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 

Rick and Monique have been through some of the best anyone could imagine and some of the worst. In those experiences, they discovered the fruit of their relationship that helped them never let go, even when their storms raged. Rick brings a narrative perspective to the room because your story is valuable. Monique mixes in solutions and practical steps to help build your relationship into a connected and happy place. With over 30 years of relational experience, they provide a balanced and safe place to explore your possibilities.

Rick Elgersma

LMFT, M. Litt


  • 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. 

Monique Elgersma



  • 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. 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 and Solution Focused approaches, especially as she uses co-therapy with her husband, Rick. She specializes in couples therapy for those that have struggled with infertility, growth after a long-term relationship ends, anxiety, being a caregiver, and those impacted by grief and loss.

Cora and Jess are a dynamic, creative, and effective co-therapy team with years of experience between them! Their expertise includes trauma, grief, significant mental health strain, and relationship issues. Cora and Jess are all about fostering a relational collaboration with their clients that will not only help clients move out of their darkest places with empathy, care, humor, and wisdom. If you want to be truly heard, understood, and respected with relational strength? Choose the amazing team Cora & Jess at Real Connections Counseling. Make your best relationship happen with them!

Jessica "Jess" Hall



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

  • Temporary Licensed Mental Health Counselor, State of Iowa 

  • 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, getting “walked” by her dog, 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



  •  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. 

Alyssa Elgersma

MA-Clinical Mental Health,
Program Administrator

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. She recently graduated with her Master's in Counseling and will soon be adding to her own caseload of clients, all while keeping the rest of us organized and on schedule! Alyssa enjoys a good cup of tea, watching TV shows, spending time with the office Shelties (Mozzie and Zylie), and traveling. 

Mozzie (Moz)

Canine / Therapy dog

Mozzie is a Canine, bi-black Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie) who is four years old. 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 was adopted in March of 2020 from Honeyhill Shelties in Northwest Iowa and has been with the Elgersma family ever since. He is a 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)


Zylie is a Canine, standard looking sable Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie) who is nine years old. She is currently in therapy dog training and will go through formal graduation from the Frederick Family Dog Therapy Program. She was adopted from Geiger Family Shelties in 2014 and has been a part of the Elgersma family ever since. 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.

What makes us unique


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.

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