Mental Health Staff
Danielle Norby Lien | MSW, LICSW, RPT-S, SEP, CAS
Danielle opened A Better Connection, Inc. in November 2012 with the vision to provide preventative services to individuals of all ages. Danielle is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and a Registered Play Therapist. Danielle received her undergraduate degree at Minnesota State University Moorhead and graduate degree in clinical social work at The University of St. Thomas/ St. Catherine's University. Danielle has experience in county child protection, preschool and high school day treatment, in-home services, and outpatient therapeutic services in a center for community violence, as well as in private practice. Danielle works with all ages and has experience with children ages 0 to 5 years. Danielle is a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP) which required 3 years of training on the nervous system. SE is used to help individuals heal from past trauma.
Katie Luther | MA, NCC
Katie is originally from Park Rapids and earned her undergradute degree in Psychology and Child & Family Studies from Concordia College - Moorhead. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Community Agency Counseling from East Tennessee State University and is working to become a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor. Katie has experience working in therapeutic foster care, school and community CTSS, elementary and middle school day treatmet, in-home services, and community college counseling services.
Karen Youmans | MSW, LGSW
Karen is a Licensed Graduate Social Worker seeking work experience to become a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. Karen recently relocated from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Karen received her undergraduate degree in psychology at Metropolitan State University and graduate degree in clinical social work at The University of St. Thomas/ St. Catherine's University. Karen has multi-cultural experience working in metropolitan family violence centers, crisis response teams, suicide prevention, immigration services, case management, in-home therapeutic services, and outpatient mental health. Karen is excited to provide psychotherapeutic services to area adults suffering from a variety of mental health concerns including, but not limited to, depression, anxiety, personality disorders, and PTSD. Karen is also interested in women’s advocacy and has a passion for empowering domestic violence survivors.
Robb Dent | MA
Robb Dent returns to Park Rapids as a Mental Health Clinician after obtaining his BA degree in Psychology and his MS degree in Counseling & Student Affairs from Minnesota State University Moorhead. After several years as a College Administrator and Career Counselor, Robb is working to become a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor. The majority of his counseling experience has been with K-12th grade students and young adults. He assists others in Mindfulness training, anxiety management, career counseling, and school & community CTSS.
Brandy Parsons | BSW
Brandy was born and raised in Park Rapids. She is a CTSS Skills Practitioner and Intake Coordinator at A Better Connection Inc. She has received a Bachelor's degree in Social Work from Minnesota State University, Moorhead, and an Associate’s Degree in Fine Arts from Minnesota State Community College, Fergus Falls. She is passionate about Art with an interest Art Therapy.
Amber Haglin | BS
Amber was raised in the Park Rapids area and received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Bemidji State University. She is currently a CTSS Skills Practitioner working with kids of all ages and an Intake worker. She plans on attending graduate school after gaining valuable experience in the Mental Health field. Amber is currently in the process of obtaining her PATH Intl. Therapeutic Riding Instructor Certificate and would like to open an Equine Assisted Therapy Facility working with children ages 5-18 years with mental health and behavioral challenges. Amber is currently the Hubbard County 4-H Equestrian Drill Team Coach and enjoys working with 4-Hers and their horses to not only improve their horsemanship skills but also guide them through many life skills including building confidence, teaching patience, taking responsibility and gaining emotional control that are all learned while working with an animal. In her free time, Amber enjoys spending time riding and training her horses and showing competitively in NLVRHA and WSCA.
Kiah Bizal | PsyD
Kiah is a recent graduate of the Minnesota School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University with a PsyD in Clinical Psychology who is completing her postdoctoral fellowship at A Better Connection, INC. She is working towards becoming a Licensed Psychologist. Her undergraduate degree was completed at St. Catherine University, with a major in psychology and minor in Spanish. She has experience working with all ages, individual and group psychotherapy, psychological assessment, play therapy, art therapy and crisis intervention. Healthy lifestyles and wellness are often incorporated into her work. In her free time, she enjoys outdoor activities as well as sewing and art.
