UnityPoint Health - Meriter - NewStart

NewStart - Meriter.jpg


Number of patients waiting reflects the current number of patients waiting to be seen. This number changes frequently and is not exact.

Masking & Visitor Guidelines

Before visiting this location, please read our visitor & masking guidelines.

Hours and Directions

Some therapists do see patients past 6:30 p.m., Monday - Thursday and will assist with access to the building.

Hours of Operation

  • Monday: 8:00 AM - 6:30 PM
  • Tuesday: 8:00 AM - 6:30 PM
  • Wednesday: 8:00 AM - 6:30 PM
  • Thursday: 8:00 AM - 6:30 PM
  • Friday: 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
  • Saturday: Closed
  • Sunday: Closed

View Map

Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Adults (Substance Use & Mental Health)

NewStart provides patient-centered care. We provide services regardless of where a person may be in the change process. Maybe someone told you to get treatment, maybe you are debating if you have a problem with substances, or maybe you are in the thick of a relapse and you aren't ready to quit yet! These situations can be learning opportunities that can strengthen recovery when provided a non- judgmental and therapeutic space for exploration. Honesty, not perfection!

NewStart has a strong focus on collaboration throughout our continuum of care. Our team consists of nurses, support staff, doctors and therapists that remain in strong contact with each other to make sure we are providing consistent and comprehensive care to you.

If you are pregnant or injecting drugs, please let us know, so we can ensure priority access to our services.

A Continuum of Care

For more information about our services, or to find out how to access them, please call us at 608-417-8144.

Please note, we do NOT have a detox unit at UnityPoint Health – Meriter. We recommend that you contact your primary care doctor to help you manage your withdrawal and for appropriate referral if inpatient care is needed.

Additional Services

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

This is a 16-session group program that provides education, therapy and support to help individuals through the recovery process. Each day consists of evidence-based education and interventions for both addiction and mental health, including but not limited to:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • The Disease Model of Addiction
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
  • Mindfulnes

We do not utilize the 12-step model for therapy services, though we strongly encourage you to participate in community support groups such as AA, NA, Smart Recovery or spiritual groups. We can provide information on these community support groups for those interested.

Outpatient Services

The following treatment options are designed to complement each other. A person could just be in one, or all of the services at the same time.

  • Medications: Our doctors are specialized in addictions and psychiatry to support mental health and recovery. Especially in early recovery, many people benefit from Medications for Addiction Treatment (MAT) such as naltrexone (Vivitrol) and buprenorphine (Suboxone and Sublocade). We do not provide daily dosing or methadone at our clinic.
  • Individual Therapy: Our team of individual therapists are master's level prepared and licensed mental health therapists, with specialization in addictions. They will work with you to develop goals and strategies to address the issues that are most important to you. Each therapist has their own theoretical framework and specialized training, and we hope to find someone that is the best match for you.
  • Couples Therapy: For those interested, we can provide couples sessions to help the couple adjust to all the changes that come with recovery.
  • Group Therapy: We offer several groups for various patient populations, all with the goal of developing a happy life in recovery. Participating in group therapy provides a unique opportunity to cope with interpersonal stressors and develop new communication skills. Many people find the connections and stories shared in group to be invaluable their recovery. These groups are typically 1.5 hours per week, and no larger than eight patients.

NewStart Team

NewStart's team provides patient-centered care with a strong focus on collaboration throughout our continuum of care. Our team consists of nurses, support staff, doctors and therapists that remain in strong contact with each other to make sure we are providing consistent and comprehensive care to you.

Please note: NewStart only provides treatment to individuals with a substance use disorder. All patients must go through our usual screening and assessment process before we determine which provider(s) you will work with. Please call (608) 417-8144 if you have questions.

