Resources for Suicide Prevention

LCA News and Information

by Diane Cerven, LPCC

Suicide Resources Dried Flower Picture

With the recent celebrity deaths by suicide it’s on our minds to reach out to people in need.

We look at celebrities who kill themselves and we ask, why?  They’re rich, they’re famous.  If someone like Anthony Bourdain can commit suicide, when he seemed to be living the dream, what’s the point of my life?  What’s there to live for?  Many of us have these thoughts run through our minds.  Especially when suicides are in our newsfeeds and on tv.

For some of us, it’s more than just a passing thought.  They are real questions that we’re asking ourselves.  They’re real feelings of hopelessness, sadness, even numbness that cloud our minds, cloud our lives.  Those questions drive us to despair, and lost in our depression, our pain, our chronic medical condition, our grief, we just want it all to end.  Believing that our pain ending is the only way through this, and to end our pain suicide is the answer, but it’s not.

There is hope, let us help you find it.  Psychotherapy has been found to be an effective way of helping people to get through their mental pain.  Talking to a counselor, someone who is empathetic, and impartial, who can help you to see there could be a tomorrow without the depression being so large.  A counselor can use their training and therapeutic techniques to help.

It takes a choice on your part.  You can continue listening to the questions, to the depression, to the emotional desire for things to get better but wanting to end it quickly.  Or you can give counseling a chance and start the work of getting better with support.  Call us at 218-366-9229 to schedule an appointment with a Lake County Associates counselor.


Diane Cerven, LPCC

Considering Suicide Right Now?

If you’re in crisis and considering suicide now, please contact one of these resources, 911, or go to the nearest emergency room. We want you to be safe.


24 Hour Crisis Line (for adults and children):        1-800-422-0045
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:     1-800-273-8255 (TALK)
Crisis Text Line:         Text MN to 741741


Navigating the Changes in Substance Use Disorder Treatment

LCA News and Information

by Loretta Bach, LADC

  • What’s the difference between a Rule 25, a Chemical Use Assessment and a Comprehensive Assessment?
  • What is Peer Support and Treatment Coordination?
  • Do I need Outpatient Treatment, Substance Use Disorder Treatment or Residential Treatment?
  • What’s the difference between Withdrawal Management and Detox?
  • How do I pay for services…what’s a PMAP…what is a Consolidated Treatment Fund?
rocks on the beach

If you or a family member find yourself in a position where you believe a problem has developed with mood altering chemicals it may be a confusing and daunting task to know where to turn and how to get help.

My name is Loretta Bach and I am a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor. I started partnering with Lake Country Associates (LCA) in Park Rapids and surrounding communities this February. In my bio on the LCA Website, I mentioned that I have been working in the field of addiction treatment (no, wait, its now “Substance Use Disorder” treatment) since 1986. Over that time, I had been fortunate to work with many talented and forward-thinking professionals; delivering care in the treatment of chemical dependency. With my community partners, we have adapted to countless changes, challenges, and advances in treating Substance Use Disorders (SUDs).  I have had the opportunity to see many changes in the field over the past 30+ years and I look forward to working with LCA in adapting to the new round of changes that are set to be put in place July 1 of this year.

The good news is we live in Minnesota, which has been a pioneer in this field.  Many other states have looked to us as a model to help the populations in their respective states.  Lake Country Associates has invested the time with consultations, webinars and meeting with surrounding county workers to make sure we can provide the direction and assistance needed with our unique challenges of delivering care in our rural setting.

Are the upcoming changes to SUD in MN confusing? Yes

Are these changes meant to improve the care to people needing help? Yes

Have many people spent countless hours pondering changes and listening to professionals in the field in order to put a workable system in place? Yes

Am I dedicated to helping you navigate the changes and get the services you need? Absolutely!

I look forward to being a part of this transition with you and to helping you get the services that best fit your situation.

