Talkeetna: (907) 733-2273 ~ Willow: (907) 495-4100 ~ Wasilla: (907) 376-2273

Feel happier

with the help of a
licensed counselor

 

  • Start right away – no waitlist
  • Get matched to the right counselor
  • Telemedicine options are available
  • We accept Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance
  • Sliding fee scale available
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Welcome to Behavioral Health services at Sunshine Community Health Center (SCHC). We look forward to the opportunity to assist you in reaching your personal goals. We specialize in a variety of services such as individual, couples, family, and group therapy.

At SCHC we believe in providing a team approach to giving you the best care possible. Our Behavioral Health team also provides integrated care with our Primary Care Providers to provide you with holistic, patient-centered care.

To begin your journey towards a happier, healthier life call and make an appointment today. Use the appointment web form on this page or call Helen Michaelson or Tanya Olson at:

  • Talkeetna – 733-2273 EXT. 377
  • Willow – 495-4100
  • Wasilla – 376-2273 EXT. 2660

We are proud to have been voted Best of the Valley in 2021, tying for First Place in the Mental Health Facility category.

Frontiersman 2021 Best of the Valley Winner logo

 

Download an overview of Behavioral Health services at Sunshine Community Health Center:

Behavioral Health trifold brochure preview

 

 

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Behavioral Health Providers

 

Sarah Blanning, LCSW - Behavioral Health Director
Sarah graduated with her Master of Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh in 2010 and received her clinical social work license in 2015. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Social Work in a trauma-focused program at Barry University. Prior to coming to Sunshine, she worked in child welfare, substance use treatment, adoptions, medical social work, and domestic violence and child abuse prevention. She has worked at Sunshine since 2016 and has a passion for treating the wide range of mental health and substance needs in a primary care setting. 
 
Sarah has a special interest in helping people recover from trauma. She uses various methods to affect change, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Coherence Therapy, Gottman Method Couples Counseling, Motivational Interviewing, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.
 
In her free time, Sarah enjoys snow-machining, four-wheeling, spending time at her cabin, building and refinishing furniture, and reading.
Portrait of sarah blanning, licensed clinical social worker

 

Patrick Albert, LCSW
Patrick received his BA Sociology from Western Illinois University in 1973 and his MSW from Aurora University in 1998. Patrick’s experience is in serving patients of all ages who are cognitively impaired, have new or chronic mental illness, substance addiction, relationship problems and involvement in the state child welfare system. He had specialized training in Trauma Incident Reduction therapy, divorce mediation and bullying prevention in the schools. He also established a faith-based school for special needs students in another state and enjoy working with parents who are struggling with their responsibilities.
 
Patrick is married with two adult daughters, who are disabled and living with them. They all share a passion for their Pomeranians, as well as for exploring and photographing Alaska's wildlife and landscape. Patrick also enjoys building his music skills on banjo, guitar, mandolin and dobro.

Patrick Albert LCSW

 

Kirstin Nosek, LCSW

Kirstin completed her Bachelor of Communication at Oregon State University in 1996 and her Master of Social Work in 2007 at Portland State University. She is an Alaska Board of Social Worker (CASA). She previously worked at Providence Alaska Medical Center as a Social Work Clinician float for the past 13 years. In addition to her hospital experience, she spent time working with Child Protective Services, CASA, District Attorney Rape Victim Advocate Program, and the St. Vincent heart transplant team.Kirsten provides behavioral health services for a diverse socio-economic population with a wide range of presenting problems. She works with patients and their families to complete full bio-psychosocial assessments for patients with complex mental health and physical health needs.

Kirstin has a passion for all outdoor activities that Alaska has to offer including skiing, skating, hiking, and kayaking. Ice skating the rivers and lakes being the most magical! She currently calls Anchorage home but hopes to spend more time in Talkeetna as she and her husband are closer to being empty nesters. She is excited to be part of the Sunshine Clinic and continue to build relationships with the Talkeetna community.

Kristen Nosek, LCSW
Linsdey Russell, LCSW

Lindsey attended Temple University in Philadelphia, PA and Middle Tennessee State University. She completed her Master of Social Work at the University of TN College of Social Work in 2013 and has worked in behavioral health since 2009.

Lindsey has participated in internships including school-based counseling and adoption and foster care. Lindsey has a varied background including working for community mental health, residential facilities, and private practice. Lindsey works with her client using a strengths-based approach and uses humor and empathy in sessions to improve comfort and instill trust in building a collaborative relationship together. Lindsey enjoys working with a variety of populations including couples, individuals, and families and specializes in working with parenting, life adjustments, mood disorders, anxiety/panic and relational stressors.

