About us

Critical Incident Stress Consultants (CISC) is dedicated to providing evidence-based resiliency strategies and support following toxic stress exposure to help the helpers stay in their chosen field. Located in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area, we work with clients locally and across the country. When you engage Critical Incident Stress Consultants, you engage a team of experienced professionals.

Sue Johnston, LICSW

CEO & Founder

As leader and CEO of Critical Incident Stress Consultants, I strive to bring together experienced professionals to assist those in the helping professions through evidence-based interventions. My work is informed by my 30 years of experience as a psychotherapist treating stress, anxiety and psychological trauma in a variety of locations and populations, including: emergency services personnel, medical professionals, rape survivors, torture survivors, refugee communities, and war zones with MSF/Doctors without Borders. I’ve responded to multiple critical incidents (employee death in service, employee suicide, staff assault, staff grief reactions, ambulance crash, helicopter crash) as well as mass casualty events, including Hurricane Katrina…..

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Kathy Abram, MA

Psychologist &

Retired Deputy Sheriff

During my 25-year career in law enforcement as a dispatcher, jailer, patrol officer, detective, and watch commander, there were no helpful interventions. The prevailing attitude was “Buck up and get over it,” which is not a healthy attitude in responding to critical incidents or chronic stress. After my first few debriefing interventions, I was hooked on the way in which I could help first responders and the public normalize a critical incident and help them move on. I am incredibly motivated to help keep first responders mentally healthy for their careers, their families and their communities. Their job should never get in the way of off-duty life…

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Cindy Anderson,



My career spans forty years in the medical field as a Paramedic, EMS Educator and Emergency Department nurse. For the past twenty years I’ve been a member of the Metro CISM Team, a group of volunteers who provide free critical incident stress debriefing sessions to first responder teams within the Twin Cities metro area.

Through my work in both the emergency medical field and the Metro CISM Team, I have experienced firsthand the importance of keeping emergency care responders supported and healthy, especially after an impactful event. Peer support and facilitating critical incident event follow-up have been some of the most rewarding work I’ve experienced.

Lori Alveshere Sommer, RN

I’m a certified professional coach and trainer with 15 years experience working as a registered nurse in the field of cardiology, in direct patient care and clinical research and as a project manager in public health settings. I’m looking forward to sharing practical science based techniques and strategies to manage the stressors encountered while doing meaningful & challenging work, so you can stay in the game for the long haul.

Lindsay Benson,


I am proud of my 15 years of experience in the field of mental health working with groups, couples, children, teens and adults. I’m trained in Critical Incident Stress and work with first responders on a regular basis. I specialize in trauma, incorporating Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and body-brain connections. I approach my work by putting my clients at the center and working with them holistically. I believe there is always a path to healing, and there is always cause for hope.

Cheena Borzalski,



I’m a BSN and RN with over 12 years of experience in long-term and transitional care, medical-surgical floors, and clinic settings, and am currently pursuing a Masters of Science in Nursing (Nurse Educator) and a lab instructor degree at St. Catherine University. I’m actively involved in the LGBTQ+ community and advocate for reducing health disparities by educating medical students and professionals about caring for LGBTQ+ individuals.

Jeff Eberhard,


Since 2002 I’ve been working in the field of social work, supporting marginalized communities. My experiences include supporting unhoused individuals and families; clients diagnosed with severe and persistent mental illness; chronic substance use and other chronic health conditions; providing individual support; and facilitating psycho-social groups.  I have worked in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, acute mental health treatment and shelters. I’m currently the Supportive Services Manager in a Supportive Housing program.  Through these experiences I have seen firsthand how the work we do as caring professionals can take its toll on our individual well-being.
As a leader in various agencies I approach my work with a sense of calm and openness. I bring to my work a commitment to developing strategies and tools for maintaining ourselves so that we can continue to provide compassion and empathy for others. I am motivated to share these experiences with other through my work as a consultant with CISC.


