About Border Counseling Services LLC

Our Vision

Border Counseling Services LLC provides a safe healing space where both children and adults are able to express their feelings openly, learn about themselves, and most of all discover how unique and valued they are. We believe “the first step to healing is awareness” and we honor our clients for asking for help by establishing with them the greatest level of trust and acceptance.

Our focus of therapy is a Person Centered Approach that includes highly qualified trauma informed care and knowledgeable interventions blended with a premier level of compassion that is specific to each client’s individual case, needs and life circumstances.

We understand that if a person has not felt adequately loved through their life experiences and environments their response is to feel helpless and defenseless. To deal with the anxiety of these feelings a person takes the energy for self-development and put it towards protective behaviors. With the use of thorough assessment tools we assist client with understanding how protective behaviors can be transformed into skills and abilities. We specialize in the diagnosis of PTSD, anxiety and other mood related disorders and social skills development. For children a whole family approach is used and we assist primary care givers with parenting skills that focus on both caregivers and children feeling loved and respected.

Ultimately our final goal would be that our clients become responsible for the ownership of their healing and behaviors and continue on a life time process of self-healing, awareness and growth.

Psychiatrist

Dr. Michael Alcorn

Dr. Alcorn is a board-eligible psychiatrist who specializes in the treatment of adults, children, and adolescents. His medical degree is from the University of Southern California, he earned his Adult Psychiatry residency from UCSF Fresno, California, and completed his child fellowship at the University of Southern California.  He held multiple Honor Awards throughout his educational process dating back to 1995.  He holds both dual licensures in Alaska and California.  Dr. Alcorn worked in one of the busiest psychiatric emergency departments in the nation while training in Los Angeles County.  He served as a psychiatrist for the United States Air Force for 5 years after completing training.  He has spent the last 7 years working in a variety of inpatient settings in Anchorage including consultation work at AK Regional Hospital.  His unique military background allowed him to assist with the opening of the Chris Kyle Patriots Hospital where he has also served as the primary psychiatrist for the last 7 years.  Dr. Alcorn has served our community by providing psychiatric services for children and adolescents in both acute and residential settings in Anchorage and Palmer.  Dr. Alcorn is not only a doctor but also a dedicated and experienced educator.  He proudly assists the next generation of therapists and mental health providers as a teacher and a presenter.  He has and continues to supervise nurse practitioners, physician assistants, child psychiatry fellows, and medical students.   

Dr. Alcorn brings a high level of excellence to our practice with his experienced psychiatric care.  Dr. Alcorn uses a highly professional approach to the care of his patients while maintaining a sense of sincere compassion and caring that allows his patients to feel comfortable and heard.  His approach to treatment is to assist his patients with knowledge through education so they can develop a better understanding of themselves while being able to make their own self-informed decisions.  After a thorough assessment, if medication is necessary, he believes in educating patients on all treatment options.  Dr. Alcorn wants all his patients to feel that they are valued partners in their own care. 

Counselors

C. Elaine Border

I don’t hear hard,
I hear HOPE!

C. Elaine Border is a licensed professional counselor who earned both her bachelor’s and master’s Degrees at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. She was a highly qualified teacher for the Anchorage School District before pursuing a further career with helping children with their emotional needs. Elaine’s master’s degree internships were in both school counseling and community agency work, specializing in grief. She combined both these career goals when going to work for Anchorage Community Mental Health as a therapeutic counselor in a title I ASD school.

Elaine has worked with children with autism, severe emotional disturbance, anxiety, conduct disorders and social skills problems and has been able to successfully involve and integrate parents in the therapeutic care of their children. She later transferred to The Family Services Unit of Anchorage Community Mental Health where she worked with children and families who had experienced complex trauma. Some of her experienced involved working closely with OCS and foster families for clients who were in the foster care system.

Elaine is a highly trained trauma informed therapists who uses play therapy, integrated fila play which includes parents into therapy, Sensory Motor Arousal Regulation Treatment using motor sensory play to assist with body regulation. Elaine also works with adults who have experienced sexual abuse, rape, and high levels of disturbed family attachments in childhood. She has specified training with grief counseling and is a qualified certified EMDR therapist. Elaine strives to assists her clients with resources using ongoing training techniques and current psychoeducation. She has been an advocate for clients by attending IEP meetings and collaborating with other professional services to provide full case management and care for all her clients.

