Since 2014, Integrity Counseling has been helping individuals, couples and families in Otter Tail and surrounding counties with anxiety, depression, behavioral problems, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and and other issues.
Founder and owner Bridgit Pankonin, a licensed professional clinical counselor, started Integrity Counseling with a single therapy room and a front office.
Today, Pankonin has several therapy rooms, including rooms designed for groups and children, and several more have been constructed and are waiting on the finishing touches.
That’s in addition to a second office, and a staff of four therapists and a psychiatric nurse practitioner, Richelle Ramirez. Ramirez is able to give patients formal diagnoses and prescribe medications to her patients as part of their treatment, Pankonin said.
Ramirez meets with her patients from Integrity Counseling remotely through a telehealth video program.
“So you would come to the office, we pull up our HIPAA-secure video platform, and we call the psychiatric nurse practitioner -- that’s how you meet with her,” Pankonin said.
One of the significant services that Integrity Counseling provides is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).
“It’s for people who suffer from suicidal thoughts, self-harming behavior, abdication, and more chronic things or multiple diagnoses; PTSD, major depression, anxiety,” Pankonin said.
“It’s (DBT) an intensive outpatient program that has individuals and group components to it,” Pankonin said. Once a week patients have both an individual counseling session and a group session.
“People are specifically referred here for that by psychiatrists, Child Protection Services cases by case managers, things like that,” Pankonin said.
Integrity also gets referrals for clients seeking mental health therapy while battling addiction. However, patients do not need a referral to seek Integrity Counseling’s services.
Pankonin has worked hard over the years to be able to accept as many different types of insurance as possible, to meet the needs of the most clients. “I don’t know any we can’t. It could even be fair to say that we take them all,” Pankonin said.
Integrity Counseling's hours have not changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Two counselors are still seeing patients in the office, and Pankonin is seeing her patients over telehealth, she said.