serving Minnesota via secure video

Meet JoEllen

My job is not to tell you the answer.
My job is to help you find your answer.

Things about me that might make me a good fit for you

When I hear “Good question” from a client, a little bell goes off inside me — it feels good to be with someone when they recognize that something has resonated, has meaning, is worth a look, think, or listen.

I’m accepting, warm, compassionate, calm, straight-forward, honest, and work from a growth-oriented philosophy.

JoEllen, casual, in jeans, trees in background

How I work with you

From a place of warmth and compassion, I will challenge you to dig deeper inside yourself than you may have been willing to go before.

I invite you to lean more closely into the space between you and your partner, figuratively leaning into the heart of your relationship.

In addition to what we work on in session, I do assign homework so you continue to work on and solidify your good work!

My goal is always to help you discover and develop your own insights and Aha! moments.

If it feels right for you right now

If this sounds like the work you would like to do and that I might be the person with whom you’d like to do it, click here, or just below, to schedule your no-obligation 20-minute discovery call with me.

The kind of therapist I am not

I don’t tell you what to think or do. In other words, with the possible exception of the first few sessions of discovery, it’s not about my agenda — we process what would be helpful for you at that time.

I don’t continue to have sessions with you if you are no longer benefiting from our time together. In other words, we work toward meeting your goals and then we wrap up when we believe you’ve achieved them (we have conversations about this along the way).

My core beliefs

that drive my desire to help you discover amazing things about yourself or your relationship

I believe

. . . in and cultivate a shame-free space. (In other words, if shame shows up, we work together to explore it and its message.)

. . . in nurturing, honoring, and celebrating the very best in people. This is part of the work that supports the work we do together — we honor your strengths, achievements, and growth.

. . . that growth comes from curiosity, openness, willingness, and acceptance.

. . . that you deserve to feel heard.

. . . in radical acceptance of parts of self and self.

. . . that being kind does not require sacrifice of self.

. . . that meaning is fascinating, fluid, influential, misunderstood, potent, and much more. Exploration of meaning is a beautiful, powerful, helpful vehicle for change.

. . . that laughter at ourselves and with our friends, family, and partners invites flexibility, softens our edges, and encourages acceptance.

. . . that the ways in which we create our families does not get to be defined, limited, or judged by anyone outside our family unit.

. . . that gratitude has the power to open us to growth, discovery, acceptance, and peace.

. . . in the power of our connection, that it will help us each learn and grow and foster a healthy community.

. . . that we are stronger together and better for it because we can make a choice to connect.

. . . in the sanctity of positive regard toward all human beings.

In case you’re interested — how I got here

I earned my undergraduate degree in physiology from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities a lot of years ago. (Physiology is the study of the functions and connectedness of body parts and systems — I’ve been a long-time systems-thinker.) At the time, my BA degree was my first step toward becoming a medical examiner.

I was already married in college and remember saying to my husband back then, “I want to help people,” and my idea shifted from becoming a medical examiner to something . . . well, less clear for a while.

In the meantime, I took a job in the banking industry . . . and succeeded — and got stuck — there for quite some time. (I have some good organizational, detail, and people skills that were helpful in that industry and ultimately transferable.)

After some years doing that, I picked up those transferable skills and took a position or two in operations and software testing.

It was a few years into my life as a software tester that I realized I was no longer energized or flourishing. I was yearning for a kinder, more intentional and thoughtful connection with people.

Fear and I both got in my way for a while (I still have to pay attention to when I get in my own way). It took some stern self-talk (like many of you, I’m often hard on myself) to encourage myself to make a change and that I wasn’t too old to do it. (I don’t let that kind of thinking get in my way now [well, less often] — anything goes in this one shot at life!) And I started to pursue graduate school.

I said to one admissions counselor that I was interested in helping people and their families. She responded that it sounded like the marriage and family therapy program would be a good fit for me. And that’s what I did. A few years ago I earned my Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy. It was a great fit from the start and I was thrilled to be in the program.

The degree and license name (marriage and family therapy) is a little misdirecting — you don’t have to be married or bring your whole family in to see me. In fact, I work with couples and individuals.

My therapist and personal styles do not work for everyone, but they do for many. Finding out whether you and I might be a good fit is just a click away.

If you’re feeling ready to start having things be different and feel better, click the button below to schedule your no-obligation 20-minute phone consultation. I look forward to hearing from you.

Until these words no longer need to be said or written because our world will be bright with acceptance, compassion, inclusivity, love, knowledge of our united humanness, and celebrations of our different kinds of beauty of ability, age, birthplace, body, clothing, economic status, ethnicity, faith, family status, gender orientation, hairstyle, partner status, race, sexual orientation, size, skin color,

I exclaim this proudly, loudly, and with my whole heart –

ALL are welcome here. Always.
YOU are welcome here.

We are less when we don’t include everyone.

– Stuart Milk

Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.

– Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

It is my privilege to be LGBTQ+-affirming and -allied.

my pronouns: she / her / hers