In the News

Adler Graduate School is excited to announce a change in our admissions process. Starting today, AGS will be moving to a four starts per year enrollment process. The progression to four start times will allow us to report statistics, cultivate relationships, answer student inquiries, and smooth the transition of new graduate students.

Students will maintain a five-week course curriculum that includes one class per term; however, new students will only be admitted during the first session of each term. “Our hope is to better meet the needs of our new students by fully preparing them in time for their first class,” states Director of Admissions, Christina Hilpipre-Frischman. The new four start per year process will start with our spring term that begins April 2, 2018. The application is free, and prospective students may set up meetings with our admissions team prior to applying.

The Adler Graduate School has a distinguished history in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area. Through the encouragement and support of internationally known psychiatrist Dr. Rudolf Dreikurs, the institution was founded in 1967, as the Minnesota Adlerian Society. It began in the Twin Cities as a small movement to present Adlerian concepts to the regional community. Today, in addition to the Master of Arts in Adlerian Counseling and Psychotherapy, the Adler Graduate School offers various certificate and other specialty study programs. It is a well-respected graduate institution educating and training mental health practitioners. At its core remains the Adlerian philosophy of encouragement, open-mindedness, and mutual support to advance the public interest.

For more information about our programs, contact our admissions team or set up an information session by calling (612) 767-7055. To apply for one of our esteemed program click here.

Adler Graduate School is honored to welcome Dr. Jeffrey Allen as our new school president. Dr. Allen brings over 25 years of education management: leading schools to maximize their enrollment, retention, and supporting faculty and staff success.

Dr. Jeffrey Allen has supported student success as an administrator, dissertation chair, committee member, and an adjunct faculty member. His background includes a full range of experiences gained from working in executive and officer roles in higher education and nonprofit organizations, teaching, and social work. He believes in a relationship-centered approach in every aspect of an organization’s operations and has created trusted and strategic relationships at all levels inside and outside of the organizations. He helps execute growth through a practical application of assessment and self-reflection. In his personal life, he has applied the Adlerian principles of dignity, respect, equality, encouragement, purpose, belonging, and social interest.

It was the consensus of the search committee that his familiarity with higher education organizations through periods of growth and reorganization, as well as his background in enrollment management, evaluation and accreditation, program development, operations, technology, and public relations will serve the institution well.  As a seasoned executive to colleges and nonprofit organizations, his marketing expertise and past role as Chief Academic Office is vital to the new role Dr. Allen will assume.

Dr. Allen earned his doctorate at the University of Minnesota. He holds an M.A. in Teaching Social Studies, and a B.A. in Political Science from the State University of New York at Binghamton. He earned a certificate in Executive Fundraising from St. Thomas University, and is a Licensed Independent Social Worker and social studies teacher in the state of Minnesota.

Taylor Vance — a recent Art Therapy, December 2017, graduate — is the first to complete the experiential part of her Master’s Project in a refreshing Adler style: creating an artwork donation. Her paper focused on the two modalities of applied behavior analysis & SCERTS. In her work, she created a painting demonstrating the past, present, and future of autism; then, donated it to her previous internship site, St. David’s Autism Day Treatment, for their inspiration in helping Taylor determine her passion.

As Taylor embarks on her journey after graduating, our Adler team reached out to hear about how her experiences at Adler Graduate School (AGS) and beyond have helped encourage her road to self-actualization as a mental health practitioner.


Adler: Congratulations on your graduation achievement. We are so happy to be able to talk about your time spent at AGS. Can you start with a brief background about why you choose Art Therapy?

Taylor: It started in high school, when I discovered my love for art. But, I did not know how to make that a career. I first heard of art therapy through my school counselor and began my search for colleges that could support art therapy.

Adler: You have traveled abroad twice before attending graduate school. Tell us about both of those experiences.

