Meet Our Therapists

Jaci Pekarek, MA, LIMHP

Jaci graduated from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas in 1997 with a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. Jaci has obtained specialized post-graduate training in the treatment of complex trauma disorders, including dissociative and personality disorders. She has a special interest in Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Mindfulness-Oriented Psychotherapy,grief & loss, emotional management, and attachment / relationship issues. I believe in holistic healing and compassionate healthcare. I believe in personal evolution, the power of the human spirit, and in utilizing one’s natural self-healing ability, states of consciousness, and potential. My goal is to help create an experience of transformation and to provide an opportunity for true healing and well-being.

 

 

Melissa Rohrig, LICSW

Melissa received her Master’s in Clinical Social Work from the University of New England. Her focus is create a holistic dynamic to empower a healthy mind and body. Melissa has experience working with children, adolescents, college students, adults, couples, and families. She is certified in multi systemic therapy, which is useful in working with behavior problems. She uses cognitive behavioral therapy, strength based, and person centered approaches. She works to partner with her clients, helping them create positive changes, and connect with their authentic self. Her specialties include: behavioral issues with children and adolescents, depression, anxiety, college students, life transitions, women’s issues, relationship conflicts, self-esteem, trauma, and loss. Melissa also offers Christian Counseling with sound, biblically based values.

 

 

Dr. Alan Levinson, Psy.D

Dr. Alan Levinson has been practicing as a clinical psychologist for more than 20 years. He achieved his Doctor of Psychology degree from Alliant International University in California. His specialties include individual, group, and couples therapy with adults, along with complete assessments and diagnoses of more complex issues in adolescents and adults. He prefers to use a cognitive, client-centered approach to help clients recognize obstacles in their lives and work to overcome them by collaboratively setting achievable short- and long-term goals. He has also worked for many years as a forensic psychologist, completing court-ordered evaluations and providing expert testimony, and he has worked with veterans with posttraumatic stress and other related issues. In addition, he is a consultant to the State of Nebraska Department of Public Policy on threat assessment and violence reduction issues.

 

 

Camille Sass, LIMHP

Camille is a Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner and National Certified Counselor. She uses the latest research, TF-CBT, Sand Tray therapy, play therapy, EMDR, and person-centered counseling to help people heal from all levels of trauma.  Additionally, Camille really enjoys helping people improve self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and relationship issues.  She works best with kids ages six or older, teens, and adults.

 

Dezirae (Dezi) Johnson, MA, LIMHP, LCSW

Dezirae (Dezi) Johnson is a licensed independent clinical mental health practitioner and a licensed clinical social worker. She is an experienced clinical therapist who provides therapy and guidance in a variety of areas: individual and family healing, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, trauma, anger management, social skill concerns, behavioral issues, self-esteem management, anxiety, depression, rebuilding family/social relationships, mood disorders and stress management. Dezi has experience working with adolescents, adults and families. Dezi takes a holistic health approach, focusing on treating and supporting the person as a whole. All facets of life are examined including mental, emotional, physical, social and spiritual to help determine the best plan for healing. Dezi strives to create a safe environment that is welcoming to all and goes beyond focusing on an illness and eliminating symptoms, but rather creates a positive approach to life. Dezi’s primary goal is to help individuals find a balance of mental, physical and spiritual wellness to reach optimal health, while fostering hope, healing and happiness.

 

 

Gerry Merck, MHDL, LIMHP, LADC

Gerry is a Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner and Drug and Alcohol Counselor with over 20 years experience in the mental health field.  Gerry earned her Bachelor of Science degree as a double major in psychology and art from Western Carolina University, and a Masters in Human Development and Learning from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She has been inducted into three lifetime honor societies: Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society for Academic Excellence, Chi Sigma Iota International Honor Society of Professional Counseling, and Psy Chi International Honor Society in Psychology. Gerry has extensive experience providing both group and individual therapy to a wide variety of patient populations including adolescents, geriatrics, LGBTQ+, employee assistance, foster and adoptive parenting, and addictions.  She specializes in mood disorders, trauma/abuse, parenting issues, and severe and persistent mental illness. Gerry is trained in Critical Incident Stress debriefing and currently offers training for behavioral health professionals on the Assessment and Management of Suicide Risk for the National Suicide Prevention Resource Center. Gerry has been actively involved in community education at the state level, presenting workshops and lectures on a variety of mental health topics, including depression, anxiety, stress management, assertiveness, and suicide prevention.

 

Mary SimBarcelos, LIMHP, LADC

Mary SimBarcelos, LIMHP, LADC graduated from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, NE with a Master’s degree in Human Development and Family Counseling in 1987. After graduation, Mary worked and studied at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in Rhinebeck, NY, where she studied and experienced a variety of healing methods from around the world and from many cultures.  Throughout her 30 years of working in the human service field, both in residential and outpatient treatment, Mary has focused on working with trauma survivors and has had extensive post graduate training in PTSD and disassosiative disorders. Mary utilizes a variety of holistic healing modalities in her therapy and workshops, including mindfulness and meditation, music  and expressive arts. Mary has worked with folks of diverse ages and populations but specializes in working with women, their children, veterans, and the LGBTQ+ community. She specializes in helping individuals heal from co-occuring disorders and complex trauma.

Mary is also a consultant and workshop facilitator for treatment centers, hospitals, and helping professionals where she specializes in creating trauma informed cultures.  She offers a variety of educational retreats and seminars which are experiential and integrate a holistic approach of relaxation and healing into the learning process.  Mary is down-to-earth and creates a safe space to heal holistically through humor and gently normalizing mental health issues as part of being human.

 

Kendra Johnson, LIMHP

Kendra Johnson completed her Bachelor’s degree in Education from Hastings College then her Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Doane University. She has a wide range of experience working with families to individuals with severe/persistent mental health. Kendra is licensed as an Independent Mental Health Practitioner and Professional Counselor. She is passionate about working with the LGBTQ+ community.

 

 

Dr. Alice

Dr. Alice (Kairigi) Mitwaruciu, Ph.D., LP

Dr. Alice believes “Strength-Based” and “Resiliency Bolstering” approaches are effective ways to work with the talent and interests of clients and explores with them how to build on these strengths to assist them to problem solve, regulate emotions, extinguish/manage problem behaviors, and lead healthy balanced lives. Dr. Alice is warm, compassionate, kind, and believes in individuals’ ability to change and improve their lives. Dr. Alice conducts evaluations to determine accurate diagnosis (e.g., Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Spectrum Disorders, Personality Disorders, Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder) and provides treatment recommendations. She also conducts Court Ordered Evaluations and Substance Use Evaluations. Dr. Alice is currently the Behavioral Health Administrator for the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services where she oversees all Forensic Evaluations/Assessments and offender clinical treatment programs (Mental Health, Substance Use, Violent Offender treatment Program, Sex Offender Treatment, and Social Work).

 

 

Kira Peterson, LICSW

Kira received her Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She has experience working with children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families. She is certified in multi-systemic therapy, which is useful in working with behavioral issues with adolescents and families. Kira believes in empowering both the body and the mind through cognitive behavioral therapy, strength-based and person centered approaches. Kira strives to make her clients feel comfortable and welcomed in a supportive and judgement-free environment.

 

Kiki Haakenstad, LMHP

Kiki has been working in the mental health field for 33 years. She graduated from the University of NE in 1987, Lincoln NE with a degree in individual and family counseling. Prior to private practice, since 2002, she worked in corrections, several group homes, an after school program for the YMCA, a science, math and related technologies program for the YWCA,  and The Department of Health and Human Services as a family support worker. Her specialties include, behavioral disorders, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, eating disorders from Anorexia to binge eating, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression and anxiety, substance abuse with teens and adults, Employee Assistance, substance abuse, internet addiction, family therapy, and Christian Counseling for individuals. Kiki uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to treat my clients. This treatment modality helps patients understand the thoughts and feelings that influence behaviors. I use diagrams and worksheets to process faulty thinking which decreases mood issues and improves thinking and behavior. Kiki works with clients from 10-99 years old. She believes strongly in  Mind, Body, and Spirit and how it connects to the mental and physical health. Kiki is intentional in approach but will never tell you what to do. She will work with outside community resources to assist you or your child in achieving the best outcome.