Linette Meyer,


It’s been an honor to work as a Registered Nurse for more than thirty years. My field of specialty is clinical field of organ donation, caring for donor families and advocating for organ, tissue and eye donation, while also coordinating a complex clinical process. I’ve seen the positive impacts that destress conversations can have and have benefitted personally from discussing the impact of critical incidents. Those conversation have helped me continue to care for the patients and families I serve.

Earlier in my career, I worked in hospital and nursing home environments in the ICU, medical-surgical unit, obstetrics and cared for the elderly. I’ve seen and felt the impact of end-of-life care and have been privileged to be present with patients and families at the end of life.

I believe that health is an ongoing and holistic continuum, and that destress conversations can help normalize stressful events to keep providers in the career of their choosing.

Natalie Naranjo

I’m a professional development specialist in inclusion, diversity, equity, access and leadership.  I was a high school math teacher in New York City and the Bay Area.  I am trained in restorative circle keeping and have extensive experience facilitating affinity groups.

C.J. DuQue, Web Master

Catherine J. DuQue

Web Master and Designer

I am a dedicated designer with expertise in various facets of design, focusing primarily on WordPress website design, graphic design, and branding. I am the proud founder of my Digital Design Agency, where I provide a diverse range of design services to my clients ranging from small businesses, nonprofits, and midsized to large corporate organizations nationwide, and internationally. My professional journey spans over 5 years as a skilled website designer and front-end developer, and I have accumulated over 7 years of experience in graphic and brand design. Throughout my career, I have held various key roles, including digital content specialist, graphic designer, website manager, and lead designer, among others.

Heather Hoffman,


I am an experienced psychotherapist and trauma specialist with over 20 years of experience in mental health care. I have worked across practice areas including community health, hospital-based, partial hospitalization, within the criminal justice system, with law enforcement and first responders, and within international humanitarian and human rights settings.

As a consultant, I address the effects of stressful work environments and critical incidents on staff wellbeing. I enjoy partnering with organizations to help them become more trauma-informed and resilient.



Xia Duffing Romero, BS

I am a mental health/addictions coach and a graduate student. I love collaborating with immigrants, refugees, queer, and disabled folks and centering their needs, joy, and meaningful activities in my work. My background is in research, including community-based participatory research, and I enjoy bringing interdisciplinary thinking to my work.

Krista Schaefer,


I’m a practicing mental health therapist who has worked in a variety of treatment settings, including inpatient treatment, hospital-based care, and detox. I specializes in working with individuals and families who are experiencing problems related to substance use and mental health, and often work with complex and blended family systems as they work to address problems caused by chronic substance use. I’ve also trained new clinicians and K-12 educators to understand and appropriately respond to substance use related problems. Additionally, I have specialized training working with first responders and health professionals. The needs of this population are often unique and sensitive, and I offer well informed and compassionate guidance as clients work to improve their lives.

Stephen Kurachek,


I am a former critical care physician from Children’s Hospital and for the last 7 years of my career I worked in quality and helped develop a peer-to-peer support program. I feel strongly that we desperately need to create cultures where supporting one another, and sometimes forgiving oneself, is embedded in our work.


 Carly Kabitz, Mental Health Professional

 I am a mental health professional, specializing in depression, anxiety, and trauma. I’ve worked in multiple settings including community mental health settings, partial hospitalization programs, and shelters . Throughout these experiences, my coworkers and I would have benefitted from stress debriefings and learning resilience skills. My goal is to provide these services to others so that providers can continue their vital work while caring for themselves.

Laura Svoboda, MSW, LISW

 Laura Svoboda, MSW,LISW

Inspired by those I partner with, and passionate about creating environments where people flourish…

The first 20 years of my career was spent as an occupational therapist in acute care hospitals and inpatient mental health, and the second half as a leader in the areas of refugee resettlement and organ,eye and tissue donation.

Impacted by the trauma, loss, and recovery I intersected with, I was thankful for opportunities to discuss the challenges of the work.

Drawing on varied experiences, I hope to provide a safe space to reflect.