Meet Erin

Erin Brandel Dykhuizen, is a psychotherapist in Saint Paul, MN specializing in counseling for chronic pain, trauma, and PTSD

Hi there. I'm Erin. I am a Saint Paul, MN-based Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW). That means I have a Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work (MSW), and I have a lot of training and experience helping people work through difficulties in their lives. I have been in this field since graduating with my MSW in 2009, and for the past nearly five years I have worked at an outpatient spine clinic, helping people manage pain, get past traumatic injuries and events, recover from PTSD, heal difficult family relationships, find balance in their lives, and deal with the depression and anxiety that often comes with ongoing medical issues. 

My Life

I'll talk more about my credentials and training later in this page, but first a bit about who I am and how I got into this field: I am a married mom of three kids, two of whom are autistic and one with sensory processing disorder and anxiety, and I love working with other parents of special needs kids.

I was born in Appleton, Wisconsin, and I have lived in the Twin Cities for the past 15 years. I went to Grinnell College in Iowa, and spent one of my four years of college in Berlin, Germany, studying abroad and traveling (mostly traveling). After college I went to Japan for a year on the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program where I worked as an assistant English teacher and traveled.  Then I went to graduate school at Yale University in the PhD program in Germanic Languages and Literatures. This first round of graduate school is where I got interested in trauma, since much of modern German literature deals with the cultural trauma of Germany.

I also discovered during this time that I wanted to make more of a direct impact on people's lives than I thought I could as a German professor -- that and the job market for German literature professors was not looking good.  So, after two years at Yale I left with my Master's degree. That was a tough, but essential decision.

I moved to the Twin Cities because I missed the Midwest terribly. I worked for several years in editing before realizing that therapy was very similar to the study of literature -- it's all about people's stories and helping interpret and change those stories. I decided to study clinical social work because I loved how the field looks at people and their issues in the context of their environment and culture and how focused the field is on people's strengths. I also had worked with a really awesome clinical social worker as I was trying to figure out what to do with my life after running away from Yale.

I got my Masters in Social Work from the University of St. Thomas/ College of St. Catherine School of Social Work in Saint Paul, Minnesota in 2009. I worked in community mental health, an inpatient psych ward, telemedicine, and my most recent location at a spine center. I am thrilled to be in my own practice now. 

One more thing you should know is that I have dealt with chronic pain for most of my adult life. I've been through the rounds of physical therapy, chiropractic, massage therapy, acupuncture, injections, ablations, and even surgery, so if pain is something you deal with - I've been there. I also know what it's like to have gone through multiple unfortunate accidents -- I was hit by a car when I was 13 years old (I was in the crosswalk with a crossing guard! This should not have happened!). I've been rear-ended on the highway. I fell down concrete steps as a social work intern. I've been accident-free for about ten years now (knock on wood).

My counseling Approach

Now for the kind of therapy I do: I'm kind of a nerd about psychotherapy methods. I love anything evidence-based. I went through 60 hours of training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and I have been certified as a Diplomate in the Academy of Cognitive Therapy since 2014. I also trained in Prolonged Exposure therapy for PTSD, and I am certified in this by the Center for the Study and Treatment of Anxiety. I have completed Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy training and use this method regularly in my work. I also have over 70 hours of training in clinical hypnosis. I am a member of the Minnesota Society for Clinical Hypnosis and the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, and I am working on my certification in clinical hypnosis.

I love having all of these tools to help people, yet I find the most important part of therapy is the relationship.  I want my clients to feel safe, cared for, and to know they matter when they work with me. It's sometimes hard to know if a therapist will be a good fit for you just by reading about them. If you'd like to find out if we might work well together, give me a call at 651-998-8991 or drop me a line at erinbd(at)erinbdlicsw.com to schedule a quick chat, or reserve an initial appointment by clicking the “Request Appointment” button below. I’ll give you a call to confirm once you do.