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Stephen J. Luzar, MA, LP

My name is Stephen J. Luzar, I am Mdewakanton Dakota. My upbringing was in a relatively large family in Minneapolis, MN that could only be described as ‘working poor.’ My first attempt at college was less than successful, providing me valuable life lessons that would serve me later on. In 1991, entered chemical dependency treatment, graduated successfully and have remained chemical free for about thirty years now.

That fall (in 1991), I started at Augsburg College and four years later earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry with a minor in Sociology. I was on the school’s Honor Roll, a Biology and Chemistry scholarship recipient, the Keymaker Award winner and was inducted in to the Beta Beta Beta National Biological Honor Society and the Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society. I was the first person in my family to graduate from college.

I then attended the University of Minnesota Duluth’s School of Medicine through the Center of American Indian and Minority Health program. My introduction to the traditional Dakota way of living came during my time in Medical School. Acquiring this knowledge broadened my perspective about what is ‘health’ and ‘wellness’. It was a difficult decision, but a change in focus was necessary and I left medical school and entering graduate school. My medical school education and experience adds another dimension to my practice of psychology.

I chose the University of St. Thomas, completed my Master’s Degree and focused on the American Indian population.  I chose the field of psychology because of wanting to help people in a way that was close to the values and ethics that I hold personally. For me, it comes down to how can my education, training and experience be helpful to others and I feel that I can have more of an impact with more clinically related credentials. I feel that because of my training and experience that I have accrued, I possess a unique understanding of the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of those parts that make us human. Throughout graduate school, I worked more than full time as a Child Care Counselor for the Children’s Residential Treatment Center (C.R.T.C.) in Minneapolis, MN. There I counseled, taught, and supervised emotionally unstable adolescents (ages 11 to 17) in a ‘secure’ treatment center setting.  I completed my internship for graduate school with Ain Dah Yung (Our Home) Center and the American Indian Family Center (both located in St. Paul, Minnesota) to provide mental health services to Native people living in St. Paul.  During my internship year, I worked as one of the Crisis Response Specialists for the Volunteers of America MN Children’s Residential Treatment Center located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Right out of graduate school, I began my professional career with the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe as a mental health practitioner working in the Behavioral Health Department / Mental Health Project.  During my time with the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe’s Behavioral Health Department, I was an Adjunct Professor for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Tribal College – Chemical Dependency Counselor Training Program.  During this time, I was appointed to the Minnesota American Indian Mental Health Advisory Council through the Minnesota Department of Human Services – Adult Mental Health Division. I initially represented the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe to the council and later, became the representative for the “At Large” Native American community to the Advisory Council. I have presided as one of the Co-Chairs for the Advisory Co0uncil for a number of years.

In 2004, I was given the opportunity and privilege to participate in the rigorous Blandin Reservation Community Leadership Program, through the Blandin Foundation.  In 2007, I took a position with the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe as the Clinical Director of the Human Services Division (this includes the Mental Health, Child Welfare, Chemical Dependency departments and an Opioid Replacement Program). This experience has been extremely interesting as it has allowed me to have a broad range of experiences in many different disciplines.  During this time, I attended the University of St. Thomas – Opus College of Business Mini-M.B.A. in Health Care Management.  In 2009 contracted with the Lower Sioux Indian Community and the Upper Sioux Community to provide direct psychological services to community members.  In 2010, I became the American Indian Mental Health Program Consultant with the Minnesota Department of Human Services Adult Mental Health Division.  During this time, I contracted with the Indian Health Board of Minneapolis, Inc., where I provided direct psychotherapeutic services to clients of the Counseling & Support Program.  Also during this time, I became a Leadership Coach for the Blandin Foundation where I provide professional development services to the participants going through the Community Leadership Training Programs.  In April 2011, I contracted with the Indian Health Board of Minneapolis, Inc. to provide services to the Minnesota Department of Human Services – Adult Mental Health Division as American Indian State-Wide Program Developer.  I began a private practice in Redwood Falls, Minnesota providing direct psychotherapeutic services to clients.  From 2013 to 2014, I contracted with the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa to provide direct psychological services to community members through the New Moon Housing Program.

In 2016, I accepted a full-time position with the Minneapolis Indian Health Board as a Psychologist and the Indigenous Services Manager where I not only provided direct psychological services, but supported and created new indigenous services throughout the clinic.  In the Fall of 2018, I briefly spent time in Duluth, MN working with the White Earth Behavioral Health Program as the site supervisor, administrative supervisor and the clinical supervisor for their mental health programming in the Duluth area.  In 2019, I returned to the Minneapolis Indian Health Board as the recovery Services Director (but also re-assumed the duties of the Indigenous Services Manager) and directed the Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) services, as well as, developed the full range of recovery-based services for the clinics.

