Deb Allen

Deb Allen

Counselor

LPC, M.A. in Counseling Psychology

I received my Masters in Counseling Psychology through the University of Colorado at Denver in 2000, and my license as a professional counselor in July, 2003.

Before coming to Fort Lewis College as a counseling intern in 1998, I worked for many years as a counselor/educator at Durango's Planned Parenthood clinic.  I was a volunteer advocate for the Sexual Assault Services Organization(SASO) hotline.  In both of these roles I have accompanied people as they encounter and contend with crises and crossroads in their lives.

I found my way to entering a master’s program in counseling through a dream, awakening one morning with a clear vision of working on a college campus with students. It was a natural shift for me, and a defining moment in my life.  I believe in the journey.

My therapeutic approach is grounded in humanistic, existential and cognitive theories.  The strong interest that drew me to working for Planned Parenthood, sitting with people as they look at their lives and choices, and supporting them in that process, remains central in my focus today. I incorporate various therapies to assist individuals in working both on self-acceptance and on the growth they seek.  I’ve studied approaches for working with trauma, most recently being trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprogramming).

My husband Bob and I moved to Durango in 1981 after graduating from college in central New York.  We are parents of two grown children.  Cycling, skiing, hiking, yoga, music, camping and playing with friends and family are passions for me.

Brian Arens

Brian Arens

Counselor

LPC, CACII, M.A. Counseling

I received my masters degree in Counseling from Adams State College in 2007. I was drawn to the counseling field by one of the most important principles that I live by, which is, "make the world a better place."

I became licensed as a professional counselor in 2010 and a certified addiction counselor (level II) in 2018.  My philosophy of counseling is compassionate, nonjudgmental, multi-cultural, person-centered and trauma-informed. Having been through some very challenging experiences in my own life, I have come to have some understanding of how hard life can be at times and how important it is in those times to stay connected on a human level. In that connection, I believe, is where growth and healing can occur.

I also believe in the healing power of nature, which is a significant reason I have been happy to call Durango my home, and my community, since 1998.

Aaron Belson

Aaron Belson

Counselor

LCSW, Masters in Social Work

I believe that having success in therapy is all about trust and the connection between therapist and the individual. I see myself as someone who is easy to talk to, understanding, gentle, and kind. My hope is that I can form meaningful connections with the students whom I work with. It is also very important to me that we be honest with each other as that is how we can make the greatest influence. I love to help people grow as humans, as well as help people through their struggles. We all struggle; it is a necessary part of life.

I received my Master's in Social Work from Simmons University in 2017 and became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in 2019. My theoretical background comes primarily from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), where the connection between thoughts, feelings, and actions are examined, as well as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) which incorporates Mindfulness techniques derived from Buddhism to bring increased awareness to how we interact in relationships, manage stress, and regulate our emotions.

I love Nature and have a strong background in Wilderness Therapy. I believe that the natural world can be a context from which we see ourselves change, just the way you will see a plant grow over time. This is big reason why I choose to live in the Southwest. I love to explore the rivers, trails, and mountains of this area through snowboarding, river-running, mountain biking, hiking, and camping whenever I can.

Amie Bryant

Amie Bryant, FLC Counseling Center Director

Director, Training Coordinator & Counselor

LCSW, CAC III, Masters in Social Work

I have been working the Fort Lewis College Counseling Center since 2011 moving from Counselor to Training Coordinator and now, Director. I have also worked in private practice, schools, integrated healthcare, wilderness therapy, juvenile detention, emergency services, adult outpatient mental health, substance use treatment and prevention, and as adjunct faculty for the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work Four Corners Program.  

I am passionate about supporting people in developing a strong and healthy sense of self to improve overall wellness. I offer an interpersonal style of Cognitive Therapy, combining the belief that we heal through relationship with an active, educational, and skill-based approach. This is one way we can learn to respond to our difficulties and discomfort, rather than react to them.

I often incorporate many approaches into my treatment, depending on the individual. My training and experience includes, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Depression Care Management, Motivational Interviewing (MI), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Mindfulness. How we fit these approaches into counseling, depends on the relationship we create as client and counselor.

Rob Cowen

Rob Cowen

Counselor

LPC, M.A. Counseling

I received my Master’s Degree in Counseling from Adam’s State in 2001 and my license as a Professional Counselor in August of 2003.

After receiving my master’s, I worked for four years at Southwest Colorado Mental Health Center in Durango and then came to work at the Fort Lewis College Counseling Center in 2004. My background as an outdoor educator and an alternative school teacher played a significant role in my desire to support and empower young people.

