Counseling staff

Deb Allen

Deb Allen counselor
Deb Allen, she/her/hers

Counselor

LPC, M.A. in Counseling Psychology

I found my way to entering a graduate program in counseling through a dream, awakening one morning with a clear vision of working on a college campus with students. It was a turning point, a defining moment in my life, and a natural shift. Prior to that time, I’d worked as a counselor/educator at Durango’s Planned Parenthood clinic. I learned in that role what it means to be together as humans as we encounter crises and crossroads in life. 

I believe in the journey. Our paths are more winding than straight, with detours and dead-ends as well as times of clarity.  My own life has been such a journey… 

And I’m moved by forming real human connection, walking alongside others who are journeying forth.  

I completed my master’s degree in Counseling Psychology through the University of Colorado at Denver in 2000, and was licensed as a professional counselor in July, 2003. 

The strong interest that drew me to working for Planned Parenthood years ago, 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 feel grateful every day to call Durango our home, soaking up southwest landscapes and culture. Cycling, skiing, hiking, yoga, music, camping and playing with friends and family are passions. We have two grown children, and treasure our expanding family which now includes grandchildren. 

The journey continues. 

 

Brian Arens

Brian Arens Counselor
Brian Arens, he/him/his

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
Aaron Belson, he/him/his

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.

Kendra Gallegos Reichle

Kendra Gallegos Reichle, she/her/hers
Kendra Gallegos Reichle, she/her/hers

Assistant Director, Training and Student Wellness

LPC, Certified Prevention Specialist II

My roots are in the small town of Belen, New Mexico, where most of my familia and a huge piece of my heart still reside. I have been at Fort Lewis College since 2011, first as the Coordinator of Student Wellness Initiatives and in this role in the Counseling Center since May 2021. I have also worked in private practice and providing health promotion, life skills education, and social support through our local public health department. I am an alumna of Fort Lewis College, graduating as a first-generation college student with a degree in psychology in 2005, and I hold this campus community and the Southwest close to my heart.

My approach to counseling is client-centered, meaning that I believe each client has the ability to grow, heal, and find answers on their own, but can benefit from doing so in an accepting, understanding environment provided by a caring, respectful therapist.  I take a creative approach to therapy and often include artistic interventions that are enjoyable, relaxing, and help clients to see things from a new perspective.  I also often draw from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectic Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and Acceptance & Commitment Therapy. I tailor services to each individual according to their needs and I am committed to helping clients find new, effective ways to approach challenging life issues, to find their strengths, and to live happier, more balanced lives. While this is my personal approach, I am also passionate about supporting individuals outside of the therapy office, recognizing that there are a multitude of ways that individuals can find support to get through struggles and to build resilience. My favorite part of my job is collaborating with others to open avenues that support students as individuals, honor their values, meet them where they are, and ensure that they feel safe, secure, and empowered.

When I am not in the Counseling Center or the Student Union working with WellPAC, I am home with my family (Jeff, Bianka, Azalea and my two chiweenies, Eva Sopapilla and Clara Bell) or traveling and exploring this area and the world.

Sandy Gurule

Sandy Gurule Counselor
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.

Jen Shupe

Jen Shupe, she/her/hers
Jen Shupe, she/her/hers

Director

LCSW, MSW
Education
  • BA, Humanities, Fort Lewis College 2004
  • MSW, Social Work, Portland State University 2012
Certifications & Training
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
  • Trained to provide EMDR (eye-movement desensitization reprocessing therapy for trauma)

I work with students seeking help for a variety of challenges ranging from school, family, and relationship problems to depression, anxiety, recovering from trauma or oppression, mood spectrum disorders like bipolar, and substance use problems. I utilize a collaborative, person-centered, and somatic approach, inviting strengths and self-knowledge into each interaction. I also attend to attachment and interpersonal neurobiology (how our nervous systems interplay and interconnect as social beings) to inform my work with clients. I integrate methodologies including Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing, Interpersonal Social Rhythm Therapy (for mood disorders) and feminist theory, and work to be culturally responsive.

The therapeutic relationship is a powerful space in which to explore, learn, grow, heal, and reach new goals. With warmth, humor, and care, I strive to honor your authenticity and mine at every step, and be transparent and accountable along the way. I hope to walk alongside you as you move toward the best version of yourself, whatever that may look like, and wherever you may you start from. We also all exist in an interdependent relationship with our campus and wider community, and I love contributing to a community endeavoring to achieve equity in our systems, our interactions and our society.

I am passionate about connections, relationships and the pursuit of personal & professional growth. I love to hike, bike, camp, fish, raft, and play in our stunning outdoor areas, and I have been involved in the local LGBTQ community, non-profits, and community organizing efforts for many years. I was born in Colorado and raised from a young age here in Durango. It is my true home.

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.

Administrative staff

Jennifer Cossey

Jennier Cossey
Jennifer Cossey, she/her/ella

Office Manager

My goal as the Office Manger at the Counseling Center is to let you know what the Counseling Center offers and most importantly, help you, as an FLC student, feel welcomed in our center.  

