When people find out that I am a couples and marriage therapist, people often comment “I don’t know how you do that. I can’t imagine having to listen to people all day!”
Truth is, I love what I do. I feel very fortunate every day that I have been able to pursue my dream career, my calling in life.
Here is my story.
I am from Colorado Springs and graduated from Wasson High School, which is really where my passion for relationships started, as weird as that sounds. To some of my friends I was known as “the love guru” due to my penchant for researching relationship topics and sharing the information I found with my friends. I also fell in love with my now-husband.
I graduated valedictorian and enrolled in University of Colorado Denver’s nursing program. I happened to take a psychology class in Denver. That changed everything for me.
I transferred to University of Colorado Boulder, which has a strong Psychology program, and double majored in Psychology and Sociology.
When I arrived at the Boulder campus, I volunteered in one of the psychology research labs that focused on relationships. I loved it! I volunteered all four years and did an original research project and thesis that earned me a summa cum laude distinction upon graduating.
My research focused on interracial relationships – a topic close to my heart. This was also my first exposure to learning about sexuality and culture. I found that relationships and sexuality are so universal in many ways, yet so unique in others. They can have profoundly positive or negative impacts on life.
I see relationships as one of the most important aspects of our human experience.
Throughout college, I contemplated my next steps. I had always considered earning a Ph.D., but the more I learned about social work, the more it felt like the perfect marriage of psychology and sociology.
I knew I wanted to help people but wasn’t sure how yet. I accepted a job at a residential treatment center for children with mental health and trauma issues in the Westminster area after I graduated. Working with those children and teens, I felt impassioned pursue a master’s degree.
At the center, we worked so hard with the kids and rejoiced in their progress. However, after they were released from the center, they would “rubber back” back to us. Sadly, their home environments had not changed and they lost all gains made at the treatment center.
The system was broken.
I knew then that I wanted to work with families and work within the system so real change could happen.
I was accepted into the master’s social work program at the University of Denver and graduated among the top of my class.