Methodist Counseling Center 

Therapy for Children, Individuals, Couples & Families

Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists

Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) and Marriage and family therapists (LMFTs) have either a master's or doctorate degree specializing in clinical counseling, school counseling or family and interpersonal dynamics. LPCs typically treat individuals and often have specialized training in a particular area of study such as trauma, addiction, school counseling, etc. LMFTs treat individuals in the context of family relationships or a system, addressing issues from anger and resentment to intimacy and communication skills.

**Please be advised that email is not a secure means of communication. Phone calls are more secure. Our staff will respond to emails by phone or with encrypted email.**

Merinda Leach, MS, LPC, LAMFT

Clinical Director, Counselor, Office in North Boise

Merinda is a Licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist and a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Idaho, having received her Master’s degree in Marriage, Family and Couple Counseling from Northwest Nazarene University. Merinda helps individuals of all ages. She has particular interest in working with Couple Relationships, Blended Families, Teens, and Individuals with Anxiety.

Merinda works from a Humanistic, or client-centered, framework; meaning she believes you are the expert on your life, and the pathway to your well-being will be found within yourself. Using Narrative theory, Mindfulness techniques, and Strength-Based, Solution-Focused philosophy, she will work with you to find clarity and direction in your story. Her goal is to provide a comforting, accepting environment where you feel safe to share your stories, expand your perspective, and find greater wellness.

Phone: 208-557-1328

Email: mleach@methodistcounseling.org

Stephanie Sternes, MS, LCPC, LAMFT

Assoc. Marriage & Family Therapist, Office in Emmett

Stephanie completed her studies in Marriage and Family Counseling at Northwest Nazarene University.  Over the last 12 years, she has served her community as a resource specialist, teacher, and small claims mediator. Born in Arizona, Stephanie grew up living in both the city and working on a farm.  Between these two different environments, she has learned a skill set that delivers a sense of balance in working with people from many different backgrounds.  Stephanie is a wife and mother with 6 children ages 7 to 33.


As a counselor and mediator, Stephanie has worked with individuals, families, businesses and communities to problem solve and uncover new areas of positive engagement.  Stephanie has a particular interest in helping people build and regain relationships. Stephanie’s approach to counseling is through power of choice and a realistic look at strengths and options.  She believes that you are the expert of your own life and with clarity more options are available to you.

Phone: 208-918-0054 Email: ssternes@methodistcounseling.org



Susan Earnst, MS, LPC

Clinical Counselor
Office in North Boise
Susan received her Master’s degree in Clinical Counseling, with an emphasis in trauma, grief, and crisis, from Northwest Nazarene University. Having a PhD in zoology and working for many years as a research ecologist, Susan brings a wealth of life experience to the counseling relationship.
Susan helps individuals experiencing depression, grief, anxiety, and symptoms of PTSD. She also works with clients of all ages who wish to improve relationships, increase self-esteem, identify career strengths, or work through life transitions. Susan’s goal is to provide a safe, non-judgmental space where client and counselor work together to clarify and achieve the client’s goals. She uses EMDR, cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and guided imagery.

Phone: 208-996-3879

Email: searnst@methodistcounseling.org

 

Lena Biondolillo, M.Ed, LCPC

Clinical Counselor, Office in North Boise
Do you put your own needs aside to fulfill the needs of others? Do you sometimes find yourself struggling with feelings of anger or frustration that are hard to explain? Do you go out of your way to avoid arguments? Do you feel as if people seem to take advantage of you? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you can learn how to improve your life and relationships. If you recognize any of this in yourself or if you are feeling stuck, I've helped many women with these challenges and I can help you.
My passion is helping women find peace and contentment so they may enjoy healthy relationships and be all that God created them to be! You may have thought that counseling is just for people with serious difficulties but it's so helpful if you are suffering from the stresses of life. I have years of experience in helping people recover from trauma, abuse and divorce, as well as providing grief counseling and Biblical counseling when requested.  I am humbled by the people, through the years, who have allowed me to walk alongside them for a time as they sought healing and growth.

Life is too precious and short to be weighed down with stress, guilt and worry. I have helped many women in your position and I can help you: Rediscover joy in your relationships; Overcome fear and depression; Find relief from anxiety and stress; Learn to laugh and have fun again.
Phone: 208-501-2181 x 17
Email: lenab@methodistcounseling.org

Stephanie R. Alvarez, MS, LMFT

Assoc. Marriage & Family Therapist, Office in Kuna

Stephanie Alvarez is a Licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist and Licensed Professional Counselor.  She is a pre-clinical member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy and a new professional member of the American Counseling Association.  She emphasizes in addictions, grief, trauma, crisis, including relationship issues, depression, anxiety, anger and resentments. 

She emphasizes in addictions, grief, trauma, crisis, including relationship issues, depression, anxiety, anger and resentments.  She is Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) and Theophostics trained, to assist in resolving disturbing events and discover inner Peace/well-being.  Faith-based approach may be included, if desired.  She empowers strengths and goal setting from a wellness perspective.  She is retired from the Air Force with 23 years of active duty service.  So she understands family difficulties in a military environment, as well as the transition to civilian life.  She has 5 children and 3 grandchildren with a son-in-law in the Navy.  

Phone: 208-501-2181 x 19

Email: salvarez@methodistcounseling.org

Veronica Van Buren,MS, LPC

Clinical Counselor, office in Caldwell

Veronica earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Boise State University. She has her Master's Degree in Marriage, Family, and Couples Counseling from Northwest Nazarene University. 
She is certified in Gottman Couples Therapy, Advanced Trauma training, is a facilitator for Prepare and Enrich, and also works with members of the LGBTQIA community. She focuses her work with couples and families, while also working with adolescents and individuals.
Her passion is to work with all members of the community and providing them the tools they need. Providing counseling to all members who are in a place they are looking for assistance in all areas; loss/grief, anxiety, depression, parenting, and gender identity. We are all on our own journey and not one map is universal. 

Phone: 208-649-4018 

Email: vjoyce@methodistcounseling.org

Amanda Breneman, MS, LPC
Clinical Counselor, office in Meridian

Amanda is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Idaho, she received her Master’s degree in Marriage, Family, and Couples Counseling from Northwest Nazarene University, and helps individuals of all ages. Amanda's goals are to help individuals, empower couples, and heal and teach families. Life was designed to be enjoyed and often times we find ourselves spinning our wheels in the sand and trying the same solutions without results. As a counselor, Amanda wants to help clients break their difficulties down and find solutions that work for them.
Amanda has worked with clients who have experienced PTSD, grief and loss, anxiety, depression, childhood abuse and neglect, and couples work. Amanda has experience working in the community with mental health services since 2013. She is a facilitator for Prepare and Enrich and is working towards her certification in Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR). She is eager to help the community with their current and past childhood trauma, and hopes to come alongside her clients by helping them take back control of their lives. Amanda strives to help her clients be released from fear and live a life filled with joy and satisfaction.

Phone: 208-216-6700

Email: abreneman@methodistcounseling.org

Counselor Interns

Part of the mission of the Methodist Counseling Center is to help train new counselors through supervised internships. Our interns are held to high standards of excellence by supervisors with years of supervision experience. One of our wisest supervisor might even have received training from Methuselah (last statement not verified).

Patrick Barga

Patrick is a Counseling Intern at Methodist Counseling Center and currently finishing his Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy at Northwest Nazarene University with an emphasis in Logotherapy. Patrick also studied at Boise State University and the College of Southern Idaho, earning a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Family Studies. Coming from a Logotherapy (Meaning Therapy) perspective, he believes that we can all find meaning and purpose in our lives even in the hardest of times. He intends to help his clients find hope, purpose, and the tools they need to draw closer to what's most important to them in life. 
Email: pbarga@methodistcounseling.org
Phone: 208-501-2181 x 12

Heidi Stark

Heidi is an intern at Methodist Counseling Center and currently finishing her Master’s degree in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling with an emphasis in Grief, Trauma, and Crisis at Touro University Worldwide. She has a Bachelor’s of Science degree with an emphasis in Psychology & Sociology from Eastern Oregon University. Heidi is also trained and certified as a Grief and Bereavement Counselor. Her emphasis is in Trauma, Grief and Bereavement, having been an Advocate for those in crisis, domestic violence, and elder abuse situations. Her desire is to raise the awareness of Domestic Violence locally, with her focus in marriage and family therapy.

