Fort Collins TherapistAfter working with thousands of people, I have come to believe that the purpose of life is connection.  Connection leads to joy and happiness.  Disconnection leads to pain, sadness, and addiction.  For some people this seems obvious.  For the more independent people this seems either scary or outright wrong.  Much of my life I was in this second group, so I have lots of compassion and understanding for those who value being an island.  I did all the right things our society told me to do and still felt deeply discontent.

The reason that happiness is so elusive for the vast majority of people is because we have become so skilled and automatic in our disconnection.  Often, it is the things we do to keep ourselves feeling safe that also keep us from achieving connection and happiness.  Other times, it is a tendency to distract from suffering with immediate gratification that actually perpetuates our suffering.  Sometimes we distract with work, substances, or compulsive thinking.  My job is to help you understand your obstacles to happiness and then cultivate a life that minimizes suffering and maximizes long-term enjoyment.  Change will come in attitude, emotion, and behavior.  This does not mean that pain and suffering disappear entirely, as they are a part of life.  Rather, it is the relationship to them that is changed.  The goal is a life with more happiness and satisfaction through connection.

I see things from post-modern, existential, East-West, and experiential perspectives.  Those are a lot of fancy terms for a few simple concepts.  By post-modern I mean that we, as individuals and groups, author our own understandings of the world.  It can be how we understand it that contributes to our suffering.  By existential I mean that we are each unique and responsible for our own being in the world.  We can decrease our suffering by facing what we fear and working through it, and thereby become free of it.  East-West psychology draws from scientific Western concepts, such as behavioral therapy, as well as Eastern concepts such as the Buddhist ideas of emptiness and interconnectedness.  Experiential means that primacy is given to one’s own felt experience of being in the world.  In the West, we tend to overvalue the cognitive and devalue feelings, leading to an imbalance where we unknowingly make emotional decisions disguised by rationalizations and justifications.

Therapeutic Style

As a therapist, I place high value on the person who is my client.  I will listen to your story, helping you to explore hopes, fears, meaning, and values.  I will walk with you on your path, sometimes supporting you and other times challenging you.  I will help you find a way of being in the world that works for you.  It will not be easy, but it can potentially be very rewarding.

For couples and family therapy, I look at the system as a whole, and work with you to transform stuck, unhealthy patterns into healthy ones.

One tool I recommend is mindfulness, which aids in gaining insight, reducing stress, and strengthening the mind-body connection.  I try to help my clients connect with their innate actualizing potential for growth.  This may involve experiencing unpleasant emotions, but the medicine is in the wound.  The goal is to lead an authentic and purposeful life, with a clear experience of reality as it is.  This maximizes happiness.

Work History
Peak Clarity Counseling Center – Therapist (Contact me for an appointment.)
Front Range Community College – Psychology Instructor
The Parent-Child Interaction Center – Therapist
Esteemed Human Development International – Lecturer (Psychological & Educational Workshops)
The Highland Institute Atlanta
Anchor Hospital for Mental Health

Credentials
Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the State of Colorado (License #LPC0011971)
Certified Transpersonal Hypnotherapist (CHt)
Certified Anger & Depression Management Specialist
Prepare-Enrich Certified (Couples Counseling)
American Counseling Association (ACA) Member
Association for the Treatment of Sexual Offenders (ATSA) Member
ManKind Project
Men’s Leadership Alliance

Education
Ed.S. Professional Counseling (Georgia State University)
M.S. Professional Counseling (Georgia State University)
B.S. Philosophy (Georgia State University)
B.S. Religious Studies (Georgia State University)
B.S. Mechanical Engineering (Georgia Institute of Technology)

Contact Information:

Phone: 970-444-2815
Email: Dustin@PeakClarity.com