Meet our Facilitators
Our support group facilitators bring with them a variety of background experiences as well as professional credentials. All groups are peer support (non-clinical), but are professionally facilitated to help guide conversations and keep the focus on anxiety. Please take a few minutes and meet our facilitators.
“ARC’s open access and the range of services offered, at no cost, address both mind and body; yoga classes, support groups, social outings and educational presentations are a great resource for our community. All these opportunities for individual growth make ARC a true gem for the greater Grand Rapids area.”
» Anya Nyson, LMSW, RYT
[ click on photos to read our facilitators’ bios ]
- Alan CarrieroMSW, LMSW, ACSW
Alan Carriero, MSW, LMSW, ACSW
Facilitating Since 2005, Wednesday Rotation
Alan has a master’s degree in social work from Adelphi University in New York. He has worked in a family counseling service and at a hospital residential treatment program in New Jersey. Since relocating to Grand Rapids he has started his own private practice which he named OCD Grand Rapids. He specializes in the treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and the other anxiety disorders.
“My personal philosophy of treatment includes individual therapy, a support group and if needed medication. I feel the ARC groups are particularly suited to my area of specialization. Support groups are important because they help people to realize they are not alone and it gives them the opportunity to be with others that truly understand what they are going through.”
- Anya NysonLMSW, RYT
Anya Nyson, LMSW, RYT
Facilitating Since 2012, Adjunct
Anya is a therapist in private practice, addressing anxiety and depression using cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness and yoga philosophy modalities. Anya believes support groups are an important and beneficial addition to individual therapy. She believes being with others who have similar feelings and concerns, learning from others and sharing one’s own challenges and triumphs offers a give and take interaction that individual therapy does not offer.
“I so enjoy being a part of the community each time I facilitate a group. Getting to know people on a personal level, continuing with them along their journey and watching others help one another through life’s invariable ups and downs is a great reminder of the power of community and the compassion of our shared humanity. It’s an affirming experience every time I participate.”
- Barbara WilliamsLPC, CAADC
Barbara Williams, LPC, CAADC
Facilitating Since 2011, Adjunct
Barbara has been working in the mental health field for 20 years, and has experience with a range of concerns including anxiety, depression, addiction and relationship challenges. She enjoys facilitating groups as well as working with individuals, and is currently in private practice in Grand Rapids.
“ARC provides a place for people to come together and celebrate their successes as well as share their challenges and concerns. I love to see people learn skills from each other that help them manage their anxiety and enjoy their lives more fully.”
- Benjamin ReistererMA, LLPC
Benjamin Reisterer, MA, LLPC
Facilitating Since 2015, Wednesday Rotation
Benjamin is a private practice psychotherapist with Mindful Counseling GR. He is a member of the American Counseling Association (ACA) and the Michigan Counseling Association (MCA). Benjamin’s extensive experience working as a “helper” comes from a variety of roles in his life where he has walked along side those facing depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, grief and loss, self-injury, relationship issues, trauma, sexual abuse, sexual identity, and neglect.
“At the ARC the work that people from all walks of life engage in is a source of strength and opportunity for so many as the individual journeys towards healing, change, and purpose are openly, honestly, and respectfully shared. It is an honor to fellowship with the ARC community as people willingly set aside time to routinely share successes, frustrations, obstacles, and growth while being safe to brainstorm, contemplate, and celebrate one another’s experiences in meaningful and often eye-opening ways.”
- Bill BrandnerMA, LPC
Bill Brandner, MA, LPC
Facilitating Since 2014, Wednesday Rotation
Bill’s counseling career includes parish ministry, hospital ministry, school counseling, group counseling, and private practice as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). In addition to working as a group facilitator at the ARC, Bill also facilitates groups for children and adults experiencing cancer or grief, at Gilda’s Club of Grand Rapids. He has also worked as a school counselor for many years. Bill’s counseling interests include anxiety, depression, grief/loss, marriage, parenting, coping with long term illness, and spiritual guidance. He is married to his wife Sharon, a professional artist and teacher, and has 3 adult children and 6 grandchildren.
“My small group work in various settings over the years has been amongst the most fulfilling and gratifying of my professional activity. Group members know that the most powerful healing factor at ARC is not always just the professionals, but the participants themselves as they share their personal journeys together, empathizing, supporting, and comforting one another. No matter what age or personal struggle we face, members gain strength, insight, hope, and healing in the process of group sharing.”
