Our therapists at New Beginnings offer a variety of specialties to meet the needs of our clients. Services include individual therapy for children and adults as well as couples and family counseling. We use a variety of techniques in order to individualize our approach to each person or family. All therapy services are geared towards helping people improve their emotional well being whether coping with a recent event or a long term mental health issue. All therapists at New Beginnings operate from a trauma informed approach.
In addition, therapists at are office are trained to provide the following services:
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an integrative therapeutic approach to aid a client’s ability to process intense emotions. EMDR therapy is an evidenced-based approach to healing trauma and other causes of psychological stress. Through EMDR, clients are provided with education and skills to manage intense emotions, targeted processing of emotional concerns, insight into the effects of the past on the brain’s current processing, and improving the client’s ability to create and maintain a healthier thought process.
An 8-10 session forensic interview for child abuse. Usually requested by RCPC as a follow up to its interview, but can be requested by a parent or caretaker as well. Age: verbal to 5, older if cognitive delays are present, practicality assessed by therapist.
Child-Parent Relational Assessment
Documented assessment of a child-parent (or child-caretaker) relationship. Assessment identifies indicators for secure attachment between child and parent, as well as indicators of concerns. Report includes interviews with the caretakers, observations of the dyad (or more if a multiple child assessment), and recommendations for interventions to assist the growth of positive mental health. Age of child: 2-5
Expressive Arts Therapy
An approach to therapy that can incorporate writing, drama, movement, painting, and/or music. Clients utilize expressive arts therapy to explore responses, reactions, and insights through pictures, sounds, explorations, and encounters. All ages.
School Based Therapy
New Beginnings provides some school based therapy in the Des Moines, SE Polk, and AGWSR school districts. Please contact NBCS office or your school social worker to determine if New Beginnings provides services in your child’s school.
John Bisenius, LMHC
John is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. He received his bachelor degrees in Psychology in 2006 from Iowa State University, and a Master of Science in Counseling in 2014 from Drake University. John has experience working with young children, adolescents, and adults providing individual, family, and couple’s counseling. John has 10 years of experience working with children with intellectual and physical disabilities, mental health and behavioral issues in a community/integrated setting as well as experience working with children and families with life-threatening and terminal diagnoses. John can accept clients with Medicaid and the Iowa Wellness Plan and some private insurance, including Blue Cross.
Susin Bredice, LISW
Susin has an undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Art and Design from Iowa State University, and a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Iowa. Susin is licensed through the Iowa Social Work Board of Examiners. Susin works with children, adolescents, and adults, providing individual, family, and couples counseling. Susin has been working in the social work field since 2000 and has experience that includes PMIC and residential care, child welfare, attachment, foster care and adoption, couples counseling as well as specific individual mental health issues. Susin is trained in EMDR. Susin accepts Title 19 (Medicaid), Midlands Choice Provider Network (Health Alliance, Co-oportunity Health), Blue Cross, and other private insurance.
Kelsey Finch, LMHC-T
Kelsey Finch believes that the counseling relationship between the therapist and client is of utmost importance, so she strives to provide a safe, positive, non-judgmental, and understanding environment. Kelsey has a passion for working with individuals in the LGBTQ+ community, couples, families, adolescents, and adults. She is competent in and loves working with diversity, especially religious and cultural diversity. Kelsey received her Master’s of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Drake University. She is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), a therapeutic approach used to heal past and/or current trauma or other areas of distress. Kelsey accepts Medicaid (Title 19), Blue Cross, UHC, private pay clients, and some other private insurances.
Megan Runchey, LMSW
Megan is a Licensed Master of Social Work. She earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Iowa State University in 2015 and her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Iowa in 2019. Megan has experience working at a domestic violence shelter as well as experience working with adults with intellectual disabilities and chronic mental illnesses in a group home setting. In a therapeutic setting Megan has experience working with teen and adults for individual therapy and couples counseling. She has worked closely with individuals dealing with anxiety, depression, trauma, life changes/stressors, and adults with intellectual or cognitive delays.
Pam Freeman, LISW
Pam Freeman, MSW, LISW is an independently licensed social worker in the state of Iowa. She earned her B.A. degree in psychology from Central College and a masters degree in social work from the University of Iowa. Pam has extensive experience working with children and families in settings such as schools, shelters and home visitation programs. She provides support through a variety of treatment modalities including TF-CBT (trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy), CBT, play therapy (client centered and directed), motivational interviewing, Sand Tray therapy for trauma and grief processing, and EMDR. Pam works with children, adults, and families. Pam has experience providing services to individuals who are struggling with anxiety, depression, postpartum depression, trauma, grief and loss. She has training in domestic violence support and has worked with ethnically diverse populations.
TaLana Holman, LMHC
TaLana received her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice in 2009, a Master of Science degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Addiction in 2012, and a second Master of Science degree in Mental Health Counseling in 2014 from Drake University. TaLana has experience working with young children, adolescents, and adults providing individual, family, and couple’s counseling. TaLana has over 10 years of experience working with children and families struggling with behavioral issues and trauma in residential, community, and in-home settings. TaLana has also worked in a domestic violence shelter and has experience with both adolescents and adults in the criminal justice system. TaLana believes that every individual deserves the chance to obtain personal goals and desires and actively works with individuals to meet them where they are and encourage positive growth and development in the way they desire.
