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Shruti S. Poulsen

Associate Professor, Counseling

My Story:

I was born in India and have spent my entire life as an immigrant and feel very much like a citizen of the world. My early years up to my mid-teens were spent living and traveling in countries such as India, England, Singapore, Malaysia, Zambia, Tanzania, and Keny​a. Unlike many "transplants," my father was neither in the foreign services or armed forces; he was an academic, a professor of Mechanical Engineering who wanted to learn about the world around him through his own experiences. Thus, he instilled in me and my siblings an undying curiosity about the world and peoples around us and in using all possible means to explore and learn more about the wider context. His experiences as an academic teaching and conducting research in diverse contexts gave me an abiding love of and faith in the power of education. My mother's influence on my professional development as a family therapist comes from her educational background - she holds a graduate degree in Psychology and a bachelor's degree in Social Work and for a number of years worked as a community social worker in the Indian community in London.

As an adult, I have chosen to focus my work on families, children and couples and their well-being in a multicultural context. As a family and couple therapist, I believe in the healing powers of hope and connection not just at the micro level of the individual and family but also at the macro and meso levels of community, country, world, culture, etc. I am also very much an educator in my role as mental health professional and family therapist, believing in empowerment through formal and informal processes of learning about the self, others and the world around us. Prior to completing my undergraduate degree, I obtained my Montessori Teacher's Certificate and then worked for a few years as a Montessori teacher. Working with children and their parents brought me to the realization that learning was so much more than what happens within just the classroom and in relation to just the individual.

My students at University of Colorado Denver:

I relate a great deal to my students given that many of them are "non-traditional" students balancing issues such as family, work, returning to school at later stages of life, and coming from a wide variety of backgrounds culturally. Having been a "non-traditional" student myself starting with my undergraduate degree all the way to my doctorate, I have of appreciation for the challenges such students experience in their own lives and the challenges they present to a university environment that is trying to meet the needs of a diverse student population. With that understanding and appreciation, I hope that bring to the teaching and learning environment the ability to present knowledge in meaningful and applied terms that help students grow and challenge themselves personally and professionally.

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

  • Family Therapy Theory - CPCE 5150
  • Counseling Couples - CPCE 5180

My research interests:

  • Family & couple well-being in a multicultural context
  • Processes and experiences of immigration and impact on individual and relational development and well-being
  • Physical and mental health implications for recent immigrants
  • The experience of interracial couples, biracial children, multiracial families in areas of stress, resilience, adjustment and well-being

My hobbies:

Oddly enough, one of my long-time and current hobbies is reading even though I'm always reading in my role as an academic. As a child, with moving from one country to another every few years, it was not possible to carry with us much more than our personal effects such as clothing and photos. Therefore, books became the one relatively compact companion throughout my childhood and into my adulthood. I usually have at least two or three "recreational" type of books by my bedside that I read for at least half an hour each night. My other "hobby" is running (or more like jogging since I'm hardly fast!). I have now been a regular runner since 1992. My partner and I ran our first half-marathon in Indianapolis back in 2005 when we lived in Indiana and now are beginning our training for our fourth half-marathon in 2009. Something that both my partner and enjoy doing is spending time whenever we can with our two young adult children who are both in college in Indiana - watching our kids grow up into wonderful young adults is probably my favorite "hobby!"

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