Meet Our Team

Amy Daum, LPC, NCC

Therapist, Clinical Supervisor

I received my Master of Arts in Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling in 2014 from Bradley University in Peoria, IL. My first career in the field of Addiction started immediately after receiving my Masters and was at UnityPoint Health Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery. The services available at IIAR ranged from Detox to Early Intervention. I started out as a counselor in their Partial Hospitalization Program and gained experience in every level of care while I was there. I was fortunate to be part of a wonderful team that supported me during this early time of my career.

I quickly learned that the field of Addiction was the field for me. Being able to gather experience in multiple levels of care provided me with an invaluable amount of experience, but also allowed me to witness the changes and hope that recovery can bring. The amount of change that can happen during recovery can be amazingly transformative and literally life changing. It takes courage to admit that what you are doing is no longer working, and vulnerability to take the first step forward towards making that change. I believe that working collaboratively is key. I am strengths based, trauma informed, and try to build on what you have tried in the past that has worked or what has not worked. I am person-centered in my approach; I do not believe that I am the expert in your recovery and your journey. We are on this path together, we can mindfully formulate plans to avoid veering off the path, intentionally manage challenges or obstacles that may happen along the way, or proactively plan for a rough spot in the path.

Ashley Jansen, LPC-IT, SAC-IT

IOP Addictions Therapist

I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in sports psychology and a Master of Science degree in clinical mental health counseling. What is my philosophy as an addictions therapist? It comes from the book, Inside Out Coaching: "We have two choices [in life]: Either we deny, repress, or dissociate from the wounding and therefore wound others with our unhealed injuries, or we bring healing to our wounds and offer our healed wounds to others to heal and transform their lives." Not only has sharing my life experiences with my patients helped them along their recovery journey, but it has helped me learn, grow and mature as a human being and a therapist – it does not get much better than that!

I like to approach therapy through an eclectic lens, which includes elements from humanistic therapy, person-centered therapy, recreation therapy, psychoeducation, motivational interviewing and sports psychology. A patient once told me that the opposite of addiction is connection, and that still resonates with me to this day. I emphasize the importance of fun and teamwork in IOP to facilitate that connection with other group members, because I have learned that connection is what makes recovery successful.

Betsy Atwell, LPC, CSAC, ICS (she/her/hers)

Manager/Clinical Supervisor, Behavioral Health Therapist at heart

I have been working at NewStart since I graduated from Antioch University in 2014. During that time, I have worked as a therapist, clinical supervisor, and most recently, have moved into the manager position. In my time here, I have learned so much about meeting people where they are at, believing in the goodness of humanity, and more recently about how to address the systemic barriers our community runs in to when they seek help. While we have a lot of work to do, I am so honored to lead a team of such compassionate and driven change-makers. We have a vision of NewStart where anyone in our community can walk in and immediately get the help they need for their addiction, and their mental health. As a white, cis-gendered, middle class, American born woman, there are many life experiences I cannot relate to. I nonetheless aim to build an inclusive space where anyone in our community can feel welcome and seen. I welcome feedback when my implicit bias shows and support my team in their journeys to diversity, equity, and inclusion. I hope you feel welcome when you come here.

Emily Woodruff


I am grateful to be part of the NewStart team as an Addiction and Behavioral Health Therapist. I began my journey with NewStart as an intern in a Clinical Mental Health counseling Program offered through Antioch University.

Transitioning from an intern to an employee for NewStart has been the culmination of my professional dream. I love sharing the path as individuals work towards self-acceptance, self love and positive change. In sessions, my clients and I enter a safe space from which they can heal from the past, ground in the present and visualize a path towards the future they want to have. I see myself as a facilitator of the self-discovery process. My goal is to be an unconditional support as people learn to live the lives they want to live as the people they want to be.

Eric Strother, LCSW

Addiction and Behavioral Health Therapist

I received my bachelor's degree in Human Services from Prescott College, in the mountains of Northern Arizona, and later completed a Master of Social Work degree at the University of Denver. The focus of my master's level education was clinical social work with adults accompanied by a graduate certificate in Interpersonal Trauma Studies. After spending several years out west, I have returned to Madison, my hometown, with a desire to serve the community I was raised in.

