RMHCPA Sponsoring 2020 International Meaning Conference on “Facing COVID-19 and Beyond”

Tthe Rocky Mountain Humanistic Counseling and Psychological Association is sponsor of a special 2020 International Meaning Conference London (IMEC) that will be held on Saturday, July 25, 2020 from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM MST. This conference is completely online, so RMHCPA members can attend from the safety of their own home. The conference will focus on Facing COVID-19 and Beyond. This is a great opportunity to learn more about how to practice existential and humanistic therapy in the context of COVID-19. 

Through our partnership with Meaning Online and IMEC, RMHCPA members can receive a discount to attend (approximately $12 USD). For RMHCPA Members, the price of the conference for is $48.79 USD (40 GDP) and for student members $24.39 USD (20 GDP). If using the RMHCPA discount, be sure that your membership is current.

For more information or to register for the conference, visit http://meaning.org.uk.

In Memory of Nicole Hohl, PsyD

Written by Cathy Calvert, PsyD

It is with great sadness that I share with the Rocky Mountain Humanistic Counseling and Psychological Association (RMCHPA) community the loss of one of our members. Nicole (Nikki) Hohl, PsyD, died on Tuesday April 7, 2020. She leaves behind a husband, 8 children, and 2 grandchildren. Nikki was not only a fellow RMCHPA member and colleague, but also was a supervisee of mine. I had the good fortune to be her very first supervisor in her first practicum. She arrived in practicum as a quiet and gentle person who did not say much, but when she did speak many times what she had to say was perceptive and thoughtful. As a new trainee she provided her clients with a space for exploration in a stillness that was filled with respect and safety. She started her training with some of the more difficult clients at the clinic and would hear from her cohort how “lucky” she was and how “brave” she was to be working with some of her clients. Nikki never saw her clients as difficult or that she was “brave.” She, in a very human way, saw her clients as those who needed someone to listen and be present in their pain. Our paths crossed again during her training and I had the opportunity to be her final supervisor at the end of her Psychology Internship at UCCS. Nikki continued to have a similar presence like she had at the beginning of her training—the kind of presence that created space for her clients to see themselves in a different way, a way that could create change for them. Through a compassionate approach, her clients felt cared for and supported while they experienced change. At the end of her training, she had become more confident and less quiet. It was if she had finally found her “pou sto” – gently hold a space for another.

Nikki was a wonderful clinician and knowledgeable psychologist and yet there were parts of her that even colleagues did not know. She married young, and she and her husband, married 31 years, had 8 wonderful children.  While Nikki was in graduate school getting her doctorate in psychology, she was also homeschooling all 8 children. She became a published author of a fictional novel during graduate school. Nikki had a dream to go to graduate school, get her doctorate in psychology, and work in a private practice. She completed all her coursework, post-doctoral residency, and as of March 2020, became a licensed psychologist and opened her own private practice. She reached her goal! Those that knew her personally were richer for the experience and those that she helped along the way were given a gift. I will miss Nikki and am grieving the future we would have had as colleagues. I believe our profession will miss her still, gentle spirit of healing as well.  

Click here to read Nikki’s obituary.

Sandy Sela-Smith Humanistic Exemplar Award

The Rocky Mountain Humanistic Counseling and Psychological Association selected Sandy Sela-Smith to be the first recipient of the Humanistic Exemplar Award, which subsequently will be named after Dr. Sela-Smith. This award is given to individuals who embody the values of humanistic psychology in their personal and professional lives.

Dr. Sela-Smith is a therapist in Colorado and served as a faculty member at Saybrook University for many years. She developed Heuristic Self-Search Inquiry as a research method. This approach has been used by many students for their dissertations. Dr. Sela-Smith is currently finishing a book on the Heuristic Self-Search Inquiry. She has published several other books including The Meaning of Three: Under the Mask.

Dr. Sela-Smith taught at Saybrook University for many years and also served as an editor for Saybrook dissertations. In her teaching and editing, Dr. Sela-Smith developed impactful relationships with her students. As faculty member, Dr. Sela-Smith consistently encouraged reflection on how to respond to challenging situations in a manner consistent with humanistic values. Truly, Dr. Sela-Smith has lived and advocated for the the values of humanistic psychology.

A founding member of the Rocky Mountain Humanistic Counseling and Psychological Association, Dr. Sela-Smith has been active in the organization and presented our annual conference. She continues her therapy practice and training from her home of Conifer, Colorado. More information about Dr. Sela-Smith is available at her website: http://www.infiniteconnections.us.

The award will be given to Dr. Sela-Smith at the Annual Rocky Mountain Humanistic Counseling and Psychological Association Conference.

