Meet the Staff

Clinical Staff

Andrew Armstrong, PhD, Licensed Psychologist

Doctorate, Clinical/Counseling/School Psychology, Utah State University, 2012

Professional interests:

Group counseling, mindfulness, grief, anxiety, OCD, men’s issues, suicide prevention, LGBTQ issues.

Approach to counseling:

I specialize in acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) which focuses on exploring what matters most to the individual and finding ways to have more of it in life.  I want to help students build a bigger repertoire of coping behaviors, which often includes working on mindfulness – both in session and in everyday practice.  More than anything, I try to make counseling a supportive space where students can be themselves and feel heard.

Involvement in the training program:

I teach a few intern seminars, co-lead groups with trainees, and provide primary supervision for two predoctoral interns per year.  As a supervisor I want to provide a balance of support and challenge, with more emphasis on support.  Drawing from the integrated developmental model of supervision, I try to help interns build both their skills and their confidence.  I value authenticity and I enjoy exploring interpersonal process in supervision and in counseling.

Personal interests:

Music, movies, swimming, eating.

“Imagination is a divine force. If you don’t block it, it will come out and surprise you.”  -  Elliott Smith

 

Phil Burns, MS, Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Master's, Mental Health Counseling, Western Washington University, 2010

Professional interests:

Mindfulness based therapy, anxiety, depression, men’s issues, body-mind connection, group counseling. 

Approach to counseling:

I focus on the relationship, listening deeply and gaining a clear understanding of the problem.  I frequently utilize mindfulness strategies to help students see their experience clearly, and then take a collaborative approach to problem solving and building coping strategies.   I see students as the “experts” on themselves and utilize counseling strategies to enhance the natural healing instincts that they possess.  I often encourage group counseling options as an especially effective way to address common problems that college students experience. 

Involvement in the training program:

Co-lead groups with trainees.  I have provided cohort supervision in the past.  I enjoy consulting with colleagues and trainees.

Personal interests:

Mountain biking, sailing, ultimate Frisbee, music, connecting to friends and family. 

“One of the deepest longings of the human soul is to be seen.”  -  John O’Donahue

 

Nikki Cassidy, PsyD, Licensed Psychologist

Doctorate, Clinical Psychology, Adler School of Professional Psychology, 2013

Professional interests:

Body image issues and eating disorders, trauma, self-compassion, mindfulness, depression, anxiety, multicultural counseling, LGBTQ issues.

Approach to counseling:

I try to create a safe and non-judgmental space in counseling.  In this space where students feel seen, heard, and valued, I get a sense of what students think will be helpful and integrate their ideas into counseling.  I also help students explore their emotions and how they make sense of them, and we work together to find different, often more self-compassionate, ways of coping.

Involvement in the training program:

I anticipate teaching a few intern seminars, co-leading groups, and providing primary supervision.  I draw primarily from the discrimination model of supervision and tailor supervision according to interns’ developmental needs and strengths.  I try to build upon interns existing competencies and increase skills and confidence through a balance of challenge and support.   As a supervisor, I value genuineness and openness and exploring interpersonal and multicultural processes in supervision and counseling.

Personal interests:

Reading, outdoor and physical activities, cooking, playing with my pet cat.

“Worthiness does not have prerequisites.” -  Brene Brown

 

Eric Denson, PhD, Licensed Psychologist/Assistant Director & Training Director

Doctorate, Clinical Psychology, University of Washington, 1992

Professional Interests:

Clinical training and supervision, personality disorders, the intersection of career-mental health concerns.

Approach to counseling:

In my experience, life problems often arise when there is disconnection between what is important to us and our behavior.  In my work, helping clients reconnect values and behavior is critical.  I also work with clients to develop a different relationship with their problems and to look at the function of their symptoms.  I also believe it is crucial to help clients control what they can, and to focus on their effort, rather than on outcomes. 

Involvement in the training program:

As the Training Director, I’m very involved in all aspects of our internship, including developing the curriculum, recruiting and selecting interns, teaching some seminars (often on personality disorders), and serving as a primary clinical supervisor to 2-4 interns each year.  As a supervisor, I see my role as fostering self-confidence in interns, helping them to trust their abilities, find their own styles as emerging clinicians, and exploring things that get in way of all of that.  I believe in supervising the “whole person.”

Personal Interests:

I love sports, music, photography, and really good food.  And combining as many of those things as possible.

“Ain’t no sense worryin’ about things you ain’t got control over, ‘cause if you ain’t got control over ‘em, ain’t no sense worryin’.  And ain’t no sense worryin’ about things you got control over, ‘cause if you got control over ‘em, ain’t no sense worryin’.  -  John Milton “Mickey” Rivers

 

Mimi Freshley, MSW, Licensed Clinical Social Worker/Case Manager

Master in Social Work, University of Kentucky, 1989

Professional Interests:

Client advocacy, crisis intervention and stabilization, linking individuals to community resources, mental health and disability awareness.