Christine Maki | MSW
Christine is a native Minnesotan, as well as a Military Veteran. She is a licensed Social Worker with her Master's of Social Work degree with a clinical mental health background and military concentration from the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. She has over 42 years of experience with mental health, individual, family, corporate and management. As a veteran, she enjoys working with other veterans and understands the difficulties with civilian transitioning. She is experienced with trauma, grief, loss and bereavement, anorexia, and individuals/families. She has 15+ years of experience assisting with transitions to assisted living and nursing centers. She prefers to provide in-home services but meets with clients in an office.
Chemical Health/Co-Occurring Staff
Rita Anderson | MA, LADC, LPCC
Rita is both a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor. Rita is currently the only dual licensed clinician residing and working in Park Rapids. She diagnoses and treats clients struggling with both mental health and substance use disorders. Rita's treatment philosophy and methods honor client choice while fostering healing, reducing suffering, increasing resilience and strengthening relationships. Rita enjoys working wtih adults and adolescents in individual, family and group settings. Rita has experience supporting families stressed out by a loved one's addictive behaviors and she performs interventions. Rita enjoys working with patients with behaviors consistent with disordered eating such as binge eating, anorexia and/or bulimia. Rita is passionate about working with patients struggling with chronic pain, assisting them in improving daily functioning and reducing suffering. Rita attended college in both Minnesota and Alaska, receiving a B.A. in Justice Studies from the University of Alaska- Fairbanks. Rita holds a Master's Degree from Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies. Rita enjoys and regularly engages in walking, strength training, running, biking and cross-country skiing with a goal of socializing with friends, managing stress and reducing risk for the development of serious health conditions which run in her family.
Brady Pieper | MA, LADC, LPCC Licensure Candidate
Brady is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor who is working toward becoming a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor. Brady completed his undergraduate career at North Dakota State University, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. Brady attended Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies, where he received his Master of Arts in Addiction Counseling: Advanced Practice. Brady has a passion for working with adolescents struggling with both substance use and mental health conditions. He has experience working with both adolescents and their families at the Hazelden Betty Ford adolescent program in Plymouth, Minnesota, and with adults in outpatient programs at Hazelden Betty Ford Fellowship Club in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Brady has previous experience working as a juvenile counselor for West Central Regional Juvenile Center in Moorhead, Minnesota. In his spare time, Brady enjoys traveling, being outdoors on a lake, hiking, and spending time with his friends and family.
Kate Fritsch | MA, LADC
Kat is a licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor who has a Master of Arts in Addiction Counseling: Advanced Practice from Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction. This allows her to work with co-occurring disorders. She appreciates individuals who wish to discuss any mental health concerns and/or discuss using any addictive chemicals. This may include questioning if they have a problematic behavior with chemical dependency. Kat has experience working with clients in intensive outpatient settings as well as inpatient treatment settings at Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation in Center City, MN. Kat has experience working at the Pride Institute in Eden Prairie, MN. She focused in chemical dependence as well as crisis management, grief, trauma, sexual health within the LGBTQ community, anxiety, and depression. Kat is passionate about assisting those with grief and trauma. Kat has been an advocate at the state level for mental health issues. In the future she would like to advocate around the opioid epidemic that affects many people in MN.
Paige Smith | MA
Hello, my name is Paige Smith and I am a graduate student attending the University of Mary's Master of Science in Counseling program completing a dual concentration in Clinical Mental Health and Addiction Counseling. I received my Bachelor's degree in Psychology and minors in Addiction Counseling and Criminal Justice in 2016. Along with being a full-time graduate student, I also serve as the student representative for the North Dakota Addiction Counseling Association. During my free time, I love to be with animals, being outside and with my family. I am excited to have the opportunity to be able to complete my Clinical Mental Health internship at ABC, Inc. I am enthusiastic to enhance my knowledge and training in the counseling field through the professionals at ABC, Inc. I am honored to be a part of such an expanding and active facility.