Editor’s note: This is Carl’s acceptance speech for the 2014-2015 Outstanding Practitioner Award from the Colorado Counseling Association.
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 lesser mortgage payments… just in case this new counseling gig didn’t go as well as planned.
Safety measures in place, 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.