STAFF - Sun Prairie

Ashley Stankey, MS, LPC-IT

Ashley loves working with preschool and elementary school kids. When she meets kids, she gets excited about helping them meet their full potential. She excels at looking beyond the behaviors and identifying underlying strengths. Ashley enjoys the energy kids bring to sessions and loves using a creative approach to make a change. As an empathic listener, she seeks to genuinely understand kids and their families. Ashley holds a Master’s in Art Therapy and enjoys utilizing the creative process as a means of facilitating the exploration of difficult emotions, regulating mood, and promoting personal growth.

Ashley has had five years of experience using ABA techniques with young children on the autism spectrum. She has also facilitated art therapy groups for individuals living with cognitive and physical disabilities and has worked to address trauma in youth and adults who experienced homelessness. Ashley utilizes a person-centered approach while drawing upon techniques from CBT, DBT, and play therapy.

Ashley is available Monday through Friday

Derek Hefner, MSW, CAPSW

It can be daunting to navigate your mental health and social life when you grew up in less-than-ideal circumstances or have faced life-altering difficulties. As a survivor of numerous adverse experiences in childhood and adulthood, Derek approaches therapy from a perspective of empathy, compassion, and insight for those endeavoring to overcome the weight of the past and the challenges of the present. At Healing Hearts, Derek enjoys helping adolescents and adults come to a better understanding of their mental health and to use coping strategies and personal strengths to best meet those needs. As part of his person-centered approach, Derek uses techniques from humanistic, narrative, DBT, CBT, and other clinical approaches to provide clients with support and empowerment in achieving their goals. Derek has a working knowledge of mood disorders, trauma-informed care, intergenerational processes, public policy and its implications for mental health, multiculturalism, gender and sexual diversity, and the basics of behavioral neurobiology. Derek has worked with individuals suffering with anxiety, depression, chronic stress, trauma, self-harm, family difficulties, and socioeconomic distress as well as individuals who are exploring LGBTQIA+ identities, spirituality and loss of faith, relationship changes, parenting challenges, and other significant life transitions. Outside of work, Derek enjoys spending time with his family, engaging in physical fitness, reading non-fiction and educational works, traveling, and relaxing with his personal taste in media (critically-acclaimed and arthouse films, comics, video games, anime, etc.).

Emily Krause, MSW, LCSW

Building a positive and trusting therapeutic relationship as a vehicle for growth is at the core of Emily’s practice. She is compassionate about providing clients with a warm, supportive space to explore and discover the possibility of change. Emily enjoys working with clients to find helpful tools and strategies to cope with challenges. She is dedicated to identifying and building on clients’ strengths, promoting self-awareness, and helping clients build meaningful relationships.

Emily is a WI Licensed Clinical Social Worker who joined our team in 2018. She currently is working with adult clients. She has worked extensively with children, adolescents, and adults in a variety of settings and has experience helping people with a wide range of psychological and emotional difficulties. Emily uses a humanistic and strengths-based perspective and employs a range of approaches including solution-focused, mindfulness, and cognitive behavioral techniques.

Emily is available Tuesday and Friday

Knou Xiong, MSW, CAPSW

Knou, pronounced New, grew up in Wisconsin after coming to the U.S. as a refugee with her family after the Vietnam war. She received her Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She spent the past 17 years working with children, families, and individuals in the areas of developmental disabilities, non-profit & community programs, early childhood programming, public education, and healthcare. It was through these experiences that she developed an interest in counseling. She has experience in crisis response, parent coaching, behavior intervention, social and emotional skills, anxiety and depressive symptoms, PTSD, and linkaging to community resources.

Lauren Biro, MSW, CAPSW

Seeking out therapy can feel daunting. Lauren’s work as a therapist is motivated by the understanding that everyone has skills to develop and could use a supportive environment to grow. Lauren holds a Master’s of Social Work and Bachelors of Arts in psychology and social welfare from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her main experience involves working with adults experiencing substance-abuse-related concerns and crisis mental health. Most recently she worked with adults who were coming out of the prison system that was struggling with addiction and general mental health concerns.

She primarily uses cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) but can incorporate a variety of other approaches including dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) skills, problem-solving and suicide prevention, person-centered planning, and more. Lauren wants to incorporate important elements of your identity including your culture, faith/spirituality, and unique characteristics of yourself.

