Meet the Team
Behavioral Health Specialists, (BHS), has been providing quality professional care for over 27 years. Formerly Monroe Mental Health Center, the agency began operating as a private, non-profit organization in November of 1992.
Dr. Dharma Jairam
Residential Clinical Director
Quality Improvement Director
Director of Human Resources
Sunrise Place Administrative Director
Seekers of Serenity Administrative Director
Dr. Hailey Hahn
Director of Community Support
Carla Morris-Von Kampen
Outpatient Clinical Director
Melissa Armstrong, LIMHP, LADC Outpatient Therapist Melissa received her Master’s Degree in Education with an emphasis in Community Counseling from the University of Nebraska, Kearney and has obtained licensure in the State of Nebraska as both a Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner and Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor. Melissa is a Nebraska Registered Service Provider with the Criminal Justice system. She has over 22 years of experience with Behavioral Health Specialists, Inc., working in both residential and outpatient settings. She works with adolescents and adults in the probation system, as well as those with no legal problems. She has had training in trauma focused care for children. She enjoys working with adolescents and adults, and has experience working with addiction, “life problems,” stress management, mood disorders, Major Mental Health Disorders and individuals working through grief, loss and trauma. She typically incorporates a blend of Person-Centered Therapy, Motivational Enhancement Therapy, Positive Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy into her treatment.
Deneen Denny, PLADC Outpatient Therapist Deneen is a Provisional Drug and Alcohol Counselor with a bachelor’s degree in Social Science. She has worked with substance abuse individuals for two years. Her philosophy of counseling is that everyone is unique and deserves individualized care. She works with Intensive Outpatient group and individual substance use therapy.
Lisa Battle, PLMHP Outpatient Therapist Lisa received her master’s degree of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with specialization in Addictions from Walden University. She has worked as a therapist since 2018, upon graduating she started working as a therapist. She enjoys working with adolescents, people who struggle with disabilities, addictions, individuals struggling with anxiety, depression, and other major mental health problems. She typically incorporates a blend of Person-Centered Therapy, Motivational Enhancement Therapy, Positive Therapy, Art Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy into her treatment.
Brooke Pelster-Hess, LIMHP, LADC Outpatient Therapist Brooke received a Master of Arts Degree in Counseling from Doane College and is licensed as both an Independent Mental Health Practitioner (LIMHP) and Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC). She is a Registered Provider with the Criminal Justice System. Brooke has over 18 years of experience in the addiction treatment field and over 10 years of experience treating other mental health conditions and has worked in a number of agencies across the state and in all levels of care, including residential, partial care, IOP, and Outpatient. Brooke also has experience as an adolescent group home supervisor, maintaining this position at WICS group home in Lincoln, from 2009 to 2010 while finishing her Masters Degree, and as the Program Director for Sunrise Place, for 2.5 years, ending in late 2014. Addiction treatment has been Brooke’s passion throughout her career; however, she also enjoys working with individuals struggling with anxiety, depression, and other major mental health conditions and difficult life circumstances. Brooke primarily utilizes Cognitive Behavioral and Dialectical Behavioral therapy in her work with clients.
Samantha Barritt, MS, LIMHP, LADC, CAMF Outpatient Therapist Samantha Barritt obtained her Master of Science in Clinical Counseling degree from Bellevue University in Bellevue, NE. Samantha has been Independently Licensed as a Mental Health Practitioner since 2017 and fully licensed as an Alcohol and Drug counselor since 2015 in the state of Nebraska. She is also certified as an anger management facilitator and is an approved Criminal Justice provider. Samantha has also received the training for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. Samantha has over 15 years of experience in the helping profession. She is fond of utilizing EMDR, Cognitive Behavioral and Reality based therapy techniques. Samantha enjoys working with individuals who struggle with addiction, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and inter-personal problems.
Lori Steffen, PLCSW, PLMHP Outpatient Therapist Lori received her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 2008. She will be working toward full licensure in Nebraska having recently received her Provisional Mental Health Practitioner and Provisional Master Social Worker licenses. She has been licensed as a Certified Social Worker in South Dakota since 2018 and received her LMSW license in Missouri in 2012. Lori has worked with individuals and groups in a variety of settings in Missouri, South Dakota and Nebraska. Lori likes working with people of all ages, helping them build on their strengths and find the wisdom within themselves while also offering strategies and options for dealing with life’s challenges. Lori primarily uses Cognitive Behavioral and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy techniques, informed by Motivational Enhancement and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.
