Co-Therapy Experts

Meet the Team

Our life as counseling partners is also our life’s work. We bring our own unique personalities and approaches to counseling that actually becomes a unique asset to our couples and families.

Our Co-Therapy Teams 

What is a co-therapy team?? We believe in the success that pairing two therapists with a client couple or family is the best and most effective form of therapy! We have seen it work - time and time again. Couples work through their struggles and challenges more quickly and successfully with two different perspectives and approaches to their relationship from two different, professional counselors!

 

Our program administrator will work with you to find the perfect pairing of our counselors for your needs, desires, and goals. But you can also provide your own input! So we encourage you to take some time to read about each of our co-therapists before your consultation.

Rick Elgersma

LMFT, M. Litt

Education

  • Master of Letters, Family Life Education, Oxford Graduate School (2011)

  • Master of Arts, Marriage & Family Therapy, Regis University (2015)

  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, in the following states: Iowa, Hawaii, Colorado

Counselor Bio

Rick Elgersma was born with a crippling birth defect called Spina Bifida. Right out of the gate, doctors said he might not live, and when he lived, said he might not walk. When he walked, they said he would probably never get rid of braces. When those came off, doctors threw up their hands and stopped trying to judge what Rick could and could not do. You see, Rick Elgersma has spent a lifetime exploring what is possible for him. He has found myriad opportunities to succeed individually and with his bride and co-counseling teammate, Monique. Rick has lived a lifetime working to build a triumphant story for himself. Through many ups and downs, he has learned to seek the fortune of a life lived well with creativity, faith, hope, love, and integrity. He’ll work with you to do the same. 

Rick's primary mode of therapy is narrative and emotionally focused and has training in Gottman, Relational Life Therapy, and CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). He is well-versed in dealing with depression, trauma, infidelity, emotions, relationships, grief and loss, chronic pain, disability, infertility, and concentration issues.

Monique Elgersma

LMFT

Education

  • Master of Arts, Marriage & Family Therapy, Regis University, (2015) 

  • Enneagram Coach (2021)

  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, in the following states: Iowa, Hawaii, Colorado

Counselor Bio

Growing up in many different places, with different cultures, people, and experiences, has helped Monique become a diversity specialist as a therapist, and she still loves to travel. She can adapt to different styles and see things in a unique - and sometimes creative - light. She uses her resilience, experience, and flexibility when counseling with individuals and couples. She is an enneagram 3 - and loves to help people achieve success and growth using techniques like CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and Solution Focused approaches, especially as she uses co-therapy with another therapist! If you have struggled with toxic people or relationships, including struggles with spiritual abuse, Monique will help you work through boundaries and personal recovery to become a healthier version of yourself for today and your future choices.

Monique specializes in couples therapy for those that have struggled with infertility, chronic pain, ADHD, and infidelity, and individual work for those needing growth after a long-term relationship ends, anxiety, being a caregiver, "perfectionist recovery" and those impacted by grief and loss.

Jessica "Jess" Hall

t-LMHC, LPCC, CADC

Education

  • Master of Arts, Licensed Professional Counseling, Liberty University (2019)

  • Temporary Licensed Mental Health Counselor, State of Iowa (tLMHC) & Colorado (LPCC)

  • Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor, State of Iowa

Counselor Bio

Professionally, Jess has nearly six years of counseling experience working with co-occurring disorders and has a soft spot for those struggling with substance use. She has worked with a broad spectrum of issues, from anxiety and depression to significant personality disorders. Jess’s specialties are marital and premarital counseling, trauma, and PTSD. 

Jess is a competitive, outgoing, generous, and compassionate person. In her spare time, she enjoys doing outdoorsy activities, traveling, smoking the competition in a game of tennis or basketball, watching the TV show Friends re-runs, playing with fluffy animals, and cooking food with a very generous amount of seasoning. Most of all, Jess enjoys getting to know people on a deeper level, making others laugh, and spending time with her loved ones. 

Cora Ritter

Cora Drew Ritter

LMFT

Education

  •  Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy, Pfeiffer University (2014)

  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, State of Iowa

Counselor Bio

Cora provides counseling services to individuals, couples, and families in an inclusive environment. Her specialties are marital and premarital counseling, trauma, and PTSD. Cora’s passion is to increase clarity, instill hope, and provide compassionate and clinical guidance to all mental health and substance abuse concerns.

As a self-proclaimed ‘nerd of neuroscience,’ Cora enjoys learning as much as she can to best support our client’s growth and success. She also practices self-care in various ways and spends time creating fiber art, quilting, teaching workshops on self-care, dyeing fabric, riding her bike as fast as her legs will take her, and incorporating healthy nutrition and weight lifting into her routine. 

[currently NOT accepting new clients]

Alyssa Elgersma

MA-Clinical Mental Health,
LPCC, Program Administrator

Education

  • Master of Arts Clinical Mental Health, Adams State University (2022)

  • Licensed Professional Counselor Candidate, State of Colorado

Counselor Bio

Alyssa is the Program Administrator of Real Connections Counseling. She is the one you will connect with first, when you contact us. She excels at making people feel welcomed and learning about their stories to partner them with the best therapist team to meet their needs.

Alyssa graduated with her Master's in Counseling and is adding to her own caseload of clients in Colorado (telehealth) and hoping to add Iowa clients soon - all while keeping the rest of us organized and on schedule!

She is well trained in grief and loss, and really has a heart for those struggling to work through grief issues. "Grief feels like a person's heart is exploding and suffocating at the same time. It hurts and changes how the brain works. It can leave one feeling like they do not have a voice or that is their new identity. Both feelings are valid." She would be honored to walk alongside you as you process your grief journey in individual therapy or paired with a co-therapy team. She is also skilled in helping clients who want to work through trauma and anxiety, as well as basic life skills for personal growth and relationships.

Alyssa enjoys a good cup of tea, watching TV shows, traveling, and spending time with the office shelties (Mozzie and Zylie) at home and at the office.

Mozzie (Moz)

Canine / Therapy dog

Mozzie is a Canine, bi-black Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie). He was adopted in March of 2020 as a puppy from Honeyhill Shelties in Northwest Iowa and has been with the Elgersma family ever since. He has completed his requirements for a Certified Canine Good Citizen and Certified Community Canine Good Citizen dog. He graduated from the Frederick Family Dog Therapy Program in May 2023.  He is a sweet sheltie that loves people but is sometimes skittish around cars and other dogs and has a fear of surprises which will cause him to bark loudly. He is very attuned to when people are upset and will naturally come to ‘help’ by putting his head on their leg or to ask for “pets.”

Zylie (ZyZy)

Canine

Zylie is a Canine, standard looking sable Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie). She was adopted from Geiger Family Shelties as a puppy in late summer of 2014 and has been a part of the Elgersma family ever since. She has attended therapy dog training  from the Frederick Family Dog Therapy Program.  She lost her littermate sister at 3 years old and has worked diligently to overcome her fears. Shelties have a reputation of being skittish and she is still slightly skittish with people and struggles with a fear of loud noises or surprises. However, as we trained Mozzie, it became clear that Zylie was getting comfortable with people again  and she LOVES being pet, especially if there are "treats" involved!

What makes us unique

Co-Therapy

You know what you have with CoTherapy at Real Connections Counseling? Access to one of the most successful couples counseling and coaching methods we’ve seen.

What sets us apart? The team. You have more support, and you feel safer, and comfortable that both of your needs will be met. And you'll not wonder whether you've been heard. Your team wants to succeed with you, not bias against you.

Watch the video, then Contact Real Connections Counseling today and embark on your journey with us.

Contact us to get Started

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