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Meet the Team

 

Center Staff

Center for Grief & Loss staff are specially trained therapists that provide support to those healing from loss. Within this broader training, our therapists have practical, real-life experience helping people like you find hope and healing following a traumatic event. Please browse through our staff's biographies below, and feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.

Key to Credential Acronyms

These letters can refer to educational degrees:

  • MA – Master of Arts
  • MFT – Master of Marriage and Family Therapy
  • MSW – Master of Social Work
  • PhD – Doctor of Philosophy
  • PsyD – Doctor of Psychology
  • BSW – Bachelor of Social Work

Or to professional licenses:

  • LAMFT – Licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist, practicing under supervision of another independently licensed provider
  • LMFT – Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
  • LGSW – Licensed Graduate Social Worker, practicing under the supervision of another independently licensed provider
  • LICSW – Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
  • LPCC – Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor
  • LP –Licensed Psychologist
  • LISW- Licensed Independent Social Worker
  • LCSW – Licensed Clinical Social Worker
  • CSW- Certified Social Worker
  • RYT - Registered Yoga Teacher

 

Molly Ruggles, Psy.D., L.P.

Molly Ruggles, Psy.D., L.P.

Assistant Clinical Director

Molly Ruggles is a Licensed Psychologist with a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the Minnesota School of Professional Psychology.  Molly has been practicing for more than 10 years and provides psychotherapy, clinical supervision and also serves as the Assistant Clinical Director at the Center for Grief & Loss. Molly values a strong therapeutic relationship with her clients as a crucial aspect of the healing process and is particularly attuned to creating safety in the therapy room. Her approach is primarily relational, utilizing a psychodynamic and attachment lens to more fully uncover and support each client’s unique needs in their healing process.  Molly also integrates the use of Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) to aid in the healing of distress connected to particularly painful and frightening events.  Molly has long held a special interest in the areas of grief and trauma, and along with her professional experiences of doing this work, she holds her own personal experiences that allow her to more deeply attune. 


Sharon K. Chung, LICSW

Sharon K. Chung, LICSW

Therapist

“I do my best because I am counting on you counting on me.” – Maya Angelou.  Seeking help and support is not always easy or fun. My goal with every client is to build a relationship of trust, honesty, and openness so clients can create the change and shifts in life that are desired and impact their lives in ways they want. I work from a client centered approach. I have a sense of curiosity and I take the time to build the trust and sense of safety that clients have a right to create.

As a clinical social worker, my approach is founded on an ecological perspective, or a “person in environment” perspective. This approach explores how people interact with their environments - physical, social, and cultural environments, and how these interactions affect and impact both the person and their environments. I use a trauma informed lens along with a health equity lens, which both prompt me to explore how environments and the structural systems we are living with influence how we experience, internalize, cope with, and adjust to all aspects of life and living.  

My areas of clinical practice include: Historical and Intergenerational Trauma, Racialized Trauma, Decolonization, Interpersonal violence, Intimate partner abuse, Sexual violence and abuse, Child Welfare and Protection, Living with Serious Illness, Living with Chronic Pain, End of Life, Bereavement, Complicated grief and loss, Life Transitions, and LGBTQ+.

“Contrary to what we may have been taught to think, unnecessary and unchosen suffering wounds us but need not scar us for life. It does mark us. What we allow the mark of suffering to become is in our own hands.” – bell hooks, from All About Love: New Visions.  I work from a strength-based perspective and my clinical approach is grounded in empowerment theory which focuses on growing a person’s capacity and ability to deal with and respond to life’s circumstances. I believe being centered in empowerment theory helps people help themselves in ways they want and achieve the goals they face, thereby increasing the quality of their lives.

In my free time, I enjoy being in nature – the woods, the ocean, the mountains, the wilderness. I also enjoy fine tuning my Korean cooking skills, watching indie films, and wandering through art galleries and museums.


Bobbie Colby, MA, LMFT

Bobbie Colby, MA, LMFT

Therapist

Bobbie is a grief therapist at the Center for Grief, Loss & Transition. Her interest in grief and loss began with the diagnosis of life-threatening illness and subsequent death of her husband. The impact of this life-changing experience has brought a willingness to work with others as they journey through the healing process. Bobbie works to create a safe, trusting and nonjudgmental place in which to grieve a personal loss or transition.

Bobbie brings with her years of experience working with children of all ages through teaching, counseling and mentoring. She has worked closely with AIDS and hospice care teams as individuals experience chronic illness and death.

Because of Bobbie's belief in the mind, body and spirit connection, she brings to therapy various forms of creative expression, mindfulness and relaxation techniques.


Dianna Diers, MA, LMFT

Dianna Diers, MA, LMFT

Marriage and Family Therapist

A very small sign in my office reads, "I am still learning", Michaelangelo.

