I’ve been fascinated by relationships for my whole life. I used to read “Can this marriage be saved?” in my mom’s Ladies Home Journal, intrigued by the seemingly unsolvable relationship issues and then thrilled by the transformation unfolding before my very eyes. I was hooked.
It’s no surprise that I became a psychologist, where I could solve the mysteries of intimacy as a livelihood. I studied couples’ dynamics through graduate school, noticing the flow between the need for intense connection and the need for separateness. This seeming contradiction fascinated me: how could intimate partners create loving connection and still honor their individual selves?
A few years after I started my private practice, I happened on the book Conscious Loving by Gay and Katie Hendricks. It was the subtitle that drew me in: “A Way to be Fully Together without Giving Up Yourself.” I was thrilled to find two people who were talking about the very same thing I was interested in—how to have a self and have connection. So I tracked down the Hendricks’ workshops and have been immersed in their work, and the work of relationships, ever since.
I love the way relationships can transform people. The retreats, classes, and workshops that I teach support people in finding their true power and using their new skills to be more authentic, live in higher levels of integrity, and have fun in their lives. All of this matches up with my life purpose, which is to support the world in shifting from a “power over/power under” hierarchical paradigm to a “power with” paradigm. In this new world, it is to everyone’s advantage for each of us to express our innate gifts and to be our biggest, most amazing selves.
I’ve seen hundreds of individuals, families, and couples in my psychotherapy practice and have consulted with a variety of organizations interested in developing blame-free work environments. I’ve designed and taught countless weekend retreats, classes, and groups (including one with 40 couples in a field at a music festival and another in a gay bar), which have a reputation for being powerful, fun, and life-changing.
My biggest accomplishment is that I recently celebrated 26 years with my beloved partner. Everything I teach and talk about is informed by my experience in this relationship (which, at one point, had reached such a difficult place that our friends were pleading with us to end it). Using the tools we learned from the Hendricks’, as well as those of our own creation, we found our way through. My partner and I have discovered a path to intimacy that—far from the old models of power struggle, bitterness, and strife that I grew up with—allows for ongoing creativity, passion, and celebration. And big, big love.
I’ve written two workbooks about creating loving relationships: Choosing Love: Pathways to Conscious Living and The Relationship Skills Workbook: A Do-it-Yourself Guide to Thriving Relationships (Sounds True: October, 2014).
Since my first Hendricks workshop in 1995, I’ve had an intention of “creating conscious community.” This has evolved into The Boulder Center for Conscious Community, or the BC3–and I’ve realized the real fun comes from co-creating conscious community. I lead the Intensive Learning Community and the Life Alignment Program, and teach a variety of classes on living consciously at the BC3. You can find out much more about what our community is up to by going to www.ConsciousBoulder.com, where you’ll find information about classes, events, and webboards.
By the way, my legal name is Julia Colwell, but you can call me Julie.
To contact me for individual and couples’ sessions, or consultations for groups and organizations, email me at info@JuliaColwell.com or call 303-449-5417.
Julia Colwell, Ph.D., 1637 28th Street, Boulder, Colorado, 80301