Growing up in Colorado, I loved moving my body at altitude to feel good. Our family bonded while moving by foot and on skis in the mountains. I won “Skier of the Year” in 8th grade while in the Tyro program at Loveland. My father worked hard as a doctor all week, then off we’d go: camping, hiking, and skiing. The outdoors connected our family; I grew to love it. My mother was a teacher and a political activist; she lobbied hard for human rights.
Relationship is about change
At 16, my parents died in a tragedy. I found myself alone in the world. Boom! I went from the super-active life going to the mountains I loved to living with guardians who were not interested in the mountains. I yearned for the fun in the mountains. I had all the feelings you could imagine: loss, sadness, resentment, anger, -and then some. Putting myself back together was not a straight line thing.
Too much grasping for love, too little available?
I buried myself in, well, anything I could, to deal with my parents deaths. My relationships were all over the map. At one stage I remember being needy. At another time I just didn’t need relationships. With girlfriends, I just couldn’t trust them to stick around. My life and my relationship problems were not going well. I began counseling and got involved in a youth group at church. Thank goodness for my bicycle and my love of the mountains; long bicycle trips in the mountains helped me sort out how this counseling process was working for me and where I was with relationships in general.
Choosing to heal for relationship
In 1974 I was a freshman at CU in Boulder. I felt I had kept it together pretty well, all things considered. Well, I was fooling myself, because I wasn’t studying and my relationships were not going well. I remember the day I walked in to Wardenburg and talked with a counselor about both my parents dying. Beforehand I felt reactive, on “auto-pilot”, resentful, withdrawn. Walking out of there I felt more free to be myself, more trusting of people, and eager to get on with being myself and relating. Admitting I fall apart may have been the hardest thing I’ve done in my life. I’m so grateful counseling allowed me the safe relationship to let it all go. Counseling taught me how I could put myself back together, that people are resilient, and able to bounce back.
I found a calling or maybe it found me
I can’t really say I enjoyed everything about the whole counseling process, but I can say it saved my life. I learned that the quality of relationships I have WHILE I AM ALIVE are very important to me. My abilities to trust a girlfriend dramatically improved. I discovered that overly leaning on a girlfriend, or withdrawing out of fear, were normal hurdles, and my relationships could get beyond these survival habits. I felt empowered to optimize my time with people, and this has carried over in to my life as a counselor.
Therapy gave me tools to grow
My curiosity about relationship growth led me to study for my counseling degree at CU from 89-92. I also became certified as an Integrative Body Psychotherapist in 1995, which trained me in healthy relationship boundaries, simple breathing techniques for self-soothing, and moving beyond family habits. Enhancing emotional intimacy became an interesting process that I could pass on to clients. One CAN make their relationship work out for the better!
From riding a single bicycle to riding a tandem
Riding bicycles is a favorite solo activity. Now that I am married, we enjoy riding a tandem in addition to single bikes. We work together on the tandem, and communicate effectively, naming shifts, bumps, turns, for a healthy marriage. We try to respect each others autonomous needs, while remembering our bond when we need to talk with each other with differences, whether on a bicycle or not. Marriage and emotional intimacy has brought to me vast experience with a blended family, step-daughters, and now a step-granddaughter!
Now is my time to give back and help
I wouldn’t wish for anyone to have gone through the tragedy I went through. It happened. Now I see it as a gift for helping me see what really matters: making the best of our relationships.
Sexuality, fighting fairly, getting along, listening; I can assist you in being the best person you can be and learn to grow your relationship! I’ve helped numerous individuals and couples move beyond the normal nasty fighting, blaming, controlling, and head games- to a sense of victory, fun, really good sex, and long-term growth in relationship.