I first became interested in psychology as a child because I really wanted to understand what life was like for other people. When I was 18 I had a near death experience from hypothermia while skiing which opened me to spirituality and permanently changed me. From then on, I’ve been studying consciousness. I became a religious studies major in college. I really wanted to understand the whole human experience, especially the event which changed my life and made me lose all fear of death. After graduating, I knew I wanted to make a career of not just understanding the inner world, but helping people to change, to heal and to realize their potential as human beings. In 1989 I left Boulder and went to San Francisco to study at one of just a handful of graduate schools that integrated the spiritual, or “Transpersonal” dimension of the human experience into the healing process (CIIS). This led to working with altered states of consciousness, which led me to learn hypnotherapy. I have spent my whole adult life studying religions, mysticism, meditation, yoga, psychology and a wide range of aspects of physical and mental health.
In 1992-93 I did a year long internship at the Boulder School of Massage and I continued to learn about the complex and profound relationship between the physical body, the unconscious, the nervous system, the mind and health. I wrote my master’s thesis on a holistic model of treating adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. This began my long exploration of the dynamics of body-centered presence versus dissociation and other defense mechanisms which limit awareness. As I deepened my study of trauma, I went on to learn EMDR and to integrate it with hypnotherapy and Hakomi style body-centered psychotherapy. Soon I found myself modifying EMDR to make it more organic and fluid, which flowed naturally into learning Brainspotting.
Over the years I noticed a strong connection between unresolved trauma and body/mind disorders such as addictions, depression, autoimmune disorders, weight issues, insomnia and chronic pain. It made sense to me that stuck emotional pain in the body (which is also the unconscious) would, over time, become physical problems. Research is now validating that observation and explaining a lot of the mechanics of the connections between trauma and physical and mental health. There is now a phenomenal amount of information about trauma, dissociation, the immune system, the nervous system and chemistry, including eating and lifestyle habits. I have been in a continuous process of keeping up with brain science and the ever growing field of psychoneuroimmunology, which includes the gut and the endocrine system since the early 1990s. I never developed an auto-immune disorder or other serious health issue, and I credit my continuous study of the interface between childhood trauma and health with being able to protect my own health. I felt strongly in my twenties that I would get very sick because of my abusive, alcoholic family, a correlation which has been clearly documented by the now famous Kaiser Permanente study of “Adverse Childhood Experiences” and long term health outcomes.
Along with my focus on integrating all the different parts of ourselves in terms of healing, I also found myself naturally integrating the insights from the different spiritual traditions. In the early 90’s I got involved with the Dances of Universal Peace and started working on how to bring together different perspectives on the deepest truths with psychology and healing. I lead various workshops and retreats on topics such as the sacred and the shadow in women’s bodies, the inner meanings of the Beatitudes (a distillation of the teachings of Jesus), and Eckhart Tolle’s teachings on presence, among other things.
Along this whole journey, each new thing that I have learned has led to more questions, more reading, more trainings and a continuously evolving way of working with people. My focus has always been to understand each client deeply on as many levels as possible so as to be as efficient and effective as I can. This has propelled my non-stop study of the human experience. So I start my process of working with you with an extensive questionnaire to understand the big picture of your life. Choosing to work with me can be a profound life-changing process for you if you are open to it. I bring such passion to my work that I also have some requests for my clients. To really make use of what I can offer, it also requires a level of engagement from you. This means making the therapy an important part of your life and committing to coming to sessions, preferably on a regular, weekly schedule. I offer a special 10% discount for clients who come every week to make that level of commitment realistic for as many people as I can.
Training & Experience
BA, Religious Studies and Sociology
University of Colorado
Attended The California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco in the Integral Counseling Psychology MA program, studying traditional, Transpersonal and holistic counseling
Training in hypnotherapy at Heartwood Institute in Garberville, CA
MA, Counseling Psychology
Vermont College of Norwich University (This program is now a part of the Union Institute.)
