Meet Anna

Clinical Director | Therapist

Jackie Dehner, MA, tLMHC, 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 Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) and a temporarily Licensed Mental Health Counselor (tLMHC). 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.

Anna Zuidema, MA, LMHC, NCC


I graduated from Northwestern University's Master’s 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 both 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.

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Meet Jackie


Meet Emily


Emily Elliott, MA, tLMHC, NCC, tCADC


I completed my Master's degree coursework in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Northwestern University, graduating in 2021. I am a National Certified Counselor (NCC), Temporary Licensed Mental Health Counselor (tLMHC), and  Temporary Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor (tCADC). I am also trained in EMDR and Perinatal Mental Health. 


As a therapist it is vital for me to see the world through your eyes and your lived experiences. I offer integrative and unique treatment modalities based on your personal preferences, often integrating feminist and multicultural theoretical orientations. I view the therapy space as a collaborative experience and enjoy incorporating creative concepts including EMDR, yoga, Brainspotting, mindfulness, and movement, in addition to traditional talk therapy, journaling, and CBT. 


My areas of interest include anxiety, depression, grief, parenting, perinatal loss, recovery, sexuality, and trauma. I am a member of the Health at Every Size community and undergoing training to become a certified Intuitive Eating Counselor in 2021. As a trauma centered therapist with a background in neuroscience, I use best practices to help clients heal from painful experiences at their own pace.


Meet Meredith



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).

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 to help clients achieve a sense of wellness and gain perspective. 

I am passionate about working with teenagers, especially those who have been affected by bullying. Addressing the lived effects bullying behavior can have on an individual is imperative in order to negate any residual trauma that results in feelings of depression and anxiety as a young adult.


When working with teens, my goal is to give them an affirming space, plus tools and strategies to help mitigate common pitfalls of young adulthood and beyond.

Meet Deena


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.


Meet Ellen

Therapist and Social Worker, LISW


Ellen Petersen, MSW, LISW 


I graduated from the University of Iowa in 2017 with my Master of Social Work and have since worked with diverse individuals through community non-profits and a community health clinic.


I believe that every client is the expert of their own life. My goal is to help outline future paths and, through identifying the client’s most important values, pursue the path that will bring the most lasting joy and fulfillment. Life, while it can be incredibly beautiful and rewarding, can also bring overwhelming pain and loss. I aim to be there to help my clients work toward a life where they feel more valued, respected, and fulfilled. One of the ways I approach this work is through Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). 


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.


The therapy process can seem very overwhelming and intimidating, but I hope to prove to my clients that it is the opposite. If you are interested in self-discovery and living a more fulfilling life, reach out so we can start your journey together!

Meet Amy

Office and Marketing Manager

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Amy Dix



I am a graduate of DePaul University and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. I spent several years as a teacher; first in music classrooms, then privately in my home. I went on to raise three boys while running my own health coaching business. 


I am now using my skills to create and manage marketing, social media, and general office wizardry for Good Life Therapy. If you have questions about an appointment, I'm happy to help you out. 

I love contributing to a happy healing space: a calm, positive environment where people can work on their own journey of living a good life. My good life includes family, knitting, hiking, reading, and a whole lot of coffee.