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Boulder, CO

Services

Individual, Couples, & Family Counseling

In my private practice, I work with adults ages 20+, with couples, and with parts of or whole families. I completed my EMDR therapy training through The Maiberger Institute, an EMDRIA approved training program and help treat previous/current difficult experiences and anxiety through this modality.

For couples, my training is in Emotionally Focused Therapy. 

http://www.drsuejohnson.com/

During the last ten years, I counseled young men and women that were in an in-patient setting in the wilderness. Their struggles included working towards recovery from substance abuse, trauma, grief and loss, depression, anxiety, and complicated family dynamics. I also worked closely with the whole family.

The way my private practice reaches families involved in treatment is through my work with parents who have a child in treatment. The process of having a child in treatment can be challenging and disorienting. I can be a guide for you. Together, we can take a look at family patterns and behaviors, understand the needs underneath these patterns and behaviors, and work towards creating change. Change requires all family members to take a look at their own history, patterns, and struggles and to have the courage to address them. My style involves listening actively to what your goals are, being tuned in to the present moment, and offering dynamic interventions and psycho-education when appropriate. You will likely find me to be approachable, direct, and coach-like. It is important to me that it is a good fit for both of us to do the courageous work you are embarking on. Your honesty and willingness to work is important, and I hold the opportunity to work alongside you and your family with the utmost respect.  

STRONG AND MINDFUL FAMILY TRIP: BREAKWATER EXPEDITIONS

The Experience

Our expeditions provide an inspiring, fun and supportive backdrop for a once in a lifetime opportunity for whole families or subsets. Our voyages are true bonding experience for families. Breakwater Expeditions creates an environment where the strengths of each individual are revealed and utilized to help form a stronger and healthier functioning family system. In the wilderness setting, the myriad distractions of daily life are suspended, and families rediscover the often forgotten gifts of play, humor, gratitude, and understanding. Time is spent understanding each other, breaking down barriers that inhibit connection, and building relationships. Our team of highly skilled professionals and wilderness guides carefully develop these exciting adventures to meet the needs of its participants. Please be in touch if you are interested in learning more about a family expedition. 

Learn more here: Strong and Mindful Family Program Adventure: 

http://www.breakwaterexpeditions.com/family-therapy-trips/


Parent Support

If your child is in treatment, either in a wilderness therapy program or a therapeutic school, it is likely you as the parents need additional support. I spent several years as a wilderness therapist and as the Director of the Family Services program at a wilderness therapy program. I have counseled and led hundreds of families through the process of having a child in treatment and have witnessed incredible results. I understand the ins and outs of working with families like yours and offer direct, compassionate, and well guided support. 

Additionally, if you are working from a preventative angle and have noticed concerning patterns and behaviors that need to be addressed, we can work together to create a plan to address and implement changes in your family system or in your marriage.


Yoga Therapy

I am registered with Yoga Alliance as an E-RYT-200 and RYT-500, which means I completed a 200 hour yoga teacher training with Core Power Yoga in 2006 and a Yoga Therapy Teacher Training with Inner Peace Yoga Therapy in 2011.

Here is a bit about my approach to yoga. 

Yoga is therapeutic in nature. Yoga Therapy is an integrated practice that involves working on a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual level. As I have learned from my teachers and through my personal practice and teaching, yoga therapy is about recognizing, acknowledging, and befriending the truth of your experience. This means you may bump into painful emotions just as you may experience great relief and joy. Yoga is a rich practice of turning towards your physical sensations, emotions, and unpacking beliefs that may be hindering you from freedom. The students I have had the privilege to do yoga therapy with have reported positive results from the integration of psychotherapy and yoga techniques such as bringing in specific postures (asanas), breath work (pranayama), and setting resolve (sankalpa).

