On Winning the Colorado Counseling Association’s 2015 Outstanding Practitioner Award

Posted By: on April 10, 2015
Photo of a board that says "The Winner Is"

On the morning of February 27, I received a rather unexpected, sort-of wonderful, and deliciously exciting email. It read something like this:

As the Awards Ceremony Chair for the CCA, I am happy to inform you that the Colorado Counseling Association would like to present you with the Outstanding Practitioner Award for 2014-2015.”

Quite an honor. And quite the surprise. It put a big smile my face. One that wouldn’t go away.

The only not-as-good-news about the award was in the second line of the announcement email:

I hope you will be able to make it to the ceremony on April 9th from 6:00-7:00 at the Colorado Convention Center.

I’ll be at international conference in Spain that week and I’ll miss the ceremony to accept this award. Bummer.

Luckily, some wonderful people will attend the ceremony and will accept the award on my behalf. So I put a few words together hoping they’ll share these with the good folks present at the award ceremony.

To be completely honest with you, I don’t actually know if speeches are allowed. I’ve never won an award like this before. Is it like the Academy Awards, where the orchestra starts playing if you speak for too long? I guess we’ll know soon enough.

But today, I thought I’d share the acceptance speech I wrote down. I though it might be a nice way for you to get to know me a little more:

Life has a funny way of taking you down roads you’d never expect. When I left my job as a tenured professor at Colorado State University – in the field of electrical and computer engineering – to pursue new graduate degrees in counseling, and to start my own private practice as a professional counselor, I had some doubts – some concerns – about where this journey would lead me.

There were financial worries – after all, how much would a counselor make?

So my wife and I sold our larger house and bought a small one, hoping to make our  mortgage payments a little smaller… just in case this new counseling gig didn’t go as well as planned.

With safety measures in place, our seat belts buckled, and with the support of my wife who always encouraged me to pursue the work I was passionate about, I started a private practice.

A little less than 15 years later, here I am, still in private practice. And I’m pleased to say I’ve sold my small house and bought a bigger one. So that worked out pretty well.

Life has a funny way of taking you down roads you’d never expect.

I met a wonderful trainer and supervisor in Wayne Carpenter, and he supported me in getting training and certification in Europe through the international integrative psychotherapy association.

In fact, I’m there right now evaluating the candidates who are hoping to get their certification. I never realized being a therapist would get me a tax-deductible trip to Spain.

And a few things have grown along the journey. Professionally, about two years ago I began to grow my private practice into a group practice. There are 12 of us finding our way together now.

Personally, some years ago, my wife and I adopted a beautiful girl from Kazakhstan, who has grown from six months to six years in our care.

And I’m really humbled that all this work from a professional in private practice, to a trainer and supervisor, to someone building a group practice and integrating this into his community… I’m so appreciative of this is being honored here tonight.

Thank you for your kindness and your generosity, and for valuing my humanness shared through counseling.

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