There are a couple ways to learn more:

– You can call your county Social Service Department. In Hubbard County, the contact staff is Tammie Roth.

– You can call Lake Country Associates at 218-366-9229 and talk with me about your questions or set up an appointment for a “Rule 25” or for care associated with a (join me in practicing the new terminology) “Substance Use Disorder”.

Loretta Bach, LADC



LCA Welcomes Laura Hansen, MSW, LICSW

LCA News and Information

Lake Country Associates welcomes Laura Hansen Master’s of Social Work (MSW), Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) to our Bemidji office. Laura has thirty-two years of experience working in the mental health, counseling and social work field. In 2008, Laura obtained her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Minnesota – Duluth. Prior to earning her master’s degree, Laura worked as a social worker in the areas of child protection, family service and welfare reform. Laura has sixteen years of experience as a school social worker, school counselor, and mental health therapist. In February 2011, she obtained her clinical license with the Minnesota Board of Social Work as an Independent Clinical Social Worker. Laura has worked as an adjunct instructor in the Social Work Department at Bemidji State University.

Laura enjoys working with people and uses a comprehensive, person centered approach, drawing on the strengths perspective. She utilizes cognitive-behavioral therapy, one’s environment, physical health, psychological and emotional aspects and spirituality. Laura has extensive experience working with people addressing anxiety, depression, life changes and transitions, grief and loss, relationships and communication, trauma, couples relational issues, spirituality and family therapy. Laura also works with people who are managing severe and persistent mental illness. Laura enjoys working with adults, adolescents and children ages seven and up. Laura is honored to share in people’s exploration and journey through the challenges in life and to work together to improve the identified issues and concerns.

Changes in Txt4Life

LCA News and Information

Community members may have heard that the state of Minnesota’s crisis text provider “Txt4life” is ending next month. This service will be moving from a Minnesota provider to an existing national nonprofit called Crisis Text Line. Txt4life will be responding to texts through March, though texters will receive an auto message with their first text letting them know of the change and what the new number is. This automated message is active now and will be in place for an undetermined amount of time after March. 

How to Access the Crisis Text Line

The new service through Crisis Text Line is active and available now. Your clients/students can access this service by texting “MN” to 741741.  For now, please help make the transition by discontinuing promotion for Txt4life.  Promotional materials for the new line will soon be available in schools and in the community.  In the meantime, please spread the word about the change.  

More information on Crisis Text Line is available at

Welcome to LCA Caleb Roiko, RN!

LCA News and Information

Caleb Roiko, a Registered Nurse, joined ourCaleb Roiko, RN Park Rapids ARMHS team in December and will be providing Medication Education services for people in the ARMHS program.  He attended Northwest Technical College in Bemidji and become a Registered Nurse in 2016.  Caleb is excited about working in his community and helping people understand the symptoms of their illness and overcome the side-effects of their medication.

What is Medication Education?

Medication Educators help teach people in the ARMHS program about the following:

  • Their mental illness and symptoms
  • The role that medications play in treating symptoms of mental illness
  • Coping with medication side effects

Medication Education can also include helping family members or significant others develop ways to better maintain the medication regiment for their loved one.  To begin with, Caleb will be providing services in a group setting, but he is willing to meet individually with people by appointment.

See the ARMHS calendar, found at the Forms and Brochures page for details of upcoming Medication Education groups.

Please join us in welcoming Caleb Roiko, RN to the LCA Team!

Lake Country Welcomes Loretta Bach, LADC!

LCA News and Information

Please join us in welcoming Loretta Bach, LADC to the Lake Country team. Loretta Bach-Gansen Loretta graduated from Minnesota State University-Mankato with certification in chemical dependency counseling in 1986. She went on to work towards certification as a CCDCR and was ultimately licensed by the State of Minnesota as an LADC. Loretta has worked continuously since her certification and licensure at all levels of Substance Use Disorder treatment.  She has worked with both adolescents and adults.  Loretta was the Program Director of an adolescent residential treatment program in Winnebago, Minnesota.  She also has worked in delivering outpatient services in the roles of primary counselor and outpatient coordinator.  She helped Mayo Health Systems develop an extended care/board and lodge program as well as helping with staff development. 

