Women-owned practice breaks down barriers to mental health services in the community

Open Range Counseling Center provides a range of services to the community, offering individual and family therapy, medication management, substance use disorder services and telehealth options.

The team at Open Range Counseling center works to provide mental health services to community members in Southwest North Dakota.
Photo by Allison Engstrom / The Dickinson Press

DICKINSON - Open Range Counseling Center is a women-owned mental health care practice working to provide an extensive list of services to the community.

From individual and family therapy to medication management and substance use disorder services and even telehealth, the women at Open Range are dedicated to providing as many services as possible to help people in the community.

The center is a private practice specializing in professional outpatient mental health services with the belief that mental health is essential in achieving a healthy, balanced and productive life.

The center was started by licensed professional clinical counselor and master addiction counselor Kori Stockie, doctor of behavioral health and licensed clinical social worker Amanda Barnard and certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner Toni Abelseth.

The team branched off from working at the Human Service Center to create their own practice just over a year ago, where the practice has since continued to grow, adding 5 more mental health providers over the last year.


Stockie felt surprised by how quickly their practice grew but has enjoyed every step of the way, growing pains included.

“I don't think three of us when we started ever thought that we get this big so fast…” Stockie said.

For licensed clinical social worker Jessica Landis, working in a women-owned business, she finds it important to empower and lift each other up.

“With limited resources and staff in our region I want to build others up, lean and support each other as we grow and learn together,” Landis said.

Using community feedback, the team has worked to combat and improve things like wait times, family therapy options, and quicker med management.

A community health assessment done by CHI St. Alexius Health Dickinson Medical Center residents within Stark County indicated the availability of mental health services as one of the ten most important needs in the community.

The survey revealed that community members perceived the biggest barriers in receiving healthcare to be things like limited appointment hours and a lack of providers, though in the mental health field, the ladies at Open Range are working to combat that.

For example, several providers at the center work to provide flexible or even extended hours and telehealth options, another provider even does outreach to area schools to help eliminate those barriers.


From children to teenagers to adults of all ages, the center provides services to all walks of life in hopes of improving the overall health of the community starting with mental health.

“Really honestly it's going to help the whole population's health, and breaking down those barriers means that more people can get what they need and the quicker they can get what they need…” Stockie said.

Stockie explained that the sooner people get to providers and engage in treatment, the sooner they are going to be healthier, and more productive, and their lives overall are going to be better.

Kylee Gruhlke works to provide a safe space for children and teens to feel comfortable in and enjoy coming to.<br/>
Photo by Allison Engstrom / The Dickinson Press

Offering telehealth services is one way the center has worked to provide service to rural areas outside of Dickinson too.

From Watford to Bowman and several areas in between, telehealth is a service that allows the team to provide care to a wide range of community members and in a timely manner.

“I think we're breaking down barriers. We're making it where people can get the services that they need,” Stockie said.

The center does not require a referral for people who are interested in services which is beneficial for people struggling because it helps eliminate a few steps.

“You can just call stop in because if someone is really struggling, making that extra phone call that extra doctor's visit just to get that referral, and then they have to call us and then they have to come in here,” Licensed master social worker Kylee Grulke said.


Family and board-certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, Christina Shockley, mentioned that certain stigmas on mental health are still linger at times, though she has seen that changing.

Gruhlke has noticed that the stigma changing too but noted that there is still a long way to go.

“I often think the first step is the hardest. But, once you get through our doors I think a lot of people are pleasantly surprised by the whole experience,” Gruhlke said.

While the area of mental health can linger with stigmas and hesitation, the women at Open Range hope to provide a welcoming and encouraging environment.

The team at Open Range provides a comforting and relaxing environment to individuals.
Photo by Allison Engstrom / The Dickinson Press

When somebody comes to Open Range, Landis wants all individuals to feel welcome, relaxed and like they are in a safe space.

“Providing a therapeutic atmosphere and open environment to feel that they are heard and listened to is my number one goal,” Landis said.

Stockies' biggest advice for those considering counseling services is to just give them a call she said.

“Give it a try. You just never know,” Stockie said noting that she has had a lot of people come in and the experience was different than what they expected.


Gruhlke commended her team mentioning that everybody does a fantastic job of creating a warm, welcoming space for clients.

There are so many rewarding aspects to her job that Gruhlke finds it hard to narrow it down to just a few.

Gruhlke primarily works with children and teens, and with it being such a vulnerable population, she continues to see such strength and resilience day after day she said.

“Getting to witness those "aha moments" is such a neat experience,” Gruhlke said, “A lot of times the clients empower me just as much, if not more than I hope to be empowering them.”

Both Stockie and Barnard are pursuing doctorate degrees that focus on integrated care, which is a model that works to move primary care into behavioral health care, which is the ultimate goal for the center Barnard said.

“Kori is really working on that goal in the next few years of creating an integrated center where you could have your behavioral health care and your primary care…but really gives that focus on the whole person,” Barnard said.

Open Range is located at 135 Sims St., Suite 202, and accepts Blue Cross Blue Shield, Sanford Health, and Medicaid though they do work to provide discounted prices to those without insurance or out-of-network plans.

For those interested in services, contact the center at 701-264-9049 Monday through Thursday or online at

Allison is a news reporter from Phoenix, Arizona where she earned a degree in journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. After college, she worked as a middle school writing teacher in the valley. She has made her way around the U.S. driving from Arizona to Minnesota and eventually finding herself here in Dickinson. She has a passion for storytelling and enjoys covering community news.
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