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Patrica Larsen

Director, CU Denver Student and Community Counseling Center

My story:

My early career as a high school English teacher helped me to realize that I was far more interested in my students' lives than their grammatical competence. I began volunteering at a community crisis center for troubled and run away teens. The volunteer counseling model was Reality Therapy. My first formal counseling training was actually with "the big man" himself, William Glasser! Prior to this, I had thought I would make my contribution to the world on a macro level. I had worked on political campaigns and in social action organizations. I realized through volunteering that my passion for making a difference was really through one-on-one counseling interactions more than on a larger level. I returned to school at the University of Denver where I completed my Psy.D in clinical psychology. Since graduation, I have worked at universities as an addictions counselor, a university counseling center director, an academic instructor, and a clinical supervisor. A few years ago, I had the privilege of voyaging around the world as the Mental Health Professional on a floating university called Semester at Sea. This is only one example of the many blessings and wonderful experiences I have enjoyed in my engaging and satisfying career as a teacher and counselor.

My students at University of Colorado Denver:

Having worked at other universities, I can genuinely declare that our CU Denver students are the best! They show up eager to learn and work hard, clear about their reasons for choosing this field, mature, principled and with extremely interesting and diverse lives and backgrounds. I have the privilege of learning from them every day. They continue to feed my passion for this field and give my life meaning!

Classes I teach at the University of Colorado Denver School of Education & Human Development:

  • Addictions Counseling- CPCE 5280
  • Practicum - CPCE 5910
  • Internship - CPCE 5930
  • Sometimes I teach Counseling Theories and either Beginning or Advanced Counseling Techniques.

My areas of interest:

  • Substance-induced and behavioral addictions and compulsions
  • Strength-based, brief therapy
  • Counselor training and supervision
  • University student mental health issues
  • Divorce and its impact on families and children

My hobbies:

My free time activities are diverse as I tend to get bored with routine. Here are a few of the ways I stay out of trouble: working out (my latest venture is kick boxing,) outdoors fun including hiking, biking, downhill and cross-country skiing, travel, professional and fiction reading (I love my book club!), time with my life partner, children, grandchildren and friends, theatre and music, volunteering at Dress for Success.

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