Our Practitioners

Spiritual Confidants,
Friends of the Soul

Anam Cara Therapies is proudly formed by a group of practitioners that, along with Dr. Carlson, provide therapy, spiritual direction and workshops, among other services. Read their bios below and get to know their expertise and stories.

Kara Vangen


Kara VangenKara has been a part of the Anam Cara community for many years co-directing the Cauldron Studies program. Her professional experience includes 20 years as a spiritual teacher, as well as front line work as a social worker in community mental health. Kara worked for many years as a social worker specializing in mental health at Touchstone Mental Health where she combined traditional social work practice with integrative and
complimentary health practices to address mental health. Her work with others is deeply imbedded in an integral framework for psychological well- being as well as steeped in humanistic psychology.  Kara is an ordained teacher in the Ridwhan school and has extensive experience in the practice of self- reflection and inquiry, which informs her work with others.

In 2005 Kara completed advanced Professional Training through the Center for Mind Body Spirit Medicine in Washington D.C. and is currently teaching mind-body medicine to groups and individuals in her private practice. Deeply practical about healing, she is able to support grounded growth that takes into consideration each person’s uniqueness and capacity.

I have experience working with anxiety, depression, stress, developmental wounding,
PTSD as well as many other conditions of the body mind. The method is holistic, and
engages with all aspects of the self to resolve issues.  We work together so you can accept
yourself with less judgment, and learn new methods to access safety and peace within,
as well as work through unresolved feelings. All of these ingredients make it possible
to make healthy and loving changes that reflect your authentic self.
Please feel free to call me discuss the way I work.

Kara is passionate about doing the, “deep inner work” required to show up authentically in life and community and that our value and happiness as human beings arises from our ability to illuminate our inner life. With all of her work, Kara brings a grounded presence that is committed to the unfolding of each person’s true and authentic self.  She creates a safe and reflective space to help her clients take steps towards living out their values.

Elder Kaia Svien


Elder KaiaElder Kaia -meditation instructor, ceremonialist, mentor, spiritual guide and community activist- blends ancient wisdom ways with a passion
for cultural healing through experiential exploration, symbol, story, deep listening and loving-kindness. Her passion lies in manifesting the essence of the Divine Feminine in daily practice and as a guide for our psychological and spiritual passage through the environmental changes ahead.

Elder Kaia delights in assisting people in developing lovingkindness and compassion towards themselves and others. She is especially interested in working with people who have a passion for community service. As she’s moved into her Elder years, Kaia finds herself witnessing closely the journey the spirit makes after death and honoring that passage in ancient ceremony. Kaia brings unique skills as a creative thinker and idea generator, risk-taker, gentle trickster, and compassionate affirmer of people’s current essence and potential for growth.

As a cultural teacher, Elder Kaia co-lead the first public ritual at the Take Back the Night March in Minneapolis in 1980, and since then has participated in national and local peace marches, with some arrests, sometimes as media spokesperson. She designed and implemented the Iraq Photo Project, a community response of photos and messages to the people of Iraq on the torture of Iraqis by US military. She has continued to work with the subsequent Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project. Kaia facilitates courses on the work of Joanna Macy and the Great Turning.

As a ceremonialist, Elder Kaia has developed and taught cultural wisdom classes, and facilitated many ceremonies for individuals and groups seeking multi-dimensional ways to mark life’s transitions, honor Earth and find life-meaning. She has been honored for her ability to create sacred space though the making the altars and has written a series for a metro newspapers on creating ritual. In 1999 she published her first novel, To Follow the Moon, a story drawn from the Wisdom Ways of European Americans. Elder Kaia has been invited into and embraced the role of elder in her community.

Elder Kaia began her studies of European-American Ancient Wisdom with Selena Fox in Mt Horeb, WI, in the 1980s and has continued them with Starhawk, Antiga, Spiderwimmin, colleagues at the Powderhorn/Phillips Cultural Wellness Center, and other regional and national teachers. She has also studied hypnosis, guided imagery, Reiki, and Mindell’s Process Therapy.

