Meet the Staff

Clinical Staff

Phil Burns, MS, Licensed Mental Health Counselor (he/him/his)

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 Pre-Doctoral 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 (she/her/hers)

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

Professional interests: Body image issues and eating disorders, trauma, self-compassion, 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 Pre-Doctoral Training Program: I facilitate intern seminars on different topics, co-lead groups, and provide primary supervision.  I draw primarily from the competency-based model of supervision and tailor supervision according to interns’ individual 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 

 

Christopher Edwards, PsyD, Licensed Psychologist (he/him/his)

Doctorate, Clinical Psychology, Pacific University School of Graduate Psychology, 2014

Professional interests: Anxiety and mood disorders, disordered eating, identity development, substance use, LBGT+, outreach and prevention, providing supervision to trainees, and behavioral health.

Approach to counseling: I take an integrative approach to treatment drawing from client strengths and fostering a strong therapeutic alliance to provide affirming, engaging, and evidence-based psychotherapy and intervention. I view the counseling process as collaborative and strive to meet clients where they’re at. Through values exploration, increasing awareness, and addressing maladaptive behaviors it is my hope that clients will improve their functioning, acquire coping skills, build self-efficacy, and live with intention and authenticity.

Involvement in the Pre-Doctoral Training Program: I lead intern seminars on a variety of topics, co-lead groups, and provide primary supervision to trainees. I am also the Outreach Coordinator for the Counseling Center and work with Prevention & Wellness Services and other campus departments. I approach supervision from a developmental frame acknowledging that trainees come to internship with a vast array of clinical and life experiences and, will continue to expand their knowledge, skills, and abilities through training at the Counseling Center. I highly value the supervisory relationship and endeavor to create a safe, open, and empowering experience for trainees as they continue to grow both personally and professionally.

Personal interests: Spending time in the San Juan Islands, cooking, gardening, running, quality time with family and friends, spending time outdoors, travel, and trying new places to eat!

“Forget regret or life is yours to miss” - Rent 

 

Mimi Freshley, MSW, Licensed Clinical Social Worker/Case Manager (she/her/hers)

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

 

Jennifer Gildner, Ph.D., CMPC, Licensed Psychologist/Interim Assistant Director/Coordinator of Training (she/her/hers)

Doctorate, Counseling Psychology, University of Houston, 2005


Professional interests: Issues experienced by student-athletes and other elite performers; issues associated with outdoor pursuits, extreme sports, and adventure activities; issues experienced within the LGBTQIA population; issues associated with involvement in the Foster Care system; multicultural concerns and the intersection of identities; sexuality; identity formation; injury and pain; mind-body synergy; mindfulness-based therapy; unwanted sexual experiences; spirituality; wellness/self-care habits; and general support during the university experience.


Involvement in Pre-Doctoral Internship training program: I am the Interim Assistant Director and Coordinator of Training. Therefore, I am deeply involved in the logistics of and actual training within our Pre-Doctoral Internship program and am the primary contact person for those interested in completing that next step in their training at WWU. I also co-facilitate groups and provide seminars. My supervision style is developmental as I take each individual where they are. I incorporate humor as much as possible in that relationship. I also have high expectations for Pre-Doctoral Interns and will help them set appropriate and realistic goals that are challenging while I also provide the support and supervision necessary for a safe environment to pursue those goals.


Approach to counseling: I am honored to be a part of your journey! I respect that this is your journey and that my role is to create a safe nonjudgmental space for exploration, challenge, and even celebration. You will be treated as an individual so I am very interested in knowing who you are, what your journey has been to this point, and how we can collaborate to better your situation. You have many answers within you already and together we can attempt to access those answers to create better balance. Sometimes those answers will be specific strategies that will help to change thoughts or behaviors. Other times, the answers come from deeper discussion and exploration of your experience. Though therapy is a serious endeavor, humor can often be healing so we can use humor together when it seems appropriate.


Personal interests: Spending time with my spouse and our pooch who is too cute for her own good; involvement with the Foster Care system; camping; backpacking; hiking; SUPing; reading; music; and road trips to strange and wonderful places.


