Need to unplug? Get away from the hustle and bustle of an office setting?
I specialize in equine-assisted psychotherapy and also serve a wide variety of clientele. Whether you’ve become disenchanted with life or are enduring a difficult time, I want to help you navigate. Together we can develop an understanding of the emotional trauma and thought patterns that are stopping you from leading the life you deserve. The therapies that influence my style are behavioral, cognitive, and humanistic. I use a holistic and integrative therapy approach to offer an unbiased perspective on your journey.
Specialty: Equine-Assisted Therapy and Play Therapy
In-Office sessions for ages 5-65+
Walk and Talk
Equine-Assisted Learning (cooperate, personal growth, and youth groups)
Kristi L Gassen
Licensed Professional Counselor, Founder of North Star Counseling, LLC. O.K. Corral and Equine-Assisted Learning Certified
I obtained my bachelor’s degree in psychology to pursue my dream of being a dolphin trainer. After working with dolphins, I spent several years as an exotic trainer before returning to school to obtain my master’s in counseling. Having a strong sense of wanderlust, I took my educational learning abroad in undergrad and graduate school. These experiences helped shape my cultural awareness and diverse thinking. It was during this time that I was introduced to group therapy. I graduated from Southeastern Louisiana University with honors and was a member of Chi Sigma Iota, counseling honors society.
Since graduation, I have worked in the Tangipahoa School System and St. Tammany School Systems as an elementary school counselor and developing NorthStar Counseling LLC. The experience of being a school counselor has made her realize the potential benefits of offering alternative therapy, especially when helping children.
I have ten years of experience in the counseling field. I am passionate about my profession and strive to incorporate an innovative approach to the counseling process. After graduation, I spent two summers working at a summer camp based out of New York. This experience allowed me to travel with a group of teens for over a month from Colorado to California. During this time, I helped lead the kids through a group wilderness experience that allowed them self-awareness and growth. This experience influenced my approach to therapy based on behavioral, cognitive, and humanistic theories. A client-centered approach lets me offer you an unbiased perspective on your journey.
While our past influences the person we are today, focusing on the here and now provides an opportunity to be in control of our path in the future. I have extensive experience with children using play therapy and doing group work. Over the years, I have observed the need for an alternative approach to helping younger clients. I have begun incorporating mindfulness and yoga in her small groups and school programs in response to this need. “It has been so wonderful to see the participation and acceptance of yoga transcend the different populations!” During adolescence, the child’s developmental age will significantly influence the type of therapeutic approach. I have also completed extensive training in EAP ( Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy) and EAL (Equine-Assisted Learning), allowing me to specialize in Equine-Assisted Counseling. I feel so blessed to have horses as part of the therapy team.
Through my experience and education, I have developed a program that offers an alternative counseling setting that the therapeutic qualities of nature and animals have inspired. After growing my practice over the last seven years, this year will be my last year in the school system, and I will take North Star Counseling full-time.