I am a licensed, marriage and family therapist, politely referred to these days as "seasoned". My "seasoning" includes training in early childhood education and social work prior to more recent training in family therapy, and the treatment of trauma, grief, depression, and anxiety in adults, children, couples and families. I admire and use practices from many therapeutic traditions. I love the deep respect for inner knowledge in the narrative and existentialist approaches, the humor and practicality of solution focused methods, and the heart-centered practices of mindfulness, and modern brain science.

At the Center for Grief, I also lead therapy groups for parents who have lost children and an art therapy group for those who are grieving losses of many kinds. I particularly am inspired by the strength and resources that come forth from clients in the healing process. As a parent, grandparent, gardener and lover of stories, music, art and poetry, I am honored to be part of a team that continues to learn from one another and from the individuals and families we are privileged to serve.


Michaela Janssen, MA, LPCC

Michaela Janssen, MA, LPCC

Therapist

Michaela has provided mental health therapy to children, adolescents, and young adults who have faced trauma, grief and loss, medical conditions, and other life challenges in a variety of settings. Her passion for working with this population was stimulated by her own experiences of childhood medical concerns, living with family members who have chronic illnesses, and having several close family members die since she was young. Unfortunately, it is often the children, adolescents, and young adults who can be forgotten in a situation where they have had a loved one die or are living with someone who has a medical illness. Michaela provides therapeutic support and advocates for these clients so they can be heard and receive assistance to cope with the effects of their struggles.  

Michaela is a Registered Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) therapist, and she will receive her grief-counseling certificate in January 2019.  She utilizes an integrated approach to therapy, drawing primarily from Cognitive Behavioral and Person-Centered theories, to provide a safe, caring, and empathetic environment to connect with clients. It is important to her to support each client individually so they are able to use the coping strategies that they learn and practice during therapy in their daily lives.  Michaela is grateful to be part of the Center for Grief and Loss’ therapist team.


Brooke Kaney, MSW, LICSW

Brooke Kaney, MSW, LICSW

Therapist

Transition, loss and the experience of grief will affect every person at some point in time. Brooke strives to understand each person’s unique experience with grief. She practices psychotherapy from a relational psychodynamic perspective which means fostering a meaningful and safe relationship to be able to uncover and explore strength and stability. This also means paying attention to ways that lifelong patterns can help or hinder how we function in relationships with others and navigate the world. She is genuine, curious and provides thoughtful feedback when life feels confusing or complicated. She integrates cognitive-behavioral interventions and mindfulness practices when appropriate. The sincerity, support and safety of the therapy relationship is central to her work.

 Brooke is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker with over 7 years of experience working with individuals facing chronic and serious health conditions and their families, including work in palliative care and hospice. Her clients have been the most prominent teachers about the types of loss that occur and various ways of navigating the grief. Brooke has a passion for working with individuals with cancer related concerns and other various health conditions, including organ transplants. Prior to her work at the Center for Grief & Loss, Brooke worked in an academic hospital and medical clinic providing counseling for patients and families. During this time she directed a clinical social work fellowship in palliative care and now continues to provide clinical supervision to the social work fellow.

 Brooke feels incredibly grateful to work with and learn from this group of therapists and clients. She believes that bearing pain and inviting change is possible when done together.


Linda Mercado

Linda Mercado

Clinical Intern

Linda is a graduate student in the Marriage and Family Therapy program at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, completing her clinical internship at Center for Grief and Loss. 

Linda understands grief can be experienced by individuals, families, and communities due to a wide variety of differing situations. She believes everyone is unique in relation to how they react to and process grief, loss, and trauma. She uses a collaborative and compassionate approach to foster hope, healing, resilience, and growth. Linda is strength-based and likes drawing from an individual's own strengths to assist in the healing process. She is honored to hear your story, sit with you in your most difficult moments, and offer a safe space during your journey of healing.  

She has experience working with a variety of populations which includes working in a residential treatment center as a counselor with adolescents, mentoring high school students, and as an assistant teacher in a STEAM based learning center focused on children ages 1-13 years. Additionally, she has18 years of experience working in St. Paul responding to critical incidents and traumatic events as a peace officer.  

She appreciates that Center for Grief and Loss collaborates and incorporates the use of education, workshops, support groups, and other activities such as yoga to help with the healing process and is grateful to be part of the team. Other interests include complex trauma, traumatic loss, chronic pain, and neurobiology.  


Gretchen Rosa, MA, LMFT

Gretchen Rosa, MA, LMFT

Therapist

Gretchen has experience working with children, adults, families and couples in the areas of grief, hospice, trauma, autism, ADHD, and caregiving a family member with a chronic illness or disability. She has facilitated grief groups in the past for family members grieving the loss of a spouse, a sibling, a child, and a parent. Gretchen also has experience as a hospice volunteer and has been honored to support individuals and families through their end-of-life journeys.

