A place of safety, wisdom, care, and support.

March 19, 2020 - Covid19 Update

As part of the effort to protect the safety of our clients and staff, and to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we are temporarily suspending in-office counseling sessions and offering telemental-health (either phone or video) sessions instead. Please reach out if you are experiencing an increase in mental health symptoms or just need someone to talk to!

Please leave a message at 612.927.7335 ext. 10 or email Molly Pach.

We're Here to Help

Mount Olivet Lutheran Church is one of the few churches in America, which provides professional, ethical, licensed counseling services to deal with the tensions, pressures, changing attitudes, and stresses of today’s living for its members and the community. Our services help people work through their problems through the use of counseling, psychotherapy, and/or medication in a supportive setting that is open to those of all faith perspectives.  Our therapists include three Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, two Licensed Professional Counselors, one Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor, and one Clinical Counseling Masters’ Student Intern. We offer therapy for adults, children, adolescents, couples and families. A variety of therapy groups are offered as well. We also have a consulting psychiatrist and a medical Internist who provide medication management and assessment.

Counseling is offered at our Minneapolis Campus at 1804 West 50th Street or 5000 Logan Avenue South, Monday through Friday, and one day per week at our West Campus office.

Counseling Staff Info

Shannon Himango, MA, LMFT
Shannon is the Director of the Counseling Service, and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  She provides the general practice of counseling for clients age 7 through adulthood, couples and families.  She strives to offer an environment of trust, safety and respect in which clients may explore and process important feelings and issues.  Her focus involves increasing awareness of patterned behavior, stress/conflict management, self-talk, relationships to others and intentionality in self-care to create a healthier lifestyle for the future.  She utilizes Cognitive Behavioral, Narrative and Solution Focused therapies as well as creative art and play therapy techniques.  Shannon’s areas of interest: Anxiety, Depression, Relationship Issues, Individuation and Personal Growth, Parenting Support, Divorce Transition and Co-Parenting Support, Assertive Communication skills, Mindfulness/Relaxation Practices/Mind-Body Connection, Stress Management/Work-Life Balance, Eldercare Issues, Sexuality Concerns, Sexual/Gender Identity issues, and is LGBTQ Affirmative.  Shannon works five days a week at Mt. Olivet Counseling Service.  She has been a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist since 2006.

Fredrick Ferris, MD
Dr. Fredrick O. Ferris is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Medical school and is board certified in Internal Medicine. He has practiced Internal Medicine in St. Paul since 1977. One of his interests in primary care is mental health disorders. He has been seeing patients at the Mount Olivet Counseling Clinic once a month for the last 15 years. He has been a member of Mount Olivet Lutheran Church since 1972.

Ron Groat, MD, Psychiatrist
Dr. Ron Groat has a private psychiatry practice in Minnetonka providing psychiatry for adults and older adolescents. He provides medication assessment and consultation for existing clients of Mount Olivet Counseling and coordinates care with Mount Olivet therapists and other health care providers.

Nikki Knudson-Dalal, MA, LMFT, LADC

Nikki has been working and volunteering in the mental health/social service field since 1993. Her clinical experience includes working with couples and families in substance abuse clinics, group homes with adults with developmental disabilities, correctional settings, supportive housing for long term homeless, and providing group facilitation/education on chemical health. As a marriage and family therapist and alcohol and drug counselor, she is able to integrate her knowledge of substance abuse and addiction issues and how it affects relationships and the family. She uses a combination of, Strength Based, Client-Centered and Solution-Focused approaches. She assists clients in coming up with their own solutions and ideas for personal insight, change and growth.  She also aims to create a safe and comfortable environment, where clients can freely discuss the topics/issues in their lives that they see as important and valuable.  Nikki’s areas of special focus are in, but not limited to the following: Chemical Dependency/Addiction/Recovery (Individuals, Couples and Families), Self-Esteem/Self-Confidence, Relationship Issues, Depression/Anxiety, and LGBTQ/Same Sex Relationships. She works two evenings per week at Mount Olivet Counseling Service.

Molly Pach, Office Manager
Molly is the Office Manager for the Counseling Service. She schedules appointments and provides administrative support for the therapists, and strives to create a welcoming and authentic environment for clients. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband, baby daughter and pup.

Karen Pieper, MA, LPC

Karen Is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and holds an MA in Counseling and Psychological Services from Saint Mary’s University in Minneapolis. She has provided counseling services since 2014 to individuals and couples. She is particularly interested in working with people going through life transitions including divorce, break-ups, job loss, career exploration and grief. Through deep listening and curiosity, she creates a safe space to openly examine and gain insight into their challenges, helping them to relieve stress and achieve a sense of wellbeing. Using strategies from narrative, solution-focused, cognitive-behavioral and mindfulness therapies, her sessions are an opportunity to nurture her clients’ positive personal growth and change. As Karen is also a professional music director and teacher, she has been committed to collaboratively work through musicians’ stage fright and performance anxiety. As a counselor, she brings the same process to address her clients’ emotional roadblocks and fears. Together, the client and she can create steps to support and achieve healthy outcomes leading to transformation.

Jessica Smith, MA, LMFT
Jessica is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT).  She provides individual, group, couple and family counseling services for clients age 7 through adulthood. She strives to offer a safe, supportive atmosphere in which clients can build trust and hope. She aims to assist clients in increasing their awareness of their inherent value as human beings and to change the thoughts, habits, self-talk and choices that are keeping them stuck. She utilizes Cognitive Behavioral, Structural and Solution Focused therapies, as well as, mindfulness-based interventions. She is also trained in the trauma therapy Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Jessica’s areas of interest: Anxiety, Depression, Relationship Issues, Trauma, Personal Growth, Parenting Support, Teen Issues, Divorce and Co-Parenting Support, Assertive Communication skills, Mindfulness/Relaxation Practices, Stress Management/Work-Life Balance, Caregiver Issues, Sexuality Concerns, Sexual/Gender Identity issues, and is LGBTQ Affirmative.  Jessica works Mon-Thurs at Mt. Olivet Counseling Service splitting time between the Minneapolis and Victoria locations.  She has been a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist since 2017.

Gayle Vaughan, MA, LMFT
Gayle holds a Bachelor of Environmental Design from the University of Minnesota, an MA in Counseling Psychology from University of St. Thomas, and a school counseling license from St. Cloud State and Marriage and Family Therapy certificate from Saint Mary’s University. Her day job is school counselor in Lakeville, and she enjoys coming to Mount Olivet to talk with adults, for both couples and individual counseling. Gayle works two evenings a week at Mount Olivet Counseling Service. She has been a licensed school counselor since 2002 and a licensed marriage and family therapist since 2008.

Sara Watne, MA, LPCC
Sara is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC), holds an MA in Counseling Psychology and a certificate in Child and Adolescent Mental Health from Bethel College. She has provided mental health services to a diverse clientele since 2003 and believes in equal access of counseling services for all. At Mount Olivet she provides individual and group therapy for adults, adolescents, families and children ages four and up. Sara utilizes traditional talk therapy as well as expressive approaches such as sand tray therapy. Overall, Sara supports her clients’ ability to find wisdom, growth, health and fulfillment by gaining more understanding of themselves as individuals and in relation to those around them. Sara works Monday-Thursday.

Carson Kuball, Intern
Carson is a practicum student nearing the completion of her Master’s in Counseling Psychology, with a Family Psychology Concentration, at the University of St. Thomas. Carson strives to create a non-judgmental, authentic, and empowering space where clients feel safe and supported as they navigate life’s changes and challenges. She believes that therapy should be a collaborative process between the therapist and client that fosters genuine human connection, insight, and healing. At Mount Olivet, Carson provides counseling to individuals ages 15 through the lifespan, and couples. Her areas of interest include: Anxiety, Depression, Relationship and Sexuality Concerns, Trauma, Personal Growth, Mindfulness and Stress-Management, Work-Life Balance, Self-Esteem, Body Image, and Communication Skills.”


Group Counseling Opportunities

Minneapolis Campus Groups: 1804 W 50th St, Minneapolis 55419 (unless otherwise stated)
Contact: Molly Pach by phone at 612.927.7335 or by email for more information.