After graduating from FLC in 2008, I worked and volunteered for several local non-profits, such as Housing Solutions for the SW, SASO, Durango Family Center and Compañeros: Four Corners Immigrant Resource Center. I returned to Fort Lewis in 2011, to work at KDUR Community Radio Station and then in 2015 moved to the President’s Office, as Office Coordinator. I have also worked and volunteered at El Centro de Muchos Colores, as group coordinator for Ballet Folklórico de Durango.  I can’t think of any where else I would like to work other than Fort Lewis College.  

I love hiking, snow shoeing, and dancing. Really, I’m a laid-back kind of person that loves hanging with my family and friends, enjoying what Durango has to offer. 


Counseling Interns

Danielle Beamer

Danielle Beamer
Danielle Beamer

B.A. Integral Psychology and Experiential Education

Counseling Intern | Master of Social Work Candidate, Western New Mexico University

People and their personal stories are what fascinate and inspire me most. I think I knew from a young age that I wanted to work in mental health but I took the longer, twisting path to get here. After growing up in the rainy Pacific Northwest, I headed to the sunny mountains of Arizona to study psychology as an undergraduate. I planned to continue with graduate school, but because life sometimes offers surprise opportunities, I spent the next decade working in land conservation in beautiful Crested Butte, Colorado. My work protecting wild places has deeply informed my belief in the restorative power of the natural world and it taught me about the power of asking beautiful questions.

Time in nature continues to be one of my greatest teachers and mountains, in particular, are the environment where I am most alive. Currently, I find myself drawn to body-centered therapeutic approaches and mindfulness techniques, but I also believe that individual needs and desires must drive all forms of personal work. As I learn to take myself less seriously, I am also a big proponent of laughter and of fostering a community to laugh with. My belief in resilience and my own healing has led me to clinical social work and the Fort Lewis Counseling Center. When not counseling, I obsess over poetry and the power of the written word, and adventure on my skis, bike, packraft, or feet. I rarely pass up a game of cribbage and I find endless delight in miniature things.

Lara Cladny

Lara Cladny
Lara Cladny

B.A. English

Counseling Intern | Master of Mental Health Counseling Candidate, Adams State University

One day when I was sixteen, struggling with various mental health diagnoses, I had a thought. I was on a bus watching trees dance in the breeze when I realized: "There’s beauty here despite my suffering." In that moment, I knew my life had a purpose-- To find the beauty in even the darkest, most isolating moments-- And to help others do the same. I am a second-year intern at the FLC Counseling Center and in my final year of graduate school at Adams State University for Clinical Mental Health Counseling. In my spare time, I volunteer as a crisis counselor for the Crisis Text Line and as a victim’s advocate for Colorado’s Human Trafficking Hotline.

As a young adult, I studied over 2,000 hours of yoga and yoga therapy in the foothills outside of Denver, where I was born and raised. After a 29-day winter rafting trip down the Grand Canyon, I moved to Durango to attend FLC in 2013 to study English-Writing and Psychology. While at FLC, I taught yoga, tutored writing at the Writing Center, mentored through Big Brothers Big Sisters, worked on writing an environmental memoir, explored the mountains and rivers with my dog, danced my heart out whenever possible, and revelled in a vitalizing community through various counseling groups at the FLC Counseling Center.

I bring all of my life experiences with me into my work as a therapist, particularly my interest in stories (and meaning-making), body-focused psychotherapy, mindfulness (you can’t blame me-- poetry, yoga, and mindfulness have repeatedly saved my life). I have three primary goals as a therapist: 1) To accompany clients (or “fellow sufferers”) on their life journeys-- to sit with them in their pain; 2) To support individuals in their own journey of gleaning even but a glimpse of beauty, meaning, or hope in their pain; and 3) To support individuals in their short- and long-term goals of creating lasting, positive change in their lives. I am also an ardent fighter for social and environmental justice and a passionate ally for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ individuals.

Meghan Doenges

Meghan Doenges
Meghan Doenges, she/her

B.A. Liberal Studies

Counseling Intern | Master of Mental Health Counseling Candidate, Adams State University

As a writer, I have always been drawn to stories. The stories we create in our lifetime define everything in terms of meaning. As a counselor in training, I am drawn to existential and meaning-based therapies which help us define and cope with the big questions of existence such as life, love, death, and rebirth. Originally born in the suburbs of Chicago, I have been a Colorado resident since 2011. I first came to Durango to pursue my undergraduate degree at Fort Lewis College.

Over the years I have spent significant time travelling and pursuing outdoor activities. My time travelling includes a nine-month residency in Ghana, West Africa in which I worked at a developmental NGO. I am an avid enthusiast of snowboarding, mountain biking, rafting, and spending time in nature. Travel and nature have both increased my self-knowledge and multicultural competence and I believe in the great healing power and growth provided by each. In addition, my undergraduate experience in Anthropology has caused me to always question our cultural ideals and to understand suffering in the greater context of cultural and social systems in place. Finally, I am very drawn to mindfulness-based practices, Jungian therapy, and the role of myth in our lives.

I am excited and honored to begin this journey at the counseling center. I have a passion for lifelong learning, community, and curiosity in the face of what it means to be human. I hope to continue to develop the skills and interests which I already hold, learn new coping strategies, and embark upon the great journey of self-knowledge with you all.