Our professional clinical staff are among the most highly trained
and experienced mental health and substance abuse professionals in
Nebraska and are often cross-trained to enhance service provision to
individuals with dual disorders.
Connie Petersen, PhD, Director of Outpatient Clinical Services
, obtained her PhD in Clinical Psychology from Wichita State University in Wichita, Kansas and is a fully Licensed Psychologist. She has over 15 years of experience working in the human service field, to include community support, outpatient, inpatient, and residential levels of care in both mental health and addiction services. She joined the Behavioral Health Specialists, Inc. (BHS) team in August of 2007. She enjoys working with individuals struggling with addiction issues as well as individuals dually diagnosed with addiction and chronic mental health issues.
Dr. Petersen (and her team) provide critical incident stress debriefing for individuals as well as groups as the need arises. Dr. Petersen is fond of utilizing Acceptance and Commitment Therapy strategies in the work she does with individuals and groups. She has skills in leading both a Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Group and Courage to Change/Dual Diagnosis Group. She provides Business team building consultations and education in success for businesses. She is the Chairperson for the Quality Assurance (QA) Committee for BHS as well as the Chair for the NIA Tx Change Team within the agency. She is a Nebraska Registered Service Provider with the Criminal Justice system and has been trained in both the Addiction Severity Index (ASI) and Comprehensive Adolescent Screening Inventory (CASI). Dr. Petersen is also a Certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor and Certified Anger Management Facilitator. She has been appointed to the Northeast Nebraska Drug Court team as a Provider Representative and currently sits on their Board. She has been the clinical lead on the LWSI Electronic Medical Records Work Group moving BHS into the world of Electronic Medical Records. Dr. Petersen has been a member of the Nebraska Psychological Association, an American Psychological Association (APA) member, a member of the National Association of Professional Women, and a Phi Kappa Phi member.
Dr. Petersen has presented on a variety of topics, including: Addiction and Recovery; Ethics, Boundaries, and Professionalism; Common Mental Health Illnesses and Treatment; Effective Communication; Team Building; Utilizing Acceptance and Commitment Therapy approaches; and Suicide Prevention and Treatment. Dr. Petersen has also published a number of articles centering around the use of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy with a number of populations.
Melissa Armstrong, LIMHP, LMHP, LADC
received her Master’s Degree in Education with an emphasis in Community Counseling from the University of Nebraska, Kearney and is licensed in the State of Nebraska as both a Mental Health Practitioner and Alcohol and Drug Counselor. She has over 13 years of experience with Behavioral Health Specialists, Inc., working in both residential and outpatient settings. Melissa is a Nebraska Registered Service Provider with the Criminal Justice system and has been trained in both the Addiction Severity Index (ASI) and Comprehensive Adolescent Screening Inventory (CASI). She works closely with the criminal justice system to assist the adolescents and adults she works with. She has had training in trauma focused care for children. She enjoys working with adolescents and adults, and has experience working with addiction, “life problems,” stress management, mood disorders, behavioral disorders, and individuals working through grief, loss and trauma. She typically incorporates a blend of Motivational Enhancement Therapy, Positive Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy into her treatment. She regularly assists with the after-hours on-call pager and Crisis Care Line consultation.
Suzanne Riley, LMHP, PLADC
received her Master’s Degree in Education with an emphasis in Community Counseling from the University of Nebraska at Kearney and has obtained provisional licensure in the State of Nebraska as a Mental Health Practitioner. Suzanne has over 6 years of experience working in the helping profession with experience at an inpatient mental health facility, volunteering as a domestic violence advocate, assisting those experiencing physical and developmental disabilities, and counseling in a jail setting. Suzanne does individual mental health and substance abuse therapy in addition to being a facilitator of the Intensive Outpatient Program. She completes alcohol and drug evaluations and also enjoys working with individuals with relationship issues, anxiety, depression, and adjustment disorders.
Samantha Barritt, LMHP, PLADC, CAMF
obtained her Master of Science in Clinical Counseling degree from Bellevue University in Bellevue, NE. Samantha is currently a provisionally licensed Mental Health Practitioner and provisionally licensed Alcohol and Drug counselor in the state of Nebraska. She is also certified as an anger management facilitator and is an approved Criminal Justice provider. Samantha has also has been trained in both the Addiction Severity Index (ASI) and Comprehensive Adolescent Screening Inventory (CASI). She has over 8 years of experience in the helping profession. Samantha is a co-facilitator of the Intensive Outpatient (IOP) treatment group for chemically dependent individuals. She is fond of utilizing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Reality Therapy based techniques. Samantha enjoys working with individuals who struggle with addiction, anxiety, depression and inter-personal problems.
Connie Barnes, LADC, Executive Director
, has nearly 30 years of clinical experience, nearly 25 years of clinical managerial experience, and is a licensed Alcohol & Drug Abuse Counselor in Nebraska. She is also a certified Anger Management Facilitator for Adults & Adolescents through the Anderson & Anderson Model, as well as an approved registered criminal justice probation provider. Ms. Barnes is an experienced public speaker and trainer on a wide array of behavioral health & addiction topics, and in providing consultation services to companies on policy & procedure development in addressing alcohol & drugs in the workplace and intervening with impaired employees & professionals.