Taylor: Yes, the first study abroad was very short, only about two weeks. It was a London Art Tour; we visited theaters, museums, and galleries to gain a perspective of what is possible through art. The next study abroad experience I had was the summer before my senior year at college, I traveled to South Africa through GVI-Global Vision International. They offered a volunteer internship doing art with children. I spent two months that summer in a small town 40 minutes outside of Cape Town. The first four weeks were spent working in a first-grade classroom using art to teach lessons; the last four weeks were spent in an orphanage. I had the opportunity to discover how powerful art can be not only for teaching but healing. It allowed these children to learn creatively.

Adler: Since you love to travel, understand different cultures, and analyze how their art expresses their heritage, you attended ICASSI in Dublin, Ireland while attending AGS. How was that adventure?

Taylor: When the opportunity to go to ICASSI came around, I jumped on it. One, because it was in Ireland; two, because I had never been to an event like ICASSI. I did not know what to expect being around a bunch of Adlerians for two weeks. It was one of the most insightful experiences. Being surrounded by individuals who know so much about what it means to be human and be a part of a community was inspiring.

Adler: Your entire journey to graduation you have been forging a unique path, creating the career you envisioned since high school. How were those creations of your undergraduate degree, travel, and ultimately your Master’s Project transformative?

Taylor: The most valuable thing I have learned at AGS is that it is you must be your most authentic self. If you don’t bring your most authentic self into the room, your clients will know. My experiences lead me to this point, helping me discover my authentic self and accept it. When it came to deciding the type of master’s project, I struggled to find something that would express what I wanted to get across. It took some collaboration and brainstorming to find something that was authentic to me but also authentic to my topic, Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Adler: Your Master’s Project discusses autism. Why did you select that topic?

Taylor: One of my first internships was at St. David’s Center for Child and Family Development in the Autism Day Treatment program. This internship is where I had my first experiences working with these individuals. I was inspired to discover how art therapy can help this population. After St. David’s, I had the opportunity to work for another autism treatment center, The Lazarus Project. Both these locations are what inspired my master’s project. St. David’s used SCERTS as their treatment method and The Lazarus Project used Applied Behavior Analysis. I had the unique experience of learning both treatment methods. When I was brainstorming topics for my master’s project, it made sense to use my experiences with these treatment methods to generate a topic.

Adler: Can you give our readers a short explanation about your art piece?

Taylor: The idea behind the painting was to create a response to my research. When I was deciding on the type of project I wanted, the idea of creating art was a part of answering to my authentic self. I wanted to express the individuality of each person with Autism Spectrum Disorder, but also how far the research has come.

Adler: Coming into AGS as one of the youngest of your cohort, you had not heard of Adlerian psychotherapy before attending graduate school. How would you describe your experience with Adler theory and application?

Taylor: It sounds silly to call it fate that I found AGS. Now that I have graduated with this knowledge and insight about myself and the world, I can’t see how I could do my job without the education I received at AGS.

Adler: What 3 words would you use to describe your time at AGS?

Taylor: Insightful. Challenging. Transformative.

Adler: Anything else you would like our readers to know?

Taylor: It is hard work. You need to be willing to open yourself up and discover who you are. I think that is what makes us better therapist and counselors.


At Adler Graduate School, we love hearing about the success and journey our graduates have undertaken to further their profession. To learn more about how Adler can inspire you, click here.

Adler Graduate School's goal at graduation is to have trained human services professionals to facilitate healthy and fulfilling lifestyles for people, organizations, and communities through graduate education and community involvement. We recently reached out to our fellow alumni to see where they are since graduation.