I have been so fortunate to witness the resilience, resourcefulness, and determination of so many courageous individuals over the years. It is the growth and change in those individuals who have faced countless barriers that inspires my work. I am honored and privileged to have had such opportunities to engage in the life experiences and the journeys of the people who I have served, and I am grateful to continue this work at NewStart.

The work I do with my patients is trauma informed and strengths based. I truly enjoy the process of observing individuals discovering their unrealized strengths and identifying how they may find these strengths useful in their recovery process. My approach to therapy is person-centered and collaborative. I hope to support people with sorting out goals and helping to find the best routes for obtaining these goals. I also incorporate aspects of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills, Mindfulness-based practices, and Motivational Interviewing into my clinical practice.

I believe that healing and recovery is not always a linear path, and my goal is to establish lasting collaborative relationships with my patients in order to become an ally and a consistent source of support and motivation to facilitate growth.

Greg Ullstrom, LPC-IT, SAC-IT

We are all trying to figure out the best way to navigate this sometimes-challenging world. It can be hard to reach out for help, but I believe it is a strength, not a weakness, when we do. I believe in incorporating a persons' strengths, goals, and desires into individualized treatment plans. I like cooking, animals, nature, and travel, to name a few. I like to challenge myself and take safe risks. I believe in respect and dignity for all. I am LGBT affirming, and a big advocate of human rights. I respect everyone's life journey and worldview. I know the importance of self-care and try to practice what I promote.

I do group and individual therapy. My preferred modalities are client-centered therapy, supportive psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and motivational interviewing.

Jen Bernini, MA, LPC-IT, SAC-IT

Addiction & Behavioral Therapist

I am bi-lingual and bi-cultural Italian and after about 20 years, in 2017, I moved back to my birth state, Wisconsin, with family from Italy. While in Italy, with an undergraduate degree in psychology from Capella University, I internationally supported individuals with their professional and personal event goals. I took the opportunity with COVID to attend Lakeland University to obtain a Masters Degree in counseling with a specialization in addiction, along with independent specialty studies in trauma, crisis intervention, and in-depth Dialectical Behavioral Therapy training. Thus far, I have been honored to have joined many strong and resilient individuals on their journey towards healthier mental health and sobriety.

As a therapist, I believe emotions help us understand our pathways to fulfil our needs that create balance. My approach is strength-based, person-centered, and trauma-informed. I incorporate aspects of evidence-based therapies such as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), Mindfulness-based practices, and Motivational Interviewing. My sincere hope is to support you in a safe and non-judgmental space on your journey to find balance, process, and improve situations in life with mental health and addiction concerns.

Jenna Walstead, SAC

Addiction Care Coordinator

As an Addiction Care Coordinator, I am dedicated to helping patients in the hospital find resources and treatment options that can help with treating Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders. An individual's mental health and substance use can be influenced in a number of ways, which I work to provide resource options in hopes to improve the patient's situation to be able to live a more positive and self-sufficient life. I have been a part of the UnityPoint Health Meriter's organization for 10 years and started in the hospitals Emergency Room. After 5 years I made the transition to the NewStart Clinic where I have learned so much about our patients who are struggling with the disease of addiction that I wanted to do better and help clients in a different way. After returning to school, I was able to obtain my Substance Abuse Counselor-In Training (SAC-IT) license and I am continuing to further my education as well as continue to learn from our patients.

Lisa Witkowski LPC, ICS

Behavioral Health and Addiction Therapist, Clinical Supervisor

My hope in providing therapy is to create a compassionate, non-judgmental space to help you feel supported. I see therapy as a collaborative process that finds strengths and resilience from past experiences and together, we use these qualities to help you have the life you want. I specialize in working with adults who experience mental health concerns as well as those trying to figure out how substance use fits in their lives. I utilize the perspectives of Internal Family Systems, Harm Reduction, Mindfulness, and understanding our body's stress and relaxation systems to help guide our time together. I have been a therapist since 2006 and I look forward to working with you.