Gretchen has a belief that we define ourselves through our stories. Those stories are created by the experiences we go through and the meaning we assign to them. Sometimes those stories are painful or unhappy and they limit us from reaching our full potential for connection and range of emotions. Utilizing attachment, emotion-focused, narrative, and cognitive therapeutic approaches, Gretchen works collaboratively with clients to encourage them to consider new choices and different possibilities to develop a more helpful, satisfying story. 


Dallas Rising, RYT-500

Dallas Rising, RYT-500

Registered Yoga Instructor

Dallas entered yoga teacher training knowing that she wanted to bring the gifts of yoga and meditation to people experiencing grief. Having lost five family members in 14 months, she understands the physical and mental toll grief can take on a person and has experienced firsthand the healing effects of yoga, meditation, and other non-verbal practices. She is honored to be working with the Center for Grief and Loss supplementing traditional talk therapy with offerings designed to support the body and address some of the physical symptoms of grief. Through the Center, she offers restorative yoga, yoga nidra, nature immersion experiences, rituals for remembering, and guided self-compassion sessions. In addition to teaching in studios and work environments, Dallas offers free community yoga sessions for OUT in the Backyard, an LGBTQIA+ nonprofit committed to healthy, thriving queer communities, and uses trauma-informed and accessible principles. Click here to see upcoming events.


Rachael Sarto, MSW, LICSW

Rachael Sarto, MSW, LICSW

Therapist

Rachael is a Clinical Social Worker and Psychotherapist. During the past 15 years, she has provided counseling and support for individuals and families facing a wide range of challenges, in clinic, hospital, day treatment, and residential settings. 

As a counselor in a Palliative Care program for many years, she has served people living with a serious illness for self or loved one, including working with families and individuals facing end of life. She has a particular passion for working with people living with the emotional and relationship impacts of illness and injury. She is honored to become part of the Center for Grief, contributing to this essential resource for those in our community experiencing grief, loss, or changes.

She deeply values understanding what matters most to each client. With warm listening and a collaborative approach, she aims to align with each person to support them in their goals for their lives.


Merra Young, MSW, LICSW, LMFT

Merra Young, MSW, LICSW, LMFT

Therapist

Merra brings over 35 years of experience as a psychotherapist. She offers integrative, mindfulness-based and other approaches into the therapy process. Her areas of expertise include: grief and loss, life transitions, anxiety, depression, self-esteem, relationships, mind-body, spirituality, family of origin, recovery, trauma healing, stress reduction, life balance and other issues.

She has been practicing meditation and yoga since 1976.

She embodies a compassionate presence. She is honored to accompany and empower others in their unique healing journeys' of growth and transformation. She provides support for discovering ways to connect with one's innate wisdom, creativity, resiliency, and wholeness - even joy amidst life's uncertainty.

Merra is an adjunct faculty at several universities. She teaches courses and leads workshops in Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction, Meditation, Happiness and Integrative Psychotherapy. She also offers supervision and consultation in other settings. She loves being in nature, bicycling and poetry. She's filled with gratitude to working at the center.


Corilyn Wagner, MA

Corilyn Wagner, MA

Mental Health Therapist

Corilyn blends traditional psychotherapy and art therapy to support her clients. With warmth and openness, she strives to create space for authentic connection and exploratory creative expression. She believes that everyone has the ability to look inward to find creative solutions to begin healing, bring balance, and make changes in their life. 

As an art therapist, Corilyn has found that the art-making process can be used to explore who we are, what has happened to us, and how we will move forward. Art therapy allows complex feelings, thoughts, and experiences to be expressed and honored. During the creative process, often narratives, metaphors, and discoveries emerge that provide opportunities for her clients to build awareness and create meaning. Art making has been transformative for Corilyn to cultivate wellness and process experiences of grief and loss in her own life. She is grateful to have the opportunity to share this work with others. There is no particular level of art experience or artistic ability required to do art therapy, and Corilyn will work with you at your own pace. 

Corilyn has her master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Art Therapy and is working towards licensure under the supervision of Molly Ruggles PsyD, LP.  She has over ten years of experience in the mental health field, primarily facilitating expressive arts groups for clients with mental illness and substance use disorders. Her areas of clinical interest include grief and loss, life transitions, trauma, anxiety, depression, relationships, creative blocks, mind-body, family of origin, substance use disorders, and recovery. Corilyn is a certified yoga teacher and is happy to discuss integrating yoga, movement, or mindfulness in therapy. 

“You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress simultaneously.” -Sophia Bush