Insight into mental health
New clinic opens in Waupaca
By Angie Landsverk
Jessie Jenson brings a variety of experience into her new mental health clinic in Waupaca.
She is the owner of Insight Counseling Services at 120 W. Union St.
“This has always been my goal – to own my own practice and do counseling,” she said.
The planning to do so began in February.
Jenson bought the building in March, and saw her first client there in July.
She is currently available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday.
Jenson is working at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point’s counseling center on Thursdays until May.
When that ends, the hours at her practice switch to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
People may reach her through her website at www.insightcounselingserviceswi.com or at 715-942-8292.
Jenson was born and raised in Waupaca.
Introduction to psychology
After graduating from Waupaca High School, she headed to the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
During her freshman year she took a course that was an introduction to psychology.
“It covered a little bit of everything,” Jenson said. “I was just hooked.”
She decided to major in pyschology and graduated from UW-La Crosse with a degree in that field.
Jenson then went to the Chicago School of Professional Psychology for her Master of Arts degree in clinical counseling.
She is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Wisconsin.
Prior to opening her clinic, Jenson worked in three different settings.
She first did one-on-one counseling at New Directions Counseling Center, in Stevens Point.
Next Jenson was hired as a crisis case worker in Waupaca County’s Department of Health and Human Services.
After about a year, she became a comprehensive community services coordinator.
“I learned so much working there, about different programs, services,” she said. “I would never change that experience.”
From there, Jenson went to Alliance Medical Group, in Stevens Point.
She worked at that private practice about 2 1/2 years before starting Insight Counseling Services.
“Each place I worked at prepared me for doing this. I wouldn’t be as good as a counselor if I hadn’t had those three experiences in three different settings with different populations,” she said. “But there’s always something to learn.”
Jenson explained why she chose “Insight” for the name of her business.
“I feel like that’s a lot of what I’m doing with people,” she said. “I think we need to sometimes gain insight and then reflect on what we can do differently.”
Jenson cares about her community, and that is why she opened her practice here.
“Just being from here, I know that there’s such a need here for mental services in Waupaca County,” she said.
Waupaca County is identified as a mental health shortage area, Jenson said.
The county’s top priorities are AODA and mental health, yet the Central Wisconsin Health Partnership shows the county has .63 mental health providers per 1,000 people, she said.
“There’s a need, and it needs to be filled,” Jenson said.
She said Catalpa has been a great addition to the community, as well as New Directions Counseling Center.
ThedaCare and Ascension also offering counseling services, she said.
Jenson says she has a good working relationship with the other providers in the community.
“I feel we all complement each other well,” she said.
She offers individual therapy, group therapy and family therapy.
Jenson works with children age 5 and older, and sees many adolescents.
“I tend to practice in an evidence-based way,” she said. “I feel you need to be giving people treatments that are shown to work.”
Anxiety disorders are among her specialty areas.
Another one is teaching social skills to adolescents and young adults who have anxiety, autism, depression or ADHD through the Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS).
Jenson is one of eight certified PEERS providers in the state, and was trained by Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson, one of its developers.
It is not a support group, Jenson said.
“It is a group format, more like classes where they learn,” she said.
Jenson offers one for adolescents and one for young adults.
She is also starting a mindfulness practice group.
Jenson is a member of the Waupaca County Suicide Prevention Coalition and said people are becoming more comfortable talking about mental health.
Mental illness is not a choice and needs to be viewed like any other illness, she said.
She knows people feel nervous about talking to a counselor.
“I’m very genuine,” Jenson said. “We’re going to do what’s appropriate for you at this time.”
She believes all who are part of a community have a responsibility to help build it up.
“I love living here. I loved growing up here,” Jenson said. “I love raising my kids here.”
She and her husband Aaron have two young children. He grew up here as well.
“We all want Waupaca and Waupaca County to be a better place,” Jenson said.