Who Is Nivon?
We’re Here to Help
Nivon Wellness Center, LLC, was started by husband and wife, Nicole and Von-Shan Billingsley (Hence the name Ni-Von). The couple found recovery years ago and is excited to give back to the community by helping individuals and families find hope and joy as they have since finding a new way to live.
Dr. Nicole Billingsley, DBH, MSW, LICSW, LADC, CCTP
CEO/ Treatment Director/ Psychotherapist
Nicole Billingsley is CEO and treatment director. Nicole has experience working with adolescents and adults and has a range of clinical skills. She is a Doctor of Behavioral Health, is licensed by the State of Minnesota as an alcohol and drug counselor, and an independent clinical social worker. She is also a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional. Nicole is trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), which is an evidence based therapeutic intervention to help clients recover from the effects of trauma and other issues. She is passionate about helping clients heal from the effects of trauma as well as mental health and substance use disorders.
Von-Shan Billingsley, CPRS
Owner/ Community Relations Director/ Peer Recovery Specialist
Von-Shan Billingsley is owner, community relations director, and Certified Peer Recovery Specialist. He has extensive experience with relationship building, sales, and has experience working as a professional chef as well as many other skills and talents. He is passionate about recovery and helping clients and families access resources to better their lives. He is excited to be entering the field of substance use disorder treatment and developing the program alongside his wife, Nicole. He brings a warm personality and personal experience with addiction and recovery with him. Von-Shan is eager to share about the services offered at Nivon Wellness Center.
Donna Randall, MD
Dr. Randall provides mental health and addiction medication management to our clients, including Suboxone.
Those who have known Dr. Randall as a physician and friend are truly fortunate. She is a powerhouse. Not just physically, which is true, but as a woman who radiates inner strength.
Dr. Randall's professional life began in classical music. After completing her undergrad and a Master's, she was teaching music on the college level when she was inspired to become a physician. With that strength of will that's evident in all she does, she completed the science courses she needed to get accepted into medical school.
Dr. Randall began her medical career in family medicine. When selecting a specialty, she chose to become an OBGYN for a number of reasons. First, the complexity of the specialty made it endlessly interesting. Second, she loved the arc of care that she could provide – from teen years, through pregnancy, delivery, and motherhood and on to the mature years in a woman's life. Dr. Randall has two decades worth of experience treating a variety of physical and mental health conditions across the lifespan.
Brownell Hilger, MSW, LICSW
Mental Health Supervisor
Brownie believes that change is possible when providing the right balance of positive encouragement and gentle challenge. She is an intuitive and empathic listener. She offers insightful perspectives and the space and energy to help analyze these ideas and make plans.
She integrates 20+ years as a mental and chemical health professional in a variety of clinical settings. For the past 6+ years, Brownie has been a Clinical Supervisor for one of Minnesota's largest mental and chemical health clinics, where she has led a large, multi-disciplinary team of professionals. She also currently contracts with Fairview Health Services providing mental health services to the emergency room clients.
As a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW), she brings expertise working with adolescents, adults, and families with grief, loss, depression, anxiety, addiction, impulse-control, trauma, personality challenges, transitions and adjustment, and relationship concerns.
Brownie really enjoys using her clinical leadership experience to develop and supervise mental health professionals working toward licensure as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) or Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW).
Amanda Thomas, AS, ADC-T
Compliance and Training Manager
Amanda is our compliance and training manager. She ensures that Nivon is compliant with all 245G requirements as well as working with the director on staff development. She attended Minneapolis Community Technical College, earned her Associates of Science Degree in Alcohol and Drug counseling. Before coming to Nivon Wellness Center, Amanda spent 4 years in the substance use disorder counseling field working in detox, MAT, as well as with high risk offenders in the community and correctional settings. Amanda believes that everyone recovers differently and can find a path that works best for them with the right support. She also believes in Nivon's goal of providing integrated care to the clients they serve to produce the best outcomes.
Judi Tuzun, AS, ADC-T
Lead Counselor -Women's High Intensity Outpatient
Judi is a lead counselor of the women's high intensity outpatient with lodging. She attended Minneapolis Community Technical College, earned her Associate Science Degree in Alcohol and Drug counseling, and is currently enrolled at Metropolitan State University pursuing her Bachelor's Degree as a Licensed Alcohol Drug Counselor. Before coming to Nivon Wellness Center, Judi spent 3 years specializing in admissions and intake, working mainly with the homeless population as well as those recently released from jail/prison. Judi believes that creating a safe and inviting space allows clients to explore their own healing process.
She is passionate about "housing first" an approach that allows people to become safe and stable while getting help with their substance use. She is open to working with a variety of clients seeking recovery services including those with open child protection cases, those experiencing exploitation and those who need added supports and resources. She truly believe in Nivon's motto "Where there is life, there is hope."
