About Our Staff

Stronghold started as a vision of founding partners J.C. Chambers, Ed.D., and Marlene Ruff, M.A., as a place where those who are hurting could experience both clinical excellence AND God’s grace. There are certainly many fine treatment centers specializing in traditional clinical care along with several outstanding Christian based counseling services. However, we find the combination of these two healing approaches to be unique.

Dr. Jamie “JC” Chambers (Yankton and Sioux Falls)

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself as one of the founders at Stronghold Counseling Services, Inc. as of January 1994. I am a transplant to Siouxland, as I am originally from Denver, Colorado, but found my way here by way of central Kansas.

I received my bachelor's degree in Art and Education in 1983 from Sterling College in Sterling, Kansas. more>>

Marlene Ruff, MA (Sioux Falls)

My life’s path has provided many opportunities for learning and education. Some has been formal and some informal. My formal education includes completing my undergraduate degree at North Dakota State University, and earning my Masters Degree in counseling at North American Baptist Seminary (now Sioux Falls Seminary). My informal education has come through the years from life experience and diverse work opportunities. So much of my learning has come through more than 25 years of opportunities working as a therapist in private and... more>>

Dr. Gary Hofman (Sioux Falls)

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself as a Counseling Associate of Stronghold Counseling Services, Inc. I began counseling at Stronghold in May of 1995. I received my undergraduate degree in education from Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa. I gained valuable insight into people through 13 years of educating children and young adults at various age levels. In 1992 I returned to school... more>>

Linda Mabee, MS (Sioux Falls)

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself as a clinical therapist at Stronghold Counseling Services, Inc. I became part of SCS as an intern in July 1996. I completed my Masters of Science Degree at SDSU in December 1996 and was invited to remain at SCS. I am currently a National Certified Counselor, a Licensed Professional Counselor – Mental Health, and a Qualified Mental Health Professional. Undergraduate studies included a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. I was a clinical hospital nurse for 3 ½ - 4 years, including 1 ½ years as a clinical... more>>

Earl Witt, MA (Sioux Falls)

I have been a part of Stronghold Counseling Services since September 1998. I was given the opportunity as an intern at that time. I was born in Olds, Alberta, Canada and have been living in Sioux Falls since 1996. I got married in 2006 and have two daughters. I received my bachelor’s degree in Religion in 1995 from North American Baptist College, now called Taylor University, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. In 1996, I moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota to attend the North American Baptist Seminary, now called Sioux Fall Seminary. I graduated in... more>>

Larry Dancler, MS (Sioux Falls)

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself as a Counselor with Stronghold Counseling Services, Inc. I have lived here in the Sioux Falls area for over 28 years and married to my wife Cindy for over 25 years. I completed my bachelor’s degree from Dakota State University in Information Systems in 1987. I completed my Masters Degree in Guidance and Counseling in 1993 from South Dakota State University. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor - Mental Health in the State of South Dakota. My professional practice is centered... more>>

Kristiana Benson, MA (Sioux Falls)

I would like to introduce myself as a clinical therapist at Stronghold Counseling Services. I am originally from Sioux City, IA, but I have made Sioux Falls, SD my home for the past years. In 2002, I received my BA in Social Work and a minor in Spanish from the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, IA. In the spring of 2006, I graduated form the North American Baptist Seminary in Sioux Falls, SD with an MA in Marriage and Family Therapy. Currently I am licensed in the states of Minnesota and South Dakota as a Licensed marriage and family... more>>

Ellie Larsen, MA (Sioux Falls)

I am from Sioux Falls and have many family ties in the area. I graduated from USD with a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a minor in alcohol & drug studies. I graduated with my Master’s in Marriage & Family Counseling from what is now Sioux Falls Seminary in 2003.

