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Anna Zuidema MA, LMHC, NCC

Clinical Director | Therapist

I graduated from Northwestern University's Master of Clinical Mental Health Counseling program in 2018. Prior to that, I received my B.A in Sociology from Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts (2006).

As a counselor, I work with adults using Person-Centered and Psychodynamic approaches to help facilitate change and growth through increased insight and awareness into the impact of past experiences and beliefs on present thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. I also work to incorporate Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT), Positive Psychology, and Mindfulness approaches that are tailored to your specific treatment goals and values.

I specialize in mood disorders, trauma, adjustment issues, and chronic pain. I am trained in EMDR and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), both evidence-based interventions used to treat PTSD and reduce distress related to other traumatic events.

Outside of my own practice, I am contracted with the Central Iowa Trauma Recovery Center in Des Moines, where I provide individual counseling services for victims of crime in Iowa.

Anna accepts Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance and also offers a direct rate.

Breanne Meisenheimer MSW, LISW

Therapist and Social Worker

I graduated from the University of Northern Iowa's Master of Social Work program in 2019, and am a Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW). Since graduation, I have been providing mental health services to youth and families in the Des Moines area.

As a therapist, I provide both individual and family counseling services. I have experience working with populations in various settings including in-home, school-based, outpatient, and within the juvenile justice system. I have experience working with multiple issues including depression, anxiety, stress, family conflict, relationships, trauma, and life transitions.

My training in therapeutic modalities includes Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT), Functional Family Therapy (FFT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Motivational Interviewing (MI). I utilize a strengths-based, client-centered approach, and strive to create a judgment-free space to help each client feel heard, understood, and comfortable to go at their own pace.

I believe each person is the expert of their own experience and I work collaboratively with clients to develop goals and identify areas of growth and change they hope to see within their lives. I hope to help empower others to develop tools and skills to overcome barriers/challenges they may be facing and consider it a privilege to be part of their journey.

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Chad Peters MS, TLMHC


I graduated from Grand View University with a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and am currently a temporary licensed mental health counselor. I graduated from Colorado State University with a B.A. in Sociology.

I utilize Narrative, Person-Centered, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapies, and value the
therapeutic relationship between the therapist and client. I work to build positive relationships with my clients and provide a welcoming and comfortable environment to help individuals reach their goals and make positive life changes.

I focus on working collaboratively with the individual to shape the counseling experience to help the client feel empowered to address the issues brought to counseling. Your story matters and sometimes we all need a little help understanding our own story. I can help you find your strengths and help you address negative aspects of your story to live a more fulfilling life.

My areas of focus are LGBTQIA+ issues, loss and grief, anxiety, depression, and adjustment issues. I work primarily with adults and LGBTQIA+ people of all ages.

Daren Jaques tLMHC, tCADC


I received my Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Buena Vista University, and am currently a temporary licensed mental health counselor (TLMHC) and a temporary Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor (TCADC).

Prior to becoming a counselor, I served in the legal profession, including ten years in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves as a Judge Advocate. I was honorably discharged in 2015 at the rank of Major.

I am a person-centered counselor who values the quality of the therapist-client relationship above all else. I believe each person is an expert on their own life, and I incorporate humanistic, cognitive-behavioral, and other empirically based techniques and interventions that are individually tailored for each client.

Areas of focus include depression, anxiety, veteran's issues, substance misuse, life transitions, vocational distress, and PTSD. I am also deeply interested in sleep disorders, trauma, and sports psychology.

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Deena sitting in front of windows with dog

Deena Leonard MS, LMHC


I graduated from Drake University with a Master’s in Rehabilitation, Community and School Counseling in 2007. I originally worked as a school therapist before moving into a community setting.

As a therapist I believe therapy should be individualized, based on each person’s specific needs. My ultimate goal is to empower clients to change what can be changed and to identify appropriate coping skills for what cannot be changed. I do this by creating a safe, client-centered therapeutic environment that allows the client to identify their individual goals. I believe each person is the ultimate expert in their own lives and I am there to assist them in achieving their personal goals.

