Youth and Family Counseling

Professional counseling service for all ages

Programs we offer:

Individual Therapy

Family Therapy

Group Therapy

Couples Therapy

School Based Mental Health

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)

Counseling Services

At Lakes Center for Youth & Families, we use a collaborative client-centered approach that’s designed to meet each client where they are at. Our offices provide an inviting comfortable environment and our therapists use creative strategies and evidence-based approaches to best serve our clients. We provide therapy to people of all ages, striving to equip people with the skills to heal traumas, manage symptoms, reduce stress, and improve their overall quality of life.

    Our Services

    Individualized treatment for mental, emotional, physical, and behavioral concerns; addressing symptoms of depression, anxiety, mood disorders, personality disorders, trauma/PTSD, grief and loss, addiction, attachment difficulties, family conflict and parenting.

    We work with the whole family to provide skills, tools, and support as families learn to reduce conflict, enhance communication, understand generational family patterns, and build healthy boundaries.

    Group therapy can be an ideal choice for addressing concerns and making positive changes. Groups are offered on site and in schools within the Forest Lake district. Group topics vary and include coping skills, connection building, and DBT.

    Goals of couples therapy include strengthening connection, increasing intimacy, relationship discernment, co-parenting and uncoupling.

    Lakes Center offers on-site counseling to students in Forest Lake Area Schools (District 831) to support social, emotional, behavioral and academic wellness.

    Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an integrative therapeutic approach that has proven to be effective in reducing the long-lasting effects of PTSD, as well as in treating a wide range of other mental health symptoms.

    Our Counselors

    Rebecca Bowers, MA, LMFT

    Rebecca holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology and is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Her clinical experience includes assessments and testing, inpatient, outpatient, and school-based settings. Rebecca utilizes relational evidence-based approaches, providing collaborative client-centered psychotherapy to adults, couples, adolescents, families, and groups. Therapeutic orientations adapt to the needs of each client, incorporating elements of Systems Theory, Psychodynamic Theory, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, mindfulness-based, and Somatic Experiencing. Specialized areas of interest and expertise include trauma and attachment, grief and loss, anxiety, depression, couples counseling, and relational concerns. Rebecca is certified in treating child and adolescent trauma and is EMDRIA trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). Above all, Rebecca believes that a strong relationship and a sense of personal connection is the most important component to success in therapy.

    Carrie Niles, MA, LPCC

    Carrie holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology and is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor. She has experience working with individuals of all ages, couples, and families in outpatient therapy settings, as well as in private practice, and chemical health treatment. Her work is grounded in strong, respectful, and collaborative relationships with clients and families that build on patient’s strengths and supports overall growth, personal, and relational development. Areas of clinical interest include trauma and attachment in children and adults, as well as symptoms related to depression, anxiety, grief and loss, addiction, relational conflict, school issues, and life transitions. Carrie is EMDRIA trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), an evidence-based modality for treating a variety of symptoms, including trauma.

    Jenny Birkholz, MSW, LADC

    Jenny holds a Master’s degree in Social Work and is a Licensed Social Worker and a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor. She is pursuing licensure as an Independent Clinical Social Worker. Her clinical experience includes assessments, psychotherapy and groups with adults and adolescents with substance abuse, trauma, anxiety and depression in outpatient and inpatient settings. Jenny believes in an individual’s ability to be resilient and resourceful. She uses strength-based and person-centered approaches to help individuals reach their goals by building on their existing strengths. Techniques are adapted to client’s needs including mindfulness, deep breathing and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Jenny also has training and experience with Brainspotting therapy- a powerful body-based psychotherapy used to treat trauma and other symptoms. Ultimately, she strives to create comfortable space and trusting relationships with clients.

    Christa Lachell, MA

    Christa holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and is working toward her licensure in Professional Clinical Counseling.

    Christa has experience working with individuals, families, mothers in crisis, youth in foster/adoptive homes, emotional and behavioral issues, psychotherapy groups for adolescents, and individuals experiencing anxiety depression and trauma. She has previously worked in the inner city school system addressing emotional and behavioral disorders.

    With sensitivity and compassion, Christa draws from a variety of evidence-based research using integrative approaches such as narrative therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, internal family systems, and trauma informed care. She adapts her approach appropriately for young children by using play and narrative interventions. A supportive and safe therapeutic relationship is of utmost importance to her work. She brings warmth and security to counseling even when attending to difficult parts of client stories.

    Additionally, Christa is looking forward to beginning the process for EMDR certification and training for brain spotting.

    Jessie Szmanda, MA, LADC

    Jessie holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling, and is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC). She is currently pursuing licensure as a Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC). She has experience in individual, family, and group therapy.

    Previously, Jessie has worked within the prison system providing therapy and addressing substance use disorders. Due to this she has experience working with those who have been incarcerated, have family members who are currently incarcerated, and those looking for support upon re-entry.

    Jessie believes in meeting each individual where they are and that each person is the expert of their own lives. Because of this she sees value in a person centered, and unconditional positive regard approach in therapy. She utilizes an integrated approach of Narrative Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and is certified in Forward-Facing Trauma Therapy. Her areas of clinical interest include trauma, depression, anxiety, substance use disorder, incarceration, and re-entry.

    Insurance Options

    Lakes Center for Youth & Families accepts most commercial and all state-based insurance plans, including:

    • Health Partners 
    • Blue Cross BLUE SHIELD 
    • UCARE 
    • Cigna 
    • Medical Assistance (MA/MHCP) 
    • Aetna
    • Medica 
    • United Health Care (UHC) 
    • United Behavioral Health 
    • Optum 
    • Preferred One

    If you have an insurance type that is not mentioned, we may still be able to provide services that are covered by your insurance. For more information, contact your member services number on the back of your insurance card to see if your benefits cover our services. We also offer private pay and sliding fee services. Please contact us to see how we can help at 651-464-3685 or fill out our contact form.

    Getting Started Is Easy

    1st Session!

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    Directory/Extension #

    102 - Christa Lachell
    103 - Rebecca Bowers
    104 - Carrie Niles
    105 - Jessie Szmanda
    106 - Jenny Birkholz          109 - Linda Madsen
    110 - Sara Stromberg
    112 - Linda Pasicznyk
    114 - Jamie Prettner
    116 - Emily Tatum


    200 4th St SW
    PO Box 970
    Forest Lake, MN 55025


    LC4YF staff are mostly working remotely.

    We are open by appointment only.