Approach to Case Management:

My role at the Counseling Center is to provide clients with off campus referrals, particularly to psychologists and mental health counselors in the community. I assist clients in finding therapists who accept their insurance and whose therapeutic specialties best match the clients’ needs.  When needed, I provide clients with information about other community resources. (In addition to working with the counselors at the Counseling Center I also work with the doctors at the Student Health Center providing referrals for patients.)

Personal interests:

Music, hiking, traveling, gardening, cooking.

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."  -  Eleanor Roosevelt

Dylan Keenberg, PsyD, Psychological Associate

Doctorate, Clinical Psychology, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, 2016

Professional interests:

Identity concerns, stress and coping, relationship difficulties, first-generation college students, grief and loss, existential struggles, creativity, meaningful living.

Approach to counseling:

Regardless of what brings students into a counseling relationship with me, my goal is always to provide a place for them to be themselves and freely explore who they are becoming.  I aim to be a trustworthy, warm, and empathic person that students can clarify their struggles with, providing alternate perspectives when I get a sense they could be useful.  Students have expressed being helped through my efforts to be as curious and nonjudgmental as possible, which allows them to access inherent gifts and form novel ways of relating to their concerns.  I often use humor and artistic metaphor in attempts to help students develop more hopeful views of struggles which they may see as insurmountable.

Involvement in the training program:

I will likely lead some intern seminars, probably in the areas of existential therapy and the role of uncertainty in therapy.  I will also be co-facilitating groups with interns and providing opportunities for consultation through an existential-phenomenological lens.

Personal interests:

I am a bass player in my free time who enjoys performing improvised music.  I also enjoy films, the outdoors, gaming, and caring for my cats (Hado and Totoro).

“We are deeply helpful only when we relate as persons, when we risk ourselves as persons in the relationship, when we experience the other as a person in their own right.” – Carl Rogers

 

Camille O’Connor, PhD, Licensed Psychologist

Doctorate, Clinical Psychology, Duquesne University, 2016

Professional interests:

Identity exploration and development; family of origin concerns; women’s issues; relationships and sexuality; creativity; spirituality; Jungian/archetypal approaches to psychology and psychotherapy

Approach to counseling:

As a depth-oriented psychologist, I often attune to the imaginative, mythic, and poetic dimensions of our psychological lives. I also consider each therapy relationship to have a particular and special chemistry that allows for learning and transformation. I seek to cultivate a space where clients feel welcomed to express themselves and to encounter their own sources of wisdom and creativity. To that end, I also bring my own self into my work in ways that help clients to feel seen, engaged, and understood.

In brief counseling in particular, clients and I usually collaborate to address their immediate concerns: identifying values and intentions, clarifying those areas of life where a client can make changes, and being curious about and tender with those more stuck areas where work with loss and acceptance can allow for release and new possibilities. Attending to the energy of the relationship always is important to me, even if a client and I meet just once or twice.

Involvement in the training program:

I co-facilitate the Women’s Group with a doctoral intern. I also have led a prior intern seminar on using oneself in the therapy relationship and may lead more seminars in the future. I value working with interns in a spirit of affirming their unique styles and gifts.

Personal interests:

I enjoy creative writing, reading and talking about ideas, style and beauty, collecting meaningful objects, and decorating and tending to the spaces where I live and work. As a transplant from the East Coast, I also love hiking in the mountains and exploring the beautiful wildness of Western Washington. My relationships with my loved ones are at the heart of my life.

“The apparently unendurable conflict is proof of the rightness of your life. A life without inner contradiction is either only half a life or else a life in the beyond, which is destined only for angels. But god loves human beings more than the angels.” –C.G. Jung

 

Shari Robinson, PhD, Psychologist/Director

Doctorate, Clinical Psychology, West Virginia University, 2004

Professional interests:

Counseling issues related to diversity and multiculturalism, spirituality and religious with African-Americans, First-Generation college students, Student Veterans, and mentoring people of color.  I see myself as a social justice change agent working toward equity, inclusion and diversity in all of my professional and personal settings.

Approach to counseling:

Within a relational framework I integrate various theoretical orientations based on the client’s needs and lived experiences.

Involvement in the training program:

I can provide clinical supervision to doctoral interns and early career professionals who are working toward licensure.  I teach intern seminars, can co-lead groups with trainees, and am available for clinical consultation.  As a clinical supervisor, it is important to build a level playing field with the trainee that feels collegial, authentic, and supportive.

Personal interests:

Going to the movies (favorite movies are Marvel/DC super heroes).  I consider myself to be a servant leader, and have led mission teams to Haiti and Dominican Republic for the last decade.

