Therapy Team

Paul Johnston


It is my pleasure to work with a group of dedicated professionals here at Synergy! The collection of professionals at Synergy brings a lot of experience and strengths to this clinic. My trail has led me to become a licensed therapist both here and in Colorado for the past 21 years. I have spent my entire working life helping kids and their families. On this path I have had the pleasure to work extensively with at risk teenagers, trauma victims, soldiers and civilians with PTSD. I am a strong believer in marriage and I really enjoy the duality in working with couples! While I would not consider myself to be a jack of all trades I do strongly believe that it is never too late to live happily ever after!

My life has been blessed with a beautiful and loving wife, and seven very different children. In addition to my family, I love Cyclone basketball, the Denver Broncos, the Rocky Mountains and living in Des Moines. It is my pleasure to share some of my life and experiences with you.

Chris Erickson


Sometimes in life, events happen that can disrupt our life plans and threaten our confidence and belief in ourselves, leaving us feeling “stuck.” In my work, I strive to help people find the value in themselves. I enjoy working with all individuals, families and couples ages 8 and up. I have worked with individuals to manage and overcome anxiety, depression, ADHD, autism, adjustment disorders, family relationship issues, marital stress, financial stress, goal setting, finding balance in life, working to improve self-esteem and self-confidence and to address stress and trauma in their lives.

I graduated from Simpson College in May, 2006, with a BA in Marketing and earned my Master’s in Social Work from the University of Iowa in May, 2013.

I am also certified as an International Alcohol and Drug Counselor and have worked in a variety of treatment and mental health settings for the last fourteen years.

In my free time, I enjoy riding my motorcycle, spending time with my children and being outdoors. I am also an avid outdoorsman and enjoy fishing, hunting, camping, hiking and bonfires with friends and family. I am currently looking forward to and preparing for a black bear hunt in Northern Minnesota later this year.

Jenn Ungs


There are times when we all need a safe and caring place to express our true thoughts and feelings. I have worked with a wide variety of individuals, in a variety of different settings and have over fifteen years experience. I utilize play therapy and other expressive therapies with children and adolescents 3 years old and up. I also enjoy working with adults utilizing a person-centered approach. Issues I work with include ADHD, anxiety, depression, trauma, behavioral issues, grief and loss, and self-esteem. I also have experience working with autism, developmental disorders, and substance abuse.

In my free time, I enjoy photography, crochet, knitting, and generally anything “crafty”. I also enjoy playing video games and watching Netflix while cuddling with my two French Bulldogs. I’m family-oriented and can usually be found with my husband, mother, sisters, and nieces and nephew.

I believe that the most important factor when looking for a therapist is the relationship. I strive to be authentic and genuine in all of my interactions and to build safe and supportive relationships that foster positive change. I look forward to learning about you, your family, and your life!

Joby Holcomb


It is my belief that the greatest changes a person can make in life are done through the relationship between the therapist and the client. Joining with the clients I work with on their journey is truly a rewarding experience. It is my goal to help individuals understand and overcome the unique barriers in life through empathy, acceptance and unconditional positive regard. I believe that true change can come by using the individual’s strengths and positive attributes along with humor to assist clients in achieving their unique goals.

I received my Cum Laude Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Graceland University in 2002 and my master’s in Mental Health Counseling from Drake University in 2007. I am also a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor and have worked with adults, adolescents and families who may be struggling with an addiction. I believe in a team approach in treating addiction and strive to meet the individual where they are at while helping find the motivation necessary to make changes. With over twelve years of experience and using a person-centered approach, I have helped individuals who experience anxiety, depression, trauma, co-occurring issues, ADHD, Autism Spectrum, Obsessive-Compulsive, marriage conflict, gender, sexuality and grief/loss.

In addition to providing therapy I am also a member of the LGBTQ Commission of the Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Coalition and a serve on New Beginnings Counseling Service Community Advisory Board.

In my freetime I enjoy working out, playing sports and spending time enjoying all that the city of Des Moines has to offer!

Cindy Conte


I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in pre-med from William Penn College and then earned my Master’s in Social Work from the University of Iowa. I am a Licensed Independent Social Worker and have over 25 years experience working with individuals, couples and families. After spending the past 23 years at the Des Moines VA I look forward to continuing my passion with the wonderful staff here at Synergy.

I have received special training and have extensive experience working with adult survivors of sexual abuse including military, childhood and adult traumas. My clinical experience also includes a focus on depression, anxiety, trauma, stress management, and substance abuse for individuals and groups.

In my free time, I love to spend time with my family, my three dogs, and working with the flowers around my home. My greatest joy is to see my clients happy, and confident having the skills to blossom into their full potential.

Karol King

LMFT, Bilingual

As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I enjoy working with teens, adults, couples, and families. I strive to create a safe, nurturing, and respectful environment to facilitate positive change, growth, and healing. I focus on the individual needs of each client with empathy, compassion, and understanding. I work with a wide range of issues including depression, anxiety, self-esteem, self-harming behaviors, relational problems, marital and family conflict, work and academic challenges, grief and loss, trauma and life transitions.

I earned my master’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Iowa State University in 2011. I have experience working with people from diverse backgrounds, and my Positive and Strength-Based approach ensures that our work together is non-judgmental, open and compassionate.
In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, traveling whenever possible, and finding a good show on Netflix to binge watch.

Alison Koch


We all need to be able to feel safe and comfortable sharing our thoughts and feelings with others. I strive to provide that environment for my clients during their journey towards growth and change. I have experience working with children and adolescents as well as adults on varying areas including anxiety, depression, anger, ADHD, peer relationships, grief and loss, self-esteem, coping skills, and trauma. I earned my master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from The University of South Dakota in 2013. Since then, I have experience working with individuals in a clinic setting as well as in the school setting. In my spare time, I enjoy hanging out with friends and family, binge-watching shows on Netflix, and trying out new recipes to cook or bake. I look forward to working with and getting to know you or your child!

Tammy Foster Harban


I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with over ten years experience. I see individuals, couples and families ages 5 on up. I am trained in EMDR, TeleMed Counseling/Distance Counseling, Pre-Court investigations for the mentally ill, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Brief Solution-Focused Therapy and Motivation Interviewing. I have worked in a  variety of settings including outpatient and inpatient facilities, residential treatment centers, private practice, mobile crisis, community mental health, school-based therapy programs, and assistance programs for students and employees. My focus is to help individuals who are dealing with grief and loss issues, trauma, anxiety, depression, spirituality issues, life adjustments, court-mandated therapy, child welfare and ADHD.