“I have operated a private practice, Friendly Psychology Professionals, since 2014. I currently am supervising; I am a Minnesota Board-approved supervisor for LMFT and LPCC. I participated in Adler's ‘non-profit incubator’ for a year, and I would recommend it to anyone. I am studying Psychodrama and plan to become accredited. I will be leading an experiential workshop on psychodrama at Adler on April 6, 2018.” – Timothy Kuss, MA, LMFT, LPCC, Supervisor, Marriage & Family License, 2005


“I am an AGS graduate working as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I am currently serving individuals, couples, and families in the Ham Lake area. My approach is strength-based, client-centered, supportive, and encouraging. My aim is to provide a safe space where clients can feel heard and understood as they work through the many issues and challenges life and relationship present.” – Diane Halverson, MA, LMFT, Marriage & Family Therapy, 2010


“I am originally from Charleston, South Carolina. My educational background includes degrees in business, law, Drug & Alcohol Counseling, and a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and Professional Clinical Counseling. My passion for learning, teaching, coaching, and helping is evident in my inclusive approach to human interactions. I embrace the Alfred Adler philosophy of developing relationships and giving back to the global community. I participated in the 2011 International Committee of Adlerian Summer Schools and Institutes in Hitzkirch Switzerland. In 2017, I opened Vitality Family Mental Health, a private practice located in North Minneapolis. Additionally, I teach in the Alcohol and Drug Department at Century College in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.” – Albert Brown, MA, Marriage & Family Therapy and Clinical & Mental Health Counseling, 2012


“I am the owner of Beacon Therapy Associates, a group private practice in Champlin, MN. I have more than 23 years of experience working with families, children, adolescents, and adults…I am a Clinical Member of the Minnesota Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and the American Psychotherapy Association. I am an Approved Supervisor for the Minnesota Board of Marriage and Family Therapy, Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy, and an Approved Supervisor for AAMFT. I hold a Master of Science degree with honors in Human Development: Family & Child Studies and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology: Human Relations from the University of Central Oklahoma. Additional graduate studies for my LMFT license was obtained at Adler Graduate School in Richfield, MN…” – Shelly Davenport, MA, MS, LMFT, BCPC, Marriage & Family License, 2000


“I work for Dr. Hal Baumchen at Northland Counseling; this is my eighth year. Whenever I can, I travel overseas to give marriage and parenting seminars in Jamaica, Rwanda, Thailand, and other places. It usually works out to twice a year. The rest of the time I keep busy mentoring young people and spending time with my 7 grandchildren. I'm really thankful for the education I received at Adler because it's so practical!” – Cynthia Gill, MA, LMFT, Marriage & Family Therapy, 2006


“I have worked at Pathways Counseling Center in St. Paul MN, as a problem gambling therapist since 2004 along with working as an AMHRS (Adult Mental Health Rehabilitation Services) with the SPMI (Serious and Persistent Mentally Ill) population. I have worked with Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance since 2013 as an outreach worker, trainer, and prevention specialist. I have spoken throughout the state to multiple groups, both staff and clients, about the dangers of problem gambling to people in recovery, the trauma of addiction, and focusing on healthy relapse prevention strategies.” — John Von Eschen, MA, LMFT, Marriage & Family Therapy


“…I began my journey at Adler Graduate School in 2005. I had always wanted to be a School Counselor because when I was in high school I would not have graduated if it were not for a certain special School Counselor. I was a high school dropout and a youth at high risk of going nowhere in life. A school counselor and a special alternative high school accepted me and encouraged me to stay on track so that I could graduate. From that time in 1981, I knew that learning and education were always going to be my healing and path. I was 40 years old…a scared and intimidated 40-year-old woman who had not been in college for at least 12 years... That day, the first day, at Adler Graduate School I felt courage and belonging. I felt so empowered with that courage and belonging I went on for another 10 years at Adler Graduate School. I earned a Master’s of Arts in Adlerian Psychotherapy and Counseling.  I became a Licensed School Counselor. I returned for the Marriage and Family Therapy program and became a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. And I returned for the Co-Occurring Disorders program and became a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor. I currently work for People Incorporated in the School Linked Program as a Mental Health Therapist and I am pursuing a private practice.” – Debra Landwehr, MA, LMFT, LADC, School Counseling, 2010, & Co-Occurring Disorders Certificate, 2016


