Boulder Psychotherapy Institute

Advanced Training in Applied Existential Psychotherapy (AEP) — since 1989

An Experiential Psychodynamic Gestalt Approach   •   Boulder, Colorado

Approaches to Therapy

The following short descriptions were written by the members of our therapy community. For more information, please feel free to contact the person who wrote the entry. You can find their contact information in Find a Local Therapist.

Applied Existential Psychotherapy (AEP), as developed and taught at the Boulder Psychotherapy Institute, integrates the two branches of existential therapy - psychoanalytic and humanistic. It draws from Gestalt therapy, body oriented psychotherapy, trauma work, and contemporary relational psychoanalysis. Applied Existential Psychotherapy is bodily oriented and not merely intellectual in its approach. It works with habitual body stance, voice tone, facial expression, movement and gesture as well as explicit content. It deals extensively with the past, including earliest infancy and childhood, as an overlay to the present. Often it does so in the form of experiential role plays, starting with a present difficulty and then deepening into the past. Its aim is not simply to make the past explicit, but to provide experiments that allow repressed feelings to be felt and expressed and new choices to be made in the here and now. Hence its emphasis is on facilitating those creative moments in which a client lets go of constraints deriving from the past to invent new ways of being in the world - leading to increased spontaneity and to more lively authentic relations with self and others.
–Betty Cannon, Ph.D., and Reed Lindberg, M.A., L.P.C.

Art Therapy: Before words, there were images. Through images, Art Therapy explores the processing of inner experiences and feelings and then facilitates differing levels of interaction with art material to express and externalize the inner images. This dynamic between inner and outer, right brain and left brain, evokes an individual's original expression; creativity made evident. In this way, recruiting personal images enhances the healing process and lessens the possibility of a passive stance in therapy. Creativity, at any level, at any age, functions as a self-actualizing force with a sense of unity between the medium and the message. Art Therapy pioneers Naumberg, Ullman, and Rhyne, unique theorists, would join in the recognition of the individual's progressive emergence through art. Here self regulation increases and self awareness grounds. Through the interaction of Art's components, kinesthetic and sensory, perceptual, affective, cognitive, symbolic, and contemplative levels are engaged. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and a sense of magic prevails; it is Art.
–Juia Bry Schwab, M.A., L.P.C.

Bioenergetic Therapy

Body Oriented Psychotherapy

Brainspotting: Brainspotting is a powerful, focused treatment method that was developed by David Grand, Ph.D. It works by identifying, processing and releasing core neurophysiological sources of emotional/body pain, trauma, dissociation and a variety of other challenging symptoms. Brainspotting is a tool (within the safe, trusting, nurturing clinical relationship) to neurobiologically locate, focus, process, and release experiences and symptoms that are typically out of reach of the conscious mind and its cognitive and language capacity. In other words, trauma can overwhelm one's nervous system and brainspotting can help identify and release the blocks/symptoms held in the body and nervous system. As with EMDR, bilateral stimulation is often part of the process, usually in the form of soothing nature sounds or music which flows from ear to ear. A "brainspot" is the eye position which is related to the energetic/emotional activation of a traumatic or emotionally charged issue within the brain. This eye position is located by either the client or the psychotherapist as the client slowly scans the visual field while thinking about the issue. The brainspot can be recognized by noticing an increase of emotion or body sensation in a particular spot; or the therapist may observe reflexive responses such as changes in the eyes, facial expression, breathing or body position. As attention is given to processing of the issue while the client is focused on the brainspot, enhanced with bilateral sound, the charged material then moves in the direction of discharge and healing occurs.If you are interested in learning more about Brainspotting, you can visit Biolateral's website,

Career Counseling

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Core Energetic Therapy

Dance Therapy

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Eclectic Therapy

EMDR (Eye Movement Densitization and Reprocessing)

Emotional Freedom Technique

Existential Psychotherapy is not so much a set of techniques as it is a perspective on the human condition that guides the practice of psychotherapy. It is a philosophy that endorses the human capacity for change. Existential therapists see the roots of most psychological discomfort as lying in the attempt to flee certain facts of human existence. Paramount among these are the facts that we are free and responsible in context, that we die, that we are alone in the sense of being unable to merge with other consciousnesses, and that meaning is not given but created by us. Freedom, for example, is often seen as threatening because when we truly experience ourselves as free and responsible, we realize that we have no fixed nature. Although the past has an impact on the present and must be explored in therapy, it does not provide us with excuses for failing to live fully and authentically in the now. We inevitably discover that we cannot count on others or ourselves to have fixed natures or to always respond in expected ways. This is both exciting and anxiety provoking. Existential therapy is especially adept at helping clients to navigate those moments of radical change that people sometimes describe as standing anxiously on the edge of an abyss, unable to recognize oneself because the self one has been is giving way to something new.
–Betty Cannon, Ph.D., and Reed Lindberg, M.A., L.P.C.

Forensic Psychology and Psychiatry

Gestalt Therapy has long been recognized has a powerful and effective approach for dealing with body, mind and spirit in an interpersonal context of increasing awareness and contact. It works with nonverbal as well as verbal cues and emphasizes process (what is happening) over content (what is being discussed). Clients often find that insight follows experience and that significant movement can be made in changing old patterns that are no longer useful. Introduced by Frederick S. Perls, Laura Perls and Paul Goodman in the 1940's and 1950's, Gestalt therapy is an existential-experiential approach. It deals with here and now experience and emphasizes responsibility and making new choices of ways of being in the world. Its most famous technique is the "empty chair" technique in which the client creates a dialogue between parts of the self or the self and a significant other person. The dialogue frequently deepens to family of origin issues, which are dealt with in an emotionally immediate fashion so that the person is able to free himself or herself of the overlay of past issues on present dilemmas. The point in Gestalt therapy is not simply to recover the past (as Freud thought), but to create experiments that allow one to move forward into a different and more open future.
–Betty Cannon, Ph.D

Hakomi Therapy

Humanistic Therapy


Imago Relationship Therapy is a systemic theory of committed love relationships developed by Harville Hendrix from the exclusive study of couples, rather than individuals or families. Feeling connected to someone you love can be the most wonderful experience in the world. But that sense of connection often seems to slip away, replaced by frustration, disagreement and longing for more. The Imago model synthesizes the major psychological and spiritual traditions of our culture. The theory is based on the premise that childhood experiences form an unconscious image or "imago." Unconscious images play a powerful role in the formation of identity and choice of partner selection. The unconscious forces that attract us to our partner are also the source of conflicts and power struggles that develop in committed relationships. Imago Relationship Therapy provides a powerful pathway for helping couples learn how to heal rather than hurt by becoming conscious of the childhood wounds in committed relationships. Single persons will also find Imago Relationship Therapy helpful in assisting them in preparation for a committed healthy relationship. Clients will create a plan for change that includes relationship skills, identification of childhood issues, and the gradual integration of lost and denied self aspects. The goal of Imago Relationship Therapy is to transform unconscious intimate partnerships, including parenting, into conscious relationships. The Intentional Dialogue is a skill that can be taught and used to help all people become more conscious, making it possible to help stop the cycle of wounding, and thus improve the quality of society, and ultimately contribute to the healing of the world. The Imago Dialogue is a simple, respectful and effective way to talk with your partner about the things that really matter. In Imago, there's no blame, shame or criticism. Instead, a stronger connection comes through attentive hearing and being deeply heard in an emotionally safe environment. Then surprising answers to age-old conflicts can emerge. If you are interested in reading more about Imago, see .
–Jaylynne Chase-Jacobsen L.C.S.W.