 Loretta moved to Park Rapids in 2009.  She has worked most of her time at Upper Mississippi Mental Health Center and Northern Pines Mental Health since her move “Up North”.  

 Loretta says she has been fortunate to work with many compassionate and forward-thinking staff and supervisors over her years of practice.  She has witnessed staggering changes in health care and has worked with the people that have drawn up policy and still have found ways to provide “person centered” care while working with these changes.  She is excited to continue that journey with her coworkers at Lake County Associates.

LCA Welcomes Alicia Holley to the Team!

LCA News and Information
On January 2, Alicia V. Holley, MA, LPCC, ATR-BC joined the LCA team in the Bemidji office.  Alicia is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and Board Certified-Registered Art Therapist with 15 years of experience providing mental health and art therapy services to children and families.  Alicia is an experienced Clinician and Program Coordinator, having managed an early childhood and outpatient mental health program in the past.  Alicia is a board approved supervisor with the MN Board of Behavioral Health.

With all her experience, Alicia most enjoys working directly with children, individuals, and families.  Her clinical style is client-focused and strengths-based, with a strong focus on interactive interventions including art, use of stories, and play.  She displays clinical confidence in building rapport with families, responding to a range of clinical concerns, and implementing a variety of therapeutic interventions.   Alicia has experience with specific clinical needs including adoption, trauma, parent-child relationship conflict/distress, and has worked with children, individuals, and families of all ages, with a broad range of diagnoses.  She is trained in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)- for children ages 2-7 and their caregivers, Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC)- for children 6-24 months and their caregivers, Trauma-Informed Child-Parent Psychotherapy (TI-CPP)- for children ages 0-5 and their caregivers, and the Managing and Adapting Practice (MAP) service model for children up to 18 years of age.

Please join us in welcoming Alicia to the Lake Country Associates Team!

STEPPS Group Therapy Begins October 4th

LCA News and Information

Mandy Budan PaintingLake Country Associates will again be offering the Systems Training for Emotional Predictability and Problem Solving (STEPPS) group therapy. STEPPS is a cognitive behavioral, skills training approach to assist people in the management of emotional intensity and the development of emotional regulation skills. Developed at the University of Iowa, this program is a skills training approach originally designed for persons diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. However, in our experience when delivering this group, we find that the material applies well to any disorder in which an individual experiences intense emotions that are difficult to manage and regulate. We call these experiences “emotional intensity episodes”. Persons with Depressive Disorders, Bipolar Spectrum Disorders, Anxiety Disorders as well as PTSD can find this skills-based approach helpful in their recovery. A key aspect of this program is the development of a Reinforcement Team. This allows key support persons, family, friends and professionals working with the individual to learn and reinforce the skills the individual is learning.

The STEPPS group therapy sessions will begin Wednesday October 4th, 2017 and will be held at the Lake Country Associates Park Rapids office. The sessions will start at 1:00 p.m. and end at 2:30 p.m. They will be held for 20 – 1 ½ hour group therapy sessions and 1 Reinforcement Team session. Referrals are being accepted at this time. A late afternoon or evening group could be offered if enough interest is generated for that time slot.

STEPPS will be facilitated by Jean Greseth, MSW, LICSW Clinical SocialJean Greseth Worker at Lake Country Associates. Jean has facilitated STEPPS groups for the past 8 years and is an experienced clinician in the treatment of mental illness. All individuals referred or self referred will need to have a current Diagnostic Assessment completed by a Mental Health Professional and meet with Ms. Greseth for a 30 minute individual session prior to the start of group. Costs for the sessions can be billed to insurance.

