Meet the Team

We are a team of highly trained clinicians and support staff whose experience and compassion enable us to provide the highest quality and level of care in Interior Alaska. Read more about us below!

Gunnar Ebbesson

CEO

LPC, MAC, CDCS

Chief Executive Officer Gunnar holds a Masters Degree in Community Psychology, received from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Alaska and a Nationally Certified Master Addiction Counselor by the National Association for Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Counselors. He is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR). Gunnar has worked in the public sector as an inpatient Substance Abuse Counselor, Child and Family Therapist, and program director/clinical supervisor. He has been a practicing mental health clinician and psychotherapist in Fairbanks since 2002. Gunnar has extensive experience providing therapy services for youth and adults experiencing problems related to mental health and addictions.

Joseph Nowell

Clinical Director
LPCS MAC

Clinical Director Joseph holds two Masters Degrees, Master of Science in
Counseling Psychology and Master of Education in Adult Education, both
received from the University of Southern Mississippi. He is a Licensed
Professional Counselor in the state of Alaska, a Nationally Certified Master
Addiction Counselor by the National Association for Alcoholism & Drug
Abuse Counselors, and a National Certified Counselor by the National
Board of Certified Counselors. He has worked in the field of addictions
treatment since 1998 and has been a practicing mental health clinician and psychotherapist since 2003. He has worked in the public sector in inpatient, residential and outpatient Substance Abuse treatment programs as a Chemical Dependency Counselor and Clinician, as a Crisis Stabilization Unit Coordinator, and as a Mental Health Clinician and Clinical Supervisor. Joseph has 21 years of experience in helping people heal from Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders. He approaches therapy as a solution oriented therapist with a strong cognitive behavioral flavor. Joseph is an International trainer in Brainspotting (BSP) trauma-focused reprocessing therapy, which he often utilizes to facilitate client healing from trauma effect. He is experienced in treating a wide variety of issues but specializes in the treatment of addictions, trauma effect, depression and other mood disturbances, and anxiety syndromes. Joseph is also one of our cofounders, and provides clinical supervision for many of our counseling staff.

Nick Kraska

Chief Operating and Financial Officer
CDC 1, BHC 2

Nick was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska. He currently holds an Associate of Applied Science degree in Human Services, with a concentration in Addictions Counseling from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Nick also has a Chemical Dependency Certification I as well as a Behavioral Health Certification II. Nick has worked in the field of mental health for over 7 years now and has been in a variety of roles, including direct care with patients, case management, intake coordination, administration, and leadership. Nick is an active member of our community interested in helping others. 

Jonathan Miller, LPC

Clinician

Clinician Jonathan Miller holds a Masters Degree in Professional Counseling from Liberty University. Jonathan grew up in southern Michigan, but started coming to Alaska every summer after his first visit in 2005. He and his family moved to Alaska in 2011 when Jonathan started his counseling internship at a residential treatment program for adolescents. Prior to becoming a counselor, Jonathan was a teacher and youth ministry leader for 7 years. From that background, children and adolescents have naturally been a strong focus of Jonathan’s mental health work, but he also enjoys counseling adults and families. His approach is cognitive behavioral, though he frequently employs play therapy techniques with younger children. He approaches each client as an individual, with a strong belief in the importance of trauma-informed care. Jonathan is an active member of the American Counseling Association. In his leisure time, he enjoys being outdoors, playing sports, reading, and pretending to be a carpenter.

Amy Carlson, LCSW

Clinician

Amy Carlson is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in the State of Alaska. Amy was born and raised in South East Idaho. In July of 2012 Amy and her family moved to Alaska to fulfill a life long dream. She has had an interest in mental health from an early stage in life. Amy worked in residential treatment with adolescents while attending Idaho State University. There she earned a Bachelors degree in Social Work in 2005 before attending Walla Walla University and obtaining her Masters degree in Clinical Social Work in 2007. Amy has over 15 years of experience in mental health. She is trained in Brainspotting and holds a license through the National Guild of Hypnotists as a certified hypnotherapist (CHt). Her emphasis is on anxiety, depression, including post partum depression, and family members of substance abuse. Her focus has been on children and adolescents, but she also enjoys working with individuals, families, and couples. Her approach to therapy is cognitive behavioral, person-centered, and trauma-informed. Amy is very active in nature and enjoys hiking, camping, and skiing. She is also an avid reader and crafter and enjoys beading, quilting, and sewing. Her lifelong goal is to empower others with the tools they need to lead full and happy lives.

Danielle Burke, LPC

Clinician

Clinician Danielle was born and raised in Fairbanks. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor, who obtained her bachelors degree in Psychology and Masters degree in Education Counseling from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Danielle is an active member of the American Counseling Association. She joined the Turning Point team in 2013 and has worked in a variety of capacities during her time with us. Danielle co-facilitated the intensive outpatient program (IOP) for substance use for several years prior to moving on to focus working with clients individually. Danielle works with clients holistically, using a solution-focused approach to therapy. This approach allows her to meet clients where they are currently in their life and experiences, as well as helps support clients reach solutions that fit their lives. Her specialized training includes trauma-reprocessing therapy called Brain Spotting, Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY), internal family systems (IFS), Bessel Van Der Kolk’s “The Body Keeps the Score” hosted by the Annual Advanced Trauma Training Institute in Anchorage in 2017, and nutrition for mental health. When she is not practicing therapy, Danielle enjoys yoga, training and competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, going on random adventures, and finding ways to be creative in the kitchen.

Holly Sanborn, LPC

Clinician

Clinician Holly Sanborn holds a Master’s Degree in Art Therapy and Counseling from Southwestern College in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska and received her bachelor’s degree from UAF in Art, with a focus in ceramics, and Psychology in 2011. Holly has always had a life-long dream of becoming an Art Therapist and views art as an integral process to healing the mind, body and soul. She enjoys working with children, frequently using art and play therapy, and holds a Children’s Mental Health Certificate from Southwestern College. Holly’s internship, in 2016, led to a very well-rounded experience with working with children and families as well as adults and adolescents struggling with eating disorders at the Eating Disorders Treatment Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her approach to therapy is person-centered and strength-based and likes to individualize treatment for her clients so they can ultimately reach healing and well-being. Holly, herself, enjoys creating art in her spare time because she knows that creativity cultivates balance, inner-peace and helps keep her grounded. Her goal is to empower people through encouraging self-expression, compassion and self-love to meet their therapy goals and live happy lives.

Claire Gelvin-Smith, LPC

Clinician

Claire holds a Masters of Education in Counseling from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and a Masters of Arts in Social Psychology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Claire is a Licensed Professional Counselor, as well as a certified practitioner of the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) modality. Claire offers assisted psychotherapy, a therapy model that includes horses, with group therapy and individual clients. In addition, Claire is trained in Brainspotting, a trauma re-processing therapy. Claire co-facilitated the group therapy program for addictions, the Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), for several years before shifting her practice to work exclusively with individuals. Claire specializes in trauma and substance use disorder, primarily working with teens and adults. Her therapeutic process offers a client-focused approach incorporating cognitive behavior therapy and dialectical behavior therapy with trauma-informed, mindfulness-based practices. Claire’s professional background includes therapeutic work with severely emotionally disturbed youth, both in the school and clinical setting. Claire is an adjunct with UAF’s psychology department, offering psychology courses in coordination with Student Support Services’, Emerging Scholars Program. Claire’s personal background includes growing up with horses, riding English and Dressage most of her life, as well as offering riding instruction for a number of years. Claire enjoys fishing, being in the outdoors, painting, writing, and spending time with her family.

