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About us

Brandon Ricker, MS, LPC

-Owner and Therapist

-Master of Science Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

-Licensed Professional Counselor

Brandon is the owner and a therapist at Optimum Wellness Counseling.  He is a therapist that truly has a passion for helping others to grow closer to God and improve their lives. Brandon received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at Slippery Rock University and completed his graduate work at California University of Pennsylvania earning a Master of Science degree in clinical mental health counseling.

Brandon has been married to his wife for the past 6 years and finds his personal relationship with God to be the most important factor in his life and his marriage.

Brandon has worked for the last 7 years in the mental health field helping children, teenagers, and adults suffering from mental health concerns, drug and alcohol issues, and co-occurring disorders.  He is a licensed professional counselor in the state of Pennsylvania.  Brandon loves working with children, teens, and adults dealing with trauma, anxiety, and a multitude of other issues.


Brandon is currently seeing clients in our Belle Vernon location and in school clients in Belle Vernon Area School District.

Crystal Buchmann, MS, LPC

-Masters of Science in Christian Counseling and Clinical Mental Health

-Bachelor in Bible

-Licensed Professional Counselor

Crystal has been practicing out-patient mental health counseling for 10 years. She is also a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Pennsylvania. Crystal has a Bachelor’s degree in Bible and Master of Science in Christian Counseling from Cairn University. Seven years ago, Crystal went on to do Post-Masters work in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at California University of Pennsylvania. Crystal loves working with individuals who are motivated to find solutions to their problems and believe that the process of change is possible. She likes to help clients “unpack” what brings them to counseling so that they no longer need to carry it around in life. Crystal will work with
children and their parents but focuses on adolescents and adult clients as well as couples. She has experience and success in helping clients in the following areas: depressive/mood and anxiety disorders, abuse and trauma, anger and stress management, couples in conflict, an unhealthy relationship with food, and obsessive or compulsive reoccurring thoughts/behaviors. Her niche is helping those with grief and loss related issues. She has been the keynote speaker on the topic of Grief and Loss and How to Support a Grieving Child. When it comes to spirituality or religious beliefs, Crystal is sensitive to where the client is at on this topic and if it is important to them, it can be viewed as a strength to draw upon.
Crystal blends clinical techniques to help clients achieve their reasons for coming to therapy. She has found it to be effective to changing her methods as needed to fit the needs of her clients. Each client is different and so should the mode of therapy used for them. She typically uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) techniques. Crystal is currently accepting clients with Highmark and UPMC insurance plans. She will also see clients for an out-of-pocket rate if the client has no insurance or wishes to wave billing their insurance plan.
Crystal was born and raised in South Portland, Maine. She moved to Pennsylvania for graduate studies in the Philadelphia area. She met her husband there and has been married for 10 years. She has 2 children and enjoys home renovation shows, baking, and playing board games.

Crystal is currently seeing Highmark and UPMC clients in our Belle Vernon location.

Lindsay Salany, MA, LPC
-Masters of Arts in Counseling
-Bachelor in Special Education/Elementary Education
-Licensed Professional Counselor

Lindsay received both her Bachelor of Science degrees in special education and elementary
education from Clarion University of Pennsylvania.  She completed her graduate degree at Geneva College where she earned her Master’s degree in counseling.  Lindsay worked in the community mental health field for three years as a mobile therapist on a multidisciplinary team.  During that time, she worked with young adults, families, individuals, and senior citizens facing a variety of challenges including: PTSD, depression, anxiety, grief and loss, and also more severe diagnoses. 


Lindsay is a licensed professional counselor in the state of Pennsylvania.  Lindsay enjoys working with young adults and individuals looking for a safe, nonjudgmental space.  She likes to work with clients to find strategies to cope with issues and address the root causes.

Lindsay is married and has four children through biology, foster care, and adoption.  She is an avid reader, podcast listener, and enjoys being outside.  Lindsay co-leads a small group at her church and is an advocate in the foster care community.

Lindsay is currently seeing Highmark and UPMC clients in our Belle Vernon location.

Nicole Niggel, MS, LPC
-Masters of Science in Education
-Bachelor of Arts- Applied Psychology
-Licensed Professional Counselor

Nicole received her bachelor of arts degree in applied psychology from Penn State University and continued her education with a masters of science degree in education at Duquesne University.  Nicole has extensive experience and knowledge in working with children and adolescents having worked in the school as a counselor for over 10 years. 


Nicole is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state on Pennsylvania.  Her passion is working with children and adolescents and helping them with a variety of issues.

Personally Nicole has been married for 10 years and has a child of her own whom she absolutely adores.  

Nicole is currently seeing Highmark and UPMC clients in our Greensburg location.


Jess Aldinger, MA
- Counselor
- Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling


Jess believes that the foundation to a good counseling relationship is built on the counselor’s acceptance, understanding, and unconditional regard for the client. With that principal approach, Jess wholeheartedly works with adults, teens, children, couples, coparents, and families, helping them to create applicable goals to work through life’s challenges.
After over 10 years of working with individuals from an array of backgrounds and experiences in both group and individual settings, Jess is in the process of completing her state licensure, so that her credentials will further her passion and calling.  Jess is building her specialization in working with couples, adults, teens, and children going
through their individualized experiences of managing marriage and family conflict, healing from broken relationships, and navigating two-household families. She is certified in the areas of Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Telehealth Therapy, and Psychological First Aid, and is passionate about utilizing a strengths-based, person-centered approach to helping clients.


Jess loves utilizing various interventions that best fit the needs of the client, whether it be art therapy techniques, play therapy techniques, geek therapy, outdoor sessions, or online telehealth. Some of Jess’ hobbies include spending time with her family, going on hikes, cooking her way through Pinterest, and teaching herself the refined art of making balloon animals.


She has been a part of Optimum Wellness since 2019.


Jess is seeing Highmark and UPMC clients via our telehealth system

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