“If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t run, then walk, if you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”  -  Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Anne Marie Theiler, MS, Licensed Mental Health Counselor/Assistant Director of Clinical Operations

Master's, Counseling Psychology, Western Washington University, 1988

Professional interests:

Cognitive behavioral therapy within a therapeutic context that values emotional experience and relationship.  Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

Approach to counseling:

Begin with awareness and self-understanding, identify strengths as well as goals for change, and start to take small steps in the right direction, following the values which are important to you.  My most frequent counseling quote is “every strength is also a weakness, and every weakness is also a strength”.

Involvement in the training program:

As the person coordinating our clinical services, my role is to provide orientation and consultation to interns and trainees in regards to policies, procedures, and our day-to-day operations.  I have had the privilege of supervising a number of our master’s level trainees over the years and I take a strengths-based approach to supervision, examining both counseling process and counseling interventions with an emphasis on developing skills to evaluate for yourself what is and isn’t working for your clients.

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. . . it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”  -  Vivian Greene

“Be yourself; everyone else is taken.” – Oscar Wilde

 

R. Chris Turner, MS, Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Master's Counselor Education in Clinical Mental Health, Mississippi State University, 2014

Professional interests:

LGBTQ concerns, anxiety and stress, the human-animal bond, identity development, depression, student veterans.

Approach to counseling:

I feel counseling can only take place in a safe, supportive, and non-judgmental space.  People often find they already have the tools and resources to improve their situation, but feel “stuck” or “lost".  I believe in assisting students to identify what is important to them, their values, and their beliefs, and collaboratively working to identify helpful and positive thought patterns and behaviors, as well as utilizing effective techniques to begin the healing process.  Above all, the student needs to feel as though they are heard, understood, and appreciated for their own personal worldview.

Involvement in the training program:

My involvement in the training program will consist of co-facilitating group therapy and providing consultation for interns.

Personal interests:

I love to travel, learn new languages, cook, and take road trips on my motorcycle.

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”  -  Winston Churchill

 

Enid L. Wood, MS, Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Master's in Behavioral Counseling, Johns Hopkins University, 1983

Professional Interests: 

Mindfulness-based self compassion, depression and anxiety management, and building resilience.

Approach to counseling: 

I believe each person is inherently resilient and has a wonderful mix of strengths and challenges.  I see my role as helping the person I am working with tap into their resilience and natural strengths to meet the challenges they are facing in this setting.  Just like we all differ in physical health preferred strategies, we differ in preferred strategies to support mental wellness.  I honor each individual’s preferred style, whatever mix of cognitive, feeling-based, behavioral and mindfulness strategies they find supportive. I love hearing people’s stories and exploring together what will work best.

Personal Interests: 

Nature, hiking, Sci Fi books, good movies, time with my small family including parrots Bear and Hannah, and of course, friends.

“It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know the sense of wonder and humility.” -  Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder, 1965

 

Doctoral Interns 2017-2018

Sarah Cairns, PsyD Intern, MACP

Doctoral Student, Counseling Psychology, Northwest University, expected graduation date 2018

Professional interests:

Trauma, obesity/overweight and eating disorders, mind/body connection, attachment, depression and PTSD

Approach to counseling:

I try to create a safe and empathetic therapeutic space for clients. I work from a person-centered approach, believing that each client is unique and is able/capable of guiding their own process. I utilize cognitive behavioral therapy, EMDR tools for trauma, mindfulness activities, and always incorporate the strengths of the client as therapeutic resources/tools. I also believe in the power of humor to heal.

Personal interests:

Music, fitness, nutrition/food, reading, dreaming, and Supernatural.

Quote that resonates with me:

“Now I realize that there is no righteous path, it’s just people trying to do their best in a world where it is far too easy to do their worst.” (Castiel, Supernatural)

Sandra Lee, MA. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

Doctoral Student, Clinical Psychology, With Emphasis in Depth Psychology, Pacifica Graduate Institute Ph.D. Program

MA Counseling Psychology, With Emphasis in Depth Psychology - Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2003

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, 2007

Professional Interests:

Exploration of values and diversity in self-identity, family of origin and current interpersonal, multi-cultural, ecological, and spiritual concerns, depression, anxiety and trauma. Social equity and justice, freedom from internal and external oppression.

Approach To Counseling:

My approach is to address the needs of a whole, real, living person through a real, living relationship. I offer an integration of mindfulness, cognitive-behavioral, EMDR, body-awareness, various approaches for trauma work, and dream work. My depth approach takes into consideration the movement of the personal and collective unconscious in our daily lives. My understanding of bio-psycho-social development and personal experience guides me to emphasize the interrelatedness of our individual lives, the global community and nature, as well as the infinite aspects of diversity which enrich our existence. With that in mind, I prioritize co-creating with students a collaborative, trusting, authentic relationship, in which they may bravely, safely explore their unique values and strengths, and discover the opportunity for transformation offered by their challenges. I believe in the power of relational process in individual and group counseling to offer opportunity for self-expansion and transformation, guided by a student’s inner knowing. I humbly offer my open heart and mind to being real and accepting in relationships with students.

