyone has the right to access appropriate resources as they work towards mental wellness.
Colleen has an open, friendly approach to mental wellness. She understands each person has a life story to tell and actively listens, working together with the individual on their journey to wellness. Colleen takes a holistic approach taking into account psychological, physical and social aspects of each individual’s life. She believes every person is unique and therefore, deserves a unique treatment plan that works for their life.
University of Minnesota, Master of Science, Psychiatric Clinical Nurse Specialist
The College of St. Scholastica, Bachelor of Science in Nursing
American Nurses Credentialing Center – Board Certified Psychiatric Clinical Nurse Specialist