Our Team

Joy Dawson, PhD, LP

Licensed Psychologist


Dr. Joy Dawson (best known as "Dr. Joy") is a University of Minnesota-trained psychologist. Dr. Joy completed her B.A. in psychology, graduating summa cum laude from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN. After graduation, Dr. Joy received a fellowship to attend graduate school at the University of Minnesota, receiving both her M.A. and Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology in 1989. Dr. Joy provides individual, couples, and family therapy. Dr. Joy is passionate about encouraging her clients to experience the tremendous freedom and fulfillment of living a truly authentic life while pursuing ongoing personal growth. Dr. Joy's ideal client is motivated, able to engage in honest dialogue, and willing to step back and re-evaluate themselves and their lives with fresh eyes. They understand that her role is not to “solve” their problems; rather, it is to provide a fresh perspective and to assist them as they seek their own, unique answers that honor their hard-won life experience and inner wisdom. She invites anyone who is open to exploration and change to partner with her on their journey.


Shawna Marshall, MA, LPCC

Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor


Shawna graduated with her Master's degree in Clinical Mental Health from the University of South Dakota in 2012. Shawna is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) and Board Approved Supervisor in the state of Minnesota. 

With over a decade of working in the field, Shawna has worked with clients ranging from birth to 92 years of age. Shawna's areas of training and specialties including early childhood therapy (birth-5), attachment, adoption, at-risk behaviors, depression, and suicidal ideation. Shawna utilizes aspects of DBT, CBT, person-centered therapy, narrative therapy, and solution focused therapy in her work and works hard to meet the client where they are at. Shawna's focus with adult clients is often on building your voice, finding fulfillment and what that means for each individual, working through stage of life changes, and on improving relationships. Shawna provides in person counseling services, as well as online counseling to clients in Minnesota.


Maria Aguirre, MS, LMFT

Licensed Marriage and Family Counselor

Registered Play Therapist


Maria graduated with her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Counseling from South Dakota State University and is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Maria has experience working with individuals, children, adolescents, and families. Maria is also fluent in Spanish and has experience working with the Hispanic/Latinx community. Maria has completed EMDR training and is a Registered Play Therapist (RPT). Maria has experience working with individuals who have struggled with depression, suicide ideation, anxiety, PTSD, as well as other mental health disorders. Maria utilizes aspects of Adlerian therapy, Person-Centered therapy, Solution-Focused therapy, as well as Bowenian Family therapy, while utilizing a warm, empathetic, and genuine approach. Maria strives to help strengthen individual and family lives by instilling hope, offering encouragement, and giving others the space to heal. Maria focuses on helping others increase their sense of belonging, sense of self-worth, and helping others create and enhance meaningful relationships.


Rachal Noell, MS, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor


Rachal received her Master of Science degree in Clinical Counseling from Bellevue University in June of 2021. Prior to pursuing counseling, Rachal started her career as a caseworker for Child Protection Services and later was a case manager for children with intellectual disabilities and brain injuries in both community and residential settings. Rachal comes to Luverne Counseling from The Compass Center in Sioux Falls where she worked exclusively with clients who were survivors of family violence and sexual assault. In addition to working with trauma survivors, Rachal has experience and interest in working with clients who struggle with parenting issues, healthy relationships, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and PTSD. She is passionate about empowering clients to rediscover their worth, set healthy boundaries, and move beyond thoughts and behaviors that are no longer serving them. Rachal provides in person counseling services, as well as online counseling to client in Minnesota and South Dakota.


Nicole Mulder, MS

Clinical Trainee

 

Nicole is a Mental Health Practitioner who graduated with her Master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from South Dakota State University.  Nicole enjoys working with individuals, children, and families.  Her areas of expertise include working with victims of domestic violence, anxiety, depression, and PTSD, as well as co-occurring mental health and chemical dependency disorders. Nicole is an LPCC license candidate working under the supervision of Erica Hough, MA, LPCC. Nicole provides in-person counseling services, as well as online counseling to clients in Minnesota.

 

Louie

Therapy Dog In Training

 

Meet Louie, Nicole's furry co-therapist! Louie isn't just adorable, he's a therapy dog in training who greets clients with enthusiastic wags and offers stress-melting snuggles. Louie offers a unique touch of love and support to Nicole's clients.


Savannah Larson-Dirkx, MS

Clinical Trainee


Savannah graduated with her master’s degree in Human Resource Management with an emphasis in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from South Dakota State University in the summer of 2021. Savannah is currently under supervision with Erica Hough working towards licensure in three states. She is

passionate about working with athletes, adolescents, young adults, women, families, and those in the agriculture industry. Her areas of expertise include sports performance, sports traumas from physical injuries, as well as sports failures and humiliations. Savanah also has experience in working with abuse

survivors, anxiety, depression, ADHD, PTSD, conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, as well as other mental health disorders. Savannah is a Certified Brainspotting Practitioner, and has completed Brainspotting Phases One, Two, and Three, Brainspotting and Addictions, Crocodile Set Up, and Sports and Performance Brainspotting. She has assisted at Brainspotting trainings both in person and virtually. Savannah utilizes a Person-Centered approach in the therapeutic setting utilizing an empathetic, non-judgmental, and genuine approach.


Erica Hough, MA, LPCC, NCC, CCMHC 

Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor

Clinical Director

 

Erica, Luverne Counseling's owner and Clinical Director, brings expertise and experience. With a Master's in Adlerian Psychotherapy & Counseling and licenses in MN, SD, and IA, she's a National Certified Counselor and Board Approved Supervisor. Her commitment to ethics shines through as Co-Chair of the Minnesota Counseling Association. Erica specializes in healing PTSD, developmental trauma, anxiety, depression, addictions, binge eating disorders, and more, serving diverse clients like first responders, firefighters, police officers, veterans, medical professionals, educators, business owners, and many others. She's certified in Brainspotting and uses innovative approaches to create a safe space for exploring emotions, processing experiences, and releasing pain. Her focus on mindfulness, compassion, and support empowers clients on their journeys to well-being. 

 

Rudis

Registered Therapy Dog

 

Prepare for a heartwarming sensory experience! As you step into her office, Rudis, Erica's cuddly registered therapy dog, will melt your worries away with his soft fur, playful nudges, and gentle greetings. 


Jackie Pizel

Office Manager Assistant 


Jackie serves as the first point of contact for clients seeking counseling at Luverne Counseling. This process includes gathering basic client information, verifying insurance information and coverage benefits for outpatient mental health services, and scheduling the client's first appointment. Some of her other duties include welcoming clients upon arrival, responding to client queries, collecting payments, contracting, credentialing, and managing other behind-the-scenes responsibilities to keep the business-related activities running smoothly at Luverne Counseling.