My personal experience with yoga began in 2001 when I wandered into a hot yoga class. As a competitive gymnast through college, I was drawn to the most rigorous styles of yoga. These classes matched the fire I had for pushing myself physically. I would have a moment of noticing my emotions surface, get scared, and stuff them back down, as I always had. In those early classes, some of my teacher's compassionate guidance must have seeped in because I was inspired to take a 200 hour teacher training. My pattern of pushing through pain continued on and was the cause of a torn ACL from a snowboarding plunge. The date of my yoga teacher training (a week after knee surgery) was perfect. I found myself hobbling into the studio. As I pulled out all of the props necessary to support my injury, I began to learn the depth of what yoga means, which is union; a turning towards one's present moment truth. Rather than forcing myself into positions, I learned the practice of gently moving towards the awkwardness I felt in my body as well as the tender emotions I had for so long tried to diminish. My instructors taught me how to slow down, tune in, and guide myself towards wellness. For the first time, I began to give myself permission to feel. My yoga practice grew beyond the physical into these aspects I mentioned above; into my heart, my mind, and my soul. In seeped the philosophy of ahimsa (moving from self-harm to having reverence for myself and for all). 

This art of befriending myself brought me to study psychotherapeutic techniques alongside yoga postures and breath work. I was inspired by the support available when these two healing modalities were bridged together. In 2010, I dove into a Yoga Therapy Program called Inner Peace Yoga Therapy http://innerpeaceyogatherapy.com. Curriculum included Yoga for Grief, Yoga for Recovery, Yoga for Chronic Pain, and Yoga for Anxiety and Depression to name a few. I am honored to be a Program Assistant for Inner Peace Yoga Therapy and to mentor students that are going through this training. For the last several years, I have been co-leading a Yoga for Grief group and offer 1:1 session. I am excited to offer this modality if it is of interest to you.  

 

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Wilderness Expeditions: Strong and Mindful Family Program

If being outside restores a sense of wholeness within you, you may want to consider a wilderness expedition. I have spent the last several years creating, implementing, and leading programs that bring families into the wild. 

Strong and Mindful Family Program

Dr. Katie Grace MacElveen and I created a program called the Strong and Mindful Family Program. We are on the leadership team at Breakwater Expeditions and have chosen Breakwater Expeditions to team with because of their exceptional services and expertise. Please review our offerings and be in touch with me or Breakwater Expeditions to explore which trip is right for you.  

http://www.breakwaterexpeditions.com/family-therapy-trips/

Strong and Mindful Family Expeditions

Green river, UT and San juan Islands, WA

Green River Canoe Expeditions, Utah

The Destination

The calm waters of the Green River meandering through the Stillwater and Labyrinth Canyon make up some of Utah's most beautiful scenery. We will paddle a 50 plus mile stretch of flat water that will follow the rolling desert hills of eastern Utah into the majestic depths of Labyrinth Canyon. We will travel through the ancient times and history of the landscape as we view the ruins and rock art sites of the Pueblo Indians. Small hikes will get us close to the red cliffs, desert sunsets, and warmth of the rocks as we create this memorable experience.

The Experience

Our expeditions provide an inspiring, fun and supportive backdrop for a once in a lifetime opportunity for whole families or subsets. Our voyages are true bonding experience for families. Breakwater Expeditions creates an environment where the strengths of each individual are celebrated and where family members use their individual strengths to help form a stronger and better functioning system. In the atmosphere of wilderness settings, families are able to suspend the myriad distractions of daily life and rediscover the often forgotten gifts of play, humor, gratitude, and understanding. Part or whole family expeditions focus on breaking down barriers and building relationships. Breakwater Expeditions’ team of highly skilled professionals and wilderness guides carefully develop exciting adventures to meet the needs of its participant.

Heather Menzie, Family Program Director

Heather has been leading family trips in the wilderness since 2007. She developed, directed, and implemented the Family Quest Program at Open Sky Wilderness, which has served over two hundred families. Heather’s expertise, comfort in the wilderness, and sense of humor help set families at ease. She provides a creative, safe, and fun environment for families to explore the wilderness and have a rich adventure together. Heather works in the field with families and brings her creativity and experience to the development of our Family Program at Breakwater Expeditions.