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Elizabeth Sewell, LPC

Clinician

Liz is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Alaska. She received her Masters of Education in Counseling from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Liz enjoys assisting clients in gaining insight into their thoughts, choices and actions that keep them stuck in unhealthy or unhappy situations. Recognizing and changing patterns of unwanted behavior begins with identifying negative thoughts and past experiences. During sessions, Liz and the client work together in order to create goals that can lead to effective and long-lasting change. Liz works with individuals, couples, and teenagers to help them navigate life’s hardships in an atmosphere that is warm and positive. She thinks that it is imperative to start counseling where the client is at and find an approach that works best for them. Liz is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).

Attachments area

Ashley Kelley, MS

Clinician

Clinician Ashley Kelley holds a Master’s Degree in Psychology with an emphasis in behavioral health from the University of Phoenix. Ashley was born and raised in Northern Nevada and has since spent time between Arizona and Alaska and has made Alaska her home. She worked as a clinician in a residential treatment program for children before coming to Turning Point. Her experiences have included working with children with trauma, grief, behavioral concerns, substance use, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and mood disorders. She has worked with mostly adolescents and their families, but is eager to learn and grow. She has spent time working with children on the spectrum and understands the importance of patience and acceptance. Her approach is cognitive behavioral therapy as well as implementing trauma-informed care.

Her approach to counseling is to understand that everyone experiences life in different ways and that everyone has the skills or the ability to learn the skills, to master their own emotions and become the best version of themselves. She focuses on helping others recognize their own strengths and abilities and provide hope and reassurance that they can achieve their goals while living a healthy life and creating positive support systems. In her leisure time, she is an avid reader and writer, enjoys fishing and being outdoors, and watching sports. She has ambitions to continue learning, motivate others, and to become a Professional Licensed Counselor.

Christina Hernandez, LPC

Clinician

Christina is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Alaska. She is now solely providing telehealth counseling from Colorado. She holds a Master’s of Arts in Counseling from the University of the Rockies in Denver, Colorado. Christina has a passion for treating substance abuse. Her focus is working with adults individually, families, or couples. Her experience includes working with trauma, substance abuse/co-occurring disorders in residential and outpatient settings, more specifically working with individuals with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and non-substance related addictions. Her approach to counseling is more eclectic than one modality, including cognitive behavioral therapy, person-centered therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy and trauma therapy with brainspotting; with the understanding that different approaches will work for different clients and identified problems. Her approach to counseling is to understand the individual as a whole, emphasizing the many layers to an individual than just what meets the eye. Christina was born and raised in Colorado, so in her leisure time, Christina enjoys going on road trips, fishing, and a love for spending time in the Rocky Mountains.

Justin Knowles, MSW

Clinician

Justin Knowles holds a Masters Degree in Social Work from Robert’s Wesleyan College and is licensed in the state of Alaska. Justin grew up in Upstate New York, but joined the Army as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician, and ended up right here in Fairbanks in 2010. After attaining the rank of Sergeant, Justin decided to pursue his call into the mental health field in 2013.

 

Justin began his journey in residential treatment for adolescents. While working, both as a Mental Health Technician and a Therapist, he worked alongside teens and their families to regain equilibrium. Justin then branched out to broaden his horizons. Justin worked at an adult mental health clinic, which improved his clinical skills and his passion for joining with adults to help them achieve a version of their best self.

 

His approach to therapy is generalist: he uses techniques from cognitive-behavioral, dialectical behavioral, person-centered, child-centered play, and trauma-informed cognitive behavioral therapy.

 

Justin has an amazing wife and three little boys - twin two-year-olds, and a 4-year-old. He spends his time at home outside on power-wheels and dirt bikes or inside building train tracks with his boys. Justin also enjoys metal detecting, house projects, and occasional stops at the local re-use areas.

Krista Zody, M.Ed.

Clinician

Krista grew up in Fairbanks, enjoys being involved in community outreach, and has personal military family life experience. She values quality time with family, social connectivity, and viewing people as human beings of worth. Her education journey includes a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Linguistics with a focus in American Sign Language and holds a Master of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She obtained both degrees through the University of Alaska Fairbanks and is an active member of the American Counseling Association. Krista provides individual psychotherapy counseling sessions and is a clinician in the Intensive Outpatient Program for substance use disorders.

