Clinical Staff

Chrysalis therapists are masters level clinicians, and are trained in a variety of trauma-informed, experiential, relational, and family focused modalities. We provide weekly individual, family, and group therapy.  Additionally, Stacey Waites, licensed therapist, provides parent coaching to complement the family therapy. Parents attend support groups, on-site workshops and are invited to attend parent-child experiential retreats. Our psychiatric team works closely with our clinicians, and meets with our students weekly, depending on their medication needs.

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Kendra Meiklejohn MS, LCSW

Position: Clinical Director
Kendra Meiklejohn, LCSW, Clinical Director, was born and raised in the beautiful mountains of Montana, where she developed a deep appreciation for the natural world. She earned a Dual Masters degree in Social Work and Kinesiology from the University of New Hampshire, as well as a Bachelors of Science in Behavioral Health from Southwestern College, Kendra is highly trained in various therapeutic modalities such as EMDR, CBT, DBT, and mindfulness. With her extensive experience and training in wilderness therapy, Kendra has spent over 1500 field days as a guide, mentoring young women, and utilizing the natural world to enhance self-awareness and agency. Kendra is also passionate about challenging preconceived notions, loving her community and family, and exploring the world around her. In her practice, she strives to provide a trauma-informed approach to therapy while relying on the healing power of wildness, kinesthetic/adventure therapy, and a fostering a strong therapeutic alliance. Kendra believes that eternal optimism is key to facing the tough and arduous work necessary to a well-lived life.

Kendra Meiklejohn MS, LCSW

Clinical Director
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Emily Thelen, MA

Position: Milestones Transitions Therapist

LCPC, CTRS, EMDR Trained

Emily Thelen is the therapist for Milestones, our transition house. She received her Masters at Naropa University in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology, with an emphasis in Wilderness Therapy. Emily has worked in the therapeutic wilderness and transitional care industry since 2006 with adolescent men, women, families, and young adults. She graduated from her home state’s University of Wisconsin-La Crosse as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) and has held a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) Certification since 2006.

While she has EMDR and SMART Recovery training, she also leans on the use of positive psychology, ACT, nature, ritual, and ceremony in the healing and transformation process. Her kind and yet firm approach is what makes her an effective disruptor in the healing process.

Emily is passionate about seeing and bringing forward the bright light that exists in all of us, in spite of and because of our past stories and struggles. It is a pure joy for Emily to mentor and model health and healing with these courageous young women who are choosing to develop, explore, and deepen their own sense of selves.

The healing power of nature continues to run deep in Emily’s life while living and working in one of the most beautiful parts of the country. Emily enjoys quality over quantity, gentle boldness, bikepacking, snowboarding, and small gestures that make the world a better place.

Emily Thelen, MA

Milestones Transitions Therapist
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Anne Higgins, LCSW

Position: Milestones Transitions Therapist

Anne is licensed social worker with years of experience in the clinical treatment of adolescents and their families. She spent four years working with transitional youth in a crisis shelter setting, three years working in wilderness therapy, and one year in inpatient psychiatric care before joining our team in 2018.

She is a passionate outdoors woman with years of backcountry guiding before her work in wilderness therapy and believes in the transformative experiences the natural world provides. She approaches therapy with a multidisciplinary lens, exploring mental health and wellness in the intersection of environment, psychology, physiology, and neurology.  Currently, she is certified in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and is certified in HeartMath, a modality that explores the psychophysiology of stress, emotions, and the interactions between the heart and brain. 

Anne Higgins, LCSW

Milestones Transitions Therapist
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Marissa Albat, LCSW

Position: Assistant Clinical Director of Lake House and Therapist

Marissa Albat is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, certified in Child and Adolescent Trauma. She graduated from the University of Wyoming with a Master’s in Social Work, a Bachelor’s in Psychology, and a minor in Sociology. For the past decade, Marissa has dedicated her career to working with youth and their families. Prior to joining Chrysalis, Marissa provided clinical supervision, consultation, and specialized in dyadic treatments with youth and their primary caregivers in Juneau, Alaska. She is recognized for her creativity and innovation in creating an environment of safety and acceptance, utilizing her expertise in ACT, CBT, and somatic awareness.

Marissa grew up in Wyoming, where she developed a passion for the Wind River mountains and a sense of adventure. She has two miniature schnauzers and enjoys spending time outdoors and going on adventures with her canine companions. In her free time, Marissa enjoys painting and soaking up the beauty of nature.

Marissa Albat, LCSW

Assistant Clinical Director of Lake House and Therapist
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Elle Barta, LCPC

Position: Assistant Clinical Director of Cottage and Therapist

Ellen is passionate about creating a safe, warm, and accepting space for her clients, believing that all people deserve to be understood holistically. She is aware of the social backgrounds and contexts of her clients, learning about how each client brings different experiences and expectations with them into counseling. Ellen is dedicated to honoring clients’ cultural norms and values that influence how they see the world using her curiosity, easy-going nature, and genuine empathy. Her work assists clients in addressing self-esteem, processing trauma, understanding needs and boundary setting, recognizing feelings, discussing healthy relationship development, and learning effective ways to communicate with others to achieve personal growth.

Ellen earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a Minor in Gender Studies from Carroll College and her Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling from Montana State University. In her free time, you can find Ellen outside regardless of rain, snow, or wind. She loves romping in the woods via trail running, backpacking, and mountain biking. When she is not outside, Ellen loves to cook, experiment with baking breads, take care of her houseplants, and map out adventures.

Elle Barta, LCPC

Assistant Clinical Director of Cottage and Therapist
Stacey bio

Stacey Waites, LCSW

Position: Therapist

Stacey received her Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work from Mississippi College and her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Southern Mississippi. She has worked as the Director of Social Services for Vicksburg Medical Center, served as a college professor, and operated a psychotherapeutic private practice. She has worked with youth, chancery, and circuit courts to facilitate and assist in psychiatric assessments for those needing voluntary and involuntary treatment. She has also worked with numerous hospice agencies, and was the Program Coordinator for the Domestic Violence Victim’s Empowerment Program for the Vicksburg Municipal Court. Stacey has been a marriage, family, individual, and group therapist throughout her career. She specialized in facilitating griefwork, teaching coping skills, and treatment of depression and adjustment and anxiety disorders. Her clinical expertise included CTTP, CBT, Mindfulness, and RET, among others.

Stacey has a heart for volunteering, supporting non-profits and giving back to her community. She has an adventurer’s spirit, and is up for just about any challenge. She is happiest outdoors and loves riding her beloved horses, hiking, camping, kayaking, scuba diving and the beauty and tranquility of the beach and the majesty of trees. She is also passionate about her family, friends, giving gifts and the unmitigated joy of eating ice cream. She encourages service over self and unconditional acceptance of and respect for others. With all of her skill and experience, Stacey believes that sometimes healing lies in the simple power of silence and a hug. Stacey finds great peace in the company of her incredible children and her loving husband.

Stacey Waites, LCSW

Therapist
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Ruth Richards-Schlarman, LCPC

Position: Therapist

Ruth Richards-Schlarman, LCPC, has been a therapist for nearly thirty years, with much of that time being spent in private practice.  Ruth has specialized in working with children, adolescents and families who have experienced trauma but works with clients with a wide variety of goals.   Ruth spent many years teaching college level students pursuing careers in the counseling field and has a strong interest in education. In addition to her private practice based in Whitefish and her part-time work for Chrysalis, Ruth continues to provide supervision to licensee candidates and teaches parenting and divorce education for the Nurturing Center in Kalispell.

Ruth grew up in Southern Missouri and attended graduate school in Illinois, where she lived for many years prior to moving to Montana in 2012, along with her husband and two young adult children.  She lives in Eureka with her husband and four dogs.

In addition to her clinical work, Ruth also has a Master’s Degree in Harp Performance and has spent many years playing music professionally.  She is currently the Arts Director for Sunburst Arts and Education in Eureka, a local non-profit agency that sponsors music, art and educational opportunities in the Tobacco Valley.

Ruth Richards-Schlarman, LCPC

Therapist
Amy Durden

Amy Durden, LCPC

Position: Therapist

Amy grew up in Northwest Montana before embarking on a journey to explore different parts of the country, pursue higher education, and start a family. She returned home to her roots to raise her four children in the same beautiful outdoor setting where she was raised. Amy holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. Amy is particularly driven to work with teenagers, devoting most of her life to helping them discover their full potential and self-worth. “It is my goal to make every teenager I meet, to feel unconditionally loved, accepted, and safe”.  When she’s not at Chrysalis, you can find Amy enjoying the great outdoors, watching sports, or simply spending time with her husband and children.

Amy Durden, LCPC

Therapist
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Valerie Rasicci, LCSW

Position: Adventure & Primary Therapist

Valerie proudly hails from Akron, Ohio. She attended Ohio State University for both her undergraduate and graduate degrees. She received her Master’s in Social Work with a specialization in School Social Work and her Bachelor’s in Social Work with a minor in Creative Writing. Valerie is trained in EMDR, and is a certified Ruling Our eXperiences (ROX) facilitator. ROX focuses on empowering young girls with addressing today’s issues: social media, relational aggression, self-defense, and more. Valerie is passionate about helping students heal through Adventure Therapy and gain both competence and confidence in their ability to push through perceived difficulties. Valerie believes in the power of nature and movement as a means to reconnecting to our bodies and minds.

Valerie enjoys online shopping and in her free time you can find her spending time outdoors (hopefully near a body of water), with her four pets.

Valerie Rasicci, LCSW

Adventure & Primary Therapist
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Adeline Burkett, M.S. Ed, MA, PCLC

Position: Therapist

Adeline Burkett has over seven years of therapeutic experience working with clients from various backgrounds and in multiple settings, including in-patient and outpatient programs. Adeline comes to Chrysalis with experience partnering with children, adolescents, adults, and families who have, or are experiencing, challenges in meeting their life goals, whatever those may be. She specializes in working with those who have or are experiencing trauma, crisis, and challenges working with their emotions and mental health.

As a perpetual learner, Adeline has received certifications in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Working with the Traumatized Brain, Emotional Intelligence, Corrective Thinking (based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT), Emotional Freedom Technique-Tapping (both EFT and TFT), and is a certified End-of-Life Doula and Reiki Master. She is also obtaining a Ph.D. in Positive Neuropsychology and a certification in Clinical Hypnosis Therapy. Adeline is also a published author, with her most recent publication created to help people develop a solid mental health foundation that provides secure support to lean on when working through mental health challenges.

Adeline’s launching point was a small hobby farm in northeastern Ohio. From there, she branched out to explore the world, gathering life experience and learning about other people and cultures, a pursuit reinforced by a second graduate degree focusing on cultural anthropology. Adeline has visited 48 US states and 14 countries, including Afghanistan, Zambia, Botswana, and Ethiopia. In addition to her love of travel, Adeline enjoys spending time with her adult son and two dogs.

Adeline Burkett, M.S. Ed, MA, PCLC

Therapist