Meet The Counseling Services Staff
COUNSELING SERVICES ADMINISTRATION
California Licensed Psychologist PSY22600
Psy.D., Clinical Psychology, Pepperdine University
M.A., Psychology, Pepperdine University
B.A., Psychology, University of California, Riverside
Dr. Reynaga-Abiko has trained in a variety of settings, including community mental health, hospitals, correctional facilities, and university counseling centers. She has experience providing individual and group psychotherapy to adults, supervising unlicensed professionals, and neuropsychological assessment. Dr. Reynaga-Abiko began her career with an internship and postdoctoral fellowship at the Department of Mental Health in Vacaville, CA conducting neuropsychological assessments with incarcerated males. Dr. Reynaga-Abiko then became Chair of Latinx Student Outreach at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Counseling Center, where she was also a staff psychologist and adjunct instructor teaching Race and Ethnicity.
Dr. Reynaga-Abiko served as the inaugural Director of Diversity at the Colorado School of Professional Psychology, where she was also a Core Faculty member, teaching assessment, biopsychology and Diversity Issues to graduate students. At the same time, Dr. Reynaga-Abiko taught Psychology of Diversity to undergraduates as an adjunct faculty member at University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. She then moved to University of California, Merced as Director and Training Director of Counseling and Psychological Services for 5 years before coming to Cal Poly as Director of Counseling Services in 2013. Dr. Reynaga-Abiko has published articles in journals such as Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology and Professional Psychology: Research and Practice and presented at national conferences for the American Psychological Association, National Latina/o Psychological Association, and American College Personnel Association. She currently serves on the Advisory Board with the Center for Collegiate Mental Health and on the editorial board for The Counseling Psychologist.
Dr. Reynaga-Abiko is interested in diversity issues and living an authentic life filled with conscious awareness. A first generation college student from an immigrant Mexican family, she is interested in the intersectionality of gender, sexuality, ethnicity and spirituality in the human experience. Dr. Reynaga-Abiko practices from an intersubjective (psychodynamic), feminist-multicultural, and humanistic approach to help students understand themselves and their struggles in sociocultural context.
California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist MFC46301
M.S. & B.A., Psychology, California State University, Chico
Mr. Shurson’s professional experience is diverse, having been employed at a UCC, elementary school, community treatment center, and residential facility. He spent one year working as an MFT Trainee at Chico State’s Counseling Center, which was more than enough time to develop a deep regard for working with college students. The majority of his service has been provided to children, adolescents, and adults with persistent and severe mental illness and their families. Mr. Shurson worked for the Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency for nearly 6 years which provided him opportunities to work with major psychotic and mood disorders, mostly with underserved and disadvantaged individuals and families in the California’s central valley. Due to this experience, he is also familiar collaborating with multi-interdisciplinary teams and approaching treatment from a holistic perspective.
Prior to moving to the central coast, Mr. Shurson was working at a not-for-profit residential facility in Kansas City, MO as a Primary Therapist before moving into a Director position. He returned to CA after just 2 years in the Midwest (though it felt like much, much longer) and has lived on the central coast since. Though he considers himself an eclectic practitioner capable of being effective with most presenting issues, his clinical interests are adjustment and phase of life issues, identity development, disordered mood, anxiety, couples therapy, and severe and persistent mental health problems. His approach to treatment is humanistic as well as systemic, with an emphasis on solution-focused interventions when applicable. Mr. Shurson emphasizes the therapist-client relationship, authenticity, compassion and a deep respect for the individual, their experience, and their feelings in his treatment.
Mr. Shurson is a CA native and was born and raised only a few hours away in the central San Joaquin Valley. He enjoys gardening, cooking, playing and watching soccer (die roten!), and spending time with his children and friends.
