Our Staff

Meet the Counselors


Alyssa Cook

Hi! My name is Alyssa, and I am currently working on my master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling here at Northwest Nazarene University. I believe that early experiences with caregivers and others shape the way we think and feel about ourselves. Adverse childhood experiences can lead to feelings of low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety which affect many
aspects of our lives. A competent counselor helps to facilitate self-awareness and insight
around maladaptive beliefs and attitudes that keep us feeling stuck. Much needed healing can occur in the context of a warm, non-judgmental, and therapeutic relationship where you are safe to explore your past and present.

As your counselor I will bring my knowledge and skills into the counseling room to help you achieve your goals for better emotional, mental, and relational wellness. You are the expert on you, so I will let you be the driver and I’ll come along for the ride. Please feel free to schedule an intake session so we can determine if we would be a good fit for each other. I look forward to meeting with you.


Sarah Frost

I am a counseling intern at Northwest Nazarene University.  I am entering the counseling field through a round-a-bout path.  I started my career earning a PhD in computer science and engineering and working in the world of nanotechnology before spending 15 years as a stay at home mom of children with extra challenges.  I learned the hard way how important and how valuable self-compassion is.  I will bring compassion and acceptance to meet you where you are and journey with you towards the destination you choose.

I firmly believe that counseling can benefit everyone.  In the best of times we have responsibilities, opportunities, wants, and needs all pulling us in different directions.  In the …. other … times, navigating those challenges gets harder and harder.  When those not-best of times happen early in our life, things get even more complicated.  My approach to counseling uses a lot of non-verbal, creative modalities like art, sandtray, and music along with traditional talk therapy to integrate memories of early hard experiences and current challenges in order to make sense of our personal story.  We cannot choose all the major plot points in our stories, but with support we can choose what role they will play in our lives.


Kristen Connolly

Hi! My name is Kristen, and I am a graduate student in the Counseling Department at Northwest Nazarene University nearing completion of my master’s degree in Clinical Counseling. Life challenges us all, but I believe every person innately has what they need to heal, grow, and thrive. As your counselor, I will provide a supportive and empathetic space for you to explore your thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

My approach to counseling involves
bringing awareness to patterns in your life that may not be serving you, and offering alternative strategies to help you engage with life in a more authentic and meaningful way. My theoretical perspective is rooted in Existentialism, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Internal Family Systems (IFS). I am happy to see clients at any stage in their life, including children, adolescents, and adults. I also enjoy incorporating art and play in my sessions, and love to foster the creative expression of my clients.

In my spare time, I enjoy getting outdoors with my husband and two dogs and dabbling in hobbies like ice skating and playing the guitar.


Alison Grant

You don’t have to walk through the hard parts of life alone. If you feel overwhelmed or lonely, we can face those challenges together. Wherever you are, I join you to capture healing and see your strengths. I see you as an individual, always giving personalized attention to meet your needs and empowering you with the tools you need to achieve happiness. You will feel safe and valued. We will work together to cope with your difficulties. Let’s work to understand your experiences and give you success in the future.

I am a graduate student at Northwest Nazarene University, studying for my Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with an emphasis in Trauma and Grief. I also love a great psychological thriller or playing Candy Crush in my spare time.


Kurtis Pugh

Hi. I commend you for taking steps to seek support. I’m Kurtis. I’m a Graduate student in the final stages of my training at Northwest Nazarene University in the Marriage, Couple, Family track of the Counseling program. As part of my graduate studies, I am also receiving education and training in play therapy, with a focus on the specific modality of Theraplay®.

I believe that each human being is unique, irreplaceable, and both worthy and capable of finding and fulfilling meaning in their unique life circumstances. Further, I believe that, with a little support and guidance, every person can find and implement solutions to their unique struggles in life.

