Therapists and Support Staff

JustUs Behavioral Health offers counseling and therapy services for LGBTQIA+ people, people living with HIV, and/or people from communities who have historically and currently face barriers to behavioral health support including communities of color and substance-using communities. We offer individual, group, relationship, and family therapy.

Rick Laska, LICSW, CST Director of Clinical Services

Rick Laska, LICSW, CST

Director of Clinical Services


I am a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW #23383) and psychotherapist, with a focus on issues related to human sexuality. I am a Certified Sex Therapist (CST) and focus on issues related to human sexuality, including, but not limited to: Sexual functioning, sexual trauma, sexual identity, sexual behaviors, arousal concerns, desire discrepancy in relationships, issues with orgasm, and issues with sexual pain.

I work from a psychodynamic, trauma-informed, relational perspective. I primarily use Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP and AEDPfC (for couples)) and I incorporate mindfulness, Imago, and behavioral therapies (CBT and DBT). I also work from a risk-reduction perspective, meaning I work with people who are current or former substance users.

My professional areas of interest include, but are not limited to: working with sexual trauma, LGBTQIAA2S people, mindful and tantric sex, individuals struggling with sexuality and substance use disorders, and issues related to non-mainstream sexualities such as kink, BDSM, and non-monogamy.

In addition to offering therapy, I provide supervision for therapists-in-training.  If I am unable to work with you, there are clinical interns and non-independently licensed practitioners who provide care under my license. These therapists share an interest in the types of therapy I do, and we work together to ensure they are engaging in best-practices.

Ultimately in my work, I strive to hear the ways my clients' issues interact with their individual stories and assist them in finding the relationships they want in their lives, with themselves and with others.

Christy Rushfeldt, LICSW, LADC Clinical Supervisor

Christy Rushfeldt, LICSW, LADC

Clinical Supervisor


I am a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor. I work from a trauma-informed, harm reduction perspective. Research and experience indicate a strong link between trauma and coping behaviors that can make life more complicated.

I specialize in working with people with a history of trauma or adversity. I use a variety of approaches in therapy, based on individual needs and preferences as one size does not fit all. Some of these approaches include: Interpersonal therapy, CBT, DBT, EMDR, and Narrative Therapy.

In addition to offering therapy, I provide supervision for therapists-in-training.  If I am unable to work with you, there are clinical interns and non-independently licensed practitioners who provide care under my license. These therapists share an interest in the types of therapy I do, and we work together to ensure they are engaging in best-practices.

When it comes to therapy, the relationship is the priority. I believe people are resilient and utilize a strengths-based approach that seeks to affirm and build on personal resources. Let's work together to identify and address patterns that are stealing your joy.

Brenda Clark

Brenda Clark, BS, CNAP

Chief Financial Officer


Brenda brings a wealth of expertise with particular strength in areas such as financial reporting systems, revenue & expense management, and both financial strategy and long-term budgetary oversight.  

Brenda Clark obtained her Bachelor of Science in both Business Administration and Human Resource Management from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.  She also holds the CNAP – Certified Nonprofit Accounting Professional designation with the FMA Institute. She has worked with both non-profit and for-profit entities with budgets ranging from $500K to $28M, offering financial leadership across multiple industries and causes.

In addition to her executive career, Brenda has served on several Boards of Directors, including the Boards of Mixed Blood Theatre and the Alliance for Women in Radio & TV.  Away from the office, Brenda enjoys time spent with her family & friends, growing milkweed for the monarchs and painting passionately.

Leah Bonine, LGSW Psychotherapist

Leah Bonine, LGSW



I am a Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW #56080) trained in CBT, DBT and AEDP. I work from a trauma-informed, harm reduction, sex positive, attachment-based lens. I specialize in working with individuals from diverse backgrounds, particularly the LGBTQ+ community. I am currently accepting new adult clients for individual and/or couples (including poly/non-monogamy) therapy.

Reaching out for help, understanding, compassion, and accepting that help can be overwhelming. I will be there to assist you in developing a deeper understanding of your inner world while tapping into your strengths. You are the expert in your life, and that is why I don’t believe in a one size fits all approach. Together in an open and honest relationship, we will tailor an approach that best fits your needs and guides you to a deeper understanding of your past, your patterns and how you can change and create healthier, more adaptive skills and relationships in the future.

My areas of professional interest include: anxiety, depression, trauma, chronic illness, chronic pain, sexuality, gender expression, gender identity, chemical dependency/substance use.

Nova Bradford

Nova J. Bradford, MSW



I work with clients from a variety of backgrounds and current difficulties. However, I have a particular interest in working with issues related to human sexuality, including difficulties with sexual functioning and desire. I work with individuals of all gender and sexual identities, and I am passionate about working with members of LGBTQ+ community.