How to get started

Please call Lake Country Associates at 218-366-9229 to make a referral or download a referral form.  Referral forms may be faxed to our office at 218-732-2520.

Updates from the Lake Country Cottage

LCA News and Information
Tomatoes at Lake Country Cottage
Thriving tomato plants on the porch of the Lake Country Cottage.

Lake Country Cottage drop-in center has been open for a couple months now.  Construction on the building is complete and Members have been working to make their drop-in center comfortable for everyone.  Since opening, there have been many improvements and changes around “The Cottage”.

Here’s what’s new:

  • As of August 7th, we’ve changed our open hours to provide services four days a week, instead of three.  Feedback from Members and Staff at the Cottage was that early morning and late afternoon hours on Friday were very lightly attended.  Shortening the days on Friday and adding Thursday afternoon made the drop-in center more accessible to more people.  Here are the new hours:
    • Mondays    9AM – 1PM
    • Tuesdays    12PM – 4PM
    • Thursdays   12PM – 4PM
    • Fridays    9AM – 1PM
  • All Lake Country Associates ARMHS groups are now being held at The Cottage.
  • Members of The Cottage have conceptualized, planned, and are carrying out a garage sale on August 17 and 18.  Members have decided to use any proceeds to supplement activities for all members.  Ideas that have been presented by Members include: additional pottery and art classes,  additional outings to Itasca Park, berry picking as a group, etc.  Non-clothing donations are appreciated and can be dropped off at the Cottage during drop-in hours until 8/11/17.
  • The nutrition classes taught by St. Joseph’s staff is now being held at the Cottage.
  • Staff and Members have worked together on several projects to make the Cottage a comfortable and fun environment for everyone.  Working together with and for others is good for your mental health.
    Dawn staining table at Lake Country Cottage
    Dawn chips in to stain the picnic table at the Lake Country Cottage


    Cottage Members and Staff have spent countless hours chipping in, building meaningful relationships, joking around with each other, and taking pride in their drop-in center.  Some of the projects include:

    • sanding and staining the picnic table
    • clearing the grape vines that had taken over the beautiful trees
    • cleaning out the garage in preparation for the garage sale
    • planting tomatoes and other porch plants
    • splitting and moving ferns and other perennials around the yard

Lake Country Associates is proud of the improvements Members of the Cottage have made in an effort to help each other.  To learn more about the Cottage or to become a member, visit our Cottage Page.

Lake Country Hires Two Mental Health Rehab Workers

LCA News and Information

Lake Country Associates is happy to announce the addition of two new Mental Health Rehab Workers to our ARMHS team of professionals.

RJ WattenhoferRJ Wattenhofer Mental Health Rehab Worker

RJ received his Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature from Bemidji State University in 1994 and graduated on May 25, 2017 from the Peer Employment Training course facilitated by Northern Pines Mental Health Center.

RJ lived in the Seattle, Washington area where he worked in the technology industry for both businesses and as an entrepreneur in the areas of telecom, web development, coding and design. He returned to the Park Rapids area eight years ago continuing his work as an entrepreneur.  Although not his primary function at LCA, his I.T. experience is a welcome addition which will assist in our continued development!

RJ has one son and a large extended family who are all extremely supportive of his endeavors, especially his latest one with LCA.  He is enthused to be a part of LCA and excited to make use of his own life experiences in order to help others along the path to wellness and recovery.

Kate DierkhisingKate Dierkhising Mental Health Rehab Worker

Kate enters the mental health field with a Bachelors degree in Psychology from Concordia College.  She looks forward to helping people build skills to manage their mental health in the community.  In addition to working as a Rehab Worker with the ARMHS program, Kate will be spending Tuesday afternoons at the Lake Country Cottage.  She looks forward to helping create a safe and welcoming environment for members.  Because of her interest in art, Kate plans to lead regular Tuesday afternoon art gatherings at the Cottage.  As the program develops, she is confident that members will feel free to come relax, laugh, enjoy the company of others, and join her in her appreciation for art.