Lauren has worked with individuals suffering from depression, anxiety, adjustment and stress, family development and parenting, trauma and abuse, suicidal thoughts and self-harm, personality disorders, identifying issues and self-confidence, as well as substance abuse concerns.

Lauren will be available Monday through Friday

Leah Garrison, MA (She/Her/Hers)

Leah has been a part of Healing Hearts since 2020 and works towards creating a welcoming and supportive environment. She has primarily worked with individuals 8 years old and up and seeks to provide a client-centered focus while drawing on an individual’s strengths. Leah holds a passion for working with individuals who are within the LGBTQ+ community or are going through identity exploration. She recognizes that understanding yourself and your identity can create a mix of emotions, and yet it can be an exciting time of self-discovery. She additionally has experience with working with anxiety, social anxiety, high avoidance, depression, PTSD, traumatic life events, improving communication, social skills, exposure-based interventions, self-compassion, and self-esteem. Leah approaches her work with patience, humor, and being open-minded. Leah trained with author and researcher, Dr. Arthur Becker-Weidman in Family Focused Attachment Therapy. In addition, Leah has trained in the Integrated Listening and Safe and Sound Programs. Out of work, Leah enjoys walking her dog, listening to audiobooks or podcasts, watching anime, and trying new recipes.


Jodi Stacey

Jodi is an MFT intern with Healing Hearts. She works with individuals of all ages. In her free time, Jodi enjoys playing soccer, is an avid tea drinker, and cheers on the Badgers, Packers, and Brewers!

Victoria Claas, MSE

Victoria is an intern at Healing Hearts who enjoys working with clients from age six through adulthood. Victoria is interested in connecting with, engaging, and empowering clients to learn new skills and build self- and social awareness. She likes to focus on strengths, utilize positive thinking, and incorporate mindfulness and yoga movements and principles. She primarily uses (CBT) and can incorporate additional approaches.


Victoria has work experience as a middle and high school counselor. She has also worked with children on the autism spectrum in a play-based format, and she has worked with emergency mental health support. She is currently in her internship for mental health counseling. Victoria has experience working with social and emotional skills, regulation through movement, anxiety, depression, ADHD, academic struggles, career exploration, parent support, and crisis intervention.


Ace, Rottweiler, CGC, CGCA, CGCU, THDX, Certified good boy

Patton, All American Mix, CGC, CGCA, CGCU, Certified good boy

Ace (left, Rottweiler) and Patton (right, Mix) are a part of our team as K-9 counselors. They also volunteer their time as GoTEAM Therapy Dogs. Over the past 5 years, Healing Hearts has experienced the benefit of having therapy dogs in the clinic. Research has identified the presence of a well-trained therapy dog can lower cortisol, adrenaline, and decrease stress. We have already noticed a HUGE difference with our staff and hope you have too! Ace is available on an on-call basis. Patton can be seen in the clinic on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Both dogs are available for individual sessions on a case-by-case basis as approved by the Therapist and the Clinical Director.


Rex Connely, Operations Manager

Rex has worked in the healthcare industry since 2002. He has extensive experience in safety and training and worked several years in child, adolescent, and adult psychiatry programs. His most recent work experience was Director of Operations at a multicomplex assisted living facility specializing in memory care. Rex enjoys “helping people help others” and that is what brought him to Healing Hearts. Rex’s role is to give business structure and support to our team of therapists so they may give the best possible care to their clients and operational support to the administrative side.

Outside of work, Rex enjoys spending time with his wife of 22 years and 3 children. Their favorite family activity is to travel and experience diverse places of interest throughout our country and the world. His entire family has been to all 50 states and nearly all national parks.

Rex is available Monday – Thursday

Amanda Field, Billing Specialist/Bookkeeper

Amanda enjoys working with the people at Healing Hearts. Many have become like family, and she loves watching them continue to make a positive difference in the lives of friends, families, and the community. Amanda has been with Healing Hearts since 2011. She is the clinics Billing Specialist and manages patient accounts and billing records at Healing Hearts. Amanda has a Liberal Arts Degree, Civil Engineering Technician Degree, and a Medical Billing Specialist certificate.