Yolanda Long, ADC-T
Lead Counselor - Women's High Intensity Outpatient
Yolanda is a Lead Counselor of the women’s high intensity outpatient with lodging. She attended Minneapolis Community and Technical College, and earned a degree in Addiction Counseling. Before coming to Nivon, Yolanda spent 10 years in the field of substance use disorder, holding various positions including Recovery Coach, Assistance Counselor and Culturally Specific Counselor for a women’s outpatient program with lodging. Yolanda is passionate about practicing the skill of meditation to help with mental health symptoms, and is interested in researching new drug trends that continue to affect our communities. She believes every individual deserves a chance to live a healthy, happy and prosperous life.
Jake Van Allen, BA, LADC
Lead Counselor - Men's High Intensity Outpatient
Jake is the counselor serving both our Intensive-Outpatient and Aftercare programs at our Cottage Grove site. He graduated with his Bachelors of Science in Alcohol and Drug Counseling from Metropolitan State University and is licensed by the state of Minnesota as an Alcohol and Drug Counselor. Prior to coming over to Nivon Wellness Center, he spent 6 years working in the High-Intensity Residential MICD setting focusing much of his efforts on helping clients successfully transition from jails, prisons, and other institutions back into the community, and providing them with the necessary tools to lead healthy and productive lifestyles. Jake believes in taking a client-centered approach with the individuals he works with, focusing heavily on the therapeutic alliance he forms with his clients and utilizing this alliance as a way to promote personal-growth and have his clientele reach their full potential.
Stephen Montry, BA, LADC
Lead Counselor- Native American High Intensity Outpatient
Passionate and impact-driven; Stephen Montry is dedicated to teaching healing and forgiveness while providing exceptional care and developing treatment plans individualized to his patients’ needs. Stephen is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe and descendant of the White Earth tribe. He has a B.A. in Individualized Studies: Trauma-Based Multicultural Addiction Counseling. Stephen is also a DHS Native American Curriculum Trainer, training field professionals in counseling Native American clients with substance use issues.
Kaitlin Fear, BS, ADC-T
Kaitlin is our Admissions and Aftercare Counselor at our St. Paul location. She graduated from Minnesota State University - Mankato with a Bachelors of Science in Addiction Studies. Before coming to Nivon Wellness Center, Kaitlin spent 3 years in the substance use disorder counseling field. She has experience in all areas of addiction counseling, including: intake and assessment, group and individual therapy, outpatient and residential treatment, and case management. Kaitlin believes in client centered treatment; being able to help guide each individual client down their own path and help clients identify their specific needs and what has to be met to have a successful journey to recovery.
Jennifer Manzo is our St. Paul office manager. She graduated from St.Olaf College with a Bachelors in Biology and Family Studies. She is the first person you will see upon entering Nivon Wellness Center in Cottage Grove. Jennifer's eagerness to help and warm demeanor ensure a welcoming environment. She has excellent communication and listening skills which allow her to successfully communicate with clients face to face and over the phone. Jennifer is passionate about helping others and providing the support needed for them to achieve their goals.
Tina is our Outreach Coordinator. She was born in Martinez, California and raised a Minnesota girl who grew up in Frogtown. Tina is Minnesota Vikings fan and is a member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. She is excited to help spread the word about our new Native American Outpatient with Lodging program and is working towards her Peer Recovery Specialist Certification. Tina is an Indigenous women working a long term recovery program and has not had a reuse in 3 years. She is eager to share her experience, strength and hope.
Alcohol and Drug Counselor Intern
Angelina is our Alcohol and Drug Counselor Intern. Angelina is excited to learn the knowledge and skills necessary to be an effective counselor. She believes everyone deserves respect and empathy at any part in their recovery journey. We are excited to have her join the team and help the clients with any needs they may have.
Mental Health Intern
Talea is currently interning in Nivon’s mental health program. She graduated from Metropolitan State University in 2016 with a bachelor's degree in Human Services-Family Studies and is now pursuing a Master in Social Work at Arizona State University. Talea believes in the inherited goodness in people. She also believes that people have the power to change their behaviors by changing the way they think. She believes in finding the redeeming qualities in people and working hard to help them build on them. Her work allows her to plant seeds and hope they will grow. She has a passion for working with people from diverse backgrounds and underrepresented communities. In the future, she would like to work to deconstruct and restructure policies and programs to promote equality and inclusion amongst all races, genders, and backgrounds. Talea is also interested in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), mindfulness, and other therapeutic practices.