Initially, both Mental Health Rehab Workers will be providing services out of the Lake Country Cottage in Park Rapids.  As they develop their intervention skills, Kate and RJ will work in tandem with Mental Health Practitioners in providing individualized services to people with mental illness in our community.

Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Kate and RJ, the newest members of the LCA family!

“Lake Country Cottage” Brings New Opportunities for Community!

LCA News and Information

Lake Country Cottage Drop-in Center

Lake Country Cottage opened its doors mid-May and will provide new opportunities for community members diagnosed with mental illness.  The Cottage’s goal is to use the tenets of the Clubhouse Model to help people diagnosed with mental illness (its members) with employment and housing, create daily structure, build work and social skills and develop a community of meaningful relationships.  The technical term is psychosocial rehabilitation, but it’s essentially about building positive relationships and skills that can help you overcome the challenges of living with a mental health diagnosis.

Lake Country Cottage is located at 516 1st Street West in Park Rapids (immediately West of Casey’s on Hwy 34) and is operated by Lake Country Associates.  Currently, “The Cottage” is being used as a comfortable space for community mental health staff to complete their paperwork, meet individually with clients, and provide ARMHS skills groups.  Beginning next week, we will begin offering scheduled drop-in hours as follows:

Monday     9AM-1PM            Tuesday    Noon-4PM           Thursday     Noon-4PM                  Friday       9AM-1PM

A 2015 community needs assessment conducted by The Improve Group found that in our region, a “drop-in center” was one of the top needs identified.  A drop-in center is also regularly identified as a strong community need at the Hubbard County Mental Health Local Advisory Council.  “It’s for those times when you are having problems with your symptoms, but it’s not so bad that you need to go to the hospital”, said one consumer advocating for the need at the Advisory Council meeting, “when you just need to be around people, away from the four walls of your apartment and in a safe place with people who understand about your illness”.

Lake Country Cottage is also host to the Activities Leadership Group (ALG) meetings and activities.

What is the Activities Leadership Group?

Jean Greseth and Sarah Elstad at Lake Country CottageALG is a consumer-run group that meets twice a month to plan and implement social and recreational activities for the larger community of mental health consumers.  ALG typically plans two community activities per month, which can be found on LCA Activity Calendar.

Last week, The Cottage kicked off its ALG schedule in the garage with a “garden party”.  Staff and members brought in their overgrown houseplants to split and share with others.  Everyone got their hands dirty and walked away with new houseplants to warm their homes and apartments. “It was so fun”, said Jean Greseth, plant-splitting enthusiast and counselor at LCA, “it’s what you’re supposed to do with plants…share them with the people you care about”.

Learn more about the Lake Country Cottage.

Bemidji Office welcomes Deanna Murphy, MA, LPCC

LCA News and Information

Lake Country Associates is proud to announce the Deanna Murphy Therapistaddition of Deanna Murphy to our Bemidji office.  Deanna received her Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from Bethel University in 1998.  She became a Licensed Profession Clinical Counselor in 2011.  Deanna received additional focused education in marriage and family therapy as well.  She has experience providing mental health services to children, adolescents, adults and families in a variety of settings including schools, colleges, in-home, and outpatient office settings.

Deanna enjoys working with children, adolescents, adults, couples and families who are facing various life challenges and are seeking help in navigating them in a healthy way.   She generally works from a cognitive behavioral framework and has special training in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT).  Deanna values a holistic approach to counseling and enjoy exploring psychological components as well as relational, spiritual, and physical factors; understanding that they are all connected.

To request an appointment with Deanna Murphy, please call us at 218-444-2233 or Email us from our contact page.

We are honored to have Deanna Murphy as a part of the LCA family!