Alicia Wagner, LIMHP, LCSW, LADC Outpatient Therapist Alicia is a Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor. She earned her master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Nebraska Omaha in 2011 and received her Alcohol and Drug Counseling certificate from the University of Nebraska Kearney in May 2019. Alicia enjoys working with young adults, adults, and the elderly who may be dealing with a variety of issues ranging from life stressors to serious mental illness. She has particular interest in working with the elderly. Alicia is credentialed with most major insurances, Medicaid, and Medicare.
Tessa Alexander, LADC Residential Therapist & Outpatient Services Supervisor Tessa graduated from Central Community College in 2019. She started working at Seekers of Serenity as a Human Services Technician in 2018, while completing her internship. She then became a therapist in 2019. Tessa enjoys helping individuals better their lives and discovering inner peace.
Brent Sell, LADC Residential Therapist Brent grew up in the rural community of Arcadia, Nebraska in the central part of the state. He earned his bachelor's degree in Agricultural Sciences in 1998. In 2015, he made a career switch and began working at Sunrise Place as a Human Service Technician from 2015 to 2019. During this time he obtained his PLADC. Brent remained in the Norfolk area, working with local agencies to provide substance use counseling. He is now a residential therapist at Sunrise Place.
Cara Leader, PLADC Residential Therapist
Brenae Beam, LMHP, LADC Residential Therapist Brenae obtained her Master of Science in Clinical Counseling degree from Bellevue University in Bellevue, NE. She has been licensed as a Mental Health Practitioner since 2012, and fully licensed since 2014. She has been fully licensed as an Alcohol and Drug counselor in the state of Nebraska since 2017 and had completed her provisional licensing through Behavioral Health Specialists prior to that. Brenae has received the training for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy and is currently pursuing a clinical certification as an anxiety treatment professional. Brenae enjoys working with individuals who struggle with addiction, anxiety, and other mental health disorders as they are being impacted by their use of substances.
Jean Kiuntke, PLADC Residential Therapist
Juan Reyes Counselor in Training
Kathy Hohbein, PLADC Residential Therapist Kathy graduated from York College in York, Nebraska with a degree in Psychology. She completed her coursework for her PLADC degree at Metro Community College in Omaha, Nebraska. Kathy has worked in the human services field since 1999 and enjoys helping people gain their independence from substance use.
Gloria Torres, PLADC Residential Therapist Gloria completed the Training for Addiction Professional in Lincoln, NE August of 2017 while working as a Human Service Technician at Seekers of Serenity Place. Gloria has been with BHS since 2015. She then became a therapist in 2019 after completing her internship at SOS. She enjoys changing people’s lives by rebuilding their desires of living a new way to better their futures.
Community Support Providers
Brittany Dugger Community Support Provider Brittany obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degree at Wayne State College. She has been with Behavioral Health Specialist since December 2016. Brittany has experience working with clients with mental health and substance use concerns. She enjoys helping individuals succeed and meet their goals.
Joyce Pojar Community Support Provider Joyce has been a Community Support Provider with Behavioral Health Specialists since June 2022. She will be graduating from Northeast Community College with an Associate of Arts in Behavioral Science and then continuing her educational journey with a focus in Human Services. Joyce has a passion for helping people and her favorite part about being a community support provider is being able to witness clients exceeding their own expectations on a regular basis.
Janice Euteneuer Community Support Provider Janice has always been interested with helping people with Mental Health and Substance Use. She previously worked at Rainbow Center, Inc., a day service for people with Substance use or SPI or SPMI, for 8 years. She was an Employment Specialist and the Day Support Coordinator. It gave her the education to be able to work with clients who need assistance in everyday living, from hygiene, to event planning, to becoming a productive member of society. At BHS, she is more involved with clients, assisting them with housing, employment, financial, legal, resources and so much more. She says, “I love my job because I get to work with people one-on-one. I enjoy working with people because I feel it’s necessary for them to understand that they have extra support in helping them reach their goals and be the best they can be.”
Angela Thomas Community Support Provider Angela obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Wayne State College in Wayne, NE. She has been with Behavioral Health Specialists since February 2017. She enjoys helping clients overcome their barriers and learn how to live stable lives.
Stephanie Lurz Community Support Provider Stephanie came to Behavioral Health Specialists with a background working as a physical therapist assistant for seven years, helping people regain their independence. Stephanie has now been working to help people gain their independence and maintain their recovery from substance use and/or mental health concerns. She is working towards a bachelor’s degree in human services.
Youth & Family Services Providers
Alexa Ames Foster Home Licensing Specialist