Abbey Shell, LISW

Abbey is a Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW) in the state of Iowa. Abbey received her Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Iowa and her Bachelor’s degree in Child, Adult and Family Services from Iowa State University.

She primarily specializes in working with children, adolescents, and families dealing with a wide variety of mental health issues. Her professional career has involved providing individual, group, and family therapy services to adolescent females in a residential setting. She has also worked with preschool-aged children into school-age with significant trauma histories, including abuse, neglect, removal, foster care placement, adoption, familial substance use, homelessness, and community violence. Treatment and consultation services were provided for these children experiencing anxiety, depression, attention difficulties, limited impulse control, anger, grief and loss, and attachment challenges.

She utilizes various strengths-based techniques and approaches, including, though not limited to, Person-Centered Therapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Play Therapy and Family Systems.

Abbey has had extensive training in Trauma Informed Care and has focused her professional care on educating others about this organizational structure and treatment framework.

Alyssa Hennings, tLMHC

Clinton, Dubuque
Alyssa Hennings began as a BHIS provider with Life Connections in April of 2014, and transitioned into a therapist role in October of 2016, upon the completion of her Master's program. Alyssa provides individual counseling, couples counseling, and family therapy. She also provides BHIS assessments for children seeking BHIS services.

Alyssa attended Loras College where she graduated with her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology in 2013. She worked at Hills and Dales residential facility while completing her Bachelor’s degree; working with children with mental and physical health concerns. Alyssa completed her Master's Degree in 2016 from Loras College, where she interned with the State of Iowa Department of Corrections at the Anamosa State Penitentiary.

Alyssa utilizes an eclectic theraputic approach, incorporating solution-focused, behavioral, person-centered, and cognitive-behavioral therapy approaches into the theraputic sessions, focusing on the individual needs of each client.

Dennis Baker, LMHC

Dennis received his Bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from Carthage College in Kenosha, WI and his Master’s degree in clinical psychology from Roosevelt University in Chicago, IL. Alongside his classes, he studied as a fellow at the Chicago Center for Psychoanalysis, received training from the Roosevelt University Mindfulness Initiative, and worked in multiple research labs. He recently joined the Life Connections team after living in Washington State where he worked at a community mental health clinic for four years.

Dennis is trained in multiple therapy modalities, but prefers insight oriented approaches that help clients explore and work with the deeper causes of what is troubling them. Of course this can be challenging work, so he incorporates cognitive-behavioral strategies, relaxation techniques, and education about the brain to help his clients on this path. Dennis works mostly with adults, but also sees children, families, and couples. He has experience helping clients with mood disorders, PTSD, anger management issues, psychotic disorders, and many other mental health challenges.

Elisa Lyons, LMHC

Clinical Director of Therapy

Cedar Rapids
Elisa started her career with Life Connections in December of 2012, and currently holds the position of Clinical Director of Therapy. She has her License in Mental Health Counseling (LMHC).

Elisa received both her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from the University of Iowa (Go Hawks!). She majored in Psychology and minored in Sociology, and received her Master’s degree in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling.

Although trained to work with a wide variety of populations, Elisa particularly enjoys working with children and adolescents. She has clinical experience providing play therapy as a school-based therapist, group therapy, and providing behavioral health intervention services (BHIS). Elisa further has experience in working with children and adults with disabilities, providing direct care and support, facilitating a support group and providing therapeutic services.

Elisa utilizes an individualized, strengths-based approach, and uses techniques from solution-focused, person-centered, cognitive-behavioral, play and art therapies. She has special interest in trauma and abuse, grief and life transitions, and is trained to provide EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing).

Elisa is available to provide LPHA assessments and therapy services to clients starting at the age of three, with flexible appointment times.

Erin Elm, LMSW, DCC

Davenport, Tele-therapy
Erin has her Master’s Degree in Social Work from St. Ambrose University and is licensed by the State of Iowa (LMSW). For her undergraduate degree, she attended Minnesota State University – Mankato where she earned a B.S. in Business Management with a minor in Business Administration. Currently she is working in the Davenport office. Additionally, Erin is credentialed in distance counseling (DCC) and provides services across the State of Iowa with tele-based services. Erin not only provides assessments and therapy, but is also the Director of Tele-Mental Health services for Life Connections.

Erin has spent a large number of years working with children struggling with disabilities. Erin has also trained in, and extensively researched, Trauma Informed Care as well as school based aspects of therapy, such as Response to Intervention and Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports. While she works well with children ages 3 and up, she is also great at working with adults up to aging populations.

Erin utilizes systems, person-centered and strengths-based approaches as well as motivational interviewing and cognitive-behavioral therapies. Erin has special interests in working with children and adults who are seeking services for behavioral concerns including defiance, depression, anxiety, anger management, communication skills, and self-esteem improvement. Erin has also extensively researched and has personal connections to the LGBTQ+ community and is available to help clients with their gender identity and possible transitions. Erin is available to provide assessments and therapy services to clients of all ages, starting at the age of three.

Erin Hosette, LMHC, NCC

Erin has a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology from the University of Northern Iowa and a Masters Degree in counseling from Western Illinois University. She has 12 years of experience in the field; spending 10 years working in this community with adults with chronic and severe mental illness. Erin has been working as a mental health counselor for the past 3 years at Robert Young Center, where she shifted her area of focus onto children ages 3-12. She is a registered facilitator of the Circle of Security Parenting Program and has attended various trainings pertaining to mental health throughout her career.

Felicia Pope, tLMHC

Anamosa, Monticello
Felicia started working for Life Connections April 2018. She has her temporary Licensed Mental Health Counselor license (tLMHC). Felicia received her Master’s in Educational Psychology with a concentration in Community counseling from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. She acquired her Bachelors of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin- Whitewater with a double major: Major in Psychology, and a Major in Art drawing studio. Felicia spent her life in Wisconsin and recently moved to Iowa in January 2018.

Felicia has used different counseling techniques, but prefers CBT techniques, mindfulness, and person centered approach, along with motivational interviewing techniques, and guided visual relaxation. Felicia trained with a Psychiatrist at an AODA center in Wisconsin where she was trained on hypnosis techniques. Felicia’s mental health background includes work with adults with disabilities, adults with TBI, adults with substance abuse issues, and teens and families in group therapy and skill building settings.

She worked with adults with disabilities with Mental illness on and off for 7 years. When working with Adults with disabilities she has assisted them with: vocational skills, and training. She also has had experience working with teens in group therapy settings, along with experience in working with families, focusing on behavioral modification techniques, and teaching communication and parenting techniques. Felicia also has experience working with the substance abuse population. One large passion she has is art and working with others through teaching art. Felicia has experience teaching art activities through her volunteer work at St. Colletta in Wisconsin. Felicia has also taught expressing emotions through art in group therapy exercises while working at a AODA clinic in Milwaukee Wisconsin. One project consisted of each person painting their own positive affirmation on a 12x12” pieces of wood, and stringing them all together and hanging them up at the center.

Jackie Lambert, tLMHC

Anamosa, Cedar Rapids, Monticello
Jackie started her career with Life Connections in June of 2017. She has her temporary license in Mental Health Counseling (tLMHC) and is a National Certified Counselor (NCC). In her current position, Jackie provides therapy for clients in an office setting and at approved schools.

Jackie received her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from Northern Illinois University in 2013. In 2016, she received her Masters of Counseling from Governors State University in Illinois, specializing in marriage and family counseling.

Jackie works with kids, couples, and families of all ages. She has further experience with kids that have Autism and learning disabilities. She also works with clients that have anxiety, depression, trauma, infidelity, ADHD, suicidal thoughts, and adjustment disorders. Jackie utilizes various techniques including: play therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and person-centered therapy.

Jennifer Van Fosson-Roelfs, MS.Ed, LMHC

Jennifer started her career at Life Connections in 2018. She received her BA in Psychology at the University of Iowa in 1995 and her MS. Ed in Educational Psychology with specialization in Marriage and Family and Substance Abuse counseling from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 1998. Jennifer has been a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in the State of Iowa since 2000.

Jennifer has worked in multiple settings throughout her practice. She has provided BHIS services, worked in community mental health, insurance and crisis, adolescent co-occurring inpatient and outpatient, private practice, school based and corrections. Jennifer has a strong history of co-occurring treatment, providing services to both adolescents and adults in various stages of recovery. Jennifer has a passion in working with ages 11 and older, including couples, families and the elderly. Jennifer is very familiar in working with the different systems, including DHS, Probation, Parole, Insurance, Schools, AEA and other community resources.

Jennifer has a relationship-based approach to working with her clients. Jennifer utilizes many other techniques and approaches, based on her clients needs and goals. She has integrated CBT, TF-CBT, Solution Focused, ACT, person focused, strength based and other techniques to help her clients reach their goals.

Jennifer’s strengths include working with co-occurring disorders, depression, adolescents, self-harm, suicide assessment and crisis management, families, couples, anxiety, geriatric, LGBTQ youth and adults, transitioning individuals, grief and loss, trauma, relationships, parenting, anger, adjustment issues and abuse.

Juan Arjona, tLMHC

Juan Arjona has a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Psychology from the Catholic University of Santiago del Estero. Juan is originally from Argentina and came to the States three years ago. He is a temporary Licensed Mental Health Counselor (TLMHC) in the State of Iowa. Juan provides therapy in Spanish and English.