Email:

Phone:

208-501-2181 x 21

Chelsea Leatherman

Chelsea attended Boise State University, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science with an emphasis in Psychology and Addiction Studies. Currently, she is a graduate student in the Counselor Education Department at Northwest Nazarene University and will receive her master’s degree in Clinical Counseling with focused studies in grief, trauma and crisis. Chelsea works within the theoretical orientations of CBT and ACT to assist individuals of all ages; however, she has a particular interest in couple relationships, teenagers and adults. She is currently working toward becoming EMDR Certified and gaining expertise knowledge in the areas of Trauma Sensitive Yoga and Sex Therapy.

Chelsea approaches therapy with compassion and acceptance, providing a safe and non-judgmental space for clients to open up and be present with their thoughts and emotions. She aims to help clients deepen their self-awareness, strengthen relationships and develop kindness, confidence, acceptance, and compassion with themselves. She views the counseling relationship as a professional partnership in which clients become familiar with their inner wisdom, values and personal strengths as to assist them in overcoming challenges and change their relationship with discomfort/pain. She is passionate about holding space for individuals and couples to heal at their own pace, moving gently through the discomfort caused by life transitions, anxiety, depression, grief, and trauma as well as other social, psychological or personal difficulties.

Email:  cleatherman@methodistcounseling.org

Phone: (208) 501-2181 x 15

Janae Bekker

Janae is an intern at Methodist Counseling Center and currently finishing her Master’s degree in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling with an emphasis in Grief, Trauma, and Crisis at Northwest Nazarene University. She has a bachelor degree in Psychology from University of Phoenix. Janae is trained and certified as a Prepare/Enrich Facilitator, a program that helps couples in all stages of their relationships, and she has some training in play therapy, including Sand Tray.

With a systems perspective, Janae understands that individual struggles affect not only the individual but also the individual’s relationships with family, friends, classmates, coworkers, and church members to name a few. She wants to help individuals, couples, and families learn ways to improve their lives and relationships.

Email: jbekker@methodistcounseling.org

Phone: 208-501-2181 x 18

Andrea Morris

Andrea is a graduate student in Counseling at Northwest Nazarene University with a focus on Marriage and Family Therapy. She works with clients from a systems perspective, which looks at an individual’s needs and growth within in the context of family relationships and the broader environment. Andrea’s goal is to help clients develop a new understanding of themselves, and to hold the space for them feel safe, have new experiences, and grow as human beings. Andrea is trained in Emotionally Focused Therapy and works with couples to change negative patterns and foster a deeper connection.

Andrea worked previously as a volunteer on the mental health hotline and National Suicide Prevention Line. She holds a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin, a master’s in education from Northwestern University, and has a certificate in Leadership Coaching from Georgetown University.

Email: amorris@methodistcounseling.org 

Phone: (208) 501-2181 x19


Rachael Wolter

Rachael is counseling intern at Methodist Counseling Center currently finishing her Master’s degree in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling with and Emphasis in Trauma, Grief, and Crisis Counseling at Northwest Nazarene University. Additionally, she holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Boise State University. Rachael is a trained and certified Prepare/Enrich Facilitator and has completed Gottman Method Level 1 Training, both of which are focused on helping couples improve their relationships. Rachael’s goal as an intern is to create an environment where clients feel comfortable exploring their concerns in order to facilitate growth and change in their lives. Her holistic approach to treatment takes into account the relationship between a client’s mind, body, and spirit to best suit their overall well-being when planning treatment.

Rachael is passionate about working with all members of the community with special interests being in the areas of: women’s issues, infertility, parenting challenges, pre-marital and couples counseling, communication issues, and working with members of the LGBTQIA community.


Email: rwolter@methodistcounseling.org

Phone: 208-501-2181 x 20