Gil Hoel


Gil Hoel is a WI State Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Substance Abuse Counselor. He has over thirty-five years of experience working with individuals, couples and families. His approach to counseling stems from a firm belief that if we are open to learning with the heart as well as the head, anything is possible.

Chris Ruder-Vasconez


Chris is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. After 6 years of working with adults and youth in Adventure Therapy, Chris earned his Masters at UW-Stout in 2015. As a therapist, he sees couples, youth, and adults who want to resolve conflict and improve relationships with loved ones, or within themselves. He is skilled at bridging the gap between painful relationships, especially between with Teens and Parents, and with Couples.

Chris' style pays special attention to being mindful of emotions, needs, and communication. He often works in addressing and healing anger, depression, and anxiety. Chris draws from his knowledge in biofeedback/mindfulness, Adventure Therapy, Internal Family Systems, and Solution Focused therapies.

Susan Townsley


Susan Townsley is the Director of the Viroqua Healing Arts Mental Health Center (VHAMHC).  Susan received her Master’s in Social Work from Columbia University in New York.   She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has been practicing since 1993.  She works with anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, reactive attachment disorder, couples, families, individuals and children.  Susan has advanced training in EMDR and Theraplay.  She also has training in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, Stress Management, and Mindfulness. 

When you enter Susan’s office you will find your self in a peaceful place.  Susan will be there to partner with you to help you find your own healing path.

"Scattered along the way of life are tough times and from time to time you find yourself in a place through which you wish you had someone to help you navigate....time and again Susan has been that someone for my family" – anonymous client

Counseling Services

The Viroqua Healing Arts Mental Health Center offers psychotherapy services for children, individuals, couples and families.  The Center offers an intimate home based setting.  The services offered use a systems based approach, working with the individual or couple or child in relationship to their environment.  Your counselor will address the needs of body, mind and spirit.  Listed below are some of the treatment methods used by the Counselors at the Viroqua Healing Arts Mental Health Center. 



Stress Reduction

Stress can be the cause of ailments of both the body and the mind.  We will work with you to find ways to reduce stress and anxiety and increase your ability to live in the present moment.

Eye Movement Desensitization (EMDR)

EMDR is a psychotherapy method that incorporates many different methods together to create a highly effective treatment for trauma and anxiety.  EMDR uses a body-centered process to reprocess trauma and anxiety in order to create a higher level of functioning.   The following websites have more extensive information about this approach: and



At the Center, parents are involved in the counseling process.  The therapist partners with the parent in order to facilitate healing for the entire family.


Theraplay is a non-traditional form of play therapy.  It does not use toys or props.  Theraplay involves the parent or guardian.  The therapist works with the parent/guardian using interactive games to help improve attachment and behavior.  The following website contains extensive information about this approach:

Couples Counseling

Couples counseling is conducted with a look at the past and a focus on the present.  Therapists at the Center look at the dynamic process that happens between partners and work to heal dysfunction and accentuate positive interaction.  The goal is to teach the partners to be able to communicate with and support each other so that the therapist is no longer necessary.


Choosing the right therapist for yourself is essential. With Susan we felt comfortable and emotionally safe. She has a gentle guiding way of challenging you to learn about your self and has the skill and knowledge to facilitate meaningful change. - Anonymous Client



  • Parenting with Love and Logic, by Foster W. Cline and Jim Fay
  • Wherever You Go There You Are, by Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • The Dance of Fear by, Harriet Lerner
  • The Heart of the Matter: Perspectives on Emotion in Marital Therapy, by Susan Johnson


Columbia University
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder