Lisa J Stellinga, MS, QMHP, LPC-MH, LAC
After completing her Bachelor of Science degree at the University of South Dakota, Lisa moved her budding career as a prevention specialist to the golden state of California. At a school in Pasadena, she first witnessed amazing resiliency working with gang kids bused from struggling neighborhoods. After a couple of years in the Los Angeles area, she felt drawn back home to Sioux Falls, SD where she decided to explore the possibility of a degree in interior design. Through investigation of this area of study, she realized that she was more interested in the interiors of people than the interiors of buildings. Reconstructing and enriching continue to be her passions whether in her career improving intangible human advancements or in her hobbies refurbishing physical structures.
During her second round of college at South Dakota State University in Brookings, SD, she transitioned to a master’s program in Counseling and Human Resource Development. All the while, she was employed part-time at a residential home for individuals with developmental delays and mental health issues. Following graduation, she accepted a position at Keystone Treatment Center in Sioux Falls and Canton as a Student Assistant Professional teaching mental health and drug prevention in large group assemblies for high school and college students. This led her to an opportunity at Southeastern Behavioral Health, a non-profit community mental health center, where she completed an eight-month internship before graduating with her master’s degree.
Contrary to her initial pursuit in the addictions field, Lisa saw her clientele transitioning from chemical dependency to post-adoption and trauma. As the number of foster and adopted children in her practice rose, she discovered her natural ability to relate to and interact with kids and their families as they were adjusting to significant life changes. This knack, she later understood, came from her own experiences as an adopted child. However, the need only continued to increase in 1998 as she dove into the local community of adoptive families until it became a bigger problem than she alone could tackle.
Facing this issue drove her to seek a greater capacity of services that could begin to fill the obvious lack of resources in the surrounding area for this specific population. Having grown up in the Midwest, instilled values of hard work and integrity gave her the determination to continue when confronted with the choice to go big or go home despite adversity and the unknown. The old proverb “necessity is the mother of invention” applies to Lisa’s case. When the demand for post-adoption and foster care assistance became imperative, she was forced to find ways of achieving this goal. Hence, the dream of The Barn was born. Created as an office complex housing several independent counseling practitioners, The Barn succeeded in multiplying the number of hands to help. This was the first effort to reach more families in need by creating the space and opportunity for more counselors to rise to the cause.
Lisa’s next pursuits take their root in her early days of assemblies and classes. With the hope of reaching a larger audience, she plans to begin in-person and online training seminars utilizing her ability to teach and equip both parents and other professionals. In conjunction with this endeavor, Lisa will be publishing a book for parents of adopted children giving them knowledge and tools to help their children heal and recover from the trauma of orphan-hood.
Note: This provider is only licensed in South Dakota, so clients need to be within South Dakota state lines at the time of appointment to receive care.
Blue Cross/Blue Shield
Parent-Child Interactive Therapy (PCIT)
Somatic Experiencing (SE)
Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI)
Adoption Identity (i.e., self-worth, self-esteem)
Early Traumatic Experiences
Grief and Loss Related to Adoption
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)
Sexual Abuse (Victim)
Adult (Ad. Parent - Individual)
Young Adult (19-25)
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If your family is facing financial barriers to receiving care from an adoption-competent therapist in Minnesota, please reach out to our HELP Program: https://fosteradoptmn.org/help_program_overview/
Parents should carefully choose a therapist based on the individual needs of their family. For more information, please see the following: https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/f-therapist/