LCA Welcomes Lisa Smith, Mental Health Practitioner

LCA News and Information

Lake Country Associates is proud to announce the addition of Lisa Smith to our ARMHS team in Park Rapids.  Lisa Smith Mental Health PractitionerLisa will be working part-time in Wadena and Hubbard Counties and is looking forward to the challenge.  Lisa has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from The College of St. Scholastica in Brainerd.  Her mental health experience includes interning as an ARMHS Practitioner for Northern Pines Mental Health Center in Staples and Brainerd.  Lisa also worked as an Equine Handler/Equine Coaching Assistant with Discovery Horse of Brainerd. Discovery Horse uses Equine Assisted Learning techniques to assist individuals with a mental health diagnosis.

Lisa has 2 children and lives on a small hobby farm. She enjoys spending time with horses and raises American Quarter Horses.  Welcome to the LCA family Lisa!  

LCA Welcomes Cindy Johannessohn, Mental Health Practitioner.

LCA News and Information

Cindy Johannessohn, ARMHS PractitionerLake Country Associates welcomes Cindy Johannessohn to it’s ARMHS team.  Cindy has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Metropolitan State University, St Paul, MN.  Her mental health experience includes working as a Mental Health Practitioner at Northern Pines Mental Health Center in Brainerd, Nystrom & Associates in Baxter and Intensive Rehab Treatment Services in Wadena.

Cindy has 5 children, 7 grandchildren and 2 great grandkids!  She recently moved to the Park Rapids community with husband of 33 years.  She is really excited about meeting new folks and sharing the beauty of this area with family and friends.  Please join us in welcoming Cindy Johannessohn to the community and to the LCA family!

LCA Welcomes Kari Tomperi to the Park Rapids Office

LCA News and Information

Lake Country Associates is happy to announce that Kari Tomperi has joined the Park Rapids office staff.  Kari assists with scheduling, office support Kari Tomperi Lake Country Associates and keeps the wheels turning at the Park Rapids office.  Kari has worked in a variety of careers and brings a wide range of experience to the team.  She has always enjoyed customer service and helping people.  She looks forward to working with LCA’s mental health therapists and ARHMS practitioners to provide a professional and helpful experience to the clients of LCA.  Kari can claim to be a true native to the area having been born at the Park Rapids hospital.  She enjoys all the local outdoor activities available from camping to floating the Crow Wing River. 

Please join us in welcoming Kari Tomperi to the LCA Family!

LCA Welcomes Tami Leigland and Stacy Luetgers!

LCA News and Information

Lake Country Associates is proud to announce the addition of two new staff to our Team!

Tami Leigland

Tami is a full-time Mental Health Practitioner in the ARMHS Program.  For the last 14 years, Tami has been working for Nelson In-home Services, teaching parenting skills and supporting families in Hubbard County.  Tami looks forward to helping people on an individual basis, both in their homes and in the community through the ARMHS program.

Stacy Luetgers

Stacy is our first Certified Peer Specialist on the ARMHS Team.  She is a long-time resident of Park Rapids.  Stacy recently completed an intensive training in Bemidji, qualifying her to be a Certified Peer Specialist.  She will work with people in our community who need support in managing and overcoming the symptoms of their mental illness.  Stacy has a passion for helping people and is willing and able to share her story of recovery in hopes to inspire and encourage others.

The Importance of Winter Socialization

LCA News and Information

A winter message from Hyacinth Mosse, LSW.  Hyacinth is a Mental Health Practitioner in our Adult Rehabilitative Mental Health Services (ARMHS) program, a part-time student at St. Catherine’s University, and a Minnesota winter enthusiast.   

Hyacinth writes:

Almost everyone in Minnesota enjoys the first snow fall. The sky is decorated with fluffy white snow. Chrystal flakes fall softly and cover the ground in a tranquil blanket of white. Dusted pine trees create a winter wonder land. As the season of winter unfolds days become shorter, the north land is now far from the sun. With fewer hours of day light and harsher weather conditions social isolation becomes an issue that impacts the wellbeing of many of our citizens.