Elaine’s vision to help others goes past just her private practice as she volunteers her time to help the city of Anchorage by serving on the board of Akeela House and also supports the ongoing efforts of the Downtown Hope Center.

LAURA BRUNS

Laura Bruns is a licensed professional counselor who has held a license with the state of Alaska since 2007. She also holds a license as a state of Alaska supervisor classification LPC-S and is a Chemical Dependency Counselor I.    Laura graduated with an MS in Counseling Psychology from Alaska Pacific University and her BA was in Social Work and Sociology from the University of Fairbanks. 

In Laura’s vast 25 years of experience, she has gained a well-rounded and highly compassionate understanding of how to work with a variety of clients across multiple settings, cultures, and life circumstances.  Laura’s love for children and working with families started when she obtained a Type C counseling license and worked in the Anchorage School District and Fairbanks Community Mental Health.  She learned early in her career how to connect with adolescents struggling with the problems of today, as well as adults experiencing trauma and working through all levels of emotional needs. Laura continued her career working at Family Centered Services of Alaska assisting children and adolescents with behavior management.    Laura then went on to work at The ARC of Anchorage in the Behavioral Health Services Department, where she was involved in developing a mental health program that served the needs of the most vulnerable population. 

Laura’s compassionate and caring style is evident in her approach to therapy and the way she can connect with clients of all ages, emotional needs, and diagnoses. Laura is uniquely qualified as she combines her years of experience, knowledge of substance use problems, and effective therapeutic interventions to create personalized treatment plans for each of her clients.  Laura knows how to look at therapy from a system-based approach and includes parents in the process to bring about family restoration.  Laura is a seasoned therapist with a humble heart, but she continues to educate herself on new treatment interventions, counseling methods, and psychoeducation.  Laura uses all this knowledge to partner with her clients, (adolescents or adults) so they achieve their life goals with feelings of empowerment and success.

Heather Tichenor

Heather is a Licensed Profession Counselor (LPC) for the State of Alaska. Her energetic, fun-loving, compassionate personality is a perfect fit with our office model.  Her high level of professionalism and quality of care has brought an element of excellence to our staff.  Heather holds degrees from Union Institute & University Cincinnati, OH Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Psychology (Mar 2018), Liberty University Lynchburg, VA Master of Science (M.S.) Forensic Psychology (Jul 2019)  She is gifted in working with couples and is a highly qualified provider who has experience working with both individuals, couples, and families. Heather has extensive experience with clients who suffer from PTSD and with first responders.  Heather comes to Border Counseling Services after working at Chris Kyle Patriots Hospital and the Alaska National Guard.  She holds certifications in both EMDR and Grief Counseling.  Heather’s passion for working with people who have experienced loss brings an additional ability to meet our clients where they are in their grieving process.  She knows how to walk with her clients through all stages of grief. 

Heather specializes in a full range of therapeutic techniques which range from EMDR, Internal Family Systems, DBT, and reality therapy.  She blends all these techniques into a person-centered approach that creates a connection with her clients in a supportive environment.  Her gentle compassionate demeanor draws clients to her as she assists them with knowledgeable therapeutic techniques that she uses outside the box to personalize individual care.  She describes herself as quirky and can relate to people across all spectrums of life and issues.  Heather loves Alaska and especially the Alaskan Native populations.  She is extremely culturally sensitive and knows how to attune to the needs of clients with warmth and genuineness.

 Heather has the ability to work with people with multiple co-occurring diagnoses, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts, and personality disorders. Her knowledge and competency extend to doing both individual and group sessions.  Heather can assist her clients in overcoming dependencies and adjusting to life changes.   

Lisa Hoover

Lisa Hoover is a Licensed Profession Counselor (LPC) for the State of Alaska. She has a Master of Science in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling, certifications as both a Rehabilitation Counselor and a CRC Associate Professional Clinical Counselor and is a DBT Certified therapist. Lisa’s experience spans working with the acute care clients of API, substance abuse clients and assisting women who were escaping domestic violence and sexual assault.   Lisa is stepping into the realm of private practice and fully integrating all her years of experience with both children and adults in the mental health field. 