San Juan Islands, WA 

The Destination

Nestled between the three great cities of Seattle, Vancouver, and Victoria, British Columbia are the San Juan Islands. Encompassed by the waterways of the Puget Sound, Strait of Juan de Fuca, and Rasario Strait these Islands are often referred to as the “Rain Shadow” of the Olympic Mountains offering an average of 247 days of sunshine annually. With over 200 rocky, forested islands to explore this has become a world renowned kayaking destination. These pristine waters are host to over eighty-five resident orca whales. Other treasured wildlife sightings may include minke whales, harbor and Dall’s porpoises, seals, river otter, and a variety of birdlife varying from auklets to herons. This region also boasts the second largest bald eagle breeding population in the continental United States. The temperate climate, marine wildlife, and dynamic shoreline make the San Juan’s a paddler’s dream.

The Experience

Our expeditions provide an inspiring, fun and supportive backdrop for a once in a lifetime opportunity for whole families or subsets. Our voyages are true bonding experience for families. Breakwater Expeditions creates an environment where the strengths of each individual are celebrated and where family members use their individual strengths to help form a stronger and better functioning system. In the atmosphere of wilderness settings, families are able to suspend the myriad distractions of daily life and rediscover the often forgotten gifts of play, humor, gratitude, and understanding. Part or whole family expeditions focus on breaking down barriers and building relationships. Breakwater Expeditions’ team of highly skilled professionals and wilderness guides carefully develop exciting adventures to meet the needs of its participant.

Dr. Katie Grace MacElveen, LPC

Family Mentor - Dr. Katie Grace has counseled young people and families facing difficult mental health issues, trauma, grief, addiction, and challenging transitions in wild places, residential treatment, private practice, and schools for over three decades. She comes by mentoring families naturally. Over the years, she has loved many children and raised several of her own. Her warm, gentle, and inviting presence helps families learn to strengthen connections by practicing new ways of interacting with each other. She offers simple breath and movement practices to increase mindful awareness of one’s self and others. This supports vital health and ease. It slows down reactivity and increases choice-based responses. Whenever possible, she can be found above treeline, floating down river, hiking with her wonder dog, or marveling at her precious grandson’s latest advancement. 

Leadership & Team Development Partner - Katie Grace has also worked extensively as an organizational consultant and facilitator of leadership, high performance teaming, and diversity awareness programs for educators, entrepeneurs and executives. Her clients have included UBS, Motorola, Microsoft, and many more. She's taught graduate students, for example, MBA students from Duke University and University of Southern California, and Counseling students from the University of San Diego. Many of these experiential learning programs incorporated outdoor adventure.

Under it all, Katie Grace recognizes that: 1) We exist in social systems and so does deep goodness; 2) Individual development, communication skills, creative strategies, leadership and collaborative teaming are needed in all kinds of successful teams, including families; 3) It is important to take time in the natural world for what we value most. 4) Adventures create opportunities to be in the present moment with each other, away from the distractions of daily life. When we bask in beauty, meet challenges, learn, explore, play and feel heartily together, we grow together.

WHO ARE THESE FAMILY EXPEDITIONS FOR?

Family Passages: For the celebrating family marking transition

For families celebrating and marking significant milestones, Breakwater Expeditions provides safe, fun, and supportive adventures. These adventures include honoring a rite of passage, launching into a new stage of life, and significant transitions, like a child beginning high school or leaving home for college. Our Family Mentors are gifted in meeting families where they are, supporting developing greater connection or individuation, as needed. This time offers the opportunity for a family to grow strengths, including: love, trust, and respect through the experience of transition.

Family Actions: For the proactive family

For families taking a proactive and preventative step who recognize a need for support in developing skills to better see their way through the adolescent or young adult years, an adventure with Breakwater Expeditions interrupts existing patterns that could potentially develop into family dysfunction, disruption, and disconnection. Decide on your personal family goals and engage in a positive intervention to get everyone on board and strengthen relationships. This allows you to move forward as a healthier, more intentional family.

Family Integration: For the family involved in treatment

For families coming together with a family member that is in a rehabilitation or residential program or after wilderness, rehabilitation, or residential treatment, Breakwater Expeditions offers mindful and supportive adventures that enhance a family’s strengths and support the development of new skills. This may include bringing a family together during a “break week” from an in-patient treatment, reintegrating a family member back into day to day life, or creating new ways of being and practicing for living apart. Families use this opportunity adventuring together to build a platform to integrate and sustain the changes gained during treatment to facilitate reentry or post treatment.

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