Alcohol and Drug Counselor Intern
Mekenock Bellecourt is a alcohol and drug counseling intern and student at Minneapolis College, majoring in addiction counseling with a minor in America Indian studies. He is an enrolled member of the Wampanoag tribe of Aquinniah, on Martha’s Vineyard island, he has volunteered his time serving homeless individuals needs as it pertains to substance use disorder. He has worked to divert youth from gangs , and believes in meeting the client where they are and helping them from their point of view. Mekenock grew up in Rice Lake area, on the White Indian Reservation. He now looks to help native populations and other people in despair.
Shannon Dolan, MA, LPCC, LADC
Primary Counselor - Women's High Intensity Outpatient
Shannon is a primary counselor in our women’s high intensity outpatient program in St Paul. She is a graduate of Adler Graduate School with her Master’s Degree in Clinical Counseling and Psychotherapy. She holds a certificate in Addiction Counseling from MCTC, as well as a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Metropolitan State University, with a minor in Family Studies. Shannon is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor with the State of Minnesota. She has been in the Dual Disorder field since 2013, and has experience in a variety of settings: women's residential, men's residential, MAT, and outpatient. Shannon is passionate about advocating for clients in order to build on the work they are doing, helping clients realize positive change and return to what they truly value, and remember their importance and value as humans. Shannon enjoys spending time with her family, being outdoors, cooking, and working out.
Angel Benes, MA, LADC
Primary Counselor - Women's High Intensity Outpatient
Angel is a primary counselor in our women’s high intensity outpatient program in St. Paul. Angel received her master’s degree in Counseling and Psychological Services from St. Mary’s University -Twin Cities. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, with a concentration on substance use disorders.
Angel is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor and working toward becoming a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor. Since 2014, Angel has worked in a variety of MICD treatment settings and mental health clinics.
Angel works through a person-centered approach, which means she values the therapeutic relationship and takes a gentle approach as she walks through and helps process the challenges in the client’s life.
Brittney Van Risseghem, BS, LADC
Primary Counselor - Women's High Intensity Outpatient
Brittney is a primary counselor in our women’s high intensity outpatient program in St. Paul. She is a graduate from Minnesota State University, Mankato with a Bachelor’s degree in Alcohol and Drug Studies and Community Health Education. Brittney is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC) who empowers clients through a non-judgmental and empathic approach. She emphasizes the importance of creating a strong therapeutic relationship. Her goal is to provide evidence-based, person-centered care to underserved populations through equality. Brittney is looking forward to expanding her knowledge of health disparities that affect our communities and improving the quality of life for future generations.
Thadious Walker, AS, ADC-T
Primary Counselor - Men's high intensity outpatient
Thadious is a primary counselor in our men's REVIVE criminal justice high intensity outpatient program.
He attended Minneapolis Community Technical College, earning an Associates of Science Degree in Alcohol and Drug counseling. He is currently enrolled at Metro State University pursuing his Bachelor's Degree in Alcohol and Drug Counseling. He has worked in the recovery community in various roles for the past 3 years, most recently as a counselor in Medication Assisted Treatment. He is passionate about working with people with substance abuse disorders and criminal justice system adherence struggles. He believes in a client centered approach, understanding the many different barriers clients may face in their recovery effort. He is excited to join the Nivon Wellness team providing services that encompasses the wholeness of the people served.
Mary Albert, BA, LADC
Primary Counselor - Evening Outpatient - St. Paul
Mary is our St. Paul and is our evening group counselor. She has over 20 years of experience working in the field of addiction. Mary attended St. Catherine’s College in St. Paul to receive her AA degree in Chemical Dependency Family Counseling. Mary has experience in all aspects of addiction counseling, including, intake and assessment, group and individual therapy and family groups. She believes in client centered treatment, utilizing the client’s own intuition and knowledge along with professional guidance for the best possible outcome for the client. Hope is Mary’s mantra and that fits well with Nivon Wellness Center’s belief that “where there is life there is hope”.
Larry Sedlacek, MA, LADC, LPCC Candidate
Primary Counselor - Cottage Grove Outpatient
Larry is the primary counselor in our outpatient program in Cottage Grove, and a mental health practitioner at our St. Paul location. He graduated with his masters degree in addiction counseling advanced practice from Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies. He holds an LADC from the State of Minnesota as well as a Bachelor's degree in Spanish Studies from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Larry has experience working within trauma informed care serving diverse clients in a variety of settings: men and women’s residential, men and coed outpatient, and co-occurring programs.
Larry uses a variety of clinical skills, including but not limited to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Solution Focused Therapy, Dialectic Behavioral Therapy skills, Existential Therapy, and Mindfulness. Larry uses Person Centered and Strength based approaches, helping clients realize their own strength and resiliency to achieve lifelong change.