Lauren Kern, LMHC-T
Lauren has an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Simpson College, and a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Drake University. Lauren works with children, teens, and adults. She works with people living with depression, anxiety, trauma, and other challenges in life. Lauren believes that no two people are identical and there is no one-size-fits-all for therapy. She focuses on finding each individual’s strengths and drawing from a variety of counseling theories to best fit each client’s needs. Lauren accepts Medicaid and most private insurances.
Penny Sax, LISW
Penny has undergraduate degrees in Sociology and Human Services from the University of Minnesota, a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Iowa, and is licensed as an Independent Social Worker by the Iowa Social Work Board of Examiners. Penny works with individual adults, teenagers, marriage and family clients, and LGBTQ clients. Penny has extensive training in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as well as sexual trauma in both the civilian and military population, and twenty years of experience as a probation officer, dealing with adult offenders, Penny accepts Title 19 (Medicaid), Iowa Health and Wellness, Blue Cross, and some private insurance plans, or private pay clients.
Shannon Schmidt, LISW
Shannon is a Licensed Master Social Worker. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work in 2006 and a Master of Social Work in 2012, both from the University of Iowa. Shannon has experience in early childhood development gained from working with Head Start and a vast understanding of domestic violence from working in the field for seven years. She has experience working with children, adolescents, and adults. Shannon has training in attachment theory, trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and motivational interviewing. Shannon can see clients with Medicaid, Blue Cross, Midlands Choice Provider Network, and some other private insurances.
Rebecca Spiess, LMHC
Rebecca is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. She received her bachelor degrees in Psychology and Biochemistry in 2008 from the University of Northern Iowa, and a Master of Science in Counseling in 2014 from Drake University. Rebecca has experience working with young children, adolescents, and adults providing individual, family, and couple’s counseling. Rebecca has over 6 years of experience working with children with mental health and behavioral challenges in a residential setting as well as experience working with children on the Autism spectrum.
Caron Wedeking, LISW
Caron Wedeking, MSW, LISW is an independently licensed social worker in the state of Iowa. She hold a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Iowa Wesleyan College and a masters degree in social work from Aurora University in Illinois. She also has a minor in music. Caron has over ten years experience providing individual and family counseling to children, adolescents, and adults. She also has many years experience working in the hospice field in various capacities. She is trained in Discovery Work (a forensic interviewing process used by RCPCs throughout the country), TF-CBT (trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy), play therapy (client centered and directed), NMT (neurosequential model of trauma therapy), child-parent psychotherapy, and EMDR. Caron also does child-parent relational assessments, works with young adults with intellectual or cognitive delays, and with adults who are dealing with trauma, life stressors, and life changes.
Harmony Linden, LISW
Harmony Linden is a Licensed Independent Social Worker. She earned her Master of Social Work degree in 2012 from the University of Iowa. Harmony has extensive training in family systems theory and completed post-graduate training in Bowen family systems theory in 2017. Harmony enjoys working with adults and adolescents, and is particularly interested in working with couples. She has training in trauma-informed care, best practices for working with LGBTQ individuals, and is trained in EMDR. Harmony uses a strengths-based approach to help people cope with a variety of life challenges and to improve their lives.
Bennett Zielinski, LMHC-T
Bennett works with children, teens, families, and adults to recognize their potential, harness their individual strengths, and overcome life’s challenges. Bennett especially enjoys working with children under the age of 10, using play therapy to help them process their world and express their thoughts and emotions. He also has a passion for, and specializes in, working with the LGBTQ+ community of all ages, particularly those who identify as transgender or may be questioning their gender identity. Bennett earned his Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Drake University. He is trained in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and has completed over 200 hours of play therapy training. Bennett particularly enjoys utilizing sand tray techniques to help both children and adults process and reflect. His strengths-based approach allows for all his clients to understand how experiences shape who they are and allow them to grow and heal.
Heather Balvanz, LMHC
Heather is a fully Licensed Mental Health Counselor. Heather graduated from Walden University in 2014. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Upper Iowa University receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Heather provides counseling to individuals, families and group therapy. Her office is held in Grundy Center but she also offers school based services for students. Prior to working at New Beginnings, Heather worked in the Des Moines public schools as a school based therapist and served clients in Grundy County. She has provided counseling to children and adults of all ages and backgrounds. She has furthered her expansion of knowledge by attending trainings at the Trauma Informed Care and Play Therapy conferences. She enjoys working with individuals helping them overcome life’s struggles. During her graduate program, Heather interned at the State Training School, providing individual and group therapy to her clients. This internship gave her the passion to advocate for her clients well-being and mental health. Heather utilizes a Person-Centered approach and often incorporates Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Play Therapy. Heather provides a safe environment for her clients to feel unconditional, positive regard as they work through their concerns with an empathetic, understanding, positive, strength- based counselor.