In Memory of Sue Wallingford

This past week, the humanistic and transpersonal psychology communities lost one of our long time leaders, Sue Wallingford. The Rocky Mountain Humanistic Counseling and Psychological Association mourns her loss and wishes to express our condolences to the many family, friends, colleagues, students, and clients who cared deeply for Sue.

Sue was a professor at Naropa University for 25 years and served in many capacities, including as faculty member in both the graduate Mindfulness-Based Transpersonal Counseling and Transpersonal Art Therapy programs.  Sue’s many accomplishments include founding the Naropa Community Art Studio-International and Partners for Social Justice, an organization that brought art therapy to international populations. For the last many years, Sue led international trips to Cambodia, bringing support to those impacted by domestic violence, poverty, and sex trafficking. 

Sue was one of the authors in Shadows and Light: Theory, Research and Practice in Transpersonal Psychology edited by Kaklaukas, Clements, Hocoy and Hoffman (2019). Her chapter, “A Transpersonal Approach to Service-Learning: A Call to Right Action,” is a reflection on her Cambodian work. She grew up in Kentucky and always identified with her southern girl roots. She had a sweet drawl and was a tireless champion of diversity education, of personal growth, and learning to be a better person. For many years she and her students held 48 hour art events to raise money for the Cambodian trips or for other causes. Students would create matchbox artworks and sell them at auction parties they would host, of which many are owned & treasured by RMHCPA secretary & Sue’s dear friend, Carla Clements. 

Sue’s Art

As wonderful and laudable as her accomplishments are, what was most important about Sue is her kind heart, gentle spirit, and fierce commitment to living from her authentic core.  It was always Sue who volunteered to host gatherings at her beautiful home or take on the responsibility for creating a remembrance or celebration. She would provide art supplies (such as a basket and strips of cloth) that she would pass around the group circle, inviting everyone to tie some love or memory into the basket that would then become a gift to that person. She treated her students to magic and ritual as a way of initiation, both in and out of the program. Sue’s life was challenging these last few years, having lost both her mother and sister. The death of her son, Jayce, this past fall was devastating for her. She has been sharing the process of her grief on Facebook these few months–her writing and her art and it has been a gift to those who have witnessed her journey.

Sue’s work, influence and love live on in the spaces she created, such as Crowd Collective, a co-work studio, community workspace and small gallery. Sue is survived by her husband Jay, daughter Emma, daughter in law Janae, grand babies Zane & Ezra and the rest of the family she leaves behind. 

Sue’s Art

Sue was part of the Crowd Collective. More information can be found at https://thecrowdboulder.com/gallery.

New Member Publication: Humanistic Approaches to Multiculturalism and Diversity

Congratulations to Rocky Mt. Humanistic Counseling and Psychological Association members Louis Hoffman, Heatherlyn Cleare-Hoffman, and Nathaniel Granger on the publication of Humanistic Approaches to Multiculturalism and Diversity: Perspectives on Existence and Difference (Routledge, 2019). This new publication, which was co-edited with David St. John, is an important contributions to the humanistic and existential literature. Two other RMHCPA members, Lisa Vallejos and Michael Moats, also contributed chapters to the volume. All four editors will be at the book release celebration and book signing at the social following the Third Annual Rocky Mountain Humanistic Counseling and Psychological Association Conference on October 12, 2019 to be held in Colorado Springs.

RMHCPA Welcomes Erica Palmer, PsyD to its Board

The Rocky Mountain Humanistic Counseling and Psychological Association is pleased to announce that Dr. Erica Palmer has joined our Board of Directors. Trained by the founders and faculty of the Colorado School of Professional Psychology, Dr. Palmer graduated with her PsyD in 2011 from the University of the Rockies. She has spent the majority of her career working in community mental health treating underserved populations suffering from chronic mental illness. She has served on the Board of the Psychological Society of the Pikes Peak Region, and has been published in the poetry compilations Journey of the Wounded Soul and Capturing Shadows, and also was a contributor in Existential Psychology East-West.

Find out more about our executive board here.

Dr. Lisa Vallejos New RMHCPA Board Chair

The Rocky Mountain Humanistic Counseling and Psychological Association is pleased to announce that Dr. Lisa Vallejos has been selected as our new Board Chair. Dr. Vallejos is a founding board member of RMHCPA. An accomplished scholar and leader, Lisa is the author of “Shattered: How Everything Came Together When it Fell Apart.” Additionally, she is the founder of Gabriel’s Gift, a 501(c)3 that is dedicated to helping families with kiddos with Chronic Heart Disease to thrive and co-founder of The Humanitarian Alliance. Additionally, Dr. Vallejos is a faculty member at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado.

