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.
Nicole Billingsley, 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 licensed by the State of Minnesota as an alcohol and drug counselor and 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).
Judi Tuzun, AS, ADC-T
Lead Counselor -Women's High Intensity Outpatient
Judi is our 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."
Amanda Thomas, AS, ADC-T
Lead Counselor - Men's High Intensity Outpatient
Amanda is our lead counselor of the men's high intensity outpatient program. 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.
Ivan Nelson, BS, LADC, CPP
Lead Counselor - Men's REVIVE (Re-Entry) High Intensity Outpatient
Ivan is the lead counselor of our Men's REVIVE (Re-Entry) High Intensity Criminal Justice Outpatient Program. He attained his Bachelors of Science at Metropolitan State University in 2016. He is a Certified Prevention Professional since 2018 with Minnesota Certification Board. Ivan is a trained Thinking For Change
cognitive skills group facilitator since 2014 with Federal Bureau of Prisons. He has worked in the non-profit sector for many years providing counseling and intensive case management services for single adults and families impacted by chronic homelessness, mental illness and substance use disorders. He is a proponent of Seeking Safety, an evidenced based, present-focused counseling model to help people attain safety from trauma, PTSD and Substance Use Disorders. He feels a deep appreciation for every opportunity to engage the clients he serves with dignity and respect, believing - perhaps the only gratification that can come from suffering is to learn from it and try to transform it into something that can help others. He is excited to join the Nivon Wellness family where he is confident excellent client care is exemplified!
Catherine Van Valkenburgh, BA, LADC
Lead Counselor - LGBTQIA High Intensity Outpatient
Catherine is our lead counselor for the LGBTQIA High Intensity program with lodging. She attended Western Michigan University where she earned a degree in Applied Behavior Analysis. She completed the Addiction Counseling program at MCTC in 2010. Cathy recently returned to Minnesota after five years in Portland, Oregon, where she worked concurrently as an on-call counselor for a women's residential treatment program and as a housing advocate for persons living with HIV. While in Portland, she worked on furthering the needs of the Transgender Community: advocating for health insurance programs to cover gender reassignment procedures, and, changing policy at detox centers to allow transgender persons to receive care based on their identies and not their assigned gender at birth. Cathy's approach to assisting persons recovering from substance use is core behavioral change: "Learning to identify the stimulus properties responsible for one's continued substance use, developing a plan of action, and then practicing that plan of action will lead to long term recovery and all the benefits thereof."
In her free time, Cathy enjoys riding her bike, teaching her cat tricks, and traveling to Europe.
Kaitlin Fear, BS, LADC
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.
Intake and Housing Coordinator
Emily is our intake and housing coordinator at Nivon Wellness Center. Emily is trained on meeting client and staff needs with empathy and kindness. She implements trauma-informed care to ensure all aspects of the Nivon experience are positive. Emily's mission is to lovingly serve staff and clients for a strong and healing community at Nivon Wellness Center. Emily believes every individual deserves the hope that recovery offers and is dedicated to assisting Nicole, Von, staff, and clients alike to achieve goals and find hope.
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.
Tony is a Recovery Advocate at Nivon. He has worked in the substance use disorder and recovery field as support staff since 2017. Tony has a history of working in residential and outpatient services and has fulfilled many roles here at Nivon. He is very passionate about his work with those in recovery from substance use and plays an important role in clients lives while they are in treatment.
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.
Jerushah Hill, AS, ADC-T
Jerushah, better known as Drew, received her Diploma in Drug and Alcohol counseling from Minneapolis Community and Technical College after working in accounting for many years. She is currently continuing her education at Metropolitan State University. Before coming to Nivon, Drew counseled residents at the an Adult Correctional Facility, and a clinic for clients seeking Medication Assisted Treatment. Drew believes that everyday is a new opportunity for a new beginning, you just have to take it.
Breanna Warraich, BS, LADC
Primary Counselor - Women's High Intensity Outpatient
Breanna attended St. Cloud State University for Chemical Dependency and Community Psychology, minoring in Psychology. She has worked in many different settings, including inpatient, outpatient and corrections. Breanna has worked as a family counselor, primary counselor, and rule 25 assessor/intake counselor. She believes that every client has strengths that can be built on to assist in the recovery process, and that every client deserves recovery. She believes that clients may choose different paths to recovery, and is there to assist each client on the path they choose.
Keil Figenskau, AS, ADC-T
Primary Counselor - Men's High Intensity Outpatient
Keil attended Minneapolis Community and Technical College and earned his AS degree and counselling certificate. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Alcohol and Drug counseling at Metropolitan State University. He has experience providing trauma-informed care to individuals that have a Substance Use Disorder and brain injuries as well as Serious and Persistent Mental Illness. Keil believes that recovery looks different for everybody and that counselors should work to help clients meet their individual goals.
Thadious walker, AS, ADC-T
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”.
Jake Van Allen, BA, LADC
Primary Counselor - Day Outpatient and Aftercare - Cottage Grove
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.
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.
Dawn Lawrence, MA, LAMFT
Dawn is a graduate of Adler Graduate School with her Master’s Degree in Counseling and Psychotherapy. She has been in the mental health field since 2010 with the last six years working with adults diagnosed with serious and persistent mental illness in residential settings. She brings experience and knowledge to the healing process. Dawn utilizes a strength-based approach and values the importance of being heard. Dawn believes all behavior has a purpose and identifying healthier ways to get needs met is essential for growth. Dawn offers her clients encouragement, validation, and empathetic listening to empower clients and increase their self-worth.
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.
Jennifer Ario, MS
Jen is a graduate of Grand Canyon University with her Master's degree in Professional Counseling . She has been in the Mental Health field since 2017 working with adults and adolescents from diverse backgrounds in co-occurring day treatment, IOP, and residential settings. She has performed Mental Health Diagnostic Assessments, individual therapy, and co-occurring groups with individuals diagnosed with severe and persistent mental illnesses. She uses a person-centered approach with her clients. She uses aspects from CBT, DBT, ACT and motivational interviewing. She uses a whole person approach to help the client find their way to a more healthy way of dealing with life’s pressures and stresses. She believes through talk therapy a client can discover their own path through their mental health challenges. She uses mindfulness, and other skills to help the client find relief from anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses.