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”.

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

Office Hours

Park Rapids Office

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday
    8:00 to 5:00
  • Wednesday
    8:00 to 7:00
  • Friday
    8:00 to 1:00

Bemidji Office

  • Monday – Friday
    8:00 to 5:00

Both LCA offices may be closed over the noon hour. 

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