The Good Life Team
Clinical Director | Therapist
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.
Anna accepts Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance and also offers a direct rate.
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Adreanne Perkins MSN, ARNP, PMHNP-BC
I graduated from Allen College with a Master’s of Science in Nursing as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. Prior to that I received my Bachelor’s in Science if Nursing from Grandview College.
I have a passion for mental health and am honored to work along side with clients and colleagues who share that passion for the greater good. I believe having a collaborative approach and placing value on clients beliefs, questions, and concerns with medication management results in better outcomes. I am open to all discussions without judgement and enjoy an opportunity to educate.
I have 15 years of experience in behavioral health inpatient, outpatient, and urgent care settings. I have mostly worked with the adult population but have expanded to adolescents the past few years. I’ve been fortunate to have had great opportunities and experiences to learn from those settings and improve my approach and desire of being a provider. I am continuously learning how to make improvements as the environment, science, and medication evolve around us.
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.
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.
Emily accepts Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance and also offers a direct rate.
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.
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.
Therapist and Social Worker, LISW
Therapist and Social Worker
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!
Ellen accepts Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance and also offers a direct rate.
Therapist and Social Worker
I am a current student at Drake University, studying to get my Master’s in Health Informatics & Analytics, and my Bachelor’s in Healthcare Administration & Public Health.
Having personally benefited from seeing a therapist, I strongly believe that everyone should have access to therapy. I also have a minor in psychology, which has sparked my interest in mental health.
In this position I hope to contribute to a judgement-free and caring environment that supports everyone who walks through the door.
My good life includes my family and friends, my adopted stray tomcat (Giggy), puzzles, hiking, traveling, and a huge passion for cooking that only grew over quarantine. When I’m not at work or school you can find me holed up in most any coffee shop.
Office and Marketing Manager
Therapist and Social Worker
Erin Knauer, MSW, LISW
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.
My therapeutic modalities include CBT, Motivational Interviewing (MI), Solution Focused, DBT, meditation and guided imagery. I specialize in treating depression, anxiety, grief and loss, trauma, life transitions, chronic pain and illness. I also work with those seeking counseling concerning end of life care.
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 is currently seeing clients for Telehealth appointments. She accepts Blue Cross Blue Shield and Medicare insurance.
Therapist and Social Worker
Breanne Meisenheimer MSW, LISW
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 a variety of settings including: in-home, school-based, outpatient, and within the juvenile justice system. I have experience working with a variety of 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.
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.
Child Therapist | Certified Play Therapist
Samantha Schwennen, LMHC, NCC, CAdPT
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.
Graduate Counseling Intern
Jenn Demiter, Graduate Counseling Intern
I am currently finishing my Master’s at Drake University in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. 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.
Jenn offers a flat rate fee of $30 a session
Ages 18 years and older
Graduate Counseling Intern
I am an Iowa native with a heart for multicultural, diverse and urban communities. I received my B.S. from Iowa State University in 2015 with a degree in Public Relations and have spent the past several years working as a Family and Consumer Science teacher and an ESL (English as Second Language) Instructor for Spanish Speaking adults. Currently, I am a graduate student at Buena Vista University working towards my Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.
As a therapist I value a Mind-Body approach to healing and growth that looks at a person as an integrated whole: mind, body, and spirit. This may include utilizing mindfulness, yoga, meditation, and guided imagery. I will walk alongside you as you identify move towards meaningful growth and change, providing a safe place for you to feel supported and validated.
In addition to being a therapist, I am also a certified Doula and childbirth educator. I am passionate about maternal mental health, postpartum mood disorders, and those who have experienced trauma.I am particularly passionate about identifying and understanding the impact of intergenerational trauma on family systems, attachment, and an individual's ability to cope and heal.
Desirae offers a flat rate fee of $30 a session. Ages 18 years and older
I graduated with my Bachelor's of Science in Psychology from Iowa State University in 2021 and am working toward my Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Buena Vista University
I spent many years in the customer service and commercial insurance industry and am now using those skills to manage the office at Good Life Therapy while I work toward becoming a licensed mental health counselor.
Reaching out for help with mental health can be daunting and it takes a great amount of courage! If you are thinking about making an appointment or you just want to chat about how to get started and how it works, feel free to reach out! I am happy to answer any questions you may have. I enjoy the opportunity to contribute to such a positive and judgement-free environment where people can come to heal and work toward their good life.
My good life includes reading, cycling, road trips, and video/board games with my husband, son, and our rat terrier.
I graduated from the University of North Dakota in 2016 with my Bachelor’s in Music Therapy. After completing my schooling I went on to provide Music Therapy services in various settings such as public schools, senior living centers, developmental homes, and daycare centers.
I consider compassion and empathy to be two of my strengths, and believe access to quality mental health care is vital. I value learning, curiosity, and educating myself on how to be open and inclusive so that I can be part of a support system for others.
My good life includes my loved ones, pets, reading, traveling, hiking, being outdoors, volunteering with various animal safety organizations and learning new vegan recipes! Outside of work you will most likely find me playing with my pets, painting, and singing along to some of my favorite music!