I believe a strong one-on-one therapeutic relationship is essential for creating an atmosphere of support and change. I utilize many types of therapies and integrate several modalities to meet the needs of students. While I gravitate towards client-centered and humanistic approaches, I also utilize cognitive behavioral strategies such as DBT therapy in both individual and group sessions.

My wife Hallie and I have been living in the Durango area since 1991. We love to share activities such as floating on the river, biking, traveling and playing with family and friends.

Mimi Gates

Mimi Gates

Counselor

LPC, M.A., Counseling Psychology

While offering an integrative approach to therapy, I believe it is our relationship where alchemy happens.  I utilize various techniques and experiences enabling us to work in the realms of the somatic, emotional, cognitive, energetic, and spiritual, in mindfulness.  Ultimately, it is my heartfelt belief that safety in the therapeutic relationship allows for awareness, for transformation, and for our authentic self to emerge, to blossom.

I earned a Masters of Psychology and Counseling degree from Prescott College in Prescott AZ, and I am licensed in the state of Colorado.  I also completed extensive training and certification through the Hakomi Institute in Boulder, a comprehensive body-centered psychotherapy method and developmental model.  I am a graduate of Fort Lewis College and am thrilled to be a part of the FLC Counseling Center and community.

I am a summa cum laude graduate from life’s school of hard knocks.  I am truly honored to walk this sacred walk with each student, sharing our stories, and sharing our joys and pains together in the labyrinth of our human journey- as I often say “circuitous paths have purpose.”  My passions outside of work include hiking, yoga, and horses.  However, I cherish nothing more than being Mama to two teenage young men, often finding myself loving each student as if they were my own – nurturing flows from home to work easily.

Sandy Gurule

Sandy Gurule

Counselor

LCSW, Masters in Social Work

Many of life's challenges can take us by surprise and feel too difficult to overcome.  During these times, speaking with someone can be really helpful.  My goal is to make everyone feel comfortable, heard, loved and supported during life's challenges.

I received my Master’s of social work from the University of Denver in 2006 and became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in 2019.  My background includes working with adolescents to build resiliency, empowerment, and personal strengths. I believe each individual is unique and to unlock the potential of growth is tuning into these passions and unique selves.As each individual is different so is the therapy utilized. I am experienced in working with anxiety, depression, grief, and relationships.  At times, I will utilize Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.  This past summer, I was trained in EMDR (eye movement desensitization reprocessing) which is an approach to working with trauma.  I have been a part of the FLC community for several years and look forward to continuing to work with students here on campus.

I was raised on a small ranch outside of Durango.  My spouse and I enjoy watching our two boys play sports and participate in other extra-curricular activities.  I enjoy spending time with my family, working the farm, camping, fishing and hiking.

My hope is that we can build a meaningful therapeutic relationship, and that you leave feeling safe, heard and seen. It is an honor to serve you and be along for this part of your journey in life.

Kate Suazo

Kate Suazo

Professional Advocate/Case Manager

B.A Psychology

After graduating from FLC in 2017 I spent some time teaching 5th grade in my hometown as well as beginning my master’s degree in Counseling at UNM. As a Common Ground facilitator and the Legacy Award winner of my graduation year, I found myself very involved with the Fort Lewis Community during my time as a student. This allows me to support all FLC students in a deeply understanding way. Working from a very Person Centered approach with some hints of Feminist Theory, it is my goal to be both empathetic and create a sense of empowerment within each student I work with. Being aware of the balance of power and privilege within my own life, as well as within society in general, plays a large role in my intentions for this position. It is my goal to provide advocacy and case management to a diverse range of students whose many identities may shape not only the way they experience FLC but the way they see the world.

Aside from all the above jargon, my life is centered around my dog, Bean, my family, and New Mexico chili (which is the best, bar none). I love hiking and yoga and every day starts with a giant vanilla soy latte! I love meeting new people and trying new things and I am thrilled to be part of this community once again.

Sapphire Sun Hort

Sapphire Sun Hort, Office Manager

Office Manager

My professional background is quite a patchwork quilt and includes being a drug and alcohol counselor in both inpatient and outpatient settings, an office manager for a naturopathic doctor for 8 years, and working in Vienna, Austria as an administrative assistant at an international institute for scientific studies. My passions include helping people, making people smile and giving much needed hugs! I bring a warmth of “Mom” to the counseling center and I love getting to know the students. Photography, cooking hearty meals and laughing with my grown daughters brings me immense joy. I’m also a self-proclaimed crazy cat lady and enjoy Huma, Goose and Maverick as they manipulate me into feeding them several meals a day.