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Erika Pieniniemi

Before becoming a therapist, Erika worked in many human services roles, including volunteering as a sexual assault crisis counselor, presenting consent and healthy relationships for college campus groups, and working as a program assistant in a local women's shelter, directly with residents who had co-occurring substance use and mental health concerns. 
Erika's deep roots in advocacy work led them in returning to graduate school in the Integrated Behavioral Health program at the University of Minnesota. Erika has a passion for exploring substance use, trauma, anxiety and LGTBQIA+ concerns within the therapeutic process. They also have training in EMDR with advanced EMDRIA-approved training in Ego State/Parts Work therapy. 
Erika approaches recovery from a trauma-informed, harm reduction process allowing the client's values to stay front and center. It is important to Erika that clients feel in charge of their own story, while taking time to develop a deeper understanding of themselves, and determine their own substance use goals.
Erika believes that healing begins with a strong alliance in the therapeutic relationship. They have a warm, non-assuming approach to connection and creates safety in relationship in a big way. You will find Erika to be an unusually good listener and skilled at reflecting back their thoughts. Your work together will be collaborative, curious, and fun. Erika will naturally let you lead the way as their goal is for you to become your own best advocate. 
Erika will help you define your values, explore your identity in your world, and guide you toward a space of feeling confident. They know that we often use substances as a normal response to stress, trauma, or broken systems, and not because of a deficit within ourselves. Erika will help you focus on your strengths and empower you to live a life that makes most sense to you. 
Erika Headshot.jpeg

People Who inspire Their work:

  • Irvin Yalom
  • Gabor Mate
  • Carl Rogers
  • Jean Baker Miller
  • Francine Shapiro
  • Maia Szalavitz
  • Resma Menakem

Things Erika Loves to do:

  • Crochet or embroidery projects, and recently sewing
  • Caring for their ever-growing number of houseplants 
  • Loves to watch weird/niche documentaries on cults or other interesting human interest stories
  • Enjoys spending time with their spouse, dog, and two cats
  • Hikes, day trips to the North Shore, going to local drag shows, thrifting, and dog parks
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