I fell in love with counseling the first time I was a client. What a relief it was to find someone who was willing to listen to my story, someone who did not have a personal stake or vested interest in my life or its relationships! Someone who was relatively objective to – and not personally involved in – the facts and feelings of my life’s story.
In the midst of crisis and social drama, therapy was the only place I could deliberately move outside my life situation in order to rest, recover, and re-assess. In therapy, I was able to feed and nurture my internal sense of self, and address those feelings and thoughts that sometimes overwhelm. I found therapy to be an excellent place to process issues in life that confused my ability to make sound decisions about my life path and greater purpose.
In counseling, I found my voice. My voice led to my internal realities, including my feelings and private thoughts, motivations, dreams, and obstacles. I learned the beauty and therapeutic effect of giving voice to my heart and mind, and I grew to admire and deeply respect the therapists who listened, affirmed, and gave great care to my thoughts and feelings.
I now look back at my life’s crises and see my therapists as true angels who entered my path just when I most needed a lift. My therapists were integral to my successful development through early and middle adulthood challenges.
From the Director
My Personal Path to this Work
My path to becoming a counselor and coach was long and winding, as this is my third career.
I was born in Pueblo, Colorado in the autumn of 1968. I spent my childhood between Amarillo, Texas, Pueblo, Colorado and Colorado Springs, growing up the youngest of six children in an Air Force enlisted family. My mother was Mexican American and my father was White American, which gave me a bicultural experience and a double consciousness that informs my work today. I often see two sides of a situation and have learned to cross boundaries and switch "codes” easily between different cultures.
I graduated from Gen. William J. Palmer High School in 1987 and the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs in 1991 with a Bachelors degree in Philosophy. In 2000, I completed my doctorate in History of Consciousness, an interdisciplinary program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Students in this program choose to examine contemporary social issues or problems from an interdisciplinary perspective in order to shed new light toward solutions.
I examined the lives of women of color in the United States as they experienced the intersections of racism, sexism, classism, and other forms of discrimination. I then taught Women’s Studies as an assistant professor in California and found myself working in the heart of various social issues related to gender and sexuality as they impacted students’ lives both in the classroom and in office hours. Over the years I was teaching at the university, I found one-on-one work with students often the most rewarding, but I also felt that I needed counseling skills for some of the issues that came up for students when doing feminist/womanist work.
This work in teaching led to my interest in counseling because of what I called “the emotional terrain of social inequality” in the classroom. I found that when students began to understand social identity formation and their place in it that they often experienced difficult and sometimes traumatic memories and emotions.
I left the university as an assistant professor in order to focus my family full-time, but I knew I would eventually want to be trained to facilitate this emotional work for individuals and groups. The raising of my three children and my full-time parenting and home management is my second career, and one I feel so fortunate to have had full-time. I like to laugh and say I earned a Bachelors degree in Diapering and Potty Training since it took me four continuous years to get my two younger children independent in that area! Over these 12 years, we traveled the world as a military family, and along the way, I was honored to serve other military families through volunteer work.
When my youngest began school, I worked to begin my third career in counseling. I earned a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology and a certificate specialization in Positive Psychology Coaching. I am registered with the State of Colorado as a Licensed Professional Counselor.