I have volunteered for a number of organizations over the past years including: The Minnesota American Indian Mental Health Advisory Council (2008 to 2010) as a representative for the ‘At Large” Native Community & Co-Chair. With the Mille Lacs Academy (Onamia, MN) as a Cultural Consultant (2006 to 2008). With the Indian Health Board of Minneapolis, Inc. (2004 to 2006) as a Member of the Board of Directors.

My preference would be to have my life’s work to reflect my life’s journey. One aspect that is evident in my life is the concept of ‘transformation.’ I think about my journey and reflect back on to those experiences that have left an indelible mark on my ‘psyche’, and how I have been able to transcend those experiences into something positive that will be of benefit to those that I would serve in my chosen career.

In summary, I believe that I possess excellent interpersonal and communication skills that are complimented by energy, drive, dedication, enthusiasm, intensity and commitment to those areas of my life that I feel are important, personally and professionally. There is tremendous need for quality mental health services with people these days and the ‘holistic’ emphasis could become particularly helpful. My career objective is to utilize all of these skills; coupled with over ten years of professional counseling experience, over four years of medical experience, over three years of biology and chemistry experience, over two years of teaching experience, and one year of research experience; to assist people in general and different “At Risk” populations to achieve their own personal potentials. Other professional goals of mine include doing clinically based research, writing articles or possibly a book on Native mental health, teaching, mentoring the next generation of psychologists & counselors, developing therapeutic toys, and many other endeavors.

Thank you for reading all about me.  If there is something that I can do, please let me know.

Pidamayayedo. (Thank you)

Stephen J. Luzar, M.A.
Licensed Psychologist

About: Bio

Dakotah Consulting Inc. Psychological Services

DCI Psychological services has been in existence since 2007 and has provided a wide array of mental health (and other) services for many different Tribal and Non-tribal organizations and includes:

● Provide direct psychological / counseling services to clients of the different communities.  
● Work with other programs both within and outside of different systems of care without difficulty (city, county, tribal, state, etc.).
● Provide culturally sensitive and culturally appropriate mental health services. 
● Provide clients with psychological testing services (including interpretation, etc.) for assessments. 
● Work with other programs both within and outside of different systems without difficulty.
● Maintain a high level of confidentiality and professional ethics at all times.
● Provide supervisions services to various members of different mental health / chemical health staff. 
● Work with county-based programs throughout a number of counties without difficulty.
● Provided program development services. 
● Provided crisis management on an as needed basis. 
● Provide appropriate treatment of clients within the ethical and professional guidelines established by the Minnesota Board of Psychology.  
● Expanded services to reach community members through different Medical Clinical health programming. 
● Assisted with preparations for the Minnesota American Indian Mental Health Advisory Council conference
● Provided presentations (Ex. Health Fair, etc.).
● Invented program paperwork that meets and exceeds the standards for proper case management.
● Completed the Minnesota Department of Human Services Year End reports.
● Assumed the Program Director position for different Behavioral Health Services programs. 
● Provide professional development services to participants of Community Leadership Training Programs.  
● Specialize in working with the Reservations Community Leadership Training Programs.  
● Identifying and enhancing the participants unique capacities for leadership in their own communities. 
● Special attention id drawn to interpersonal communication, conflict management, community power analysis, community mobilization, building social capital across personality preferences, and working effectively with different groups.  

For more specific information, please see Stephen Luzar’s Curriculum Vitae (CV). 

About: Bio

My Philosophy & Mission:

My ‘vision’ for myself and the work that I do professionally, as well as, personally is to assist people to achieve their own individual potential - whatever that may be.  One of my mantras that I like to say all of the time is:  “It’s all good…”

Because, it is all good.  Even when things are not going so well, there are always positives that we can point to and people in our lives that help support us in good times and bad.

My ‘mission’ is to utilize my professional psychological / counseling skills and work with individuals, as well as, programs to provide the highest quality array of psychological services including direct psychological assessment & treatment and human service administration.  I believe that excellent interpersonal and communication skills are complimented by energy, drive, dedication, enthusiasm, intensity and commitment.  My overall career objective is to utilize these skills; coupled with years of professional counseling experience, medical experience, administrative experience, biology and chemistry experience, teaching experience, and research experience; to assist many different “At Risk” populations to achieve their potentials. 

About: Welcome
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