In the mindfulness realm, Elder Kaia has trained with Jon Kabat-Zinn, Thich Nhat Hanh as well as many regional teachers, and follows the teachings of Pema Chodron and Jack Kornfield. She co-designed and facilitated A Year of Living Mindfully at the University of MN’s Center for Spirituality and Healing, a course combining mindfulness meditation and seasonal wisdom. Kaia designed and taught for many years a mindfulness course in the Master’s of Holistic Health Studies program at the University of St Catherine. She offers advanced mindfulness courses on working with difficult emotions and peacemaking.

Elder Kaia’s original profession was a Learning Disabilities Specialist for adolescents and adults. In her thirty four years of teaching she worked in a range of settings including the University of Minnesota, the LDA Reading and Math Clinic, private practice, two women’s prisons, and various hospitals and corporate settings. Her most thrilling work as an educator was supporting those who learn differently, focusing on finding their gifts and strengths rather than on their failings in the traditional learning system.

She co-founded and co-directed a non-profit clinic for people with learning disabilities as well as HECLD (Higher Education Consortium on Learning Disabilities, a model now used in several states), designed study skills seminars and assessment tools for college and secondary students who learn differently, and taught on various topics related to whole-brain learning, self-esteem building, and study skills. Kaia has published papers in two academic journals, and co-founded and co-edited the Consortium for Whole Brain Learning, an international newsletter.

Elder Teri Parsley

Elder Teri’s mission is to walk the edges of Mystery Elder Teriand give voice to our infinite and
boundless spirits. In service to that mission, she has acquired several sets of skills and been led down many different paths—mothering, priestessing, organizing, exploring. She is a consulting professional astrologer, a craft she has practiced since 1996, and is a writer and editor. Through her relationship to the stars, she has experienced walking on the edge of Mystery, and knows that each of us is more than we can imagine.

Elder Teri writes a monthly astrology blog that appears on the New Moon. The focus for these articles is to support spiritual practice and leading an intention-filled life. Her teaching, whether it be ritual arts or astrology, focuses on the transformation of the self into fuller authenticity, and she brings this expertise into her work with community, priestessing and counseling. Elder Teri happily is part of the ritual facilitation team for The Tree and the Well.

Elder Teri likes to bring the insight she has garnered from her involvement with the Reclaiming Tradition of Witchcraft and Diana’s Grove Mystery School to her work in ritual. After 20 years of crafting ritual, she has developed an interest in sharing what she knows about tending and creating energy. Elder Teri is also passionate about working with interfaith groups and helping to facilitate shared spiritual experiences across many spiritual traditions.

April Kaisen


April is a teacher, consultant and clinical practitioner at Anam Cara Therapies since the winter of 2013. Her professional experience includes work with adults, children and their families. In her work with children, April uses techniques including Adlerian Play Therapy, Yoga Calm, and Theraplay to further develop the child’s strengths and to help foster attunement between child and caregivers.

April has worked in social services for 13 years, including four years with Headway Emotional Health Services in a school setting, providing play therapy, skills groups and family therapy with elementary school students with significant mental health and behavioral needs.

With all of her clients, April brings a grounded presence that is filled with curiosity and wonder for the unfolding of each person’s truth and authentic self.  She creates a safe and reflective space to help her clients take steps towards living out their values. April is currently a student in the Ridhwan School, practicing mindfulness and inquiry to continue supporting her own truth to emerge. She most enjoys spending time with her family and their community, having potluck dinners, playing in music ensembles and exploring the outdoors.

Nathan Paulsen


PaulsenNathan is a dad, activist, writer, permaculture enthusiast and clinical trainee at Anam Cara Therapies who has worked in the mental health field for over 15 years. Nathan approaches his work with a not-knowing attitude born of the rich variety of experience and many surprises he encounters in daily life. His practice as therapist is to accompany clients in the often confusing journey toward their preferred future by nurturing best hopes and neglected desires while grounding them in the rhythms of everyday life. In this way, therapy supports client intentions to cultivate the wonderful joys of a more mindful and integrated style of living.

In a world of grave injustice, these healing tasks have a special significance. Nathan believes the intimate wounds each of us carries are profoundly affected by the global crisis in which we live. In turn, the difficult emotions of sadness, grief and anxiety offer wisdom that – when honored – invite transformative action in our lives and wider communities.

Fanny Miller

MSW Candidate | BA

Fanny MillerFanny is from Ecuador, South America. Her first language is Spanish. She is a Master of Social Work student doing her internship at Anam Cara Therapies. She has years of experience working one-on-one with disabled individuals and the elderly.

Fanny is the Executive Director of BeechWood, Inc., an organization that offers Independent Living Skills Services and Adult Rehabilitation Mental Health Services. She has a BA in special education and has experience teaching children. She has taught in regular classrooms as well as running a special education program for disenfranchised children in her community. Fanny is interested in social justice and working with different communities.

Currently, she is doing counseling work with Anam Cara clients and would like to extend the service to others in the community for the duration of the internship. She believes in a holistic approach, utilizing the client’s own strengths and resources to work toward possible solutions. She walks side by side with clients in their journeys toward growth, health and wellness.

Nicole Duxbury


IMGP4855Nicole is an intuitive, energetic healer who works with all ages, abilities and genders. She collaborates with clients in individualized bodywork and energy work sessions with the goal of facilitating a greater sense of ease and wholeness for the whole person. Offerings include: Shiatsu, Therapeutic and Deep-Relaxation Massage, Craniosacral therapy-based energy work and Flower Essence Consultations.  More information on services provided here: http://wildcrocus-hbt.com/what-we-do/

Nicole’s work is guided by her training and understanding of Mind-Body connection, the impact of the central nervous system on our experience of our bodies, improving structural alignment via opening the myo-fascial network, and the interplay of our energetic, organ-based systems with our physical and emotional well-being as laid out by the meridians and acupressure points of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Inspiring her healing work is an ever-evolving understanding of the dynamic intersection of personal and collective healing. “We live in a constant dialectic with our environment: As I heal, my relationships heal. As my relationships heal, my community heals.” Dedicated to healthy relationship through cultural wellness and a spiritual path of Truth, she apprentices with Cara Carlson and Kara Vangen in the path of the Sacred Feminine, Kaia Svien, and is a student of the Ridhwan School.  She hosts the monthly New Moon gatherings at the Anam Cara Center.

Some reasons people work with Nicole:

*physical pain and tension, *stress and anxiety, *somatic support for trauma recovery process (please be working with another mental/emotional health professional), *emotional imbalance, *social justice minded Euro-Americans interested in exploring/deconstructing the way whiteness and “white-body supremacy” show up in their bodies.

See website here for professional training and credentials: http://wildcrocus-hbt.com/partners/

Jennifer Paige


JenniferJen holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Psychological Services, as well as a Graduate Certificate in Addiction Studies, both from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. Jen is currently the treatment director for the ARMHS program at Beechwood, Inc, an agency that offers in-home skills coaching to adults with mental health diagnoses. As a graduate student, Jen completed two internships in chemical dependency treatment centers and has an interest in working with clients with co-occurring addictions and mental health concerns.

Jen uses Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, along with humanistic and existential techniques; she enjoys helping each client determine their own goals, identify personal values, and increase psychological flexibility. She loves to incorporate humor, expressive arts, and creativity into her work with clients.

Scott Edgar


Scott joins Anam Cara therapies with over 7 years of direct experience working in the Minneapolis/St.Paul metro area with persons who experience severe and persistent mental illness. Scott has experience in Independent Living Skills, Adult Rehabilitative Mental Health Services, Individual Counseling, Group Therapy, Psychoeducation and Task Supervision.

Scott received a B.A in Psychology from Hamline University, a M.A in Counseling and Psychological Services from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota and is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor. Scott practices from a Strength-Based Positive Psychological and Humanistic model of counseling. Scott’s interests in counseling include: Anxiety Disorders, Severe and Persistent Mental Illness, phase of life
changes and spiritual exploration.

Scott’s spiritual and cultural identification falls within the Jewish traditions and spiritual practices. The Jewish practice of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) is reflected in Scott’s commitment to social justice.

In his personal life, Scott enjoys spending time with his partner and his 4-year old daughter. Scott enjoys practicing his Judaism and creating music.