“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.” - Jack Kerouac

 

Gabrielle Hope-Foucault, MA Licensed Mental Health Counselor (she/her/hers)

Master of Arts, Psychology, Antioch University Seattle, 2002

Professional Interests: Women’s Issues, First generation College Students, Multi-Cultural Issues, Stress Management, Anxiety Management, Mindfulness Practice

Approach to Counseling: I provide a safe space for students to be seen and heard while empowering their ability to reach established goals by overcoming barriers and accessing each person’s unique strengths. I do this by incorporating mindfulness practice and addressing any maladaptive thoughts and behaviors that may be interfering with a person’s functioning and/or quality of life. Within this approach I emphasize the impact of issues of identity related to gender, sexuality, culture and family.

Involvement in the Pre-Doctoral Training Program: Consulting with colleagues and trainees. Co-lead groups with trainees. I have also provided supervision to Licensed Mental Health Counselors in training in the past.

Personal Interests: Yoga, Hiking, Reading, Spending time with family and friends.

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” -Maya Angelou

 

Kelsey Johnson, MA, Licensed Mental Health Counselor (she/her/hers)

Master’s in Counseling-Psychology, The Seattle School, 2012

Professional Interests: Food and body concerns and Health at Every Size; experiences of both systemic and interpersonal trauma; PTSD; stress and anxiety; LGBTQ+ concerns; empowerment; finding meaning and purpose in life; mindfulness; spiritual concerns and questions; social justice and mental health; yoga therapy

Approach to counseling: I approach the counseling process with warmth and curiosity. I view each client as an expert on their own life and experience and, therefore, my job is to help reflect that and guide clients toward what is important to them. I view the counseling relationship itself as a conduit for healing and exploration and often use what’s happening “in the room” to explore what’s happening in the bigger picture of the client’s life. I often use humor and connectedness as tools for healing when appropriate, and I enjoy helping clients develop their own practical tools and skills to live life in a meaningful way. As a trained yoga teacher, it’s not uncommon for me to use mindfulness practices, breathing exercises, or even some gentle movement when appropriate in session as well. I believe that every person has within them unique wisdom and resiliency. I practice from a feminist lens.

Involvement in the Pre-Doctoral Training Program: I co-facilitate groups with interns and also participate in the intern seminar series. 

Personal Interests: Good food and good conversation; relishing in the beauty of nature and simplicity; the practice of yoga in its many forms; treasure-hunting in consignment and antique shops; going to the movies; reading one of my many started but not yet finished books

“Instructions for living a life:

Pay attention.

Be astonished.

Tell about it.”

― Mary Oliver

Dylan Keenberg, PsyD, Psychological Associate (he/him/his)

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 Pre-Doctoral Training Program: I will 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

 

Anne Marie Theiler, MS, Licensed Mental Health Counselor/Assistant Director of Clinical Operations/Interim Director (she/her/hers)

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 Pre-Doctoral 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

Doctoral Interns 2018-2019

Travis Dennison, MA, (he/him/his)

Masters, Clinical Psychology, Pacific University, 2015

Professional interests: Group Therapy, Working with first generation college students, Stress Management, Trauma, Anxiety and Mood Disorders  

Approach to counseling: I approach counseling with a Cognitive/Behavioral emphasis, integrating aspects from many different theoretical orientations. I attempt to provide a space for students to feel safe and listened to. Together, we will work to identify strengths, values, and goals, in addition to targeting distressing thoughts and behaviors to make incremental change.

Personal interests: I love reading and movies (especially the science fiction and fantasy genres), as well as spending quality time with family and friends over a nice meal.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

Heather Freeman, MS, MA, RYT 500 (she/her/hers)

Master's in Counseling Psychology, Loyola University of Maryland, 2014

Master’s in Clinical Psychology, Pacific University, 2016

Professional Interests: Gestalt therapy, Yoga, Resilience, Trauma, Anxiety, Interpersonal Relationships, Mind-body connection

Approach to counseling: I cater my professional training to align with my values of supporting human growth through holistic means. My role as a therapist is to serve as a mirror and facilitator of the individuals’ innate capacity to heal and evolve. I utilize a person-centered and process-oriented lens in my approach to therapy, blending Gestalt theory and yoga philosophy. Gestalt highlights the importance of context, as well as what is happening in the present moment, to help build awareness of patterns in thoughts, actions and/or relationships to lead to consciousness and choice. Yoga, like Gestalt, encourages experiential learning in the here-and-now moment to remember and strengthen the inner resources that lead to awareness, adaptability and resilience.

Personal Interests:Yoga, hiking, backpacking, swimming, cooking, drawing and laughing 

“What is most personal is most universal.” - Carl Rogers

 

Rachael Mishanec, MA, Pre-Doctoral Intern (she/her/hers)

Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology, Arizona School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University – Phoenix, 2015

Professional Interests: Experiential and mindfulness based therapies, emotion-focused therapies, depression, anxiety, trauma, chronic illness, neurological and learning challenges, and relational difficulties.

Approach to Counseling: Students come with family, a community, and a cultural identification existing within the context of greater society. Through a family systems/ attachment lens, I enjoy listening to and collaborating with individuals to address each of these layers. Together, we focus on gaining greater awareness, integrating the different parts of self we all experience, and strengthening connections to the natural supports that exist within themselves and their environments.

Personal Interests: Running, reading, motorcycle riding, adventuring and quality time with loved ones.

“Instead of possibilities, I have realities in my past, not only the reality of work done and of love loved, but of sufferings bravely suffered. These sufferings are even the things of which I am most proud, though these are things which cannot inspire envy.” ~ Viktor E. Frankl

 

Charlie Waldo, MA, Pre-doctoral Intern (they/them/theirs)

Master’s, Clinical Psychology, Pacific University School of Graduate Psychology

Professional Interests: Working with the queer community, spirituality and spiritual experiences, sexuality, identity concerns, grief, multicultural counseling, existential issues, depression, creativity, shadow-work, interpersonal conflicts and communication difficulties, body image issues, and healing from trauma as well as those who embrace alternative identities, including spiritual and sexual identities outside the dominant culture.

Approach to counseling: I believe we all have an inherent disposition towards growth and finding balance amidst chaos. I acknowledge the necessity of meaningful connection in traversing the deep and often vulnerable waters of the struggling self so, I focus on building trust and reflecting both that I hold my sessions as sacred and honor the opportunity to be welcomed into someone’s world. I take a person-centered approach to therapy, emphasizing authenticity and wholeness and really seeking to witness and know someone’s whole self with connection to their complex identities and backgrounds. I tether my presence into empathic listening and validation, seeking to foster supportive, affirming connections with those who see me and to nourish growth and self-love through self-acceptance and compassion, particularly towards the parts of the self that have learned they are unworthy or lovable. I aim for curiosity and empowerment, helping people return to their authentic self and connectedness to their inner-knowing, intuition, coping abilities, and capacity for self-healing.

Personal Interests: I love being by bodies of water, creating music and sound healing, meditation, poetry, dance, eating delicious food, and every single thing about autumn.

“You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”—Max Ehrmann

Men's Resiliency Specialist

Brandon Joseph, M.S. (he/him/his)

Doctoral Candidate, Counseling and Personnel Services, University of Louisville

Professional Interests: Alaska Native/Native American Issues in Higher Education, Men’s Resilience, Promoting Healthy Masculinity & Challenging Toxic Masculinity, Fostering Positive Mental Health & Wellness, Athletic Participation & Academic Performance.

Involvement in Education and Training: I am responsible for coordinating the Men’s Resiliency Program at WWU.  The program aims to foster a positive learning environment for male-identified students by promoting healthy masculinity, challenging toxic masculinity, exploring a variety of resilience strategies, promoting positive mental health and wellness, and providing support and building allegiances with other gender groups on campus.  I believe in challenging our inherent biases as we continue the lifelong journey of learning about ourselves, our environments, and strengthening our cultural competencies.

Personal Interests: Relaxing with family (wife Shaun and son Trajan), playing basketball and golf, watching sports (Favorite teams: Dodgers, Raiders, Louisville Cardinals, UCLA Bruins), travel, food, all things Outkast, and being outside on a warm sunny day J

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” ~ James Baldwin

Suicide Prevention Coordinator

KaSandra (Kas) Church, MA (she/her/hers)

Master's, Teaching, Muskingum University, 2008

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

Involvement in 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 (she/her/hers)

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  (she/her/hers)

Personal Interests: Reading, gardening, fitness walking and knitting.

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