“As a 2012 Adler graduate, I completed a Master's Project that blended the Adlerian concept of Social Interest with understanding the particular needs of Mixed Race people struggling with identity and belonging. For the first five years of my post-graduate career, I worked in community agencies that provided culturally-specific programming, first at African American Family Services, followed by a fellowship with Reclaim for LGBTQ+ Youth, and finally at Pangea Care (which focused on immigrants and refugees). I received invaluable experience, supervision, and mentorship during in these years, working in a variety of clinical, administrative, and leadership/supervisory positions. I have a trauma specialty which includes training in EMDR, Adaptive Internal Relational (AIR) Network Model, and TF-CBT. I provide trauma-informed therapy with a focus on clients of Mixed Race and Trans-racial Adoptees, and try my best to provide safe space specifically for QTPOC.” – Lola Osunkoya, MA, LPCC, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, 2012


“I completed my studies at Adler Graduate School from both the Art Therapy and the Marriage and Family Therapy programs.  Since then, I have been working with children, adolescents, and adults with ASD and ADHD, their parents, and their siblings. My passion for my work is informed by my training and experiences as an artist, in art education, in mental health, and as the parent of a beautiful child with this unique way of experiencing the world.” – Jocelyn Thoemke, Med, MA, LMFT, ATR, Art Therapy, 2012, Marriage & Family Therapy, 2012


At Adler Graduate School, we love to see our graduates in action. Alumni testimonies inspire all of us at AGS to continue developing human services professionals. To learn more about our programs or discover what you can do with Adler Graduate School click here.

Each year the Adler Graduate School’s Social Interest in Action Committee takes our vision statement— transforming society through social interest in action – to heart. This year, our committee selected our Field Experience Partner, Lee Carlson Center for Mental Health & Well-Being.

Lee Carlson supports various mental health populations in our Minnesota community including adults with SPMI, children and adolescents in various school settings, outpatient clinics, and community centers.  We have past graduates who are now current professionals working for Lee Carlson Center in various capacities. Additionally, we have current students working on obtaining field experience hours at their organization. 

We were honored to have collected specific donations on the participants wish list as well as monetary donations in the form of gift cards. We want to thank our Adler community for the kind generosity and support toward a wonderful mental health organization within our local community.  

Brittney Keating, a recent school counseling graduate student, entered Adler Graduate School (AGS) without much knowledge of Adlerian psychology. She googled graduate schools in Minnesota, talked with respected friends and family and fell in love with Adlerian psychology after her first class at AGS: 511 Foundations of Adlerian Psychology.

From the useful learning tools acquired in class discussions to the influential instructors teaching classes from their experiences, Brittney found Adler to be refreshing and relevant. She built a cohort of classmates that became lasting friendships. This sense of belonging only furthered as she continued into her internship.

Brittney was personally selected from her program to join the Adler School Counseling Service Center (SCSC), created by Doug Pelcak – Coordinator of School Counseling Internships and Service Center. The program partners with charter schools k-2, sixth, seventh, and eighth grade. The goal of the SCSC is to collaborate with schools to create comprehensive school counseling programs, impact systems, and address the needs of school counselors and underserved school communities by providing education and consultation to increase the quality and access of SC services.

Brittney spends her days working with kids to provide support and understanding: describing what it means to be a good family member, friend, and student both 1-1 and in small group settings. She helps build a foundation of developmental social and emotional learning skills.

“Doug set a good base for school counseling in this program. I get to work with students in a way I believe in, which I learned from Adler, with a supportive staff that believes in the school.” In the last year, Brittney has been hired on with her intern charter school. She has developed anti-drug programs and is currently working with an Adler Graduate School art therapy student to bring in art programs to help students come together as a group. “I love that I get to help bring a counseling program with Adlerian base to schools in need: helping form a community and school culture.”

At Adler Graduate School, we love to see our graduates in action. Brittney’s story inspires all of us at AGS to continue developing human services professionals. To learn more about our programs or discover what you can do with Adler Graduate School click here.


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