Not only is Lisa experienced with adult clients, she also has a life time love of children and brings her 13 years of teaching experience as a Licensed Professional Elementary School teacher into her therapeutic skills.  Lisa has also been a Program Director, District coordinator and Adjunct Professor.  She has coordinated, implemented, and evaluated intervention programs for English Language Development, as well as designed, and implemented Supplemental Instructional classes for parents and adult learners improving their lives.  Due to her tremendous teaching experience Lisa will also be part of our facilitation team to assist parents through teaching Parenting with Love and Logic classes. She uses all her skills in her therapeutic approach by teaching children regulation, supporting parents with parenting skills, and assisting children across all levels of therapeutic care. 

Lisa’s therapeutic style is one of supporting and walking with clients in their own journey toward wholeness.   Lisa wants her clients to know that they are not alone and she creates a therapeutic space where clients feel safe enough to understand themselves and how they can interact with the world around them in the best possible way by knowing and valuing who they are.

Jennifer mariscal

Jen Mariscal is a licensed professional counselor (LPC) with the State of Alaska, and comes to Border Counseling Services with over 13 years of experience assisting adults through traumatic events. 

Jen’s education includes a Master of Science in Forensic Psychology from Walden University, Masters credits in Education of Counseling from the University of Alaska Anchorage, a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Alaska Anchorage, and general education credits from the College of Eastern Utah.  She held a certification in Child Forensic Interviewing, has extensive practice with crisis intervention protocols, and has been a CIT Instructor.  Jen knows how to help families when dealing with difficult situations due to her work as a Family Advocate and being the first contact for children who have experienced sexual and physical abuse. 

Jen has assisted clients through the rehabilitation process to find hope in their lives and has a passion for helping people discover the root cause of life’s struggles.  Jen has an amazing capacity to partner with her clients in exploring the unhealthy belief systems that are obstructing their lives and moving clients into healthy outlooks that empower them.   Jen guides her clients into learning new skills, how to set boundaries, find self-determined perspectives for relationships, and setting positive life goals.  Jen’s training as an EMDR therapist contributes to her ability to handle multiple levels of complex trauma. Jen is passionate about using her skills in working with first responders, law enforcement personnel, and military families.  Jen’s counseling training and job knowledge enables her to tailor interventions to meet the specific needs of these populations, and those who have experienced domestic violence and other forms of significant life events.   

Jen’s approach to counseling is centered on compassion while providing psychoeducation in a comprehensive way that expands clients’ knowledge of the effects of trauma.  She has a unique ability to meet clients in their current life circumstances by listening to and supporting their needs.  Jen’s accepting approach provides her clients with a safe environment to process the past, build needed life skills for the present, and see themselves in the future.   

MELISSA
SkARBEK

Melissa is currently a pre-license therapist who holds a Master of Social Work and has 15 years of experience working with children across a variety of social environments. Melissa is only months away from being fully licensed.  She is currently being supervised in this role by Carrie Elaine Border, LPC-S. Elaine is a licensed professional counselor, a board-approved supervisor in Alaska, and the clinical director of Border Counseling Services.   

Melissa graduated summa cum laude from Western Michigan University with a bachelor’s in liberal arts. Her focus was multi-faceted to include Gender and Women’s Studies, Social Work, Business, Sociology and Psychology. She obtained her Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from Arizona State University in 2021, where she graduated magna cum laude. 

Melissa previously worked for the Office of Children’s Services in both urban and rural offices including Nome, Bethel, Fairbanks, and St. Mary’s. Realizing that she desired a more proactive and person-centered approach within her community, she then joined The Office of Public Advocacy as a Guardian ad Litem. After recognizing her inherent desire for “boots on the ground” work, she knew she would only achieve that by working for herself. It was then that she resigned from the Office of Public Advocacy and opened Reunify Alaska. Her mission is to give Alaska’s families and children power over their future. Melissa worked at Providence in the part B Girls Residential Treatment Center where she assisted these youth in finding their voices during their trauma and connected to them on a personal level that impacted change. Melissa continued her work experience for hours of licensure working as an independent contractor where she provided treatment for children and adolescents across a spectrum of diagnoses that included oppositional defiant disorder, ADHD, autism, anxiety, and depression.  Melissa’s level of expertise includes incorporating caregivers into the treatment of her clients and promoting healing throughout the whole family system.

 Melissa’s talents are not limited to just children, she also thrives on assisting parents to understand themselves and their emotional trauma.  She specializes in working with adults who are going through divorce, domestic violence, and personal life issues that many do not understand. Melissa’s approach to therapy is to empower the individuals to find their own strength and vision for their future.

We are proud to announce the addition of psychiatric services!Read More