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The Strengthening Center

Psychological Services

"Sometimes in the waves of change, we find our true direction."


The Strengthening Center is a privately owned mental health practice dedicated to providing diverse mental health services to Central Iowa and surrounding communities. 

Current Services


Family Therapy

Individual Therapy

School Based Youth Services

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Current Contracts

Des Moines Public Schools

Marshalltown Community Schools

South Tama County Community Schools

Iowa River Valley Early Childhood Area

Seneca Family of Agencies, Todo Por Mi Familia

Learn More

Meet The Team


Carlos Celis, PsyD, LMHC

​Dr. Celis received his Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice from California State University, Los Angeles, a Master's degree in Forensic Psychology with a concentration in Police Psychology, and his Doctorate degree in Clinical Forensic Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Los Angeles. His work throughout California, Hawaii, and Iowa has provided a diverse experience, including working with various ethnic backgrounds, as well as children, adults, parents, at risk youth, gangs, and law enforcement.

Dr. Celis is a Spanish speaking clinician with experience in full battery psychological assessments for children and adults, particularly with individuals involved in child welfare services/family court, and facilitating Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) to high risk families. He also specializes in providing therapy to individuals with trauma and severe emotional behaviors, as well as provides school based services to meet families needs. In addition, he completes evaluations to assist with the immigration process.

Dr. Celis has a straight forward approach, in which he works from a client-centered foundation of therapy, to maximize an individual's inner strengths. He strives to include families in the therapeutic process to improve the overall family dynamic. His genuineness and unconditional positive regard are essential to therapeutic growth.

Lani Maassen, PsyD
Owner-Executive Director

Dr. Maassen received her Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Troy State University and a Doctorate in Clinical Forensic Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Los Angeles, California. She has a multitude of experience working throughout California, Arizona, Nebraska, and Iowa; where she has worked with children, adolescents, adults, parents, and families. 

Dr. Maassen has experience in administering full battery psychological assessments, forensic evaluations for juvenile and adult court, parent-child evaluations for DHS, Social Security Disability Evaluations, and Intellectual Disability Assessments. Throughout Dr. Maassen's training she also provided services to at-risk children and families throughout Los Angeles and consulted with Head Start programs; where she provided parenting consultations and various trainings to school districts and Head Start/Early Head Start personnel. 

As a mother of four, Dr. Maassen has a deep understanding of the struggles within parent-child relationships. She is passionate about providing guidance and emotional support to parents, without judgment and bias.

*Currently not accepting clients*


Jennifer Gudino
Office Manager

Jennifer Gudino is a Bilingual Spanish/English speaking, friendly and organized office coordinator. She has worked in the medical field for over 9 years, providing outstanding patient care as an ultrasound sonographer for Palm Imaging Institute in California. Jennifer received her Associate’s of Science Degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography in Ontario, Ca. During those years, she worked closely with all office personnel, patients, and doctors in order to effectively deliver accurate and prompt results with fellow contracted medical groups.

With Jennifer’s experience in helping patients, she discovered a passion for wanting to provide a comfortable atmosphere for them, during difficult or stressful situations. She has utilized superior interpersonal skills, influencing clear and effectual communication between employees and patients. Her organizational skills are used to ensure smooth operations in a busy work environment.


Jennifer helps manage and foster relationships while keeping steady communication between patients and medical providers.


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