Internship at the Boulder School of Massage Therapy; counseling massage students
Assistant teacher at The Transpersonal Hypnotherapy Institute
Training in Hakomi therapy with Ron Kurtz
Training in Process Work or Dream-body therapy with Zoë Zimmerman
Leading retreats combining psychology with body-centered spiritual practice (The Dances of Universal Peace)
Training with Atum O’Kane in a Sufi/Jungian model for working with the psyche and soul
Trained in EMDR
Advanced training in EMDR
Training with Russ Hudson in the Enneagram
Trained with Byron Katie in “The Work,” a form of cognitive therapy
Trained with Devi Records in Hakomi therapy for couples
Reiki I Certification
Trained with Mila Ahu and Ann Laney, Diamond Heart teachers, in working with the inner critic
Trained in Diamond Heart Work
Reiki II Certification
Training with Peter Levine in Somatic Experiencing
Working with NeuroScience in Targeted Amino Acid Therapy, a natural treatment for depression, anxiety, ADD, PMS, weight issues
Self study in nutritional and herbal medicine
Training with David Grand in Brainspotting, Levels I & II
Advanced topics in Brainspotting with Lisa Schwartz
Training in NVC with Robert Gonzales
Monthly Brainspotting discussion group with Pie Frie (2009-2011)
Body Oriented Psychotherapy, Trauma Work and Gestalt with Jaylynne Chase-Jacobsen, L.C.S.W., and Betty Cannon, PhD.
Training in EFT (The Emotional Freedom Technique)
Self-study in Functional Medicine, particularly the work of Dr. Mark Hyman
Training with Susan Aposhyan in Somatic Psychology
Studying Vajryana Buddhism with Dr. Reggie Ray
Developing and teaching DanceSpotting, a model for making Brainspotting available in a workshop setting including dance, spiritual practices, group process and play
Studying Internal Family Systems Therapy, a model particularly useful for people with lots of inner conflict or who grew up with abuse or neglect.
Participating in ongoing training through the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine (NICABM). This includes programs in brain science, treating trauma, mindfulness meditation, and other cutting-edge topics in mind-body medicine.
Studying Emotionally Focused Couples’ Therapy, a method of getting below habitual patterns of relating and access the deeper feelings, hopes and needs in couples, and helping them speak from there.
Working with Reiki in a deeper way, including channeling.
As a therapist, Julisa takes an integral, holistic approach in working with you on some of the core issues and challenges in your life that block or prevent you from fully developing as a human being and enjoying life to its fullest. By integral approach, I especially refer to her passion for helping you to reconnect with the divine and helping you to feel the flow and presence in every part of your physical being, which brings healing, light and release. I also refer to her desire to help you understand how that awareness of presence and flow can surround and hold your everyday experiences physically, mentally and emotionally, and not be just one-off experiences scheduled for a set time and place. For me, through brainspotting work, breathing techniques and guided meditation, Julisa has helped me to identify the places in my physical body where I have stored up pain, anger and sadness, and to allow the presence and light of God to flow through and heal by bringing awareness to those blockages. This work has then helped me to feel lighter and happier outside of therapy and has renewed in me a desire to get back into the habit of turning to the overwhelming love and grace of God when new challenges and struggles arise — allowing them to serve as opportunities for personal growth and as a catalyst for drawing even closer to God.”
– Hannah, Boulder
As I have been met with one devastation after another over the past 4 years, Julisa has been with me every step of the way. After losing much of my old life in a very short period of time, I was left with little perspective on life and virtually no understanding of who I was. I have no doubt in my mind that I would not be here today if it had not been for Julisa’s commitment, expertise, empathy, and genuine desire to understand exactly what I have been going through with each new challenge I have had to face. No matter what the circumstance, Julisa has had ideas for ways to help me work with my situation and my pain. She has consistently been able to see the real me that has endured behind all of my loss and suffering, and with her acute dedication and deeply perceptive guidance, I am coming out the other end of this learning how to do the same.
“As teacher and therapist, Julisa addresses my whole self, body/mind/spirit, leading me to discover more authenticity, wellness and meaning in my life. Her insight, compassion, intuition and whole-hearted presence are rooted in the dedication she brings to her own spiritual practice and inner work.”
– Janice, Boulder