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Meet Our Therapists
Joanna Halbur | LIMFT, RPT
Mental Health Services Director
Joanna joined CSI in 2011 as the Clinical Supervisor for the therapy program. She received a promotion to Mental Health Services Director in 2018. In addition to providing clinical oversight for the program, Joanna provides therapy services to children, adolescents, and their families.
Joanna graduated from the Minnesota School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University in Eagan, Minnesota, in August 2006 with a master's degree in marriage and family therapy. Joanna is a Licensed Independent Marriage and Family Therapist (LIMFT) in the state of Nebraska. She has completed additional training in Child Parent Psychotherapy (CPP), Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), and Circle of Security Parenting (COS-P). Additionally, Joanna is a Registered Play Therapist (RPT).
Joanna is originally from Omaha and earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Creighton University. While at Creighton, Joanna served as a post adoption intern at CSI. After graduating from Creighton, Joanna moved to Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota, to attend graduate school. Joanna lived in Minnesota for seven years and supervised home-based mental health services at an agency there. Joanna also has experience providing mental health services to individuals, children, and families residing in a homeless shelter in Minnesota.
Joanna enjoys working with children of all ages and their families. She is passionate about supporting children and families on their journey to gain understanding and tools to help manage the difficulties in life. She believes that everyone has the ability to grow and change. Helping children and families find hope that things can look different is key to healing. Joanna is a marriage and family therapist by training and background and understands the importance of relationships. All children deserve to have safe, supportive, and nurturing caregivers. Building healthy relationships with parents and caregivers is the foundation for a child’s ability to develop healthy relationships later in life. Joanna supports children and families as they build, strengthen, and repair their relationships by identifying and building upon the strengths already present.
Joanna is a member of the Impact from Infancy Treatment Team through Project Harmony. Joanna received Project Harmony’s Kids First Award in 2016.
Machaela Hackendahl | MS, LMHP
Therapist & Pregnancy Counselor
Machaela joined the team in 2011 as a Clinical Therapist and Pregnancy Counselor. Before joining CSI, she worked at Behaven Kids, specializing in treating children with severe behavioral disorders. A graduate of Hastings College with bachelor’s degrees in psychology and sociology, Machaela also has a master’s degree in human services (MSHS) from Bellevue College.
During her time at Child Saving Institute, she has pursued additional training in Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), Child Parent Psychotherapy (CPP), Play Therapy, Circle of Security Parenting (COS-P), Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), and has become an adoption competent therapist through the Training for Adoption Competency.
Chris Carlson | MM, LMHP
Chris joined CSI’s therapy team in 2011 as a therapist. She provides individual and family therapy to children and adolescents. Chris has a bachelor’s degree from College of St. Mary and a master’s degree from Creighton University in Omaha, Ne. She has been an educator serving in both elementary and secondary grade levels.
For more than 30 years, Chris has worked as a therapist in a variety of settings. She was a therapist and subsequently became the program director for the Catholic Charities Domestic Violence Shelter, and later became the administrator of all domestic violence services at Catholic Charities. She is well acquainted with the field of trauma including emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Chris managed a private practice in Omaha for several years. She has worked independently and as a member of a team, and has extensive supervisory experience in several of these positions throughout her career.
Chris has achieved several additional certifications in the therapeutic field. She is a certified Adlerian Psychotherapist; she is trained and has worked intensely with Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) Skills. While employed with the YWCA she taught DBT Skills in both domestic violence and homeless shelters throughout Omaha. Additionally she has trained staff members of several local organizations on implementing DBT Skills. Chris is certified in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy and has used this therapeutic approach with both adolescents and adults suffering from severe trauma.
Chris enjoys the challenges and rewards of working with individuals and families who are currently struggling; she believes strongly in the power of healing that lies within all human beings. She sees her work as that of one who “unbinds and sets free” others to create meaningful lives for themselves.
Patricia Hay-Holen | LMHP, NCC
Patricia joined CSI in 2015 as a therapist. She provides individual and family therapy to children, adolescents and their families. Additionally, Patricia leads therapeutic groups at area schools and community sites using the Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) and Bounce Back models.
Patricia holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Missouri State University at Springfield (MSU) and a master’s degree in education with an emphasis in community counseling from the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK). She is a Licensed Mental Health Practitioner (LMHP) in the state of Nebraska and has received additional training in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS), Circle of Security – Parenting (COS-P), and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR).
Prior to her position at CSI, Patricia held the position of assistant director of the University of Nebraska’s Women’s Center. In this position she used her extensive training to provide campus and community wide education regarding sexual assault, sexual abuse and dating and domestic violence. Patricia also provided therapy at UNK’s Counseling Center.
Patricia enjoys working with her clients she is dedicated to providing the services needed by the children, adolescents, and families she serves, to help them meet their therapeutic goals and help equip them with strengths for future challenges.