I work with individuals, couples, and groups to address many concerns in therapy, including relationship difficulties; trauma and post-traumatic stress; out-of-control, compulsive, or problematic sexual behaviors; sexuality and substance use; coping with HIV seroconversion and changes in sexuality related to diagnosis; sexual and gender identity exploration; and sexuality in relation to gender transition, including gender-affirmative hormone therapy or surgeries.

I hold a Master of Social Work  from the University of Minnesota, with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health and a minor in Sexual Health. I also hold a BA in Psychology from the University of Minnesota. My approach to therapy is rooted in intersectional and queer feminism, sex positivity, trauma-informed care, risk-reduction, and intimate justice paradigms. I am trained in Feminist Therapy, Narrative Therapy, and Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP). I am the current Student Member of the Board of Directors of the United States Professional Association for Transgender Health (USPATH).

Tricia Hendren, LGSW Psychotherapist

Tricia Hendren, LGSW



I help people to alleviate suffering so that they can live more fulfilling and joyful lives. I work with clients to address issues including PTSD, depression, anxiety, relationship difficulties and grief & loss. I specialize in working with people from marginalized communities, especially LGBTQIAA2S clients.

I use a relational and trauma-informed approach in therapy. Additionally, I draw from a range of therapeutic techniques, including: mindfulness, CBT and DBT. I have specialized training in EMDR, Motivational Interviewing and transgender mental health.

I bring my full self to our work, so I will draw from my lived experience as well as my clinical training. I have worked with clients in both hospital and office settings and have been consistently amazed by the strength and resilience of all my clients.

I believe it is an honor to do this work. And I believe that change is always possible. I look forward to helping you make the changes you want to make in our time together.

Casey C.R. Nielsen

Casey C.R. Nielsen, MA, LADC



As a person struggling with substance use, you may have found yourself trying different treatment methods but not seeing the results you wanted. Maybe you're a person living with schizophrenia, and you haven't found a type of therapy that feels right. Or maybe you're new to this therapy thing, and you're wanting to hit the ground running? Whatever your experience has been, it can be scary to reach out and ask for help. You want to find someone you can connect with.

Imagine what it might feel like to connect with someone who listens to your needs and approaches therapy in a nonjudgmental way. I help clients to implement skills to understand what they might be feeling and how to get through difficult emotions. I use evidence-based treatments such as CBT and EMDR to help clients meet their goals.

I seek to provide a safe space where you can show up as your authentic self without judgement. Asking for help can be tough. I am glad you are here, reading this, and I look forward to working with you.

Aaron Spiegel-Emms, Psychotherapist

Aaron Spiegel-Emms



I have a multicultural clinical practice and a Master of Social Work from Augsburg University in Minneapolis, MN. I love to take an integrated approach to working with people and seeing people in the context of all aspects of their lives. As a queer, nonbinary transgender person I am passionate about intersectional social justice and working towards a world in which everyone is treated with respect and dignity. 

I use a strengths-based, person-centered, risk-reduction, and trauma-informed lens in the work that I do. I believe you are the expert on your own life experiences. I enjoy working with people from all backgrounds, however, I specialize in working with LGBTQIA+ people, people with co-occurring disorders, and persons living with HIV. I believe that the ways in which we have survived have been beautiful unique adaptations to traumatic events, but they may not be the ways in which we want to continue to live. I will use multiple approaches, as I believe that the best approach is based on an individual’s specific needs and desires. 

In the work that we do together, I want to affirm your strengths and find new ways to approach areas where you are seeking help in your life. I believe that you are resilient and already have many tools for success. I believe that therapy is a collaboration between us to uncover those strengths, identify patterns, and develop new strategies where they may be needed in your life. I want to work together to reach your goals and help you to live a passionate and authentic life. 

Photo of Ly VerHage

Ly VerHage



I am moments away from my Masters in Social work and dual license as an alcohol and drug counselor. I have experience with group and individual therapy specific to religious trauma, adverse religious experiences, and faith transitions, and my goal is to support those in the LGBTQIA+ community in navigating the impacts on identity at that intersection.  My passion for this work is driven by my identity as a genderqueer human, and both my personal and professional experience in this area. 

I am certified sexual assault advocate and have worked with youth and families with trauma, domestic/sexual/familial violence histories, and those who have experienced systemic disenfranchisement. 

I work from a trauma-informed, harm reduction, and sex positive position based in intersectional feminism. Trauma comes out in different ways with different folks and learning to understand and cope is difficult, yet freeing.  I am excited to work with those within the LGBTQIA+ community, those with trauma histories, those who have experienced disordered eating/fatphobic trauma, and/or chemical health concerns.  

You are the expert of your own experience and deserve a therapeutic relationship that is safe and judgement-free in which to pursue your goals, discover your strengths, and work through the tough stuff, while feeling supported and empowered.