I am licensed as a Marriage & Family Therapist and Chemical Dependency Counselor Level III... more>>

Kerry Ford, MSW (Yankton and Sioux Falls)

Thank you for this opportunity to introduce myself as a counselor with Stronghold Counseling Services. Growing up in Sioux Falls gave me a valuable background in humanitarian ethics and a genuine belief in the value and dignity of others. I received an Associate's Degree from Waldorf College (Forest City, IA), my Bachelor's Degree from Augustana College (Sioux Falls, SD), and my Master's Degree in Social Work from St. Louis University (St. Louis, MO). I have worked in several different states as a Medical Social Worker, Child Services Social Worker... more>>

Jan Sanford, MS (Sioux Falls)

I am grateful for the opportunity to work for a counseling agency that exists as a gracefilled ministry that offers therapeutic guidance through the paths of life to people living in a broken world. I have 20 years of counseling experience. I graduated from Huron University with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Sociology and Psychology in 1981. In 1989 I graduated from SDSU with a Masters of Science degree in Human Resource Development (clinical tract). I am a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of SD with... more>>

Amanda Briggs, MSW (Sioux Falls)

Let me introduce myself as a counselor with Stronghold Counseling Services. I am very grateful for the opportunity to do this work God has planned for me, and for the direction He has given my life. I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the University of South Dakota, and a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Denver. I am also licensed in South Dakota as a social worker of private or independent practice. My professional experiences have further guided my training. I worked three years in residential treatment facilities... more>>

Nick Buus, MA (Sioux Falls)

My roots are deep in this area. I was born and raised in rural South Dakota and transplanted to Sioux Falls for my education. I am an Augustana College alum and received my degree in Psychology. After working for a year in a hospital mental health program I decided to further my education by obtaining my masters in Marriage and Family Therapy. more>>

Jodi Merritt (Sioux Falls)

I am proud to be a member of the Stronghold team and believe in its mission to help others achieve positive changes in their lives through grace. I have worked the better part of the past 10 years in the addiction field. Much of my time has been spent working with adolescents with addiction issues in an outpatient program... more>>

Judy De Wit, MA (Sioux Falls)

When I left college I told myself, “I am never going back to school.” But along with that, I also said if I would, it had to be a different challenge than education. After fourteen years of teaching elementary education, I had to eat some words. I went back to school. Completing homework instead of creating homework was a whole new challenge. Writing research papers... more>>

Frank Main, Ed.D. (Yankton and Sioux Falls)

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and to say how fortunate I am to join such talented, committed, and caring group of helping professionals. I have known many of the staff members at Stronghold Counseling Services since it was founded by Dr. Chambers in 1994. I have been a Counselor Educator, Marriage and Family Therapist, Licensed professional Counselor, and AAMFT Approved Supervisor for over... more>>

Tally Salisbury, MS, LPC-MH (Yankton)

It is with great pleasure that I introduce myself as a Stronghold Counselor. My background is in Child Development and Education from Augustana College in Sioux Falls & I received my Master’s degree in Counseling from SDSU in Brookings. For more than 30 years I have been helping children and families deal with life’s challenge’s and issues in schools, child care, parenting, Church and mental health settings. more>>

Carolyn Short, MSW, CSW-PIP QMHP (Spearfish)

I would like to introduce myself as a clinical therapist at Stronghold Counseling Services. I grew up in Georgia where I attended school and have gone on to live and provide counseling services in various locations in the US including Minnesota and Oklahoma. I am happy to have made Spearfish, South Dakota my home... more>>

Susan Terveen, MS (Spearfish)

My counseling skills have been developed both practically and professionally. After teaching high school students, I focused on raising children before returning to school for my Masters in Counseling and Human Resources. Parenting five sons with my husband and maintaining a vibrant marriage is my greatest challenge, my best training, and my highest calling... more>>

Gena Tarrell (Sioux Falls)

Office Manager

Life Space Crisis Intervention Certified

Email: Info@strongholdcounseling.com

Mirranda Nielsen (Sioux Falls)

Insurance / Billing Specialist

Heather Wollman (Sioux Falls)


Ashley (Sioux Falls)

Office assistant / Part-Time Receptionist

Beth Woodbury (Sioux Falls)

Account Assistant

Downloadable Forms

Helpful Links


4300 S Louise Ave, Suite 201
Sioux Falls, SD 57106

Ph: 605.334.7713

Fax: 605.334.5348

Email: info@strongholdcounseling.com