 Although solitude is immensely welcomed by some after the eventful summer, plenty of citizens are faced with the inability and lack of opportunity to socialize in the harshness of winter. Social isolation only intensifies a person’s mental health symptoms. According to The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) 1 in 5 Americans are living with a mental illness.

As we head into the cold winter months, it’s important to consider the effect this time inevitably can have on our life style. Social isolation can often be coupled with depression, but the cold weather and shorter days make it harder for people to leave the house, particularly those with mobility issues. In the winter people are more likely to stay indoors, day after day all alone.

This winter, I urge everyone to spend some time with the people in their lives, reach out to others in the community, support one another, volunteer, and be active members in the lovely community of Park Rapids.


Hyacinth Mosse, LSW

Lake Country Welcomes Two ARMHS Practitioners to the Team!

LCA News and Information

Lake Country Associates is proud to announce the addition of Laura Kempnich and Sarah Elstad to our team of Mental Health Practitioners.  Laura and Sarah will be working in the Adult Rehabilitative Mental Health Services (ARMHS) program, helping people diagnosed with mental illness avoid hospitalization and manage their symptoms while living in the community.

Laura Kempnich

Laura’s experience as a business owner and social worker uniquely qualifies her in helping the people we serve organize, prioritize and take action in self-advocating and improving their lives.  Laura earned her MSW from the University of Minnesota School of Social Work.  Laura’s social work experience includes working at the Walk-in Counseling Center in Minneapolis, where she provided individual and couple’s counseling and co-lead workshops on suicide prevention.  She also provided services at the Home Away Shelter and Home Away Group Home in Golden Valley, a facility for adolescent girls with emotional and behavioral disorders.

Since moving to the Park Rapids area in 1985, Laura and her husband have built a successful restaurant business, Companeros Mexican Restaurant in Dorset MN.  With the sale of the restaurant this year, Laura now has the time to return to her career in Social Work.

 Sarah Elstad

Sarah is experienced helping people diagnosed with mental illness in residential settings and in their homes.  After earning her Bachelor of Science from Bemidji State University, Sarah worked for Sprucewoods, a residential program for people with mental illness.  Sarah then moved to the metro area and worked in ARMHS programs at Boston Mental Health Services and Central Minnesota Mental Health Center for over five years.

Sarah is now settled into the Park Rapids community and is looking forward to using her experience to continue helping people with mental illness.

 Please join us in welcoming Sarah and Laura to the Lake Country Associates Team!

EMDR Helps People with Traumatic Experiences

LCA News and InformationMental Health Services

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a form of therapy that helps people with traumatic experiences.  Jean Greseth, MSW LICSW, has been providing EMDR treatment to clients since 1999.  The EMDR Institute explains it in the following way:

EMDR is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.  Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal.  EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma.  When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound.  If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain.  Once the block is removed, healing resumes.  EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes.  The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health.  If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering.  Once the block is removed, healing resumes.  Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.

Research about EMDR

More than 30 positive controlled outcome studies have been done on EMDR therapy.  Some of the studies show that 84%-90% of single-trauma victims no longer have post-traumatic stress disorder after only three 90-minute sessions.  Another study, funded by the HMO Kaiser Permanente, found that 100% of the single-trauma victims and 77% of multiple trauma victims no longer were diagnosed with PTSD after only six 50-minute sessions. In another study, 77% of combat veterans were free of PTSD in 12 sessions. There has been so much research on EMDR therapy that it is now recognized as an effective form of treatment for trauma and other disturbing experiences by organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization and the Department of Defense. Given the worldwide recognition as an effective treatment of trauma, you can easily see how EMDR therapy would be effective in treating the “everyday” memories that are the reason people have low self-esteem, feelings of powerlessness, and all the myriad problems that bring them in for therapy. Over 100,000 clinicians throughout the world use the therapy.  Millions of people have been treated successfully over the past 25 years.

