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Our Story: Reflections on our Past, Present, and Future

As we are celebrating the new year and the grand opening of our home office, it only seems right to take some time to reflect on Iowa Family Counselings’ past, present, and future. We have really enjoyed sharing and celebrating our growth and hope that you have enjoyed getting to know us better. We are proud to share our story with you, as you are the reason that we are here.


Elisa founded Iowa Family Counseling in early 2019, to help serve the children and families of rural Iowa. Growing up in rural Iowa, Elisa has always been passionate about helping others. She knows that everyone faces challenges and she truly wants to help children and families thrive. Everyone needs help sometimes and she appreciates that she has the opportunity to be there for others.

Iowa Family Counseling started as a solo practice that centered around helping children through school-based counseling. Elisa saw patients at schools exclusively, with no central office for seeing clients. The number of people Iowa Family Counseling served quickly increased and the workload became difficult for one person to manage. It quickly became apparent that this business was going to need to grow in order to serve the needs within the community.

To help with the administrative workload, our Office Manager, Nicole joined the team in early 2020. Though there was not technically an office for her to work in, 2020 proved to be a good year to work from home! Nicole has over 13 years of experience in office management and is passionate about helping others. She has been a valuable asset, as she is able to handle any task that a growing practice requires. She also provides an empathetic voice on the other end of the phone. Her support has been pivotal in the growth of Iowa Family Counseling.

As the business grew, the need to connect Iowa Family Counseling to the community also grew. To help with this endeavor, Sarah joined our team as the Marketing and Education Designer. As a middle school teacher, she always felt drawn to supporting adolescents as they navigate the challenges that they face every day. She channels this desire to encourage and connect with others to help us communicate the story of our practice through our website, blog, articles, and informational materials.

In the middle of 2020, Iowa Family Counseling began its search for an additional Clinical Therapist to join the team. We were lucky to find the perfect fit for our practice in Maddie Marshall. She is a knowledgeable, thoughtful, and collaborative addition to our team. We love that Maddie truly appreciates that individuals have different needs and will find the best approach to serve each person.

She wants her clients to feel empowered by developing an awareness of their feelings and language that they can use to talk about their feelings and experience. She truly appreciates the opportunity to meet people wherever they are on their mental health journey and to walk alongside them, helping to guide them as needed.


Iowa Family Counseling is fortunate to have assembled such a strong team to help us fulfill our mission. We have common values and understand that we all will encounter times in our lives where we need some help.

This practice was founded on the understanding that sometimes the most wonderful things can grow out of some of the murkiest of places. That is why the lotus flower was chosen to be the centerpiece of the Iowa Family Counseling logo.

The beautiful lotus flower roots itself in the mud, growing through murky waters to bloom in the sunshine. The contrast of this vibrant bloom and its dreary surroundings contains deep symbolic meaning across many cultures. Life can get mucky and dirty at times, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t still flourish. Like the lotus, some of the most beautiful things can come out of the darkest places. This understanding of humans’ natural resilience, is the foundation of our mission.

In order to help us focus our mission and guide our growth, Iowa Family Counseling developed a mission statement that reflects our core values. We began this process through deep reflection and discussion of the things that matter most about our business. We settled on this statement of our mission:

Supporting children and families with genuine, empathetic, and collaborative mental healthcare across rural Iowa

Everyone on our team genuinely cares about other people. We understand that we work with people who are facing challenges and we do our best to treat you and your family the way that we would want to be treated. We empathize with you and have tremendous respect for the strength of each person and family that we work with. It takes a great deal of courage to start on the journey toward mental health and wellness, and we are honored that you allow us to support you on this journey.


Psychotherapy is the process of working with a licensed therapist using a variety of therapeutic skills and interventions to treat mental illness, trauma, and emotional and behavioral problems.

It is a collaborative effort between the therapist, client, and family (if/when applicable), working towards mutually agreed-upon goals. Therapy can be conducted in a variety of formats, including individual, family, group, couples, online, and more.

Individual Therapy

Individual counseling (sometimes called psychotherapy or talk therapy) is a process in which clients work one-on-one with a trained mental health clinician in a safe, caring, and confidential environment.

Counseling allows individuals to explore their feelings, beliefs, and behaviors, work through challenging or influential memories, identify aspects of their lives that they would like to change, better understand themselves and others, set personal goals, and work toward desired change.

Family Therapy

Family therapy or family counseling is designed to address specific issues that affect the psychological health of the family, such as major life transitions or mental health conditions. It may be used as the primary mode of treatment or as a complementary approach.

EMDR Therapy

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a mental health treatment that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the resolution of mental health symptoms from adverse life experiences. EMDR therapy can be thought of as a physiologically based therapy that helps a person see upsetting experiences in a new and less disturbing way.

Elisa has completed Basic Training Levels I and II in EMDR and has received additional training, including implementing with children.

Play Therapy

Children naturally process the world around them though by playing. Play therapy is a psychotherapeutic approach that helps children to express their thoughts and feelings through play. One of the most exciting things about our new home office is our play therapy room. It is wonderful to have access to so many toys and resources for our sessions.

School-Based Therapy

Life is busy. It can be difficult to find the time to get your child into therapy. Often, ensuring your child gets to appointments means taking off work, or sacrificing other activities. We understand that it is not always easy to take time away from life to go to therapy, that is why we offer school-based therapy services!

Currently, Iowa Family Counseling provides services within area schools including the Highland and Mid-Prairie Community School Districts.


It is exciting to look forward to Iowa Family Counseling’s future. We have come so far in the past two years and are so grateful for the opportunity to expand our ability to support children and families. As we continue to grow into our new space and as a team, we look forward to expanding our ability to see patients and offer community outreach education and programming.

At our heart, we are here for you and the community. We are happy to be settling into our new home and truly believe that this space will allow us to offer our clients more options for finding the best care plan for each individual.

We feel truly blessed to be a part of this community.

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