In brief counseling, students and I collaborate to address their current concerns and find their edge in staying present to difficult feelings and thoughts, with self-compassion and non-judgment, so that an alchemy of our hearts and minds may usher in a greater degree of freedom from inner and outer oppression. With gentleness, curiosity, humor, and an attentiveness to metaphor, images, dreams, body sensations, and synchronicities, I hope to share with students those moments in which they have a true felt sense of their kinship and place of belonging in our world. I help students cultivate a capacity to attend to and become aware of the nuances of the present moment, to access and fully embody the wisdom, freedom and joy that is their birthright in the here and now.

Personal Interests:

Hiking; Being in Nature; laughing, Being and enjoying food with friends and family; music; reading; dancing; adventure.

“Ring the bells that still can ring; forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the Light gets in.”  Leonard Cohen

Shirley Ley, M.Ed.

Master of Education, University of Toronto, 2012

Doctor of Psychology Student from Adler University, current

Professional interests:

Multicultural counseling, critical race theory, social identity, social justice, life transitions, chronic pain

Approach to counseling:

Students whom I have the privilege of serving will find that I use the therapeutic relationship as the vehicle for achieving their counseling goals. I acknowledge that making change is a risky business, and so helping students feel safe, valued, and accepted is paramount in my work with them. Through our work, students and I will come to understand the humanness of their experience, who they are as people, the values they stand for, and the impact that they have had on our working relationship. I believe that these are the essential ingredients for helping students live life with greater inner peace and freedom.

Personal interests:

Dancing, traveling, eating, rolling around with my dogs, and laughing.

"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift" - Oogway (Kung Fu Panda)

 

Ashley Slaughter, M.A.

Training Program/Home Institution:  PsyD program- John F. Kennedy University

Professional Interests: Depression/Anxiety Disorders, Dual Diagnosis, Couple’s Therapy, Existential Concerns, Laughter Therapy, Pet Therapy

Approach to Counseling: I believe the therapeutic relationship is a finely tuned instrument that can facilitate change.  I also take into consideration the ways in which biological, psychological, and social forces impact the individual.  I take a supportive stance with my clients where self-exploration can take place.  In doing so, I aim to help clients cultivate meaning and purpose into their lives.   

Personal Interests: Spending time with my two Chihuahuas, hiking, cooking, laughing, eating, road trips, car djing  

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”   -Oscar Wilde

Men's Resiliency Specialist

Ian Vincent, BA

Bachelor's, Humanities, Western Washington University, 2014

Professional interests:

Men’s issues, gender identity, suicide prevention and violence prevention.

Approach to educating:

I educate students, staff and faculty on men’s issues and upstream suicide prevention methods.  My focus is on why men are less likely to seek resources and more likely to engage in unhealthy forms of coping.  I enjoy helping students look for positive mentors and building positive relationships across campus.  My goal is to help students find a space where they feel heard and comfortable expressing themselves.  I coordinate campus events and trainings to educate students, staff and faculty on upstream suicide prevention and gender identity.  I provide students with support to strengthen their confidence to approach their peers facing mental health challenges.

Personal interests:

Hiking, fishing, windsurfing, and sailing.

Suicide Prevention Coordinator

KaSandra (Kas) Church, MA

Master's, Teaching, Muskingum University, 2008

Professional Interests:

Suicide prevention, mental health awareness, trauma-informed practices, resilience, and community mobilization.

Involvement education and training:

I am responsible for coordinating and supporting suicide prevention initiatives on campus.  In this role I will oversee BRAVE (Building Resilience And Voicing Empathy), Western’s suicide prevention program. I will also be working with the Suicide Advisory Committee to develop a comprehensive suicide prevention plan, one that adheres to the JED Campus Framework. The plan will incorporate a variety of suicide prevention strategies such as skill-building for students, gatekeeper trainings, means restriction and policy change. My hope is that suicide prevention will be seen as a campus-wide issue; one in which we all have a role.

Personal Interests:

Yoga, hiking, gardening, reading, traveling, and water sports.

“What lies before us and what lies behind us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”  -  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Administrative Staff

Sherri Nelson, Assistant to Director

Personal Interests:

Golf, walking/hiking, dancing, spending time with friends and family.

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

 

Jane Wareing, Patient Services Coordinator

Personal Interests:

Reading, gardening, fitness walking and knitting.

"Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”  -  Albert Einstein