Kathy “Kat” Sterling offers Contemplative Therapy for adults and Synergetic Play Therapy for children ages 3 to 11 at hOMe Collective. Kat holds a Master’s Degree in Contemplative Psychotherapy from Naropa University, and is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Colorado. She is also a Certified Synergetic Play Therapist and Mindfulness Meditation Instructor. In her work Kat integrates Eastern views and practices with modern Western psychology and neuroscience.
Kat believes that we are born with the wisdom, wholeness, and sanity necessary to heal; and psychotherapy is a collaborative effort to uncover the health that we all naturally have. The therapeutic relationship is the mechanism for healing, not the therapist. Kat serves as a trustworthy, compassionate guide to help clients navigate life’s difficulties by listening attentively, identifying clients’ habitual patterns, bringing awareness to internal experiences, working with negative thought patterns, identifying clients’ strengths, encouraging acceptance of oneself, and engendering a general sense of wellbeing. Mindfulness techniques and somatic experiencing are used and taught.
Unlike Western approaches that focus on a source of pain in order to relieve symptoms, Contemplative Therapy pays less attention to the past. The past is important in that it has shaped the person we have become, but it can also get in the way of our healing. After the initial intake and therapy session with Kat, the sessions are not typically used to rehash past events or challenges but to experience whatever is present in the moment and to see things as they are currently. Rather than working to change ourselves, the objective is to accept all parts of ourselves so that healing can naturally transpire from the inside out. Ultimately, the goal is to help clients connect with their internal wisdom and insight in order to uncover their authentic, healthy selves.
With children Kat has the same view, while practicing Synergetic Play Therapy (SPT). Unlike adults, children are not as responsive to talk therapy. Because they process things nonverbally, play is their language. Kat is trained to use play to understand the perceived challenges of the child client. She has an open, kind, accepting approach that helps children to feel welcome and safe in her space, so they can explore deep-rooted challenges from birth to the present day and communicate their needs to her. Although serious work is being done, most children experience SPT as “just play”. This is largely due to Kat’s innate ability to connect on the child’s level, be vulnerable, and act a little bit silly!
Kat began her journey in rural Tennessee, where she played in the woods with her cousins a mile from home. Raised by her father, she learned a lot about how to build houses and fix cars but little about emotions. In college she loved psychology courses but chose to get her Bachelor’s of Art in Graphic Design. Through art and travel she explored the depths of her mind and experimented with vulnerability. She traversed the United States and found Colorado to be home. In 2008 she felt stagnant and began looking for a new direction professionally and spiritually. Her prayers were answered on a sojourn in India, where she became a dedicated meditation practitioner. With the guidance of meditation masters and yogis, Kat experienced first-hand how the mind works. She was also overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude for the insights she gained and felt a strong desire to share them with others. Upon returning to the US, Kat enrolled in the graduate program at Naropa University, where she learned how contemplative practices can actually heal the body and mind. During this time, she also met her first therapist who accompanied her in a journey of self-discovery and opening from within to all the messiness of life, including letting go of old blameful stories and suppressed emotions. Kat also completed the Naropa certification to be a mindfulness meditation instructor. She continues to practice and teach meditation, while enjoying being a mother.