Counseling & Psychiatry Staff
A staff of licensed psychologists, social workers, marriage and family therapists and board-certified psychiatric nurse practitioners provide a broad range of services to those in need. All staff members are licensed at the highest independent level of their profession.
Behavioral Health Consultants
Jan Abendroth, LISW
Jan Abendroth is a licensed independent social worker. She graduated from Drake University with a BA in Journalism with minors in psychology and sociology. She obtained her master's degree from The University of Iowa School of Social Work. Jan is a Senior Therapist/ Behavioral Health Consultant at UnityPoint Health - Des Moines Counseling and Psychiatry Clinic and Ankeny's Prairie Trail Family & Internal Medicine Clinics. Jan has many years of clinical, administrative, and supervisory experience in outpatient settings and has an extensive history of working with older teens and adults with mental health concerns.
Her specialties include anxiety, depression, trauma/complex trauma, life stresses/transitions, grief/loss, complex health issues, job stress/transitions, and physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. Jan is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) and primarily utilizes EMDR or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). She also uses Motivational Interviewing and Brief Solution-Focused Therapy. Jan is particularly interested in forming collaborative, strengths-based therapeutic relationships with older teens, young adults, and women of all ages, including those who experience postpartum depression, pregnancy loss, and infertility issues.
Rebecca Fox, LISW
Rebecca Fox is a licensed independent social worker. She attended the University of Northern Iowa where she earned a Bachelor's degree in Psychology followed by a Master of Social Work degree. She has experience working with all ages, providing individual, couples and family therapy. Rebecca has worked for several years in community mental health and also in residential treatment. She has a special interest in working with those who may be struggling with past trauma, depression, anxiety, relationships, health issues and stress.
Rebecca uses a variety of therapeutic modalities to best meet the needs of each individual, including cognitive behavioral, solution focused, motivational interviewing and EMDR. She uses a collaborative approach to help each person identify and meet their personal goals while building on their individual strengths.
Erin Kennedy, LISW, CADC
Erin Kennedy is a licensed independent social worker and a certified alcohol and drug counselor. She graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with her Bachelor's degree in Family Services and the University of Iowa with her Master's degree in Social Work. She is a Behavioral Health Consultant / Senior Therapist at the Lakeview Counseling & Psychiatric Clinic and the West Des Moines Family & Internal Medicine Clinic. Erin has many years of experience in adolescent residential substance use disorder treatment, school and outpatient based mental health treatment, community based comprehensive prevention efforts and acute psychiatric inpatient behavioral health services.
Erin's specialties include depression, anxiety, life stresses/transitions, substance use disorders, sexual orientation and gender identity and trauma. She primarily utilizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Interviewing as well as Acceptance and Commitment Treatment (ACT) techniques. She has a wide-ranging history of working with adolescents, families and adults as well as a genuine investment in forming strengths-based, therapeutic relationships with all ages. Erin's work in our Family & Internal Medicine Clinic allows for close coordination of care and collaboration with a patients' primary care physician and care team.
Stephanie Lee, Ph.D., LISW
Stephanie Lee is a licensed independent social worker. She graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with her Bachelor's degree in Social Work, the University of Illinois at Chicago with her Master's degree in Social Work and Capella University with her Ph.D. in Human Services/Counseling. She is a Behavioral Health Consultant / Senior Therapist at the Lakeview Counseling & Psychiatric Clinic. In addition, she practices at Altoona Family Medicine Clinic and the UnityPoint Clinic - Weight Loss in West Des Moines. Stephanie has many years of clinical and supervisory experience in outpatient residential treatment, outpatient mental health, and school-based mental health settings. She has also served as an adjunct teaching instructor in psychology for 10 years.
Stephanie's specialties include depression, anxiety, grief and loss, parenting issues, life stresses/transitions and trauma. She primarily uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Brief Solution Focused Therapy and Motivational Interviewing. She has an extensive history of working with children, adolescents and adults, and enjoys working with and forming strengths-based, therapeutic relationships with all ages.
MaKaela Pratt, LISW
Makaela Pratt, LISW is a licensed Independent social worker. She graduated from Simpson College with a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice and Sociology and a Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Iowa. She is a Behavioral Health Consultant/Senior Therapist at the Lakeview Counseling and Psychiatry Clinic as well as the Altoona Family Medicine Clinic. Makaela has clinical experience in residential settings, outpatient therapy, school based mental health and supervisory experience.
Makaela has specific clinical experience and training in the treatment of anxiety, depression, life stress/transitions, emotional regulation and trauma. She primarily uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and is trained in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing. Most of Makaela's clinical work has been with children and families, as well as adolescents; however, Makaela accepts adult patients as well. She uses a strengths based approach and enjoys forming therapeutic relationships with her clients and collaborating with them to reach their goals.
Raygena Curry, LISW, MSW
Raygena Curry received her Bachelor's degree in sociology from Simpson College and her Master of Social Work from the University of Iowa. She is a family therapist and works with adolescents, adults, couples and group therapy.
Charles "Chuck" Dunlop, MSW, MHA, LISW
Charles "Chuck" Dunlop is a senior therapist and has a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Drake University and a Master of Social Work degree in family systems and Master of Healthcare Administration from the University of Iowa. Chuck has taught behavioral health courses to students at Des Moines University and clinical courses at the University of Iowa. He has also worked in a variety of clinical and administrative roles in both hospital and outpatient health care settings including community mental health and residential treatment centers.
Chuck's approach to counseling creates a safe environment so that deeply personal issues can be discussed in a way that fosters understanding and growth. He utilizes a problem solving approach using techniques from various therapeutic schools including cognitive/behavioral, psychodynamic, family systems and interpersonal psychotherapy, with the goal of helping the client bring about emotional relief and sustainable change.
Maria S. Ogden, Ph.D.
Maria S. Ogden is a psychologist is currently accepting clients for psychotherapy. Dr. Ogden has been with UnityPoint Health - Des Moines since 2000. Some areas of clinical emphasis within her practice include treatment for children and adolescent clients with anxiety and depression. She is available to work with parents on strategies to make parenting efforts more effective. In addition, she works with young adults on coping with the struggles of becoming more independent.
Dr. Ogden's education includes a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. This was followed by a Master's degree and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Binghamton University in NY. She completed 2 postdoctoral fellowships at the University Of Rochester School Of Medicine, focused on Interdisciplinary Leadership in Adolescent Health.
Cindy S. Pontious, MSN, ARNP
Cindy started UnityPoint Health - Des Moines summer of 2014. Clinical emphasis is for both adults and children with chronic and acute brain disorders. Cindy's practice is patient centered with collaborative plans of care, welcoming support person's involvement.
Cindy brings with her a wide variety of experience and knowledge to UnityPoint Health. She acquired skills working in an array of positions throughout the human services arena. Early in her career she worked with developmental disabilities at Woodward State Hospital and Link Associates. She received her Associate's degree at DMACC while working at Broadlawns Medical Center. She attained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing through Grand View University and her Master of Nursing at the University of Iowa. Areas of interest include adolescent behavior, addictions, developmentally disabled and chronic illness.
Ulrike (Uly) B. Gift, RN
Ulrike (Uly) B. Gift received her nursing education in Heilbronn, Germany. She moved to the United States in 1985 and is registered through the Iowa Board of Nursing. Ms. Gift works with our therapists and supports the ARNP's to promote a multi-disciplinary treatment approach for our patients. Ms. Gift has worked as a Registered Nurse. Behavioral Health and Mental Health are her passion and she has specialized in these areas.
Lisa Berry Dirks, RN, BSN
Lisa joined the Counseling & Psychiatry team as a registered nurse in 2015. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Grand View University in 2000. Lisa began her career in Behavioral Health at Iowa Lutheran Hospital in the inpatient unit. She has also done work in substance abuse as well as missionary work in South Africa before joining the Counseling & Psychiatry team. Lisa is married and has three daughters.