Rachel Ellis, CAPSW, SAC-IT

Growing up, I always dreamed of working for the post office and somewhere along the way I ended up obtaining my Master's in Social Work from UW-Madison and becoming a therapist. All Jokes aside, I entered the field with a goal of helping others make changes within themselves and their lives. Along the way, I've come to appreciate being apart of the lives of my clients and bearing witness to their unique capacities. I also am a firm believer of being authentic, transparent and humorous in the therapeutic relationship.

My practice is informed by Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) which focuses on improving relationships with others, managing our emotions in a healthy way, and increasing our ability to live in the present.

I look forward to meeting you and being a part of your journey.

Sam Rogers, LCSW (she/her/hers)

Addiction and Behavioral Health Therapist

I graduated with my Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and Master of Social Work (MSW) degrees from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Upon graduation, I began working as a case manager and group facilitator at a residential substance use treatment center, which sparked my interest in working in the addiction and recovery field. I began working at NewStart in November of 2020. Since joining the NewStart team, I am trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and am always searching for opportunities to use this powerful tool to allow patients to live their fullest life.

It is one of my most firmly held beliefs that all human beings have inherent worth and value, and I strive to help my patients recognize that in themselves. My general approach to therapy is to allow my patient to take the lead - this is your session, your work to be done. I am here as a curious observer to reflect what I notice and ask questions to broaden both of our understandings of the issues at hand. That being said, I will also challenge my patients and push them to go deeper when we both believe they are ready. In addition to EMDR, I have experience with supporting patients in the following areas:

  • Identifying and expressing emotions
  • Improving interpersonal communication skills
  • Processing shame
  • Healing from trauma
  • Identifying healthy boundaries
  • Mindfulness practices

I am continuously amazed by the strength and resilience I see in my patients, and I am profoundly grateful to be part of their recovery journeys.

Tom Miller MSW, APSW, SAC-IT (He/Him/His)

Addictions/Behavioral Health Therapist

I earned my Bachelor of Science in Sociology/Psychology from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point and a Master of Social Work degree with an emphasis in Mental Health from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee in 1995.
I have 31 years of working in the field of Social Work specializing in substance use disorders, residential and vocational supports for people with serious mental illness, developmental disabilities and physical disabilities.
I have found the field of substance use disorders to be the most rewarding and consider it a privilege to work alongside people wanting to improve their lives. I enjoy working with people taking a cognitive therapeutic approach in a non-judgmental space with the goal of maintaining lasting change and helping individuals find mean and rewards to their lives

Community Resources

Crisis Support
Domestic Abuse
Housing Homelessness

Housing resources are very limited and typically take a long time to access. There are many community resources to help with this process though.


If you are a current patient and need help with getting insurance or with paying your bills, please tell your NewStart provider and call the Meriter Financial Coordinators at 608-417-5035. You may be eligible for financial assistance.

  • Headspace, virtual meditation training program Meditation and Sleep Made Simple.
  • Insight Timer, virtual meditation app with free access to thousands of talks and practices on meditation and mindfulness.
  • Heart of Recovery, meditation based 12 step group.
  • Refuge Recovery, meditation based recovery program.
Pet Care
Residential AODA treatment

Finding timely residential treatment is challenging. We recommend that you discuss this with your NewStart therapist, or call your insurance to find out which programs they cover.

Smoking Cessation
Support Groups

Many have virtual options with links on their websites.

Group therapy mental health meeting .jpg

Join Our Team

NewStart therapists work closely with our team of addiction medicine doctors and nurses to ensure seamless treatment goals and interventions for our clients. If you are someone with an endless eye towards professional development and you prefer having colleagues to consult with, consider a career with us.
Search Openings