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:

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

Membership Renewal & Organization Updates

RMHCPA Members,

It is time for members to renew memberships. If you joined before October 2019 and have not renewed your membership for 2020, we encourage you to do so soon. Our online store to renew memberships was temporary down for several days; however, it is now up and functioning again (
I also wanted to mention a number of exciting updates:

Rocky Mountain Humanistic Counseling and Psychological Association Institutional Review Board (IRB)

RMHCPA now has an officially registered Institutional Review Board (IRB). We are pleased to welcome Heather Miller as our new IRB chair. Dr. Miller has many years of experience chairing and serving on IRBs and also has contributed to the scholarly literature relevant to institutional review boards and research ethics. We are grateful to have her as our IRB Chair! Dr. Miller is in the process of establishing our policies and procedures for the IRB and preparing the new members of the IRB committee to begin reviews. RMHCPA members will be able to utilize the IRB at a substantially reduced rate. As independent IRBs tend to be expensive, this is an important new membership benefit. We will have more information available on our website in the coming months. If you have questions for the IRB, you can contact Dr. Miller at 

Two New RMHCPA Institutes

RMHCPA has officially established two new institutes:

  1. Rocky Mountain Existential and Humanistic Institute
  2. Rocky Mountain Transpersonal Institute

These two new institutes will provide the organizational structure to establish our existential and humanistic archives and library as well as our transpersonal psychology archives and library. Additionally, we are finalizing a process to recognize important scholars and luminaries in existential, humanistic, and transpersonal psychology through these institutes and make their scholarship available in our archives. We will be providing more information about this in the coming months. 

RMHCPA Fundraising and Grant Writing

The RMHCPA board is shifting its focus to fundraising and grant writing with hopes to raise enough money for a downpayment on purchasing a building by the end of 2020. We had a successful start to fundraising last year, but we still have a ways to go to meet our goal. The building will house the archives as well as therapy clinic that will house therapists and counselors in private practice. We will also form a training clinic that offers low fee therapy services to the community of Colorado Springs. We are planning a few fundraisers in Colorado Springs, Denver, and Boulder over the next several months. If you are interested in getting involved with supporting these efforts, please send an email to 


Last year was an exciting year for RMHCPA. We are looking forward to an exciting 2020 as well. Please remember to renew your membership soon to be part of the growing vision of RMHCPA! 
Louis Hoffman, PhDExecutive DirectorRocky Mountain Humanistic Counseling and Psychological Association

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

Nominations are due August 15, 2019.

 Please submit nominations to Awards Chair at

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