- Caroline HallLPC
Caroline Hall, LPC
Facilitating Since 2013, Wednesday Rotation
Caroline became a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) after having been in the field of education for over twenty years. Her experience as a teacher, private tutor, certified school counselor and now a therapist in private practice as well as a case manager at a psychiatric hospital has given her the opportunity to witness the tremendous strength and capacity of the human spirit to thrive. She enjoys working with a diverse clientele, counseling individuals on a variety of challenges: anxiety related disorders, depression, relationship issues, grief, and loss, or adjusting to life transitions.
“Feeling heard and acknowledged in a non-judgemental atmosphere are key ingredients to those who are afflicted with an anxiety disorder. My role as a facilitator is one I am honored to fulfill. My favorite part is listening to the personal stories and seeing the group respond with words of wisdom, compassion and hope. Watching how they learn from and support one another is a powerful experience and I am grateful to be part of this transformative process.”
- Dana BoyerLMSW, CAADC
Dana Boyer, LMSW, CAADC
Facilitating Since 2011, Adjunct
Dana has been working in the counseling and social work field for 12 years. As an experienced therapist she helps people with a wide range of concerns including: addictions, depression, anxiety, job and career dilemmas, trauma, stress management, relationships, and post-partum depression.
“I am an advocate of group treatment all together, and support groups can be even more powerful than a treatment group. There can be tremendous healing in a group of people who get each other and relate to similar experiences. It reduces shame and isolation. I have enjoyed seeing this beauty unfold in the groups at ARC.”
- Jay MillerLLP
Jay Miller, LLP
Facilitating Since 2013, Wednesday Rotation
Jay Miller is currently in private practice at Claystone Clinical Associates in Grand Rapids. Jay has his Master’s Degree from Western Michigan University in Counseling Psychology and currently holds an LLP licensure. He runs an adult group and an adolescent group.
“Support groups are important because they offer the opportunity for individuals to feel supported and encouraged while knowing that they are not alone. I enjoys seeing and connecting with people at the ARC and am always positively encouraged by the people and progress that I see.”
- Jessi WaleLLMSW
Jessi Wale, LLMSW
Facilitating Since 2011, Wednesday Rotation
Jessi has a master’s degree in social work from Grand Valley State University. She has counseled youth through Grand Rapids Public Schools as well as Bethany Christian. Jessi has also worked with the Maternal/Infant Health Program providing services to pregnant women and new mothers.
“Groups are beneficial because they help people realize they aren’t alone. I feel that people can often learn more in a group setting as they are able to receive feedback from their peers. Group also provides a chance for individuals to get out of their house and to make friends. I can see a difference in the people who keep coming. The ARC definitely fills a gap in Grand Rapids for people who otherwise wouldn’t have any type of services.”
- Katie E. AchtyesLMSW, CAADC
Katie E. Achtyes, LMSW, CAADC
Facilitating Since 2011, Adjunct
Katie is a fully-licensed Master’s Level Social Worker (LMSW), holding a Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CAADC) certificate, currently practicing as a Therapist/Health Coach at Durham Clinic–an integrated health clinic within Heart of the City Health Center, through Cherry Street Health Services, addressing chronic behavioral/mental/emotional and physical health conditions. She graduated from Calvin College in 2004 with a Bachelor’s in Social Work, and from Western Michigan University in 2008 with a Master’s in Social Work. She has practiced over the past 10 years as an adult mental health case manager, therapist, health coach, and group facilitator, utilizing techniques of CBT, DBT, and Motivational Interviewing.
“As a group facilitator at the ARC, I have observed great courage and connection among the group participants. There is a natural strength that occurs within a group setting — a spirit of support that enlightens those who may feel as though they are alone in their struggle; that spirit of support helps group participants explore and discover the path of healing.”
- Virginia ScholtenMSW, LMSW, ACSW
Virginia Scholten, MSW, LMSW, ACSW
Facilitating Since 2010, Social Outings
Virginia began her professional career working for the YWCA Sexual Abuse Treatment Center. During her 14 years she facilitated individual, family and group therapy, for children and adults. She started her private practice in 2004 where she specializes in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression and trauma. She is a Certified Level II EMDR therapist.
“I wanted to create an opportunity for people to go out into the world to confront their anxiety. Taking a step further allows them to challenge the anxiety while being in the support of others who understand. Whether the anxiety is the fear of heights, learning social skills or even touching a bowling ball; these fears keep them imprisoned. This ultimately increases their anxiety/ depression, further isolating them from the world of which they crave to be a part.”