Vanessa Summers | MSW, PLMHP
Vanessa came aboard CSI’s therapy team in March 2016. Vanessa provides therapy services to children, adolescents, and their families.
Vanessa graduated from the University of Nebraska-Omaha (UNO) with a master’s degree in social work (MSW) in December 2015. She is currently a Provisionally Licensed Mental Health Practitioner (PLMHP) in the state of Nebraska and has received training in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), and Circle of Security – Parenting (COS-P). Vanessa originally hails from North Dakota and earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology and classical studies from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN.
Before starting at CSI, Vanessa worked at Ready in 5 where she served refugee children and their families to help prepare them for kindergarten. She also worked as an intern at UNO and provided therapy services to college students.
Vanessa works with children of all ages and their families. She is passionate about creating an inclusive environment and meeting her clients with empathy. She enjoys building rapport and working with a diverse group of clients. Vanessa is committed to helping her clients navigate their therapeutic process and helping them to find their unique set of skills needed to meet their goals.
Adriana Fegenbush | LMHP
Adriana joined the therapy team of CSI in June, 2017. She is bilingual, providing therapy services in Spanish and English. In her role as a therapist, Adriana provides individual and family therapy to children, adolescents, and their families. Adriana graduated from Bellevue University with her master’s degree in clinical counseling in June 2013. She is currently a Licensed Mental Health Practitioner (LMHP) in the state of Nebraska and has received training in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) and Play Therapy. Adriana has 10 years of experience working with underserviced populations in the state of Iowa, doing in-home services, behavioral health intervention services and therapy for individuals and families.
Adriana is passionate in helping children cope with the behavioral and emotional difficulties they are experiencing at school or at home due to trauma or other stressors. Adriana focus is towards forming a collaborative team with parents to facilitate their child's development and growth.
Mariah Wessel-Draper | MS, LIMHP, LMHP, RPT
Mariah joined CSI in June 2018 as a mental health therapist. Mariah is a licensed independent mental health professional (LIMHP) in the State of Nebraska and a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) in the State of Iowa. Mariah is a registered play therapist (RPT) through the Association for Play Therapy of the United States. Mariah received her master’s degree in clinical counseling from Bellevue University and completed internships through the Munroe Meyer Institute (UNMC-MMI) and Play Therapy PC.
Before joining Child Saving Institute, Mariah worked as an in-home mental health therapist facilitating individual and family sessions in clients’ homes, and as a program therapist in a psychiatric hospital setting with children, their caregivers, and special education professionals. Mariah has completed Training I and II in Eye Movement and Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Play Therapy training and supervision.
As someone who is committed to her own mental health, Mariah believes that everyone can use the support of a therapist at times in life. Whether it is learning more about one’s own needs, enhancing relationships, improving communication and social skills, or navigating the general ups and downs of being human, Mariah provides positive, professional support to individuals and families.
In addition to her passion for mental health advocacy, Mariah enjoys spending time with her family, being in nature, and being with her two rescue dogs.
Andrew Powell | MSW, PLMHP
Andrew joined CSI in May 2018 as a full time therapist. As a therapist, Andrew provides individual and family therapy to children, adolescents, and their families. He also works closely with the children in CSI’s Emergency Shelter.
Andrew earned his master’s of social work (MSW) from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Andrew is a Provisionally Licensed Mental Health Practitioner (PLMHP) in the state of Nebraska. He has completed training in Sandtray Therapy (a Play Therapy technique), Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral (TF-CBT), Solution Focused Therapy, and other trauma-informed therapy techniques.
Andrew also works as an on-call therapist for CHI Immanuel — primarily in the inpatient units where he also completed his graduate practicum. Before joining CSI, Andrew worked as a family permanency specialist for Promiseship, a resident counselor at a long-term residential facility for children, and as a care provider for children with developmental and mental health challenges.
Andrew values creating constructive relationships with individuals and their families. His favorite part of serving as a therapist is being able to walk with, assist, and empower individuals and families to achieve their goals. Andrew has a strong passion for continued growth to better help those he serves. He firmly believes, to quote the Dalai Lama, “that love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive”.
Karla Sextro | LIMHP, LADC
Karla joined Child Savings Institute in March 2019 as a licensed independent mental health practitioner and licensed alcohol and drug counselor. Karla brings with her a wide variety of training and experience as well as passion for her work. Karla earned a master’s degreein clinical counseling from Bellevue University. She completed hergraduate internship at Munroe Meyer Institute at the University of Nebraska Medical Center social work department.
Karla has experience treating a full range of child and adolescent psychiatric disorders including children and youth on the autism spectrum disorder. Additionally, Karla specializes in working with at risk teens, having worked at the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center inGeneva before joining CHI St. Francis Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center as a drug and alcohol counselor. Karla enjoys working with a wide range of ages and a variety of presenting concerns such as behavior issues, tantrums, noncompliance, depression, anxiety, self-harm, and addiction.