Each of my clients receives individualized treatment. Interventions are specific to your needs. I utilize a variety of Cognitive Behavioral, Solution-Focused and Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy to assist my clients.

I currently work with adults and couples. I have experience in dealing with a variety of issues: Depression, anxiety, stress, behavioral concerns, adjustment, grief and loss, work and career issues, addiction and recovery, relationships, identity work, and ADHD.

I also am a Certified First Responder Counselor. I've been trained in the unique culture that first responders and police officers experience. They have experiences that others don't have. Their mental health needs are not "typical" mental health needs. A Certified First Responder Counselor is specially trained to understand the needs of these heroes, including the importance of confidentiality and trust.

Deena accepts Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance and also offers a direct rate.

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Ellen Petersen MSW, LISW

Therapist and Social Worker

I’m Ellen, a licensed therapist dedicated to promoting healing, growth, and empowerment. With a deep understanding of the effects of systematic oppression and a feminist alignment, I provide therapy sessions grounded in the principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and I firmly believe in the principles of gender equality and social justice. I recognize the unique challenges faced by individuals who identify within a minority identity and the intersections of their identities within other forms of oppression. I aim to create a safe and inclusive space where individuals can explore and heal from the wounds they may have incurred due to these systemic injustices and recent or generational trauma.

The heart of my practice is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). We focus on developing psychological flexibility, promoting mindfulness, and fostering values-driven action. Whether you are struggling with anxiety, depression, trauma, self-esteem, or navigating relationship issues, I am committed to tailoring our therapeutic journey to meet your unique needs.

I firmly believe in the inherent resilience and potential for growth within each individual. Together, we can navigate the complexities of your experiences, empower you to challenge oppressive systems, explore your authentic self, and cultivate a life of meaning and fulfillment. Let's embark on this transformative journey together, empowering you to reclaim your voice, and rewrite your narrative.

Ellen accepts Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance and also offers a direct rate.

Erin Knauer MSW, LISW

Therapist and Social Worker

I have worked in the field of social work for over 15 years since receiving my Master of Social Work degree in 2015 from University of Northern Iowa.

I have provided both group and individual counseling services to adults and adolescents. I work with diverse populations in a variety of settings; these include residential, school, and supportive community living. I have worked with a range of clients including domestic violence survivors, people struggling with substance abuse, and elderly clients facing chronic and life limiting health conditions. I am also a support group leader for the US Pain Foundation.

Through therapies like ACT, I individually tailored activities to aid clients in identifying their own goals and steps needed to bring them closer to those goals every week. I primarily serve adults and am available for both in-person and Telehealth appointments. My areas of clinical interest are depression, anxiety, stress, grief and loss.

My goal is to help empower each individual to live the life they envision. I strive to be compassionate and take a collaborative approach to your care. I work with you to incorporate treatment modalities that fit your needs so you can live your best life.

Erin accepts Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance and United Healthcare.

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Jackie standing in office

Jackie Dehner MA, LMHC, NCC


I am currently a doctoral candidate at the University of North Texas where I am working on my Ph.D. in counseling with a focus on culturally responsive interventions. I graduated with my Master’s degree from the University of Iowa in 2013 and my Bachelor’s degree from Iowa Wesleyan University in 2010. I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC). With over 10 years of experience in mental health, I have had the opportunity to work with various populations in a number of settings including clinics, schools, and hospitals.

It is truly an honor and a privilege to be able to share space with clients. Utilizing a collaborative approach to healing, I provide support and acceptance to all who cross the threshold of my office. Grounded in a Narrative theoretical orientation, I view clients as the experts of their own lives and I aim to help empower them while amplifying their voice. I believe every individual deserves to be heard and seen without judgement and I provide this to all clients through a strong therapeutic alliance and relational depth.

I have a vast amount of experience working with a number of mental health issues including depression, anxiety, and grief. However, my true calling is working with survivors of trauma and adolescents. I am trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Child-Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT), and expressive arts. I intentionally apply my education and training to meet the needs of every client.

Jackie accepts Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance and also offers a direct rate.

