Our Team

Click on a therapist to see their bio, locations, and email them directly for appointments.


Steve Wickelgren, MA, LMFT

Law Enforcement Assistance (LE-AST) is headquartered in Twin Cities area, MN and founded by Steven M. Wickelgren, MA LMFT. Steve is an experienced mental health professional who specializes in trauma and depression as well as crisis intervention. Steve is trained in ART (Accelerated Resolution Therapy) and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). Both are an effective and quick treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other anxiety/trauma related issues. Steve is an experienced police officer who served the Minneapolis Police Department from 1988 to 2014. He served in a number of capacities, including use of force instructor, investigator, supervisor, and policy writer among others. He served as the police department's full time counselor from 2001 until 2014. Steve also serves as the Clinical Director for the Minnesota Crisis Intervention Team Officers Association, where he leads mental health training for law enforcement officers. He focuses on training police officers to provide crisis intervention services and to act as liaisons to the mental health system.  This training features professional actors who play the role of a person struggling with a mental illness.

Aside from his role with the Minneapolis Police Department and the MN CIT Officers Association, Steve has had many other roles in relation to the mental health profession. He was an Instructor/Program Assistant at Hennepin County Technical College.  He is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and has served as a volunteer at the MN chapter of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and has also volunteered with the Metro Critical Incident Stress Management Team since 2002. Steve is also trained as a Transformative Mediator. 

Steve has limited availability on evenings and weekends.  He clients virtually and at our Burnsville, MN office.

Email Steve

Marks, Scott


Scott Marks, MSW, LICSW

Scott has been a licensed police officer in Minnesota for over twenty-five years.  When not in uniform he provides individual therapy and couples counseling for law enforcement officers and their significant others for a variety of concerns.

Communication problems, anxiety, depression, grief, PTSD, coaching, at times we all need a little help navigating our lives.  Scott believes in a  trauma focused strengths-based perspective using an eclectic mix of therapy drawing from Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Mindfulness, Narrative, Motivational Interviewing, Psychodynamic, and ART to build resiliency and support with thoughtful interventions.

Scott sees clients virtually and in-person at our Golden Valley, MN office.

Email Scott


Kristin Turner, MA, LPCC, DBTC

Kristin Turner is a therapist who specializes in working with complex cases and serious mental illness. She has experience working in inpatient hospital settings, correctional settings, and outpatient clinics. Kristin is a staff presenter for MN CIT and is committed to helping law enforcement safely interact with those struggling with mental health issues. She is familiar with the culture of public safety work and enjoys working with those that help their community.  In therapy, Kristin utilizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and person-centered techniques. She believes in meeting each person where they are at and tailoring her approach to the unique needs of each client. Kristin has a direct but casual approach and appreciates humor in session. She supportively challenges thinking and behavior patterns to help clients reach their true potential and individual goals. 

Kristin sees clients virtually and in-person at her office in Cottage Grove, MN.

Email Kristin

Laura Sosalla


Laura Sosalla, MA (EMDR trained)

I specialize in working with military, law enforcement, first responders, emergency medicine, and the unique challenges these professionals and their loved ones face.  Prior to becoming a trauma therapist, I started asking myself “Who is watching out for those who help, protect, and serve”? This question led me to shift focus towards working with the people I used to work alongside.

My style is laid back, collaborative, and educational (yes, you’ll get homework).  I use trauma-informed, mindfulness-based, body-centered, and integrative approaches.  I work from the foundation of neuroscience that painful thoughts, feelings, beliefs, behaviors, and sensations are not a sign of mental illness, weakness, being broken, or a failure.  But are actually natural and normal human responses to life’s adversities, cumulative or traumatic stress, unresolved grief and loss, broken trust or betrayal, harmful interactions or from damaging relationships.  

What does this mean for you?  We will create solutions necessary to manage the pain from these “injuries of experience”.  While we also do the work necessary to heal from the inside out, to personally grow, and create lasting change.  Similar to healing from complex physical trauma - It also takes time, patience, and hard work to heal and grow from the impacts of psychological trauma.

Laura sees clients virtually and at her office in St. Paul, MN.

Email Laura


Erin Holznagel, Clinical Trainee, MFT Candidate

 Erin has taken a wonderful opportunity working for the League of Minnesota Cities and unfortunately will no longer be available to see clients through LE-AST Services.   She has been with us for 5 years and although we are sad to see her go, we are excited for her and the effect she will have on wellness and peer support for first responders across Minnesota.  Thanks for your commitment to first responders Erin and good luck!


Hannah Puls, MA, LPCC

Hannah is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor with over a decade of counseling experience, primarily in the work of criminal justice and first responders.  She has worked with adults with a wide range of health issues including trauma, anxiety and depression, addiction, crisis counseling, family issues, sleep concerns and more.  She recognized the special lens it requires to work with individuals in public safety.  Hannah has been on the MN Metro CISM Team for four years and is passionate about first responder wellness.

She is experienced in many therapeutic techniques and works collaboratively with her clients to find what works with them.  She believes that the relationship between the counselor and client is the best predictor of success and works to nurture that relationship throughout the therapeutic experience.  Depending on the client needs, she will utilize Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, to challenge negative thinking patterns and draw parallels to desired behavior change.  She encourages autonomy in clients and will work diligently with you to come up with solutions that promote independence and self-reliance in the future.

Whatever the reason you are reaching out, Hannah is here to offer a non-judgmental space to explore answers and promote active recovery.

Hannah sees clients for Check Up From The Neck up virtually.