How does it work?

According to the Institute, EMDR therapy is an eight-phase treatment.  Eye movements are used during one part of the session.  After the clinician has determined which memory to target first, she asks the client to hold different aspects of that event or thought in mind and to use his eyes to track the therapist’s hand as it moves back and forth across the client’s field of vision.  As this happens, for reasons believed by a Harvard researcher to be connected with the biological mechanisms involved in Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, internal associations arise and the clients begin to process the memory and disturbing feelings. In successful EMDR therapy, the meaning of painful events is transformed on an emotional level.  For instance, a rape victim shifts from feeling horror and self-disgust to holding the firm belief that, “I survived it and I am strong.”  Unlike talk therapy, the insights clients gain in EMDR therapy result not so much from clinician interpretation, but from the client’s own accelerated intellectual and emotional processes.  The net effect is that clients conclude EMDR therapy feeling empowered by the very experiences that once debased them.  Their wounds have not just closed, they have transformed. As a natural outcome of the EMDR therapeutic process, the clients’ thoughts, feelings and behavior are all robust indicators of emotional health and resolution—all without speaking in detail or doing homework used in other therapies.

More Information

If you feel that you or a loved one could benefit from EMDR, for more information, or to schedule an appointment, call Lake Country Associates at 218-366-9229.  For more a more detailed look at how it works and for additional resources, visit the website of the EMRD Institute.

NAMI Offers “Hope For Recovery” in Park Rapids

LCA News and Information

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is offering a Hope for Recovery presentation for the Park Rapids community on November 19th from 9AM until 3PM.  The event will be held at Calvary Lutheran Church (112 Park Avenue North, across from McDonalds) and will feature a trained instructor who will offer information, hope, and practical strategies for dealing with the complexities of mental illnesses.

Participants will gain knowledge about various illnesses, coping and communication strategies, navigating the mental health system, local resources, and recovery.

Register for the training: HERE.

Download and print a brochure:  Hope for Recovery Brochure


NAMI State Conference

Also, don’t forget to join NAMI Minnesota’s 2016 State Conference “Stories of Hope – Voices for Change” on November 5th.

NAMI Minnesota’s 2016 State Conference “Stories of Hope – Voices for Change” in honor of NAMI Minnesota’s 40th Anniversary will be held Nov. 5, at the St. Paul RiverCentre. Jennifer Ayers-Moore, sister of Nathaniel Anthony Ayers the subject of the movie “The Soloist” will be the keynote speaker. The closing keynote will be on the Importance of Sleep by Imran S. Khawaja, MD, FAASM, a well-known psychiatrist and expert on sleep.

There will be 15 breakout sessions for teens/young adults, parents of children, adults with mental illnesses, and family members and professionals on a variety of topics including truancy and school refusal, housing and supports, keys to college success, understanding guardianship, understanding dysregulation, new issues in criminal justice, healing, trauma transformed through art, helping your child through trauma, mental health policy, and behavioral health homes.

NAMI’s annual awards luncheon and a celebration of NAMI’s history and future will take place at 11:30AM.

The cost is $60 for members, $100 for non-members or $35 for students. Lunch is included. Limited partial scholarships for youth and adults are available – call Samuel at 651-645-2948 ext. 115 to apply. NAMI’s state conference is approved by the MN Board of Social work for 4.5 CEUs. A certificate of attendance will also be available.

Register here!

What is NAMI?

NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance on Mental Illness) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and adults with mental illnesses and their families. NAMI Minnesota offers education, support and advocacy.

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  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday
    8:00 to 5:00
  • Wednesday
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  • Friday
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Menahga Office

  • Open by appointment

LCA offices may be closed over the noon hour. 

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Bemidji Office Phone:

Menahga Office Phone:

LCA Fax Number (both offices):


24-Hour Crisis Line:


LCA Brochure 5.14.18

Community Resource List 5.9.18

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