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Home / 2016 Fall Magazine / Features / Naropa Community Counseling Center Healing Through Community

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Every Heart Is Holy, mixed media by Joy Redstone. Photo by Marc Piscotty.

Naropa Community Counseling Center Healing Through Community

by Lisa Birman

Providing cutting-edge, transformative intervention across a broad range of therapeutic services, the Naropa Counseling Center (NCC) opened its doors to the public on October 1, 2015. By February, five student interns were each seeing ten to twelve clients per week. Joy Redstone, director of both Naropa’s Student and Community Counseling Centers, says things are going wonderfully, and there’s always room for new clients as others cycle out of treatment.

Naropa Community Counseling CenterIntern David Sherman and Director Joy Redstone work with the electronic charting system. Photo by Marc Piscotty.

“It’s been really gratifying to me to watch people from the community access this service,” she says. “They talk about how important it is that it’s affordable. They talk about how they feel so grateful to have access to a Naropa-trained therapist and that they find something special here but in a way that is not onerous to them financially.”

Naropa students are also reaping the benefits of this new internship site. As a teaching facility, there’s a strong emphasis on group supervision, individual mentorship, and training. “The interns say that they feel they’ve gotten a lot of good assessment, diagnosis, and treatment-planning skills, and that it’s really complementary to their education at Naropa. They’re learning a lot about compassionate presence and how to form a deep empathic connection in their classes, and they’re bringing that here. I’ve watched them grow a lot in terms of confidence and stepping into their professional identity.”

Joy is excited to be expanding NCC’s offerings in its second year, moving from five interns to eight. She’s also working on obtaining Medicaid contracts, which will make the center even more affordable for low-income clients.

In addition to providing individual and group counseling, last year’s interns launched a number of successful groups, including a support group for people in caregiving roles and a mindfulness-based group for people with eating disorders. This year’s interns are offering a parenting group focused on building healthy self-esteem and a trauma-sensitive yoga group. One intern, who has trained as a doula, is offering a community-based group for homeless women and is providing training at Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center. Another intern is offering an eight-week series on mindfulness-based stress reduction that will run several times during the year. Last year’s closure of Boulder’s Veterans Helping Veterans resulted in a significant loss of services for Front Range veterans. Joy is hoping that NCC can help fill that void. 

Joy RedstoneCheck out Joy’s article in the May 5, 2016, edition of the Daily Camera, “Addressing the stigma of mental illness.” Writing from her personal experience as both a caregiver and a therapist, Joy urges readers to tell their stories and create community rather than isolation. “Just simply knowing that you’re not alone is one of the most powerful experiences and that’s where I think Naropa-trained therapists come in because they’re so good at creating that deep connection people just crave after these painful and isolating experiences.”







Photo by Marc Piscotty.

For more information about Naropa Community Counseling Center,