We are pleased to have Dr. Vallejos as our new chair and are confident that her leadership will help advance the mission of RMHCPA.

2019 RMHCPA Awards Nominations

The Rocky Mountain Humanistic Counseling and Psychological Association (RMHCPA) is issuing a call for nominations for the upcoming conference in the Fall of 2019 We are looking for nominations for individuals for the following awards:

*Lifetime Achievement Award

*Humanistic Exemplar Award

(Professional and student awards available)

*Early Career Award

*Outstanding Student Award

*Best Student Poster Award

Awards may be given once a year. Not all awards will be given every year. Awards will be granted to only those who have a historical or current connection to the Rocky Mountain region, preferably having resided in the region during part of their career while remaining available to those who may not have resided but have made significant contributions to the region.

Submissions should include a 1-2 page letter that details why you are nominating the individual, along with your contact information. Additionally, we request a current copy of the nominee’s Curriculum Vitae, as well as their contact information. More information on each of the awards can be found at www.rmhcpa.org/awards.

Nominations are due August 15, 2019.

 Please submit nominations to Awards Chair at lisa@lisavallejos.com

CS Indy Article on Opioid Crisis Features Dr. Nathaniel Granger, Jr.

Nathaniel Granger, Jr., PsyD

A recent article in the Colorado Springs Independent on the opioid crisis features RMHCPA board member and treasurer, Dr. Nathaniel Granger, Jr. In the article, Dr. Granger discusses that addiction often is a way to attempt to fill a “void” in one’s life. He also discusses the use of poetry to help people overcome addiction.

Read the full article at https://www.csindy.com/coloradosprings/what-if-our-opioid-crisis-is-really-about-isolation/Content?oid=19793750&fbclid=IwAR1LYCEGstRw3_OXx2cCPvZClzc325ZeL6snbiuJqM2Znf1w_CIRgUIjBeA

Unpacking the RMHCPA Vision Part 1: Establishment of a Clinic with Low Fee Therapy Options

The Rocky Mountain Humanistic Counseling and Psychological Association (RMHCPA) recently announced that it is seeking to purchase a building and establish an institute in Colorado Springs. I am going to begin unveiling aspects of the vision for this institute in a series of announcements. Each aspect of the vision is still in development, so there will likely be some changes over time. Our initial fundraising efforts are going well, which has inspired us to continue developing this vision.

Establishing a Clinic with Low-Fee Therapy Options

Before RMHCPA was officially formed, we established our commitment to including a service component to the organization. The establishment of a low fee therapy clinic in Colorado Springs is an important development in our commitment to service. In Colorado Springs, there are few low fee therapy options. The uninsured and underinsured often struggle to find good options for therapy.

The RMHCPA Clinic would combined offices for independent therapy practices with practicum students that would see clients for low fees. The rent from the therapists will help support the RMHCPA Institute and Clinic. We will maintain additional offices that are reserved for use by our practicum students, who will offer the majority of the low fee therapy services.

Students with a primary interest in learning humanistic, existential, and transpersonal approaches to therapy would be eligible to be practicum students at the clinic. In addition to seeing clients, they would receive supervision and training in these therapy modalities.

A Volunteer Model

The established fee for therapy services would be a low fee, likely $25.00 per session. However, clients will have options to lower their rate further. If clients volunteer at local non-profit organizations for 2-hours a week, their rate would be lowered to $15.00 a session. If they volunteer 4-hours a week, their rate would be further reduced to $5.00 a session. For individuals who are not able to volunteer, such as individuals with a disability or single-parent households, there would be other options to receive the reduced rate.

The therapists in private practice in the clinic will be encouraged to provide 1-2 hours of low fee therapy as well. In exchange, they would receive lower rates for their monthly rent.

We believe this model will provide a variety of benefits. Clients often benefit from being involved in meaningful work. This provides an opportunity for them to engage in volunteering, which may have psychological benefits for clients, while also receiving more affordable therapy. Additionally, we believe this model will also benefit the community by encouraging people to volunteer with organizations that are making a positive impact upon the Colorado Springs community.

How to Support the Low-Fee Clinic

The rental and other income for the institute would support the low fee clinic. Thus, we would need to engage in ongoing grant writing and fundraising. If this part of the RMHCPA institute vision is of interest to you, we encourage you to consider talking with us about a tax deductible donation that will help for this vision to become a reality.

Louis Hoffman, PhD
Executive Director
Rocky Mountain Humanistic Counseling and Psychological Association