Internal Family Systems Therapy

Interpersonal Psychoanalysis

Jungian Analysis

Jungian Oriented Therapy is an integrated model of psychotherapy aligned with the thought and teaching of the Swiss psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and cultural anthropologist, Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961). It draws from other theoretical approaches, such as humanistic, existential, psychoanalytic, Gestalt, and Body Centered. A Jungian (or depth) perspective views psychological symptoms and suffering as evidence that people are trying to heal, even in their difficulty. Similar to other models, the therapeutic relationship itself is seen as a healing force. Emphasis is placed on the importance of symbols, dreams and synchronicities for revealing the working of the psychic (or inner) life. Dreams are seen as spontaneous products of the psyche. A Jungian oriented therapist may also invite attention to the dimension of spirituality as a means of discovering a deeper experience of wholeness. While the model generally does not include the long-term process of individuation, found in traditional Jungian Analysis, it is nevertheless well suited to the pace and complexities of contemporary society.
–Bill Moats, M.A., L.P.C.

Modern Psychoanalysis is a school of psychoanalysis that developed around Hyman Spotnitz. Dr. Spotnitz was a classically trained analyst who, during the 1950's, began to develop ideas and methods of intervention that were at that time somewhat unorthodox in the arena of psychoanalysis. He believed that Freud's theories about the mind - especially his insights about the unconscious and repetitious patterns that deeply limit us - can be used to help people at any place along the health-illness continuum. Spotnitz and others who worked with him to develop Modern Psychoanalysis were especially interested in helping therapists create relationships with their clients that are emotionally alive; relationships in which therapists, as well as patients, learn to experience and constructively use the full range of their feelings. The therapist role is to use his or her feelings to help the client "say everything." This expression is a short way of saying that the goal is to develop a therapeutic relationship through which the client can become increasingly conscious, able to put his or her feelings into words, and move toward a life that is increasingly fulfilling.
–Susan Nimmanheminda, Ph.D., L.C.S.W.

Music Therapy

Neurolinguistic Programming

Organizational Consulting

Person Centered Therapy

Psychoanalysis or Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychological Testing

Rational Emotive Therapy

Reichean Therapy

Rubenfeld Synergy Method

Schema Therapy

Self Psychology

Sensorimotor Psychotherapy

Somatic Experiencing Therapy

Somatic Psychology

Transactional Analysis

Transpersonal Therapy includes methods drawn from Eastern and Western world wisdom traditions as well as western psychology in its study of human phenomena that are beyond yet inclusive of personal concerns. Transpersonal Psychology is a large umbrella for ways of understanding the human experience that includes spiritual perspectives. It embraces universal truths that refer to the human journey and values the pursuit of personal and spiritual development. It holds a positive view of human nature and challenges us to aim toward our fullest realization. Transpersonal psychotherapy builds on current approaches in the field and includes methods that focus on ways of knowing, contemplative practice, wisdom, peace and compassion. While it understands the self as a limiting and false construct, it values the important stages of human development where ego development, as understood in western psychology, is essential for human growth. The field of transpersonal psychology is inherently pluralistic and inclusive of multicultural and trans-human perspectives.
–Deborah Bowman, Ph.D.

Wilderness Therapy Wilderness Therapy recognizes the inherent health derived from fostering our connection with the rest of the natural world. The human-nature relationship has the power to influence our sense of self in much the same ways as our other relationships do, yet our modern culture tends to obsure the importance of our relationship with the rest of nature. Although the most commonly known form of wilderness therapy involves adolescents in backcountry settings, wilderness therapy in its widest understanding incorporates nature in any setting, ranging from backcountry wilderness to urban parks to natural objects within an office. Regardless of the specific client concerns being addressed, nature can serve a variety of functions: mirror (e.g. what is happening externally matches what is happening within the client); teacher (e.g. providing models or lessons about life); unbiased or nonjudgmental response (e.g. horse responds to how client is behaving in the moment, client’s skills achieve results without bias from nature); nurturer (e.g. enliven client’s senses, senes of being supported); and source of spirit (e.g. manifestation of something larger than humans, setting for peak experiences). Wilderness therapy is combined with any number of theoretical approaches, e.g. cognitive-behavioral, Gestalt, transpersonal or expressive therapies. The experiential nature of wilderness therapy can access the somatic, cognitive, affective, and spiritual aspects of ourselves, thus engaging the whole human being.
–Deb Piranian, Ph.D., L.P.C.

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