Natasha Gunderson, MPS, LADC, LPCC-Candidate
A graduate of the University of Minnesota’s Integrated Behavioral Health program, Licensed as a Drug and Alcohol Counselor, working towards Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor; she has more than five years of experience working with children and adults in the field of mental health and substance use disorder. She invites individuals to enter a warm and safe space in which to explore life’s challenges; utilizing principles of talk therapy and evidence-based treatment modalities including motivational interviewing, dialectical behavior therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). It is important for her as both a therapist and a client that the therapeutic space is non-judgmental, authentic and genuine.
She is open to working with a variety of individuals on their journey in areas including women’s issues, chemical dependency, anxiety, depression, self-esteem, family systems such as couples and trauma. It is her goal to guide you while you seek your true and best selves. Her mission is to help you reach a higher quality of life by realizing your potential in your overall emotional, mental, and physical well-being. She hopes to help you through life's challenges, when you may feel stuck or disconnected from those around you. Through therapy her goal is to help guide you to live a fuller more authentic life.
Dani Voss, MS, LADC
Dani’s understanding that all behaviors serve a purpose is what allows for her to provide a safe and non-judgmental space where people can feel comfortable to share their reality and experience their full range of emotion. Dani considers herself a person-centered therapist who values the principle of harm-reduction. She believes in the power of connection and support when working together to overcome the various obstacles and challenges that life will bring us. Dani has experience working with adults in an outpatient treatment setting and experience working with children and adolescents in both residential and in-home settings. Dani has practiced working with people who live with chemical dependency complications, grief & loss, anxiety, depression, PTSD, severe emotional and behavioral disruption, and autism-spectrum disorder. Dani offers her clients transparency, empathetic listening and thoughtful feedback while sharing the goal of developing congruence, creating change and increasing awareness of their unique thinking and feeling patterns.
Kelly Sweeney, MSW, LICSW
Kelly graduated from the University of Saint Thomas with her Master’s Degree in Social Work and is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) in the State of Minnesota. She has experience working with people of all backgrounds and uses a variety of clinical skills, including but not limited to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Interviewing. Kelly uses a strength based approach in assisting people process through their thoughts, feelings, emotions and past experiences to ensure people achieve their best quality of life and obtain feelings of self-worth. Kelly is also widely versed in assisting with safety planning for people experiencing mental health crisis as she previously worked as a mobile crisis practitioner in Washington and Scott County.
Allisen Isaacson, MSW, LGSW
Allisen graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Masters in Social Work. She enjoys working with adolescents, young adults, and adults from diverse background. Allisen has a wide range of personal and clinical expertise (CBT, Strength Based Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Humanistic Therapy and others) which allow her to be an effective therapist. She is an advocate for erasing shame and stigma that accompanies addiction and mental health.
Allisen believes that every client deserves a therapist who genuinely cares about their wellbeing. She strives to leave each client feeling heard, empowered and ready to manage the stresses that are encountered in life. Allisen understands that her clients are the experts of their lives, and meets them where they are on their life's journey that she feels honored to be a part of. On this journey work will be done to identify mental health obstacles and change them into opportunities for growth and healing.
Joan Bullemer, MA, LADC, LPCC
Joan is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) and Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC) and has worked with individuals, families and couples. She is trained in Adlerian Psychotherapy and has extensive experience in working individuals with addictions, mood disorders, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, grief and loss, as well as, individuals with serious and persistent mental illnesses.
Joan’s approach combines therapy focused on change in the “here and now”, trauma-informed, along with explored patterns of behavior developed in early experiences. Joan helps clients address symptoms and problems that interfere with life and create distress. She also assists clients in gaining more insight into themselves.
Joan’s style is interactive, intuitive, personable, open and empathetic. Joan is a graduate of the Adler Graduate School with a Master’s Degree in Adlerian Counseling and Psychotherapy, with an emphasis in co-occurring disorders. Prior to that she worked as a licensed social worker where she worked in areas of developmental disabilities, child protection, chemical dependency and mental illness. In addition, she is certified in Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) for the treatment of trauma. Joan has had training in hypnosis, cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness. She is also a military veteran and has experience in working with Veterans and their families.
Ashley Swanson, MA
Ashley is a psychotherapist at our St. Paul location. She believes in the power of rewriting stories to help clients - while we can’t always change what life throws at us, we can change how we respond to it. Ashley graduated from the University of St. Thomas with her Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology. She previously worked with trauma populations, helping those who felt they were at their lowest point in life. These clients tend to present clinically with depression and anxiety. Talking to them, however, shows people feeling overwhelmed with the challenges of life. Ashley offers her clients a place to work on different responses to friends, family, and life events that are hard to deal with. Ashley uses open and honest feedback to help you feel safe and heard in session.