Psy.D., Clinical Psychology, Health Psychology Concentration, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Los Angeles
B.S., Psychology, Marian University
Dr. Andridge has worked with socio-culturally diverse students from both public and private universities since 2012. Previously, she provided services in a variety of settings, including: community mental health, inpatient mental health, and a medium security prison. Much of her clinical training and experience has been focused in the areas of gender and sexual identity development, including her research on the impact of geographic space on the experiences of transwomen.
Dr. Andridge’s professional interests include social justice, relationship and sexual concerns, wellbeing, intersectionality of identities, substance use concerns, emotional dysregulation, and identity development. Dr. Andridge is a member of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) and was the Coordinator for Gender and Sexuality Inclusivity at Cal Poly - San Luis Obispo prior to her role as Assistant Director for Operations and Quality. Dr. Andridge’s interests also lie in advocacy and she is committed to providing competent, affirming, clinical care for all Cal Poly students. As part of her Assistant Director duties, Dr. Andridge is focused on continued development, evaluation, and adjustment to the services that are available at Cal Poly Counseling Services, including continued work with improving services for underrepresented students.
Dr. Andridge identifies as a schema therapist with interpersonal and multicultural emphases. She emphasizes collaboration with clients and values authenticity and building a trusting space to allow for deep exploration of concerns. Dr. Andridge enjoys clinical work that focuses on building insight around the factors that can leave us feeling stuck, examination of families and communities of origin, and the implications of larger societies on the development of our identities. She integrates this depth-oriented work with more practical here-and-now recommendations to improve coping and minimize the impact of symptoms.
In her spare time, Dr. Andridge enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing video games, watching movies, attending concerts, reading, traveling, baking, and gardening. She’s also a huge basketball fan!
COUNSELING SERVICES CLINICIANS
Jennifer Armstrong, Psy.D., Disability Resource Center Liaison
M.A., Psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary
B.A., Psychology, Azusa Pacific University
Dr. Armstrong has worked in university counseling centers for more than 4 years, where she has provided individual and group therapy and outreach to diverse student populations, including transfer and first generation students. She completed her doctoral clinical psychology internship in Virginia at Radford University, Student Counseling Services, and her postdoctoral fellowship at Cal Poly SLO, Counseling Services. As a counselor at Vanguard University, she provided individual therapy in the multicultural Orange County area. In addition to her work with college students, Dr. Armstrong received training providing psychoeducational and psychological assessment with children, adolescents, and young adults in educational and private practice settings. Dr. Armstrong also has training experience in an outpatient community mental health setting with adults who experienced severe and chronic mental health issues.
Dr. Armstrong practices from an integrative approach, grounded in cognitive behavioral and humanistic theoretical perspectives. She also adopts a strengths-based approach and works collaboratively to empower individuals towards their process of change. Dr. Armstrong believes that a non-judgmental, trusting, and authentic therapeutic relationship is an important foundation to help facilitate growth. She strives to understand the unique experiences of each person, and works collaboratively to create and work toward goals that best fit each person's needs. Dr. Armstrong is trained as a generalist who is passionate about working with university students who present with a variety of issues and concerns. Her areas of interest include, but are not limited to, anxiety, academic concerns, procrastination, depression, self-care, stress management and wellness, identity development, and strengthening one's purpose and meaning in life. In her role as Disability Resource Center Liaison, Dr. Armstrong works to ensure effective communication between the department of Counseling Services and the Disability Resource Center.
Dr. Armstrong was raised in Beaverton, Oregon and did all of her post high school education in the Los Angeles area. She enjoys good stories in movies and TV shows as well as reading fantasy and science fiction novels. Her hobbies include strategy board games, karate, and spending time outdoors.
M.A., Social Psychology, University of Hawaii, Manoa
B.A., Psychology, University of Colorado, Boulder
Dr. Aylward has worked in various clinical settings including a university counseling center, outpatient community clinics, an anxiety-focused clinic, and a residential treatment center for eating disorders. Dr. Aylward treats a broad range of mental health concerns while also specializing in anxiety, eating-related concerns, relationship issues, and grief. She has created treatment programs for individuals with eating disorders and adults grieving the death of a loved one. Her research interests include applying evolutionary psychology to clinical topics, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, and general psychology topics, such as mimicry and love.
With regards to therapy, Dr. Aylward works with a variety of emotional, psychological, relational, identity, and other general life concerns. She strives to help those who feel stuck to move towards greater insight and psychological flexibility; to have more meaningful relationships and self-compassion; and to take actions that lead to a more fulfilling life. This sense of being "stuck" can take many forms including, but not limited to, overwhelming feelings of anxiety and/or depression, body image concerns, fears of being judged by others, a sense of meaninglessness, uncertainty about a relationship, conflict about one's identity, or a pattern of difficulty with closeness. For those seeking bereavement counseling, she hopes to help make sense of the grief process and allow a safe space to experience and share the different emotions that arise when grieving.
Dr. Aylward's approach to treatment integrates depth- and insight-oriented approaches with cognitive-behavioral approaches influenced by Buddhist psychology. She believes the therapeutic relationship is the platform for healing, growth and a context for learning about broader patterns of relating. Her goal is to create a safe space for clients to share personal feelings, thoughts, memories, and other vulnerabilities to the extent that they are ready and willing. Dr. Aylward focuses on creating awareness of unconscious processes, many of which results from our early life experiences. With this awareness, it is then possible to make intentional choices that move us in the direction of fulfillment, despite the difficult thoughts and emotions that often urge us to do otherwise. Overall, she feels honored to be a compassionate witness and companion in someone's journey towards more self-love and a meaningful life.
California Licensed Psychologist PSY 15835
Psy.D., Clinical Psychology, Multicultural and Community Clinical Proficiency, California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant University
M.A., Psychology, California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant University
B.A., Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles
During the course of her education and career, Dr. Browne has provided counseling services to diverse populations with a wide range of issues. As an African American woman, she is very interested in cultural and ethnic issues. The majority of her work has been with disadvantaged groups and people of diverse ethnicities, cultures, and lifestyles. During her training, she gained extensive experience in providing crisis intervention, individual, family, and group counseling to sexually abused children, adult survivors of abuse, and parents struggling with substance dependence. In working with this population, she found that children raised in environments with parents or caretakers addicted to drugs were at higher risk for childhood sexual abuse. Thus, in an effort to help reduce this risk, she focused her doctoral project on recovering parents and developed a program to educate them about child sexual abuse.
Further on in her training, Dr. Browne provided crisis intervention and individual and group therapy to low income, ethnic minorities in a community mental health center. Her work with this population also included providing counseling and assessment in partial and inpatient hospitalization units. After receiving her doctorate degree, Dr. Browne practiced as a staff psychologist for several years at a men’s prison. She provided individual and group therapy and crisis intervention as well as helped develop and implement a program aimed at reducing criminal lifestyles and increasing personal responsibility. In this setting, she also helped men struggling with anger control, suicidality, violence, personality issues, and severe psychological problems. She additionally served as Recorder, Vice Chair, then Department Chair of the Psychology Department at the men’s prison and helped develop a proctoring program for newly hired psychologists.
In addition to her work in these settings, Dr. Browne has been in private practice since October 2000. In her practice, she provides counseling services to people struggling with depression, anxiety, ethnic identity and multi-cultural issues, marital discord, grief and loss, adjustment difficulties, and behavioral issues in children. In addition to her clinical work, she has also taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including at Cal Poly for two quarters. Over the years, Dr. Browne has learned so much about human behavior and what facilitates change. She truly enjoys her work as a psychologist because it allows her to take part in a person’s journey and witness growth.
California Licensed Psychologist PSY26021
Psy.D. & M.S., Clinical Psychology, Nova Southeastern University
B.S., Psychology, University of Central Florida
Dr. Cabezas has worked with culturally and socioeconomically diverse adult populations with a variety of mental health presentations in community care. During her pre-doctoral training, she provided testing services that included the administration, interpretation, and integration of psychological measures. There, Dr. Cabezas worked with clients presenting with learning disorders, developmental disorders, and cognitive disorders affecting their social, interpersonal, and emotional functioning.
During her internship and post-doctoral residency, Dr. Cabezas worked for the State Center Community College District at Fresno City College and Reedley College. There, Dr. Cabezas provided individual therapy, outreach services, presentations, and taught two courses. She enjoyed working with disadvantaged and underserved student populations. Dr. Cabezas served as the liaison for recent immigrant and international students providing services in Spanish. Additionally, she acted as the faculty advisor to Fresno City College’s Active Minds Chapter.
Dr. Cabezas’ professional interests include social justice, multiculturalism, intersecting identities, identity and transitional concerns, trauma recovery and resiliency, and interpersonal and relational concerns. She particularly enjoys working with disadvantaged, disenfranchised, and underrepresented students. She began working at Cal Poly Counseling Services in 2013 and served as the First Generation Students Coordinator between 2014 -- 2018. Dr. Cabezas recently expanded her role to Diversity and Multicultural Inclusion Coordinator, which includes developing and strengthening relationships with other campus partners in order to best serve the students' needs.
Dr. Cabezas believes in an integrated approach to therapy, which is designed to fit the client's needs. She conceptualizes through an Existential lens and incorporates interventions from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Choice Theory, and Solution-Focused Therapy. As a psychologist, Dr. Cabezas values change as a conscious and deliberate process that emphasizes the expression of the authentic self, capitalizes on individual strengths, and broadens one's abilities needed to thrive. Additionally, Dr. Cabezas is fluent in Spanish and can provide services in this language.
Courtney de Blieck, Psy.D., Outreach Coordinator & Trauma Treatment Coordinator
California Licensed Psychologist PSY23908
Psy.D., Clinical Psychology, Gender Studies Emphasis Area, California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant International University
M.A., Clinical Psychology, Gender Studies Emphasis Area, California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant International University
B.A., Psychology, Women’s Studies, & History, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Dr. de Blieck has worked in college counseling centers for 10 years. She completed an internship in clinical psychology at the State University of New York, Buffalo Counseling Services, and a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of California, Merced Counseling & Psychological Services. Prior to coming to Cal Poly, Dr. de Blieck served as the Assistant Director, Outreach Coordinator, and Interim Director of Training at UC Merced Counseling & Psychological Services.
Dr. de Blieck currently serves as Counseling Services’ outreach coordinator. Her interest in outreach is fueled by her passion for social justice and background as an activist. She believes that through outreach and consultation, we educate students, staff, and faculty about a diverse range of issues, while also providing services to under-served populations who may not seek out traditional counseling.
Dr. de Blieck also serves as the trauma treatment coordinator. She has specialized training in trauma, particularly related to sexual and interpersonal/relational/familial violence and abuse, and prior to graduate school, worked for 3 years as a certified rape crisis/domestic violence counselor. In addition, Dr. de Blieck has specialized training in working with the following student concerns: crisis intervention, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders, and learning disabilities. She especially enjoys working with women’s issues, LGBT issues, students with disabilities, and first-generation college students.
Dr. de Blieck has training in feminist, cognitive-behavioral, and client-centered treatment approaches. Her interest and training in social justice allows her to adopt a context-specific, strength-based approach with clients. She believes that the larger social environment is especially relevant to the struggles that students face, and encourages clients to build on their existing skills in order to meet these challenges.
Dr. de Blieck encourages all students to engage in self-care, and for fun enjoys knitting, bike riding, and frequenting the local dog park with her basset hound, Sherman.
B.A., Communications & Psychology, University of Connecticut
Ms. Dobson has spent the past ten years working in a variety of settings including community-based organizations, treatment centers and school-based counseling centers. Ms. Dobson's first internship experience was in a college counseling center while earning her Master's degree, since then, she has felt a pull to return to working with college students.
Throughout her career, Ms. Dobson has found her passion working with young adults and teens from diverse backgrounds. She has a deep regard for how systems impact students, both academically and personally. Having spent many years in treatment facilities, Ms. Dobson has gained specialized experienced with substance abuse disorders and co-occurring disorders. Ms. Dobson values the counseling relationship first and foremost and strives to create a safe, accepting and non-judgmental counseling space. Using holistic, strength-based and client-centered approaches she works collaboratively with students to help create positive change. Ms. Dobson tailors her counseling to the individual needs of her students and also incorporates skill building, cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing and solution-focused treatment, to assist students in their personal growth and goal achievement.
Ms. Dobson was born and raised in Connecticut, where she completed her education. She was pulled West by the "California dream," and has not been disappointed. Ms. Dobson and her husband have lived all over California, and she still marvels in all the beauty she finds in new corners of the state. In her free time, she enjoys spending quality time with her husband and dog, she also enjoys yoga, running, biking and camping, and being in nature.
M.S., Clinical Psychology, Pacific University
B.A., Psychology, Seattle University
Dr. Gillis has trained in a variety of settings, including community mental health, intensive outpatient substance abuse, a center that primarily treated individuals identifying as LGBTQQIA and/or people living with HIV/AIDS, and university counseling centers. Dr. Gillis has a demonstrated commitment to serving university students of diverse backgrounds and identities, with experience at Roger Williams University, University of Rhode Island, Evergreen State College, Arizona State University, and University of California Santa Barbara.
Dr. Gillis' areas of interest and specialties include gender identity and sexual identity, disordered eating behaviors and body image, substance abuse, developmental challenges of college students, identity development, interpersonal and relationship struggles, anxiety, depression, and supervision and training. She feels particularly passionate about multiculturalism and social justice. Additionally, Dr. Gillis possesses a strong commitment to supporting international students as well as underrepresented students. Dr. Gillis is committed to supporting the personal and academic success as well as health and well-being of first generation college students. Dr. Gillis also enjoys supporting student athletes in learning ways to effectively address anything that may be preventing them from focusing and performing optimally in their sport as well as assisting student athletes in developing ways to manage the high levels of stress they may experience from attempting to balance the demands and pressure of both academics and athletics.
Dr. Gillis combines an active, supportive, strength-based approach with a sense of humor and a deep belief that people have the ability to change or impact their thoughts and behaviors. She values building a safe, accepting, respectful environment for students to be heard, seen, and empowered. Though trained in Interpersonal, Gestalt, Solution-Focused, Existential, Mindfulness-based, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Motivational Interviewing, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) theoretical modalities, Dr. Gillis tailors her work to individuals' unique goals and needs.
M.A., Psychology, Phillips Graduate Institute
B.A., Psychology, California State University, Northridge
Dr. Menendez has worked in a variety of community mental health settings and an impatient facility providing individual, group and assessment services primarily to low-income individuals from diverse backgrounds. She has been working with college populations for 3 years.
In general, Dr. Menendez’s approach to therapy is integrative with client-centered, emotion-focused and psychodynamic emphases. She considers the individual needs of clients and encourages a collaborative approach to identify a direction to meet those needs. She strives to help clients facilitate the development of a healthy relationship with themselves and their identity, as well as with significant others. She hopes to provide a safe space to foster awareness, self-compassion, psychological flexibility and a sense of empowerment to create change. Some of her clinical interests include treating individuals who struggle with interpersonal relationships, social anxiety, depression, trauma, low self-esteem, life transitions and those who are first generation in college. She also enjoys working with highly sensitive people (HSP) as defined by Dr. Elaine Aron (http://hsperson.com/).
Dr. Menendez values diversity and the multiple roles that individuals must navigate in their academic, social, and family life, and she often encourages the exploration and understanding of these areas in therapy. Dr. Menendez was born and raised in El Salvador and is able to provide therapy services in Spanish.
During her time off, Dr. Menendez enjoys spending time with loved ones, watching movies and documentaries, cooking and trying new foods, spending time outdoors and experimenting with still-life photography.
Psy.D., Clinical Psychology, Loma Linda University
M.A., Psychology, Loma Linda University
B.A., Psychology, La Sierra University
Dr. Park has trained in a variety of settings including community mental health, primary care, a homeless shelter and, in most recent years, college counseling centers. Dr. Park completed her APA-accredited internship at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale Counseling Services with a concentration on the treatment of disordered eating and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. For the 2 years before coming to Cal Poly, Dr. Park provided treatment, training, supervision, and coordinated the Stress Management Clinic at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville student counseling center.
Dr. Park’s areas of clinical interest include treating survivors of trauma, individuals struggling with identity, gender, and sexual orientation issues as well as those who experience chronic suicidal thoughts. More generally, Dr. Park enjoys supporting her clients to increase their self-awareness as a way to make choices that are more fulfilling and congruent. Dr. Park is committed to creating a safe space in which all aspects of one’s identity are honored and acknowledged.
Outside of the counseling center, Dr. Park enjoys spending time with her family, which includes several very furry members. She loves the outdoors including hiking, camping, and hanging out at the beach. Travel is also a favorite pastime; visiting Cappadocia, Turkey has been one of her most favorite destinations. However, her first real love is eating and sometimes cooking delicious food; she believes butter should be its own food group.
B.A., Psychology, University of California, Davis
As an undergraduate student at UC Davis, Mrs. Ramirez was both a peer educator for the Women's Center and Campus Violence Prevention Program, educating students about body image and the media and interpersonal violence. As a graduate student at Antioch University, Santa Barbara and as a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern, Mrs. Ramirez worked for community agencies in Santa Barbara County and provided psychotherapy to a variety of ages and cultural backgrounds, including Junior High and High School groups, and individual and family therapy with children and adults. Mrs. Ramirez was also involved with juvenile probation, and provided therapy to adolescents in the juvenile justice system.
Mrs. Ramirez previously worked in Psychological Counseling Services at California State University, Stanislaus in Turlock, where she provided therapy to students of various cultural backgrounds, sexual orientations, and gender identities. Mrs. Ramirez is interested in the area of identity formation, especially how the media influences our thoughts and feelings about ourselves and our body image. Mrs. Ramirez works from a client-centered perspective by providing students a welcoming space to discuss their concerns and help them determine how best to meet their needs, as well as incorporating aspects of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to explore the relationships between our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
Mrs. Ramirez is originally from Sonoma County, California and enjoys exploring the beauty of the Central Coast through cycling and hiking.
Becky Sznejkowski, Psy.D., Suicide Prevention Coordinator
M.A., Clinical Psychology, Illinois School of Professional Psychology
B.A., Psychology, Missouri Western University
Dr. Sznejkowski has trained in a variety of settings, including community mental health, the department of corrections in both Illinois and California, Atascadero State Hospital, private practice and a university counseling center. Dr. Sznejkowski primarily works with adults providing group and individual therapy. Her experience has primarily been with underserved populations.
Dr. Sznejkowski's work in corrections allowed her experience with a wide range of diagnoses from mood disorders, psychotic disorders, to life transition issues. Her areas of interest and specialties include anxiety, depression, grief, anger, chronic illness, life transition, stress management, and she has a certificate in whole food, plant-based nutrition.
Dr. Sznejkowski is still learning how to spell her last name. She combines an active, supportive, holistic approach with a sense of humor and focuses on the impact of nutrition and lifestyle on mental wellbeing. Though trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Motivational Interviewing theoretical modalities, Dr. Sznejkowski tailors her work to individuals' unique goals, strengths, and needs.
Dr. Sznejkowski is from the Midwest but has adopted California as her residence. She enjoys the beach, cooking and eating vegan, fitness, and spending time with her husband, pug and friends.