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About Us

The Mental Fitness Center was founded based on the beliefs that:

  • People deserve the opportunity to use a natural approach to mental well-being

  • People should be considered as a whole person (body, mind and spirit)

  • Plans for wellness must be created to uniquely match the individual’s needs

Joelle Kekhoua is a the owner of the Mental Fitness Center (MFC). She a Licensed Professional Counselor and is certified to supervise Limited Licensed Professional Counselors as well as counseling interns from local Universities. She is a practitioner that holds the philosophy that wellness is achieved by balancing the three components of Psychological, Environmental and Physiological in an integrative manner. She works with couples, families, and adults that struggle with a variety of issues such as anxiety, depression, and various acute and chronic health conditions (i.e. Lyme Disease/co-infections, PANS/PANDAS, mold toxicity) providing services ranging from counseling to wellness coaching to group support and education. Through supporting a natural and holistic approach to health, she has helped countless people achieve wellness in her nearly 25 years of experience. She believes in giving back to the community and has co-founded a Community Service Program at the MFC offering pro bono services to those in need. She offers professional training to other professionals (corporate wellness coaching, healthcare professional training, etc) as well as training to future professionals by teaching at Oakland University in the Counseling department. Joelle's current training, memberships, & affiliations include: ACT, DBT (Linehan), CBT/ERP (Beck), International OCD Foundation, Association for Contextual Behavioral Science, American Counseling Association, Michigan Mental Health Counselors Association

MFC Professionals:

Deirdre Ryan

Limited Licensed Professional Counselor & Nationally Board-Certified Provider

She works with children, adolescents and adults who are experiencing a wide range of mental health and life challenges. Deirdre is grounded in an integrative approach to treatment, drawing on several modalities including Client-Centered Therapy, Expressive arts, and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. She uses traditional therapy and art to help clients find their voice while offering a non-judgmental environment filled with empathy and compassion. Her mission is to empower clients to improve their overall well-being and seek a healthier balance in their lives. Deirdre received a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology and Human Services from Clayton State University in Georgia and received her Masters of Arts degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Oakland University.


Katie Christensen

Limited Licensed Professional Counselor & Nationally Board-Certified Provider

She specializes in working with children and adolescents with severe emotional disturbances and behavioral issues. She provides individual, family, couple and group therapy for all ages. Sessions address a wide range of psychological concerns, including mental health, interpersonal relationships, trauma, bereavement, and life transitions. Katie takes an eclectic person-centered approach to therapy when choosing a treatment modality to best fit the client’s needs. She provides a safe and supportive environment to help clients learn ways to cope and thrive despite life’s challenges. Treatment modalities used could include, behavioral (DBT, CBT, TF-CBT) informed, motivational interviewing, family systems theory, parent management training, and play therapy. Sessions are focused on an integrative wellness approach taking into account all aspects of the individual, including physiological and environmental well-being, as well as psychological. Katie completed her Master’s degree in Counseling from Oakland University.


Debra Garden

Licensed Professional Counselor 

She has 23 years of experience working in corporate health and wellness education and uses a holistic approach in her counseling with adults, couples and families. Areas of focus in her practice include physical health and nutrition, emotional health and well-being, and spiritual health and purpose. Debra integrates traditional counseling with mind, body spirit elements to help clients better identify their strengths, desires, and tools of resilience for effectively navigating through life. Debra is a member of the ACA, holds an Intrinsic Coach Certificate and has served in ministries at her church including budget counseling, divorce recovery and marriage mentoring. Debra completed her Master’s degree in Counseling from Oakland University.


James Garden

Limited Licensed Professional Counselor 

James has a Master’s Degree from Oakland University. He also holds a MBA from Long Island University. James has 32 year of corporate leadership experience with extensive involvement in training, development, and change strategies. James has served as a facilitator for various initiatives at his church including, budget counseling, divorce recovery, pre-marital counseling and marriage mentoring. James has a passion for helping individuals, couples and families find effective and sustainable solutions to deal with life challenges. He uses a holistic and comprehensive philosophy of counseling that focuses on mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health. His cognitive-behavioral approach is tailored to fit the individual needs, values and personalities of his clients.

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