Eunoia continues to expand

FAIRMONT – The need for mental health services in the Fairmont area is clear looking at the growth Eunoia Family Resource Center has experienced since Dr. Ramie Vetter founded the clinic five years ago.

In 2011, he hired a second psychologist to join him, Dr. Emily Ovrebo, and then in 2012, when Eunoia relocated to a larger site, Vetter added a third psychologist to help meet demand.

Dr. Scott Dugan is new to Fairmont, but not southern Minnesota. He previously worked for Sioux Trails Mental Health Center in St. Peter, which is where he met Ovrebo and how he learned that Eunoia was looking for another therapist.

Dugan knew from a young age that he wanted a career in health care. At 2 years old, he would cart his Fischer Price medical bag everywhere he went, with dreams of becoming a doctor. Not until his own experience with therapy as a teenager did he think about going into mental health.

“A pre-med chemistry course helped determine medical school might not be the best option,” he said, laughing.

With his interest in the liberal arts, he felt psychology was a better fit, so he completed his undergraduate schooling with degrees in psychology and history, from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. After working as a social skills trainer for people with severe and persistent mental illness, and then a case manager for individuals with developmental disabilities, he returned to school to further his training, graduating from the University of Denver as a doctor of psychology.

Dugan works with patients age 5 through adults. His expertise includes evaluations using the Marschak Interactive Method, which looks at the interaction between two parties, typically a caretaker and child, based on four levels of relationship: engagement, nurturance, structure and challenge.

“It’s not a standardized psychological test,” he said, but by assigning the two people a variety of tasks, he is able to observe, take notes and evaluate where the relationship needs work.

The Marschak method, or MIM, is an example of the practical aspect of psychology.

“Psychology today is trying to get across to the public that we’re not reading people’s minds,” Dugan said.

As a therapist, Dugan has a laid-back approach: He doesn’t assign homework or make his patients journal. He expects them to talk to him about what’s on their mind, live their lives between sessions, and apply his advice as they see fit.

“A common metaphor I use is that I’m their coach and their cheerleader,” he said. “I help them develop a game plan, and they have to go play it. When the plays go well, I cheer them on.”

Dugan and his wife, Angela, who is also a psychologist, live in North Mankato with their 2-year-old daughter.