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A Better Connection relocates, hires more staff

The new location of A Better Connection can be found at 266 Henrietta Avenue, near Walmart and the Park Rapids Enterprise building. (Nick Longworth / Enterprise)

By Nick Longworth

A Better Connection in Park Rapids has switched locations and brought aboard more staff members in an effort to “better connect” with those in the area who could benefit from their expertise.

Danielle Norby, MSW, LICSW, RPT (masters of social work, licensed independent clinical social worker, and registered play therapist) is the president of A Better Connection, Inc., a private mental health practice in Park Rapids.

Norby obtained her MSW at a joint program for clinical social work at the University of St. Thomas and St. Catherine University in St. Paul in May of 2010. She then obtained her LGSW (Licensed Graduate Social Worker) in August of 2010 after passing the LGSW exam – which also requires an individual to complete 4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience as well as complete 360 clock hours of continuing education in specific clinical areas and pass the LICSW exam.

Norby obtained her LICSW in October 2012 and opened A Better Connection (ABC), Inc. soon after in November of 2012.

The former location of ABC was the Frank White Education Center at 301 Huntsinger Avenue.

“Park Rapids School District provided a wonderful start for ABC and I am grateful for the opportunity to expand. I would not have the opportunities I currently have if it was not for the Park Rapids School District,” said Norby.

The new location resides at 266 Henrietta Avenue North in Park Rapids, formerly known as Rapid Print and located near The Park Rapids Enterprise and Walmart.

Along with the purchase of the new building, Norby also hired five staff members including Lori Griess (receptionist/office manager), Rita Anderson (MA, LADC), Kelly Jo Zellmann (RD, LD, CLT), Pam Skon (MSW, LICSW), and Karen Youmans (MSW, LGSW).

“I advertised state and nationwide in an attempt to bring more professionals to the area,” Norby said.

Norby then also explained why she chose each new hire.

“Lori has more than 20 years of experience in medical settings and is excited to work with an energetic staff centering their practice on improving the emotional health of their clients.

“Rita will meet the high need for addiction counseling and focus on co-occurring disorders or addictions combined with mental health needs. She will work with adolescents and adults in individual, family, and group settings.

“Kelly is a registered dietician who specializes in food sensitivities which often cause irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), migraines, fibromyalgia, and eczema. These sensitivities are often seen in mental health diagnoses, and can greatly improve an individual’s quality of life. She can help individuals create an appropriate lifestyle to improve their health.

“Pam is a certified chronic care professional focusing on the integration between physical and mental health and is also willing to work with all ages.

“Karen has experience in metropolitan family violence centers, crisis response teams, suicide prevention, and outpatient mental health. She will work with adults with depression, anxiety, PTSD, personality disorders, and empowering domestic violence survivors.

“All of these individuals were hired based on their passion, vision, and ability to meet needs that individuals are currently waiting up to six months to receive,” Norby said.

Through A Better Connection, Norby is able to provide psychotherapeutic services for individuals of all ages.

According to ABC’s website, Norby already offered a variety of services including: “Incredible Years” parenting groups to support children in their social-emotional growth, “Play Therapy” with younger children to resolve trauma and encourage healthy brain development, “Structured Psychotherapy” for adolescents responding to chronic stress and the “total transformation” parenting program for managing challenging behaviors in children and teenagers (the program can be learned on a group or individual basis. The techniques learned can also be used by daycare providers, teachers, and other professionals who work with children and teenagers.

Norby said she sees the need in the area as a driving force behind the decision to expand within the Park Rapids area.

“ABC is expanding services because there is a high need for healthcare services in rural areas,” Norby said.

“Our mission is to provide more services and reduce the amount of ‘wait list time’ for area residents as well as reduce travel time and distance. We want to provide efficient services to meet a variety of needs in the Park Rapids area with a focus on prevention and early intervention. Staff will continue to be hired to work toward our mission to provide convenient, confidential, and professional services. When clients are forced to wait for services due to location limitations, they often give up by the time the services are actually offered to them. Individuals often end up returning when services are mandated by court systems, or strongly encouraged by parents, school systems and social services. If services are provided when individuals are willing, negative situations can be prevented which gives individuals of all ages a chance at a successful life.”

Individuals are welcome to stop by the new location; however scheduling an appointment is the easiest way to meet with an ABC staff member.

An open house will occur the evening of Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014 from 4 to 6:00 p.m. Community residents and professionals are welcome to stop by that evening to meet staff members and see the new facility.

A Better Connection hours are primarily weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Hours each professional are available are based on need and availability.

The best way to reach ABC Staff is to call 218-252-2785 or send a request on the website www.abettercon where further information about services and staff members can be found.

Nick Longworth
A graduate from St. Cloud State University, Nick photographs and writes a variety of stories for nearly every section of The Park Rapids Enterprise. His duties also include section layouts and online content submission.
(218) 732-3364