Juan obtained a specialization in Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT); in therapy, he works together with his clients to find and evaluate dysfunctional thoughts in order to find more realistic, adaptive thoughts that will change emotions and behaviors. Juan uses this method with kids, youth, and adults. In his practice, he is flexible and integrative, constantly adapting to what his patients need.

Juan works with kids and their families, couples, teenagers, and adults who have a variety of mental health concerns such as adjustment disorders, anxiety, depression, lack of motivation or self-esteem, etc.

For Juan, being a therapist is more than a job; it is his vocation. He enjoys working at Life Connections because it is a place that provides resources to individuals and families who are struggling with different situations or problems. By being part of the Life Connections team, Juan is able to make a difference, and he feels a tremendous sense of reward when big or small positive changes occur in the lives of those he serves.

Kim Feeney, LISW, RPT-S

Davenport, Muscatine
Kim has her Independent License in Social Work (LISW), as well as being credentialed as a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor (RPT-S). In her current position with Life Connections, she provides therapy in the office setting and in approved schools to families, children and groups. She works with clients and families age three on up.

Kim received her Master’s degree in Social Work with a family centered concentration from the University of Iowa in May 2011. She double majored in Psychology and Social Work and obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in 2001 from the University of Iowa.

Kim is a member of the Association for Play Therapy (APT) and a board member of the Iowa Branch (IAPT). She is also a Clinical member of the Association for Training on Trauma and Attachment in children (ATTAch).

Through counseling children and adolescents, Kim helps clients coping with trauma to become emotionally expressive. Clients and families build confidence and self-esteem through a strengths play based approach. Clients will find empathy and compassion during sessions, but may also be challenged.

Kim’s specialty is play therapy, utilizing different approaches including Adlerian, Theraplay, Sand Tray, and Child Centered. Kim is also trained in attachment based models and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). These expressive techniques allow children and families to explore experiences and emotions safely in session.

Kim’s availability for scheduling an initial assessment is usually within 1-2 weeks. If you or someone you know could benefit from therapy or behavioral health services do not hesitate to email or call. Have a great day!

Melissa Paulsen, MA, LMFT, RPT

Melissa Paulsen began as a therapist at Life Connections in October of 2014. Melissa is an independently Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She provides individual counseling, couples counseling, and family therapy. She also does assessments for BHIS services. Melissa is a member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), Association for Play Therapy (APT), and is also the Secretary and ​a ​Board Member for the Iowa Association for Play Therapy (IAPT).

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 (TF-CBT). TF-CBT is a conjoint child and caregiver psychotherapy approach for children and adolescents who are experiencing significant emotional and behavioral difficulties related to traumatic life events. Melissa is also a Registered Play Therapist (T2859) with over 170 hours of play therapy specific training.
Click here to visit Melissa's Wixsite

Meryl Welsh, MA, LMHC, CPDM, CDMS, NCC


Rachel Andrews, MS, tLMHC

Dubuque, Guttenburg
Hello, my name is Rachel Larson and I am a therapist at Life Connections. I have obtained a Master’s Degree in Clinical Counseling from University of Wisconsin-Platteville and previously to that, I obtained my Bachelor’s in psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. I currently work out of the Dubuque and Guttenberg offices, but also work in Delaware County.

I have worked with Life Connections for two years and in this time, I have worked mainly with children who have Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), ADHD and Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). I have also worked with many of the same siblings and work to strengthen the family system.

Previous to working at Life Connections, I worked with individuals with disabilities by managing their care and assisting them with their daily routines. I utilize evidence based curriculum and solution focused techniques. The mental health diagnoses that I especially enjoy working with are Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Reactive Attachment Disorder. I look forward to working with you and assisting you in your mental health needs.

Susan Fletcher, MS, Ed., LMHC, NCC

Anamosa, Cedar Rapids
Susan started her career with Life Connections in May of 2014. She has her License in Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and is a National Certified Counselor (NCC). In her current position, Susan provides therapy for clients in the office setting and at approved schools.

Susan received her Bachelor of Education in Secondary Education from Truman State University (formerly Northeast Missouri State University), Kirksville, Missouri. In 2011, she received her Masters of Science in Education in Community Mental Health Counseling from Western Illinois University.

Specializing in grief and loss issues, including infertility and pregnancy and infant loss, Susan also enjoys working with a variety of clients who experience anxiety, depression, and life transitions. She has a special interest in helping couples who struggle with their relationships and marriage. Along with clinical experience providing play therapy as a school-based therapist, she also has experience in facilitating group therapy.

Susan utilizes an integrated approach when working with individuals, including solution focused and rational emotive behavioral therapies. A family systems approach is utilized when working with families. Susan is available to provide assessments and therapy services to all clients, beginning at age five.