In counseling and consultation, I work from a Logotherapeutic (meaning-centered) and Solution-Focused stance. This means that I will help you to envision your desired outcomes and meanings in your current and future situations and support you as you work toward realizing those. In play therapy, my work is based on Theraplay principles which focus on attachment in the parent-children relationship and healthy sensory and emotional regulation.

I have extensive professional experience working with young children (0-5) and their parents, but I have also enjoyed working with older children and adults. I look forward to working with you.

Hola. Le felicito por tomar medidas para buscar apoyo. Soy Kurtis. Soy un estudiante de posgrado en las etapas finales de mi capacitación en Northwest Nazarene University en el énfasis de Matrimonio, Pareja, Familia del programa de Consejería. Como parte de mis estudios de posgrado, también estoy recibiendo educación y capacitación en terapia de juego con un enfoque en la modalidad específica de Theraplay®.

Creo que cada ser humano es único, irremplazable, y digno y capaz de encontrar y llevar a cabo el significado en sus circunstancias únicas de vida. Además, creo que, con un poco de apoyo y orientación, cada persona puede encontrar e implementar soluciones a sus desafíos únicos en la vida.

En consejería y consultoría, trabajo desde una postura logoterapéutica (centrada en el significado) y centrada en soluciones. Esto significa que le ayudaré a visualizar sus resultados y significados deseados en sus situaciones actuales y futuras, y le apoyaré mientras que usted trabaja para realizarlas. En la terapia de juego, mi trabajo se basa en los principios de Theraplay cuales se centran en el apego en la relación padre/madre-hijo y la regulación sensorial y emocional sanas.

Tengo una amplia experiencia profesional trabajando con niños pequeños (0-5) y sus padres, pero también he disfrutado trabajar con niños mayores y adultos. Espero con interés trabajar con usted.


Wendy Sorenson

Life is hard and messy; we were not created to do it alone.  When someone begins the journey
to seek help and begin the healing process, I know that is a big step. I will honor you and treat
you with dignity and respect.  I will come alongside of you and together we will explore who
you are and what has impacted and shaped you. You already have coping strategies, some are
helpful and healthy, while some are not so healthy.  I will listen to your story and help to
unravel the knots that have been formed.  Healing is possible.

I welcome all ages and stages
while holding an extra special place in my heart for children.  As a former teacher, I see that we
are all struggling with finding ways to cope with life’s demands and children are no exception.
As a mom of two “grown” boys, a bonus daughter and two delightful grandchildren, I want to
see all of us reach our fullest potential.

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Carly Shumway

Sometimes life can leave you with emotional wounds and no instructions on how to heal them. Whether these wounds are mild, or seemingly incurable, my goal is to help guide you to understand your emotional injuries while supporting you in healing them. I believe that everyone has their own unique story and is deserving of empathy, compassion, and someone to truly hear them. I aim to help you work through any painful emotions and process them in a healthy way, because the most beautiful and authentic life that you can lead is one through healing. This happens when you feel all your feelings, even the hard ones. 

I am a Graduate Student at Northwest Nazarene University, studying for my Masters in Clinical Mental Health counseling. Some of my passions are cooking, spending time with my dogs and family, and watching a good movie. I want to assist those in need of help with their mental health, and I look forward to helping you. 

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Amy Tucker

As humans, we’re both fragile and resilient. We are wounded, and also, we hold immense capacity to heal. I believe that healing is possible, and, most often, we cannot do it alone. I am passionate about connection on this life journey and will meet you wherever you are with compassion, acceptance, empathy, openness, and authenticity.

Our mind, body, and intuition each play an integral part in our personal healing. My approach to counseling includes building a compassionate and respectful relationship with each complex part of you, helping to bring meaning and purpose to your life and relationships.

Our relationships impact nearly every aspect of our lives, and I value helping to heal at both an individual and relational level. I will collaborate with you as you identify and work towards what is unique and meaningful for you.

I am a graduate student at Northwest Nazarene University pursuing a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, emphasizing in Trauma and Grief. My personal experiences as a partner, mother, daughter, and friend continue to teach and grow me more than anything else as I
navigate the full experience of life. Good food, good conversation, good books, and good fun also help me along the way!

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Trevor Allen

The top 3 values that drive my work as a counselor are:

1.) You have everything that you need to find healing and I am honored to come alongside you on your journey. Ultimately, I believe each of us has a resilient part of ourselves that has never been broken and sometimes just needs the help of a third party to get started.

2.) I strive to create a space of warmth and safety in each counseling session. While confidentiality helps make a counseling space feel safe, I work to help my clients feel safe through the therapeutic relationship. In session, you may shed tears, we may laugh, you may express deep frustration. My goal is to help you feel safe to express yourself in whatever way is therapeutically beneficial to you.

3.) Healing is a personal journey. Everyone’s path through managing challenging internal experiences will look different, and I keep that in mind as we work together. Your experiences and preferences are taken into account as we move through therapy.

I’m currently a counseling intern in the Counseling graduate program at Northwest Nazarene University. I am working toward earning my LPC and am excited to work with clients from all walks of life!


Lauren Smith

I have had the honor of working in the anti-trafficking movement as an ally for over eight years. I hold a Professional Certification in Trauma & Resilience from Florida State University and a Bachelors in Communications from Texas A&M University. After working with trafficking survivors in Southeast Asia for 5 years, I began to pursue my Master's degree at Northwest Nazarene University to study the impact of trauma and grief as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor.

Now, I am a Therapist-in-training committed to seeing lives transformed & empowered through compassionate care. My passion lies in helping trauma, grief, and trafficking survivors not just survive, but thrive. I have personal experience with sudden grief and loss. My approach integrates lenses of trauma, attachment, and neurobiology- how the brain works. I am committed to empowering my clients through counseling that is non-judgemental and authentic.

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Nathan Lapp

Life is a journey full of a variety of experiences. There are times that life can feel chaotic, burdensome, filled with pointless suffering, and thrust upon us. We Can feel beat up, used up, and cast aside, even enslaved by life. Some of us may fear when life ends while others may wish it to end soon. For many of us, we have lost that feeling of purpose or meaningful existence.
Hi, my name is Nathan. I am a graduate student at Northwest Nazarene University, and I am nearing the completion of my master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. I believe that counseling can be a benefit to anyone at any stage of life. As a counselor, I take a narrative approach to addressing the fundamental realities of life, freedom, relationship, and meaning through integrating various forms of art and play in the therapeutic process.
I believe life is inherently meaningful, with meaningfulness as one’s true desire. This stems from a belief that every individual is not only capable of finding fulfillment, but uniquely and intrinsically valuable and worthy of finding fulfillment. My desire as a counselor is to join you on your journey to discover (or rediscover) meaning in life. I offer a safe, compassionate, empathetic, and nonjudgmental environment on this journey as we explore various existential and spiritual situations with a trauma informed therapeutic perspective. I look forward to working together with you to discover your personal values and reach your personal goals.
I have worked in construction for the past several years and have experience working as an emergency medical technician (EMT). I have coached youth sports and have worked in other youth organizations. I love the outdoors (rain, sun, or snow) and in my spare time I love connecting with my family through exploration and play.

Jessica Wassom

Hello! My name is Jessica, and I am a clinical mental health master’s student at Northwest Nazarene
University. I believe that many factors affect us in life including our past life experiences, our family
systems, and current life circumstances big and small. Challenges in life are inevitable, and it can be
difficult to know how to navigate those struggles. The great thing about counseling is that you don’t
have to navigate those challenges alone! My goal is to walk with you in your struggles and help you to
realize that you have the strength within you to heal and grow.
Through personal experiences with loss
and relational trauma, I have learned to show up authentically with my clients and empathize with the
pain while helping them to move forward with renewed hope. I would love to join you on your journey
to healing and wellness.