Heather Rickels, LMSW, PhD
Psychotherapist (she/her)

"When we are struggling, we often feel alone and we may feel hopeless. I believe my role is to support you connecting with your inner wisdom and values as a way to cultivate self-compassion and hope, while creating the life you desire."

Approach & Specialties

I primarily approach counseling from a strengths-based lens. I utilize an integrative approach incorporating elements from acceptance and commitment therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, and narrative therapy. I seek to empower clients by aiding them in identifying their strengths and values, learning new tools, and taking actions to create the life they envision. I aim to co-create a safe, non-judgmental space where clients feel supported. I also hope clients gain self-compassion and hope as they carry these skills outside our sessions.

My clinical interests include anxiety, trauma, perinatal concerns, relationship concerns, panic attacks, depression, adjustment/life transitions, exploring gender identities, sexuality, and working with couples and parents/new parents.  I also enjoy working with undergraduates, graduate students, and international students.


I am a graduate of the University of Iowa’s Master of Social Work program. I have training as a birth doula and foster parent. I have specialized training working with individuals and couples related to pregnancy, postpartum, and the NICU, as well as supporting families navigating fertility, pregnancy loss, and birth trauma. Before returning to therapy in 2021, I completed a PhD in Educational Measurement and Statistics and worked for the College of Education. In addition, I worked for the University of Iowa for many years in research on depression, anxiety, ADHD, and perinatal concerns.