Linsdey is a wife and mother to three beautiful and wild children. She recently moved from North Carolina to Alaska to start our new family adventure. In her spare time, she enjoy spending time with family, doing artwork, reading and fishing.

Lindsay Russell

 

 

 

Marly Torres, LCSW

Marly graduated from Hope College with a BA Major in Psychology and Sociology and a Minor in History. She received her M.S.W from Western Michigan University. 

Marly is from Michigan and recently moved to Alaska with her beagle to enjoy the outdoors, beauty and adventure that Alaska has to offer. She enjoys working with kids, teens, and their families to help create positive change in their lives.

Marly Torres LCSW

 

 

 

Angie Cronin, PsyD

Angie studied psychology at the University of Montana and got her master’s degree in professional psychology and doctoral degree in clinical psychology at Williams James College in Boston.

Angie works with patients of all ages, including babies and guardians and older adults. She specializes in working with trauma, eating disorders, health/medical issues, (including sleep issues, weight management, diabetes management, substance use, hypertension, migraines, MS, chronic pain, etc), LGBTQ+ individuals, grief/loss, and anxiety and depression (including postpartum depression and anxiety). She does not tend to work with individuals with autism spectrum disorders and significant cognitive delays, sex offender treatment, manualized treatments (including EMDR and prolonged exposure for trauma), and couple’s therapy..

Angie Cronin PhysD

 

Tanya Korta, LPC

Originally from Minnesota, Tanya has lived in rural Alaska for 28 years. She worked as an elementary school teacher for 11 years before transitioning to health care and earning a master’s degree in community counseling from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2014.

Tanya has worked with people of all ages and has experience helping with a range of issues including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and trauma. She has recently received training in using play therapy techniques for all ages and believes that play is the work of children and an important aspect of healthy adult living as well. Tanya uses a person-centered, strength-based approach to her work with clients. Tanya lives in Talkeetna with her husband, Jon. They have three grown children. She enjoys outdoor adventures, wood heat, crowded dinner tables, and small-town living.

Tanya Korta LPC

 

Mike Adams, LPC

Mike attended University of Oklahoma for four years and Northeastern State University two years where he received his Masters in Human Relations. Mike has worked and supported clients in a clinical, home-based and school based services for over thirteen years and he enjoys working with kids, adolescents and older adults. His clinical experience also includes helping individuals with anger management, trauma, anxiety and trauma.

Mike enjoys all sports and his favorites are football and tennis. He is learning to be a better hunter and would love to learn more. Mike enjoys flying drones and playing with his two boys who are 3 and 6.

 

 

Kirsten Strolle, LMSW

Kirsten has been a Behavioral Health Care Manager at SCHC since 2016 and has worked in direct services for over 10 years serving a variety of patients, both children and adults, including survivors of sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse.

Kirsten graduated from Grand Valley State University in 2007 with a B.S. in Political Science and a Minor in Sociology. She earned her M.S.W. from the University of New England in 2020. She completed her clinical internship at SCHC which included individual sessions and a  Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Group.

Kirsten enjoys hiking, skiing and foraging.

Kirsten Strolle, Behavioral Health Clinician
Courtney BeeBe, LMSW

Courtney graduated from the University of Tennessee Knoxville in 2019 with her Master’s of Science in Social Work. She also acquired a graduate certificate in the Treatment of Trauma in 2019. For two years, Courtney worked with adults in a court-ordered drug rehabilitation program and is familiar with patients who struggle with substance abuse. She is also comfortable providing crisis interventions to patients and enjoys working with those in crisis. More recently, Courtney has been working with adolescents and families within the Mat-Su School District. She enjoys the fast-paced environment of working within the schools as well as a more clinical role at the Wasilla clinic location. Courtney also enjoys running groups with patients and has led groups for Anger Management, Substance Abuse, Domestic Violence (survivors), and Life Skills for Adolescents. The approach Courtney takes with clients is they are the expert in their lives and change comes from within. Some of the therapeutic modalities she uses are Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Trauma Narrative, and Person-Centered Therapy.