Jenn Demiter MS, TLMHC


I am a graduate of Drake University's Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. Prior to this, I received my B.S in Psychology and Criminology from Iowa State University in 2018. I have provided group and individual counseling to diverse individuals in a community substance abuse and mental health clinic, as well as in private practice setting.

As a therapist, I recognize past experiences impact our present beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. My goal is to help promote change and healing by increasing awareness and insight into these experiences. I utilize a Psychodynamic approach and also work to incorporate Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Mindfulness approaches.

Through these therapies, I work to individually tailor activities that meet your needs and aid in bringing you closer to your goals. My areas of clinical interest include anxiety, depression, trauma, chronic pain, and mood disorders. I am also passionate about how trauma and stress impact the body physiologically.

I strive to be compassionate and take a collaborative approach to your care. I view clients as the expert in their own lives with a voice that deserves to be heard and seen without judgement.

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Kimberly Montgomery MSW, LISW

Therapist and Social Worker

I believe my role as a therapist is to assist individuals and couples in navigating the unique challenges that life can present. I work from a Person Centered and
Trauma-Based lens. My therapeutic style is open, integrative, collaborative, and engaged. Nothing brings me more joy than empowering my clients to access
their inner strengths and achieve their therapeutic goals.

My educational background includes a Master’s of Social Work from the University of Iowa in 2013 and two Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Child,
Adult and Family Services from Iowa State University in 2009. With over 12 years of work experience in the mental health field, I have had the privilege to work with many different populations in a number of settings.

I have been trained in trauma therapy, bereavement therapy, the Gottman Method (Couples), and perinatal mood disorders. My areas of interest include depression, grief, perinatal recovery, sexuality, and trauma. My goal as a therapist is to foster clarity and healing, and to make a safe space for my client’s therapeutic journey to unfold as they are meant to.

Kimberly is currently accepting new clients. Individuals 17 and older & Couples.

Meredith Stahl MA, tLMHC, NCC


I graduated from Northwestern University’s Master’s of Clinical Mental Health Counseling program in 2020. I am a National Certified Counselor (NCC) and also a Temporary Licensed Mental Health Counselor (tLMHC).

Sometimes we need a little help navigating life. Therapy provides a space to discover who you are. Together we can explore ways to help you live a life that aligns with your values and goals.

I work with adults and adolescents and have experience with clients experiencing anxiety, depression, loss, and trauma. I use an integrative approach combining psychodynamic, person-centered, and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and I also utilize DBT concepts to help increase mindfulness. I use these modalities to help clients achieve a sense of wellness and gain perspective.

If you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, or everyday stressors, therapy can help you develop tools to more effectively manage your symptoms and handle the curve balls that life throws at us. As a therapist, I create an affirming, safe space for my clients where they can explore and reflect on their authentic selves.

Meredith accepts Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance and also offers a direct rate.

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Samantha in front of shelves with toys

Samantha Schwennen LMHC, NCC, CAdPT

Child Therapist | Certified Play Therapist

I graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in 2020 with a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. I have been working in the school setting for over three years.

I believe play has the power to change and heal. Often, children are unable to express their emotions verbally because they have not developed the vocabulary or thinking skills necessary to do this. I utilize art, music, puppets, storytelling, role play, and other play techniques to explore your child’s inner world and introduce new ways of thinking and behaving.

I believe as a parent or guardian you can support your child daily, whereas I may only see them once a week. Parent involvement is often a crucial aspect of success and therefore parent or family therapy will be added to the treatment plan as necessary.

In the playroom I will create a safe space for your child to express themselves and gain insight into their own thoughts or behaviors that may be getting in the way. We will then connect this play with the outside world and practice new methods of behaving outside the playroom. I will explore the child’s ability to connect with others, capability to do hard things, courage to try new experiences, and how they gain significance in their world.

I have experience with anxiety, depression, trauma, attachment, and grief and have witnessed the power of play in lessening these symptoms and empowering the child
to make changes in their daily life.

Melissa Wilson MS, TLMHC


I received my Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with specializations in Marriage, Couples, and Family Counseling, as well as Addiction Counseling from Walden University. Prior to that, I received my B.A. in Health Promotions from the University of Northern Iowa.

As a Therapist, I enjoy working with adults and couples. Listening to clients helps me to better understand their desires, values, and goals for the life they want to live, all while creating a judgment free space that promotes increased vulnerability through feelings of safety and trust. When working with couples I like to cultivate a healthy support system to meet both parties individual's needs within the marriage and to create a healthy union as they discover how to better communicate and make behavior modifications that will support growth.

I enjoy incorporating several theoretical approaches including Narrative Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Gestalt Therapy. However, the foundation of my practice centers on person-centered approaches that honor the inherent knowledge and experiences of clients to find the answers they are seeking within themselves as I am alongside them for the journey.

My areas of focus include: anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, grief, divorce, PTSD, and OCD.


Lisa Weatherwax, MSN, ARNP, PMHNP-BC

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

I am a board-certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. I completed my postgraduate nursing studies at Purdue University Global. Prior to that I completed my Master of Science in Nursing at WGU Texas and my Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Iowa.

I have almost 35 years of experience in the nursing field caring for patients in multiple settings across the care continuum, in both direct patient care and management/administrator roles. I have always had a passion for mental health as it is a vital component of our overall health and wellbeing.

My role in your journey is to provide evidence-based medication management, with a focus on safety and outcomes that align with your personal goals. I believe in holistic, person-centered, collaborative care, and I will work as a partner with you and other trusted care providers to create an individualized treatment plan that fits your needs and priorities. I believe it takes a village, and that there are many pieces to the puzzle of overall health, with medication as one piece that can serve as a valuable tool in your toolbox. I strive to provide a relaxed, safe, non-judgmental, and accepting environment where you feel seen and heard.

My Good Life includes spending time with family and friends, traveling, serving on the board of the Ankeny Service Center, and watching football, GO CHIEFS!

Rebecca Baker MSN, ARNP, PMHNP-BC

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

I am a board-certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. I completed my Master of Science in Nursing with a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Postgraduate certificate through Purdue University Global. Prior to that I completed my Bachelor of Science in Nursing at WGU and my Associate of Science in Nursing at DMACC.

With having over 10 years of experience in healthcare, I believe mental health contributes greatly to the happiness and well-being of an individual. I look forward to working with individuals to help create unique and individualized treatment plans that work for them. I believe the best patient care is obtained through collaboration amongst team members and with the use of the most up-to-date evidence based practices and techniques.

My goodlife includes spending time with my family and friends. We enjoy watching football, going to concerts, and spending time in the great outdoors.


Meghan Anderson

Administrative Assistant

After completing a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies at Luther College, I attended University College Dublin, where I graduated with a Master of Science in Digital Policy. Through my communication and digital policy studies, I furthered my passion for people, interpersonal communication, and our ability to connect safely online. While I plan to attend law school in the near future, I look forward to assisting you with all your scheduling needs during my time at Good Life Therapy.

As a therapy advocate and participant, I am pleased to help you on your therapy journey. As one part of the administrative team, I aim to ease the scheduling process and assure you that care is exercised when handling your appointments.

My good life includes traveling, reading, being with my loved ones and taking on the general newness that makes life interesting.

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Linda Wynter

Administrative Assistant

I graduated from Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny Iowa with a certificate in Medical Insurance Billing and Coding in 2012. I am working towards my AA in Liberal Arts. I have worked in healthcare for the last 9 years in various positions.

Good Life Therapy creates a safe atmosphere for clients to be open and receive care in any life situation that may occur. I enjoy helping people and my compassion for others has helped me to transition into my position as Administrative Assistant at Good Life Therapy.

My good life includes my family and friends, walking, reading, and cooking. Outside of work, you can find me working on arts and crafts and baking. I love to try new recipes and chill with my friends and family.


Puddles is the official good dog of Good Life Therapy. She has her American Kennel Club license for being a Canine Good Citizen and believes everybody should have the chance to pet her. She understands that a little empathy can go a long way.

She was found pregnant in a Tijuana alleyway during a rainstorm when she was under a year old. Since then she has dedicated herself to helping other people regulate and can often be found lying where everyone can match her calm and relaxed energy.

Puddles the dog in bed


We are looking to add clinicians to our team!

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