The First Years Without Them (Mpls – Wednesdays 1/6 through 3/10, 3-4:30pm) Come find healing in the first years following the death of a loved one. Sara watne, MA, LPCC, leads this online group which uses film clips, poetry, contemplative practices and discussion to encourage participants along their path of mourning and reconciliation. Cost: $100.


Adult, Individual & Couples/Family Counseling Intake Forms

Please contact Molly Pach, Counseling Office Manager at 612.927.7335 to make an appointment before downloading and filling out one of the forms below.

New Client Individual Counseling

New Client Couples or Family Counseling

Children's Counseling Intake Forms

Couples Counseling Resources

Helpful Books to Read about Marriage & Relationships

Why Marriages Succeed or Fail; And How You Can Make Yours Last, by John Gottman, PhD (1994)

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman, PhD (1999).

Wired for Love: How Understanding Your Partner’s Brain and Attachment Style can Help you Defuse Conflict and build a secure Relationship by Stan Tatkin, PsyD (2011)

After the Affair: Healing the Pain and Rebuilding Trust When a Partner Has Been Unfaithful, by Janis Spring, PhD (2012)

Affairs: A Guide to Working through the Repercussion of Infidelity, by Emily Brown LCSW (1999)

Take Back Your Marriage; Sticking Together in a World That Pulls us Apart by William Doherty, PhD (2001)

The Five Love Languages; How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, by Gary Chapman, Ph.D (1995)

Marriage in Motion, The Natural Ebb and Flow of Lasting Relationships, by Richard Schwartz, MD and Jacqueline Olds, M.D. (2000)

Additional Counseling Resources

Chemical Health Resources 2021


Staying Sober: A Guide for Relapse Prevention By: Terence Gorski

Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through his Son’s Addiction By: David Sheff

Adult Children of Alcoholics By: Dr. Janet Woititz

Trauma and the 12 Steps By: Jamie Marich

A Woman’s Way Through the 12 Steps By: Stephanie Covington

Loved One in Treatment? Now What? By: Lisa Fredrickson

Life Recovery Bible By: Stephen Anteburn

The Essential Guidebook to Mindfulness in Recovery By: John Bruna

Books for Kids:

Hot Dogs Anonymous By: Sarah Bridges


Let’s Talk Addiction and Recovery– Hazelden Betty Ford Clinic

Real Recovery Talk– Tom Conrad

Families Navigating Addiction and Recovery– Jeff Jones


Alcoholics Anonymous

Smart Recovery

AA meetings and information for Minneapolis

National Institute on Drug Abuse

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Al-anon… Family support for individuals struggling with chemical health

Marriage Preparation Workshop

2021 dates:
April 17 (Virtual) 9:30-2pm, lunch delivery included. Cost: $125 per couple, plus $35 scoring fee for the Prepare Inventory
September 18 (Virtual unless able to meet in-person at the West Campus.)
Stay tuned for information and updates!

Facilitated by: Shannon Himango, MA, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist; Director of Mount Olivet Counseling Service; and Carson Kuball, Graduate Practicum Student Counselor

As part of planning for your life together, we invite you to participate in a very important, practical and relevant  marriage preparation workshop.  This fun and engaging 4 hour workshop, along with the completing the Prepare Questionnaire and talking through the results with a Pastor or Prepare facilitator, is designed to enrich your relationship as a married couple; focusing on important topics like positive communication skills, healthy conflict resolution, financial management; and spirituality. You will have ample time to discuss the topics and materials together as a couple as well as with the other participants. These are all areas we hope will be helpful to you as you mark this momentous occasion, and begin your married life together!

Some feedback from past participants:
“I think the communication section was great.  Helpful ideas and ways to approach difficult conversations.”
“I really liked the ‘marriage expectations’ section, especially about household chores!”
“I believe I will be able to use these practical skills, especially about how to approach conflict.”
“I feel armed with info about avoiding potential pitfalls before they might arise.”
“I enjoyed learning about the many types of intimacy that can be important for couples to deepen their relationship.’

To register, contact Molly Pach, or 612.927.7335, ext. 10

What's Next?

To schedule an appointment or get more information about the Mount Olivet Counseling Service please contact Molly Pach at 612.927.7335 or by email