Courtney BeeBe LMSW

 

Behavioral Health Services

 

Integrated Care
Integrated care is a holistic, team approach to meeting the needs of the mind and the body. At Sunshine Community Health Center we address medical, behavioral, and substance abuse within the primary care setting. Integrated Care helps patients with multiple healthcare issues to have better healthcare outcomes, have a better experience, and to save money.
Individual / Family / Couples
Therapy sessions revolve around your present or long standing needs. The Behavioral Health Specialists will help you to build upon your existing strengths while also exploring new tools for you to use. Individual, family, or couples counseling is available and our Behavioral Health Specialists work with people of all ages. We look forward to helping you live a happier life.
Domestic Violence Support
Sunshine Community Health Center can help people who have experienced domestic violence by addressing the emotional, logistical, and physical barriers to healing. Our Behavioral Health Specialists are equipped to provide a variety of therapeutic options to treat trauma, including Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) as well as other emotional concerns. Financial help for those who experience violence may be available through the Families in Crisis Fund, which is funded by the Talkeetna Bachelor Society. In addition, the Behavioral Health team can provide assistance with accessing transportation, shelter, and other emergency needs. The Behavioral Health Team will also work with people to create a safety plan based on their current needs. If you are concerned that your relationship is unhealthy, please do not hesitate to contact the Sunshine Clinic and ask for the Behavioral Health Assistant.

Domestic Violence

Learn:

  • About the cycle of abuse
  • What are warning signs of domestic violence
  • What support services are available

Addiction Recovery Treatment
This program is for all patients who have are struggling with their use/abuse of alcohol or other drugs. Although a patient may combine some form of medication assisted treatment (MAT) with their Behavioral Health treatment, this treatment program is separate from our OBOT program. Treatment options are based on the needs of the patient and may include individual, group, or family counseling. Our Behavioral Health Specialists are able to assist patients who are referred by the court or by the Office of Children’s Service (OCS). Patients who are interested in attending the Addiction Recovery Group must speak with a Behavioral Health provider prior to the first group.

Living With Substance Abuse

Learn:

  • What is Substance Abuse
  • How to Recognize it
  • What are the Impacts on Families
  • Treatment Options

Office Based Opioid Treatment

The Office Based Opiate Treatment (OBOT) program that combines the use of the medication, Suboxone®, an FDA approved medication for treatment of people with opiate dependence, with outpatient Behavioral Health treatment. This program helps people struggling with opiate addiction transition from a life of drug dependence to a life of recovery. Suboxone® contains two types of medication, buprenorphine and Naloxone®, which complement each other in detoxification and maintenance therapy. Maintenance therapy can continue as long as deemed medically necessary by the physician. Behavioral Health treatment consists of an assessment followed by group and individual counseling as agreed upon by the treatment team. The OBOT program at SCHC requires a commitment to abstinence from all substances, including nicotine, once a person is in the program. Support will be given to people who need assistance in stopping the use of substances other than opiates. In Phase I of the program, all group sessions are held at the Talkeetna clinic.

Are you or someone you know struggling with opiate addiction?  Medication Assisted Treatment using Suboxone is one option to consider.  If you are interested in learning more about this type of treatment, you can contact our Behavioral Health Assistant at 733-9202.

If you’d like more information, this article describes the research on the effectiveness of MAT.

 

EMDR

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements from many different treatment approaches. To date, EMDR therapy has helped millions of people of all ages relieve many types of psychological stress.  The amount of time the complete treatment will take depends upon the history of the client. Complete treatment of the targets involves a three pronged protocol (past, present, and future), and are needed to alleviate the symptoms and address the complete clinical picture. The goal of EMDR therapy is to process completely the experiences that are causing problems, and to include new ones that are needed for full health. “Processing” does not mean talking about it. “Processing” means setting up a learning state that will allow experiences that are causing problems to be “digested” and stored appropriately in your brain. That means that what is useful to you from an experience will be learned, and stored with appropriate emotions in your brain, and be able to guide you in positive ways in the future. The inappropriate emotions, beliefs, and body sensations will be discarded.

Additional Resources

 

TitleDescriptionVersionDownload
Acute Stress

Learn:

  • What it is
  • What are common symptoms
  • What can you do to help 
DownloadPreview
Anger Management

Learn:

  • What it is and early warning systems
  • Defusing strategies
  • Ways to change thinking patterns
  • When you need professional help 
DownloadPreview
Coronavirus-Anxiety-Workbook DownloadPreview
Cutting and Self Harm

Learn:

  • What it is and the types of self harm
  • Symptoms of depression and suicide
  • When you need professional help
  • Types of treatment 
DownloadPreview
Depression

 Learn:

  • What it is and the different types
  • What are common symptoms
  • When you need professional help
  • Types of treatment 
DownloadPreview
Domestic Violence

Learn:

  • About the cycle of abuse
  • What are warning signs of domestic violence
  • What support services are available
DownloadPreview
Grief

Learn:

  • The different types of losses
  • What are the 7 stages
  • Ways to cope with grief
  • When you need professional help 
DownloadPreview
Living With Substance Abuse

Learn:

  • What is Substance Abuse
  • How to Recognize it
  • What are the Impacts on Families
  • Treatment Options
DownloadPreview
coping with stress during coronavirus DownloadPreview