The Counseling Clinic
Empowering Change
Call for More Information! 319-354-6238

The Counseling Clinic

2416 Towncrest Drive
Iowa City, IA 52245
Phone: 319-354-6238

The Counseling Clinic

Monday to Friday
8:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Saturday, Sunday
Each therapist has her own schedule.

Payment Options:

We work with a diverse array of issues, for example:

  • Anxiety
  • Culture shock and adjustment
  • Depression
  • Family counseling
  • Grief counseling
  • Identity issues
  • Personal counseling
  • Relationships counseling
  • Self-esteem
  • Stress
  • Trauma
  • Wellness coaching

History of the practice

The Counseling Clinic was conceptualized by a group of passionate young therapists fresh out of their graduate programs in 1989. We were off the ground in August of 1990 as four of us shared one office on Keokuk St., and built our individual practices. Four years and many clients later we moved into a three room space on Rochester Avenue and have been working at full speed ever since.

Two of the original four, Joanna Lawson and Sandy Brennan are still with us, and Sally Henderson joined us in 1998. After many years of working downtown at 505 East Washington St, we created a new home for ourselves in Towncrest in April of 2013.

We are a discreet and accepting counseling practice that works with clients from all walks of life.
We endeavor to be models of growth through our own personal work, professional development, and keeping up on the latest literature in the field.
Portrait of a Joanna Lawson

Bio of Joanna Lawson:

Joanna Lawson Ed.S, LMFT, fifHi, CYT, Clinical fellow of AAMFT ( is Co-Founder of The Counseling Clinic, and has been called The Love Coach and the most direct therapist in Iowa City. Joanna thinks the latter is due to her heritage, as she is British.

Joanna's main theoretical map comes from her 18 years of practicing Internal Family Systems Therapy ( has been a member of the training staff for 4 year-long therapist trainings, in Chicago, St Louis and England. Joanna has been specializing in Couples therapy since the early 90s, and has been told many times that she has saved a relationship. Although her bias is towards saving a relationship when there are children involved, she realizes that sometimes the nature of a relationship is not a healthy place for children, and is therefore also available to help couples and individuals through the process of ending a relationship when necessary.

Joanna has trained as a Coach through the College of Executive Coaching and also through a course of study over the past 15 years through Iowa City Learning foundation, and is now one of Iowa City Learning Foundation's ( five Ontological Coaches for stage 1 and stage 2 of Education For Living seminars. This way of thinking also greatly informs her practice. Joanna is also trained in Blood Type Diet, Yoga, Healing touch, and Reiki, and although she does not practice those modalities in the therapy room, she brings a holistic mind/body approach to her work.
Portrait of a Sandy L. Brennan

Bio of Sandy L. Brennan:

Sandy Brennan is trained as both an educator and a psychotherapist. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics (1967) and her Master of Education in Guidance and Counseling (1973), both from State College at Salem, MA. Her career as an educator spanned 23 years and included tenures in Massachusetts, New York, and Iowa. For many years she was a classroom educator, working with students grades 7-12, whose abilities varied from the disadvantaged to the gifted. While in New York she developed and supervised a peer tutorial program for students in grades 7-9, and co-authored a district-wide math curriculum for the slow learner. While serving in Iowa City as both classroom educator and High School Guidance Counselor, she conducted small group counseling for grades 7-11, and functioned as a parent-school liaison and advocate for non-programmed learning-disabled students.

Sandy received her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Iowa in 1984. She completed post-graduate training at the University of Iowa, Marriage and Family Training Clinic, under the supervision of Dr. David Rosenthal. For the past 29 years, she has practiced as a Clinical Social Worker/Psychotherapist, first working at the Tama County Mental Health Center in Toledo as a Psychotherapist, and then at Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, as the Employee Assistance Program Coordinator and Therapist. Since 1993, Sandy has been in private practice with offices in Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Indianola, and Des Moines. She has worked with individuals, couples and families on issues of relational conflict, step-parenting and blended families, trauma and PTSD, sexual abuse, homophobia and sexual identity, re-integration after military service, substance abuse and recovery, and spirituality and life path changes. Sandy also has worked with organizations regarding workplace violence, sudden death, stress reduction, job loss and environmental calamities (e.g. floods).

Throughout her professional life Sandy has believed and acted upon the principle that all people strive to be their best selves even though at any given moment their best may not 'look' very good. In the therapeutic setting, she provides an atmosphere of unconditional positive regard so that her clients are able to comfortably seek their genuine selves, each moving at his/her own pace.
Portrait of a Sally J. Henderson

Bio of Sally J. Henderson:

Sally has worked as a therapist since 1989. She has been in private practice in Iowa City and Fairfield since 1997. Her Master's in Counseling is from the University of North Dakota and her Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy is from the University of Iowa (1999).

Sally tailors her approach to the needs and preferences of her clients. She specializes in helping individuals, couples, and families activate their strengths and learn how to overcome challenges to clear communication and to resolution of issues that make relationships difficult. She helps clients develop strategies for managing stress and emotion more effectively. Approaches she uses in therapy include: Internal Family Systems (IFS), couples communication training, solution-focused therapy, EMDR, TAT, EFT, Heartmath, Myers-Briggs, self-regulation of anxiety, challenging beliefs, teaching communication skills, and raising emotional intelligence.

For the past 14 years Sally has taught Marriage and Family Interaction at the University of Iowa as Adjunct Faculty. Her course and her therapy practice are research-based. She was Director of a University of Minnesota Career Center, has worked in the area of Talented and Gifted, and as a personal effectiveness coach. Her dissertation was entitled "Family Correlates of Exceptionally Talented Adolescents."

"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself."

- Unknown Author