Heather Hessel, Ph.D., LMFT

Adjunct Faculty Member

As an educator, I emphasize building and drawing on multiple sources of clinical knowledge, including theory, life experiences, and evidence-based practices. I begin my courses by offering examples and case studies that explicitly set a tone that encourages curiosity and collaboration. Part of my role as educator is to push students to explore how engaging with learners from different backgrounds enhances everyone’s learning experience through sharing diverse perspectives and problem-solving strategies. In mentoring future therapists, I strive to help students cultivate flexible thinking and an appreciation for the rich backgrounds of the families we serve. 

I integrate learning from my teaching, research, and clinical work to provide students with a rich educational experience that emphasizes compassion, insight, and authenticity. In my clinical practice, I work with a variety of client constellations, including individuals, couples, sibling-sibling, and parent-child, leveraging my specialized training and experience in treating eating disorders and substance use disorders with an emphasis on family dynamics. 

My goal for every student at Adler is that they find meaning and deep satisfaction in their work. I hope that students graduate with a sense of purpose and move forward with strong, effective strategies for working with clients.


Ph.D., Couple & Family Therapy, University of Minnesota
MA, Counseling Psychology, University of St. Thomas
MLIS, Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles
BA, Humanities, Loyola Marymount University

Email address: 
Professional Membership: 
  • Society for Research on Adolescence, Emerging Scholar Committee Member
  • Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood, Member
  • National Council on Family Relations, Member
  • American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, Member
  • Minnesota Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, Member
Select Publications: 
  • Hanson, S., Hessel, H., & Danes, S. (in press). Relational processes in family entrepreneurial culture and resilience. Journal of Family Business Strategy
  • Hessel, H. & Dworkin, J. (2018). Emerging adults’ use of communication technology with family members: A systematic review. Adolescent Research Review, 3(3), 357-373.
  • Hessel, H., He, Y., & Dworkin, J. (2017). Paternal monitoring: The relationship between online and in-person solicitation and youth outcomes. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 46(2), 288-299.
  • Jennings, L., Skovholt, T., Hessel, H., Lakhan, S. & Goh, M. (2016). The world of expertise in counseling and psychotherapy. In L. Jennings & T. M. Skovholt (Eds.), Expertise in Counseling and Therapy: Master Therapist Studies From Around the World. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Dworkin, J., Hessel, H., Gliske, K., & Rudi, J. (2016). A comparison of three online recruitment strategies for engaging parents and families in survey research. Family Relations, 65(4), 550-561.
Select Presentations: 
  • Hessel, H., & LeBouef, S. (accepted for presentation October, 2019). Emerging adult men’s perceptions of how technology influences extended family relationships. Paper accepted for presentation at the Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood, Toronto, Canada.
  • Hessel, H. (2019, February). Parenting in an online world: Using technology to build relationships, not conflict. Presentation to clinical staff at Washburn Center for Children. Minneapolis, MN.
  • Hessel, H. (2019, January). Using mindfulness to increase well-being and effectiveness in the classroom and at home. Presentation as part of the White Bear Lake Area Schools Staff and Community Mental Well-Being Series. White Bear Lake, MN.
  • Hessel, H., & Dworkin, J. (November, 2018). Mapping the family network of emerging adults. Paper presented at the National Council on Family Relations, San Diego, CA.
  • Hessel, H., Bailey, M., & Ausherbauer, K. (2018, May). Integration of family services in the treatment of substance use disorders for emerging adult men. Poster presented at the National Health Outreach Conference, Minneapolis, MN.
  • Hessel, H. & Renninger, S. (2015, October). At the intersection of social media and clinical work: Training students on appropriate use. Poster presented at the Minnesota Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Fall Conference, Minneapolis, MN.
Awards (Academic & Professional): 
  • First Place: National Student Ethics Competition, Doctoral category 2017 (American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy) 
  • Women’s Philanthropic Leadership Circle Award 2017-2018 (University of Minnesota, College of Education and Human Development)