 

She strives to create a safe therapeutic environment, intentionally understand the client's internal experiences, and foster the journey of self-awareness, self-acceptance, and self-growth. Her approach to therapy utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, trauma informed care, Brainspotting trauma reprocessing, somatic experiencing, psychoeducation, and strength-based support. In her leisure time, Krista enjoys being in nature, exploring, spending time with loved ones, and attending community events.

Patricia Cooper, LPC

Clinician

My approach to counseling recognizes the importance of finding healing
though the counseling relationship. Clients are often unaware of their ability to find healing within themselves and struggle to find someone to walk with them though their difficult journey to peace. My hope is that when you walk into my office to work on trauma, addiction, depression, anxiety, or any other significant issue, you find an accepting place where you can feel at peace with yourself and gain that understanding that you are not alone and able to overcome your battle. With that, you can accomplish anything.
My job as a counselor is to help you discover and build on your own strengths and empower you to have a healthy life. I feel that there is no single approach that is the right one for every individual and so I have been trained in a range of modalities that are client-centered to include solutions focused therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, acceptance and commitment (ACT) therapy and trauma-informed therapies, such as Brainspotting. I have a passion for working with clients who experience addiction, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, trauma, and grief. I have experience working with adults and children and welcome ages 13 and older.

I joined the Turning Point team during October 2016 and my professional
training includes a Master’s of Science in Mental Health Counseling and I am professionally licensed in both Alaska (LPC) and Montana (LCPC), where I reside. I have enjoyed working in the different levels of care and programs offered at Turning Point to include the Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), alumni group, and standard outpatient treatment.

Mary Elkins, MA, CTP, CGCS, CAIMHP, CTMH-A, CDC I

Clinician, IOP Co-Facilitator

Mary Elkins lives in Anchorage, Alaska with her two children and joins Turning Point Counseling Service through telehealth. She loves Alaska summers, but says she hates the cold of winter. She is fond of saying, “I’d like snow if it wasn’t so cold!”

Mary holds a Master of Arts in Counseling from Wayland Baptist University, a Graduate Certificate in Addictions Counseling from Capella University, and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Child and Family Forensics from William James College. Mary has a long history working in the helping field. She worked as a Mental Health Specialist for an acute inpatient mental health hospital for children and adolescents. She spent four years as a social worker for the Office of Children’s Services, helping Alaskan families address and overcome addiction, domestic violence, neglect, and abuse.

While at the Office of Children’s Services, Mary realized her passion was to work with Alaska Native families, and individuals experiencing addictions. Mary recognized and felt compelled to address the significant trauma experienced by Alaska Native women and families and those affected by addiction. Mary believes that most often, addiction is a response to trauma; she has enormous compassion and a desire to help heal the Alaskan spirit. Mary began working in Addictions and Mental Health counseling in 2019.
Mary is active and engaged in her community and is part of the steering committee for the Anchorage Suicide Prevention Coalition, is on the Membership Committee at NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals, and is active in the local Alaska Addiction Professionals Association (AAPA). Mary is passionate about educating and destigmatizing trauma, anxiety, addictions, and mental health.

Mary is trained in several trauma techniques and interventions; however, indicates that she loves Brainspotting and working with parts through Internal Family Systems therapy. She is a certified trauma professional, certified grief counseling specialist, and certified addictions informed mental health professional. She is certified as a telemental health provider associate and is certified in Alaska as a chemical dependency counselor level 1. Mary believes that therapy should be about what works for the client, not what works for the therapist; so, she models this through her utilization of approaches from cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, reality therapy, rational emotive behavioral therapy, and others when working with clients. Mary truly loves working with parents, families, and Alaskans. She sees adults experiencing trauma, addiction, anxiety, depression, and other problems; however, her passion is working with Alaska Native Women.