Email Hannah 


Linda Mercado, MA

Linda has a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. 

Prior to attending school, she was a licensed police officer in St. Paul MN for 17 years. Linda understands the unique stressors first responders face and she strives to eliminate the stigma faced when asking for support.  

She offers a confidential, safe, and nonjudgmental space to help navigate through the challenges that can occur with this career. Linda uses a strength-based approach, identifying and utilizing a person’s existing resources, strengths, and survival skills to promote healing, resilience, and post traumatic growth.  

Linda is trained in Brainspotting which is a non-verbal treatment option that works to identify and release those primary sources of emotional and physical pain, trauma, and a variety of other challenging symptoms. 

Linda can provide individual, couple, or family therapy. Other areas of interest include grief and loss, complex trauma, and chronic pain. 

Linda sees clients virtually and in person in Burnsville.

Email Linda


Shannon Seibel, Clinical Trainee, LPCC Candidate (EMDR Trained)

Shannon's primary goals are to provide person-centered therapeutic services for those struggling with trauma, anxiety, depression, grief, and symptoms related to stress and interpersonal relationship challenges that interfere with daily functioning.  Her approach is trauma-informed and focuses on normalizing symptoms tied to traumatic experiences through processing, behavioral activation, strengths identification, and solution-focused goal setting. She practices EMDR, and has been trained in Standard, Group (GTEP), and Recent (RTEP) protocols; EX/RP for OCD, and provides first responder agencies with debriefings, following the CISM Model.

Shannon resides in the Bemidji, Minnesota area, and recognizes the challenges faced by rural first responders. After working in civilian law enforcement roles for 17 years, she has developed a deep appreciation for public safety professions and has a unique understanding of professional and family stressors, trauma/secondary trauma/vicarious trauma, and moral injuries that can occur when working in public safety.  She believes in order to heal, the conversation needs to start with who you are, and what you need to feel supported, learn how to process physical and emotional responses to stress and work toward personal goals that improve daily functioning and overall lifestyle.

Shannon is currently a doctoral student for Ph.D. in Counseling Education and Supervision, holds a master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice Leadership and Management.

Shannon sees clients virtually and in Bemidji, MN.

Email Shannon 


Mel Koenen LAMFT

Mel is a Licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in Law Enforcement/First Responders/Military populations. She uses Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART), Internal Family Systems (IFS), and a mix of other things to help clients learn how to regulate their nervous systems. Mel works with a number of issues like: trauma, work-related stressors, relational issues, anxiety, communication, shame, and others.  She and her clients develop practical systems to put into place to help them feel more balanced. Her personality is direct, a bit sweary, but always compassionate towards people’s experiences. 

Personally, she is married to a Trooper and understands the stressors that come with being a law enforcement household.  In addition to LE-AST, Mel also works as a training coordinator for TacMobility (a LE wellness group), volunteers as the Director of Wellness for Backing the Blue Line, and has a workbook geared toward cops called Getting to Code 4: A Workbook for Law Enforcement.

Mel sees individual adults and couples virtual and in Big Lake, MN. 

Email Mel


LeAnne Renteria MA

LeAnne is a therapist with over a decade of expertise in the mental health field, specializing in providing support to Law Enforcement Officers and their families. Her practice encompasses therapy and counseling services catering to individuals, couples, and families. She has over 12 years of experience as a licensed police officer, including roles as a Field Training Officer and Detective. LeAnne offers a unique blend of professional insights and compassionate care.

LeAnne has a Master’s degree in Human Services with an Emphasis in Family Life Education. She offers a comfortable, confidential, and safe space to address issues in several areas including: effects of trauma, work-related stress, communication, relationships, work and family balance, boundary setting, self-esteem, and substance use. LeAnne is trained in Brainspotting, which is a specific therapy used to treat and overcome trauma and difficult emotions. She believes in a relaxed and holistic approach to healing to overcome adversity and build resilience.   

Why is LeAnne passionate about the work she does? She is a third-generation police officer and is a part of an extensive police family. She understands the demands that are placed on Law Enforcement Officers and their families. She is committed to providing quality services and advocating for those who have served in the field.  

In addition to LE-AST Services, LeAnne works with Pathways Counseling Center in St. Paul. She taught Law Enforcement and Human Services courses for Rasmussen College for several years and currently serves on the Public Safety Task Force at Adler Graduate School. This committee is working on the development of a program designed for practicing therapists to gain valuable knowledge about the unique challenges that police officers face.    

LeAnne sees clients virtually as well as in person at her South St. Paul, MN office.

Email LeAnne


Cathy Porthan

Hi my name is Cathy Porthan. I have been a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist for over 15 years. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Masters Degree in Counselling Psychology from Adler University. During this time my specialty has been Marriage and Family, Children and life Coaching. My husband of 20 years has been a SWAT operator on the Southwest Metro Consortium for 25 years and in the fire service for 30 years.  Experiencing first hand the challenges that those who serve are confronted with on duty and how it carries into personal life has brought my practice to focus on the well being of those individuals and their families. To better serve in this capacity I recently completed a nationally recognized specialized training in providing support and therapy for first responders and law enforcement.   Like your profession I believe in the “TEAM” approach for success. Individuals in these careers need a support system that under the dynamics of the profession to be a positive support for healthy relationships and overall wellbeing. Privacy and confidentiality will always be honored. I look forward to being on your team!  I am trained in EMDR and Mindfulness.  My office is located in Golden Valley.

Email Cathy