Meet Our Therapists
Anna Heinzerling, MSW, LICSW
Anna Heinzerling is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker who provides psychotherapy for children, adolescents, adults, and families. She has been working in the mental health field for over 10 years in neighborhood, residential, outpatient, and school settings. She has a master’s degree in social work from Boston College and an undergraduate degree from Carleton College.
Heinzerling is well-versed in working with Autistic (or suspected Autistic) people of all ages from a neurodiversity-affirming lens. She also has extensive practice working with people diagnosed with or exploring a diagnosis of ADHD, people who have experienced trauma, and people who struggle with anxiety and depression.
Heinzerling particularly enjoys working with people who don’t quite feel like they fit in, and empowering them to know their strengths and feel more confident with themselves and in social situations. She also recognizes that different life transitions, both expected and unexpected, can bring about a lot of stress. Therapy can be a useful tool in navigating these changes. Heinzerling uses a person-centered approach to meet people where they are at and collaborate with them to reach their goals.
Sara Lahti, MA, LPCC
Sara Lahti, a Mental Health Practitioner and Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, graduated with her Master of Arts degree in 2018 and previously earned a BA in psychology through the University of St. Thomas. Lahti has worked with children with ASD as well as with people with ASD and other disabilities in a day program facility.
Lahti has a passion for working with adults on the autism spectrum. She uses Adlerian and person-centered therapeutic techniques to help clients better understand themselves and their strengths. Lahti’s Master’s thesis focused on using Early Recollections with people on the spectrum, which she believes is central to understanding clients’ core beliefs. She works with clients on thought patterns and how they affect daily living and also helps clients develop social interest within themselves and their communities.
Barbara Luskin, PhD, LP
Dr. Luskin is a licensed psychologist who has worked closely with children and adults with ASD for more than 30 years in professional and home settings. She specializes in providing both assessments and counseling to individuals with ASD and those who support them.
Dr. Luskin’s services include diagnostic and functional assessments, individual therapy for adults and adolescents, and training and consultation for caregivers. She helps them understand ASD, teaches them creative and effective interventions, helps them evaluate progress, and provides guidance when adjustments are needed.
Dr. Luskin serves the local autism community in multiple capacities including professional consultation, autism trainings, certification instruction, and individual work with clients. As such, her schedule usually is at capacity. Please speak with the AuSM Counseling and Consulting Services appointment scheduler to identify the AuSM therapist who can best meet your needs.
Beth Pitchford, MA, LPCC
Beth Pitchford earned a master’s degree in Psychology from the Adler Graduate School (AGS), where she focused on learning about autism and how various aspects of Adlerian psychology could compliment the standard use of cognitive behavioral therapy with people on the autism spectrum. Pitchford became passionate about working with people on the “invisible” part of the spectrum (formerly known as Asperger’s syndrome) after she realized that many people close to her are on the spectrum and have spent most of their lives wondering why they felt so different.
Pitchford values working with adults who want to decode the neurotypical world in order to decrease barriers to community acceptance and to increase feelings of success. She works with adolescents as they navigate the super-social world of the teenage years. Using cognitive behavioral approaches and her Adlerian training, Pitchford’s goal is to help people better understand not only themselves but also the people in their lives.
James Rechs, LICSW
James Rechs, located in Rochester, Minn., provides individual therapy for individuals age 16 and older as well as psychoeducation for parents, families, and caregivers. His top priority is helping clients achieve goals that are most important to them, and helping them develop and maintain lives and relationships that feel safe, meaningful, and satisfying. Rechs enjoys helping clients discover their own strengths, gifts, and talents, rather than changing people just to meet others’ expectations. He has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and an undergraduate degree from Grinnell College in Iowa. To connect with Rechs at his Rochester location, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bjorn Walter, MA, LMFT
Bjorn Walter earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Southwest Minnesota State University in 2013, and his master’s degree in Adlerian psychotherapy and counseling with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy from Adler Graduate School (AGS) in 2017. During his master’s program, Walter interned at the Autism Society of Minnesota where he discovered his passion for working with individuals and families living with autism. Since graduating from AGS, Walter spent time working at a group home dedicated to adults with autism and schizophrenia near his hometown in Sweden.
Walter uses Adlerian and cognitive behavioral techniques to help individuals and their families understand the true nature of autism. He recognizes the importance of familial relationships and friendships and strives to help his clients realize how they affect us and our lives. Walter promotes encouragement, openness, and honesty.