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Drew Benson is a fourth year doctoral student in Counseling and Student Personnel Psychology at the University of Minnesota. He received his BA in Psychology, Magna cum Laude, from St. Olaf College and also completed an MA in Islamic Studies at Luther Seminary. He has over 10 years of clinical experience working with children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their families at the Fraser Autism Center of Excellence in Minneapolis. In addition, he worked in the Counseling Center at Concordia University in St. Paul. He has a particular interest in working with young adults transitioning into post-secondary educational and vocational settings. Drew is also an experienced yoga instructor and enjoys being able to incorporate movement based interventions with talk and play therapy.

Opal Cook is a PhD Student in Counseling and Student Personnel Psychology at the University of Minnesota. Opal has experience at college counseling centers with students who experience a variety of presenting problems including depression, anxiety, relationship issues, sexual assault, and struggles with motivation and procrastination. She has also spent time working at a community agency with children and teenagers. She teaches classes about how to be successful in college and works one-on-one with college students to improve their study skills and organization. Her particular interests include work around anxiety, life transitions, and identity exploration. Opal’s counseling approach pulls from psychodynamic, person-centered, and cognitive behavioral theories, which emphasize the impact of past experience, the connection between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as well as the need for genuineness and empathy.

Michael Peterson, Ph.D., completed his doctorate at the University of Minnesota with a specialization in counseling psychology. He has been providing outpatient therapy since 2005. His experience includes individual and group therapy, crisis response, psycho-education and outreach, consultation, and psychological assessment. Michael has provided academic skills training to university students, clinical supervision to doctoral trainees, and taught graduate and undergraduate courses through the University of Minnesota, the University of Oregon, and the University of St. Thomas. He is committed to social justice and inclusiveness and looks forward to supporting mental health and well-being in the Metro State community.

Mary Utz is in her final year of the Masters of Clinical Social Work at UST/SCU. She comes to Metro State University with experience providing individual and group therapy, most recently at the Domestic Abuse Project in Minneapolis. She also enjoys doing mental health awareness work, particularly around body image and eating concerns. Her primary therapeutic approaches are psychodynamic (relational) and attachment theory. Outside of work, she can be found walking her puppy, lounging at the lake, reading, and consuming far too much coffee.

Xiang Zhou is a third-year doctoral student in counseling psychology at the University of Minnesota. His clinical and research interests focused on diversity issues, particularly how race and ethnicity plays a role in adjustment issues. He finished his last practicum at the University Counseling and Consulting Services of the University of Minnesota. He am looking forward to joining the Student Counseling Center at the Metropolitan State University.

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