Clinical Staff for Adult Clients

Susan Ackelson, M.S.W.

Susan Ackelson HeadshotSusan Ackelson is a licensed independent social worker. She holds a master of social work degree from the University of Iowa. Susan has experience working with individuals, couples, and families on a variety of issues. Her areas of expertise include trauma-related issues and disorders and substance abuse issues. Susan is trained in the use of E.M.D.R. (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing), a process for resolving trauma, and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, a therapeutic approach that integrates body and mind. Susan has a special interest in utilizing a holistic approach in working with clients. Susan is a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).

Susan Arland, M.A., LMHC

Susan Arland is a licensed mental health counselor. She holds a B.A. in psychology from Purdue University, an M.A. in counseling from New York University, has completed post graduate training in family therapy, and is a certified E.M.D.R. (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) therapist. Susan works with adults and couples to resolve issues with life and transitions, relationship, traumatic life events, abuse, depression, and anxiety. She has skills in American Sign Language and provides counseling to deaf and hard of hearing persons. Susan is also an EMDRIA approved consultant, providing individual and group consultation for EMDR-trained clinicians and volunteering with EMDR-HAP (Humanitarian Assistance Program) as a training facilitator.

Eva Christiansen, Ph.D.

Eva Christiansen is a licensed psychologist. She graduated from Grinnell College and obtained her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of South Dakota. Eva’s clinical activities are limited to psychological assessment. She works with a wide range of ages. Her referrals come from a variety of areas, both clinical and forensic-related, where she provides assessments for disability applicants, worker’s compensation, and law enforcement. She is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Iowa Psychological Association, and a member and fellow of the Society for Personality Assessment. She has contributed to research on the Rorschach and the MMPI-2.

Christine A. Dietz, Ph.D., L.I.S.W.

Christine Dietz is a licensed independent social worker, spiritual director and Reiki Master. She is the Center’s Director of Clinical Training. She received her M.S.W. from the University of Iowa and her Ph.D. in Sociology from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She is a graduate of the Lev Shomea Training Program for Spiritual Direction in the Jewish Tradition. Christine’s focus in counseling is on helping people reconnect to their innate wholeness and renew their sense of hope and possibility. She works with people experiencing anxiety, depression, OCD, trauma, life transitions, chronic illness, grief and loss, and relationship issues. She also offers individual and group spiritual direction to people from all faith traditions. She is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and Spiritual Directors International.


Richard H. Douglass, M.S.W.

Richard Douglass is a licensed independent social worker. He holds a master of social work degree from the University of Iowa. Richard provides counseling to couples and to individuals, both adults and adolescents. He has a special interest in ADHD, depression, anxiety, and behavioral problems.

Geoffrey Hills, D.O.

Geoffrey Hills, DO is a psychiatrist who attended medical school at Des Moines University and residency at the University of Wisconsin Madison.  His practice includes treatment of adolescents and adults with mood problems, anxiety and thought disorders.  He has particular interest and experience working with the LGBT community and persons living with HIV. Prior to attending medical school, Geoffrey received a B.A. in music at Vassar College and worked for several years as a violinist, composer, music engraver and editor in New York City.  He is an unapologetic science fiction and fantasy geek.


Kathe Irvine, L.M.S.W.

IrvineKathe (1)_editedKathe Irvine, LMSW, is a licensed master social worker. She earned her undergraduate degree in sociology and women’s studies from the University of Northern Iowa and her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Iowa. Kathe provides counseling and psychotherapy to individuals as well as couples and families. She is trained trauma sensitive yoga provider. Kathe has a special interest in providing holistic care to resolve issues of grief, trauma, life transitions, divorce, anxiety and depression. Kathe is a member of  the National Association of Social Workers.

Kate Junk, Ph.D.

Kate JunkKate Junk is a licensed psychologist and she holds a doctorate in counseling psychology from Iowa State University. Kate provides individual and group counseling for adolescents and adults using a multi-theoretical approach to address a wide range of client concerns including: stress, life transitions, anxiety, depression/mood problems, relationship issues, health/medical issues, grief and loss, and trauma. She provides psychological and neuropsychological testing for adolescents and adults through the lifespan; and has experience in career counseling, including the use of vocational assessment tools. Kate is also trained in the use of biofeedback – a technique that measures the body’s physiological responses to stress and provides information that helps individuals learn how to reduce chronic stress and anxiety, increase emotional regulation, and improve general well-being.

Susan Koehler, PA-C

Susan Koehler, PA-C, brings over 13 years of experience as a psychiatry physician assistant. Susan is a graduate of Des Moines University and the University of Minnesota. She has been awarded the NCCPA Certificate of Added Qualifications in Psychiatry. Susan’s general psychiatry practice includes treatment of children, adolescents, and adults with mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, attention disorders, and thought disorders. She sees male and female patients of all ages and has a special interest in women’s health psychiatry. An initial appointment with Susan will include a thorough evaluation and specific treatment recommendations. Follow-up appointments will monitor for therapeutic response and medication side effects, with goals of symptom remission, continued stability, and relapse prevention.

Alison Li, L.I.S.W.

Alison Li, L.I.S.W., is a licensed independent social worker and holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Michigan. Alison provides therapy for adults, adolescents, children and families.  She specializes in treating anxiety and mood disorders (including depressive disorders, generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder), autism spectrum disorders and adjustment disorders.  Alison also has interest in working with people experiencing life transition issues, including those related to school, relationship and family stressors, as well as sexual and gender identity.  Alison is a member of the National Association of Social Workers.  When not at work, she can be found catering to the needs of a very cute but demanding French bulldog named MacGyver.

Diane McClanahan, B.S.N., M.Div.

Diane McClanahan, Director of Leadership and Spiritual Life at the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center, holds a bachelor of science degree in nursing from Duke University and a master of divinity degree from Yale Divinity School. An ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, she has served congregations in Connecticut and Iowa. Diane is a spiritual director, clergy coach, church consultant and conflict mediator. Her interest is in providing spiritual and educational programs and consultation to assist spiritual leaders and their congregations to meet the needs of their communities.


Julie McClatchey, M.S.W.

Julie McClatchey is a licensed independent social worker. She holds a master of social work degree from the University of Iowa. Julie works with individuals, couples, and families. Her areas of interest and specialization include depression and anxiety; couple and family relationships; grief and loss, including complicated grief; caregiver stress; work stress; trauma; substance abuse; and blended families. Julie is a Certified Employee Assistance Professional with extensive experience in the employee assistance program (EAP) field, including consultation with employers in response to employee behavior and performance concerns. Julie is a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).

Sarah McElhaney, L.M.F.T.

Sarah McElhaney, L.M.F.T.

Sarah McElhaney is a licensed marriage and family therapist. She received B.A. degrees in psychology and family services from the University of Northern Iowa, and a M.S. degree in human development from Virginia Tech (COAMFTE accredited). Sarah provides therapy to children and adolescents, as well as parents, families and couples. Her areas of treatment interest include anxiety and depressive disorders, child behavioral issues, parenting and relational issues, self-image, social skills, and couples issues.

 Jeffrey Means, M.Div., Ph.D.

jeff-final-headshotJeffrey Means is a licensed psychologist at the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center. In addition to counseling, he continues to provide consultation to those supervising in the training program, and to teach in the Center’s PrairieFire program. Prior to this role, he served as Associate Professor & Chair of the Behavioral Medicine, Medical Humanities & Bioethics Department in the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Des Moines University before retiring from that position in December 2014. Before his tenure at DMU, he was a longtime staff member at Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center where he founded the Clinical Training Program in 1980. He is a graduate of Purdue University, Christian Theological Seminary and Northwestern University, and is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Jeff also serves as a committee member with the Iowa Physician Health Program of the Iowa Board of Medicine and on the Ethics Committee of HCI Care Services. He is the author of Trauma & Evil: Healing the Wounded Soul, Fortress Press, 2000.

Mark Minear, Ph.D.

Mark MinearMark Minear is a licensed psychologist. He is also a recorded minister with the Religious Society of Friends (Quaker). He received his B.A. in Religion and English from William Penn College, an M.A. in Church History from the Earlham School of Religion, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Ball State University. He has background in working with a variety of churches, denominations, and faith traditions, as well as with individual clergy in need of support. He has significant experience in working with veterans’ issues, chronic health problems, couples counseling, and geriatric concerns. Mark works with adults on a wide variety of issues: depression, anxiety including trauma, loss and grief, transitions and adjustments, and spiritual concerns. He is also available for neuropsychological assessment to determine cognitive strengths and weaknesses, including possible memory problems.

Laura Nydam, L.I.S.W., M.S.W.

Laura Nydam is a licensed independent social worker. She earned her undergraduate degree in social work from Dordt College, Sioux Center, IA, and her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Iowa. Laura provides counseling and psychotherapy to individuals as well as couples and families. Laura has a special interest in providing holistic care to resolve issues of grief, trauma, life transitions, divorce, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. She is also a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) in the state of Iowa. Laura is a member of the National Association of Social Workers.

Kathy Reardon, R.N., M.S.

Kathy Reardon is a holistic nurse, spiritual director, and Healing Touch Practitioner. She holds a bachelor of nursing degree from the College of St. Scholastica and a master of science degree in counseling from Drake University. Kathy combines Healing Touch with other holistic approaches to assist her clients in growing in self-responsibility, empowered well-being, and wholeness. She has a special interest in working with those in trauma, life threatening illness, grief and loss, and critical life transitions. As a spiritual director, Kathy plans and facilitates retreats, and presents programs on prayer, spirituality, and adult faith formation.

Andrea Severson, t.L.M.H.C., M.Div.

DMPCC040616-Staff-0586Andrea Severson is a mental health counselor and spiritual director. Her degrees include a Master of Science in counseling from Drake University and a Master of Divinity from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. She holds a certificate in spiritual direction and is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church.  Andrea enjoys hearing the unique stories of the individuals and couples with whom she works.  Her areas of interest include anxiety, depression, trauma, identity, faith and spirituality, life transitions, and relationships.  Andrea is a member of the American Mental Health Counselors Association and Spiritual Directors International. In her spare time, she likes reading historical fiction, listening to the Beatles and camping.

Amy Spangler-Dunning, L.M.H.C., M.Div.

Amy Spangler-Dunning is a Licenced Mental Health Counselor. She received her B.A. in English from Bridgewater College in Bridgewater, VA, Master of Divinity from Lexington Theological Seminary, and M.S. in Mental Health Counseling from Drake University. She is also an ordained pastor in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and has had experience serving in pastorates in Kentucky and Iowa. Amy works with individuals going through grief, anxiety, depression, transitional adjustments, or who are experiencing existential concerns. She also works with couples for pre-marital and marital counseling. Amy has experience working with people from a variety of denominations and faith traditions as they encounter questions of faith, spiritual concerns, and theological issues. Others areas of focus for Amy include issues specific to women and helping clergy who are in need of self care and support.

Shannon Welch-Groves, Psy.D.

Shannon Welch-Groves is a licensed psychologist. Shannon received her B.A. in psychology from Creighton University, her M.A. in community counseling from the University of Nebraska, and her doctoral degree in counseling psychology from the University of Northern Colorado. Shannon provides counseling to children, adolescents, and adults. She has a special interest in the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders, parenting issues, child behavior problems, and individuals experiencing life transitions.

Roberta Yoder, M.A.

Roberta Yoder is a career counselor. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in English-teaching from the University of Northern Iowa and has completed graduate studies at Drake University in the following areas: counseling, human resources, and management process and behavior. Roberta is a Certified Employee Benefit Specialist, a qualified user of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and a Pastoral Care Specialist certificate holder. She provides counseling to persons seeking meaningful employment or considering career changes. Roberta provides coaching to persons seeking to improve and enhance their performance and satisfaction in their current employment. She has a special interest in midlife career issues.

Scott Young, Ph.D.

Scott Young, Psychological Testing Coordinator at the Center, is a licensed psychologist. He earned his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at Iowa State University. Scott provides individual, couples, family, and group counseling for clients across the lifespan. He uses a multitheoretical psychotherapy approach to work with a wide variety of presenting concerns, including: stress and adjustment issues, career transitions, existential or spiritual concerns, mood problems, ADHD, anxiety, health/medical issues, anger or behavioral problems, and severe or persistent mental illness. Scott also provides psychological testing for all ages, and neuropsychological testing for adolescents, adults, and older adults. Scott provides organizational consultation to businesses and enjoys providing clinically-focused teaching, consultation, and supervision.