Dr. Jeff Peterson, PhD, is a Nationally Certified Counselor and Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who is currently a full-time faculty member in the Counseling and Human Services Department at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. He also maintains a private practice where he focuses on self-esteem issues, managing stress, couples therapy, anxiety and depression, dealing with shame and addiction, and sexual or gender identity issues.
Dr. Peterson formerly taught at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, as well as, Avila University in Kansas City, Missouri. He is a national presenter for PESI, one of the nation's leading continuing education organizations that work with the world’s leading experts to create seminars, conferences, videos and books for mental health professionals across the nation. Dr. Peterson currently serves on the editorial review board for the American Counseling Association and has lectured to mental health professionals throughout the country on diversity, cultural competency, ethical concerns in therapy, building growth-fostering relationships, and the treatment of anger and shame. He is the co-founder and organizer of the Healthcare Guild (healthcareguild.com), a national non-profit organization dedicated to helping sexual and gender minorities find affirming and culturally competent health care. Dr. Peterson is a graduate of the University of Iowa and Walden University, with a PhD in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Education and Supervision.
Dr. Peterson's credentials are PhD, LCPC, LPC, NCC, PCC, which are as follows: Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD), Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC), Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Counselor Educator and Supervisor (ACES), National Board Certified Counselor (NCC), and National Professional Certified Coach (PCC) in the states of Colorado, Utah, Missouri, and Kansas. Dr. Peterson is a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success, Golden Key, and Chi Sigma Iota graduate academic honors societies. He is also a two-time graduate scholarship recipient with over 4000 hours of mental-health based volunteer community service.
Dr. Peterson was recently a behavioral health clinician at Saint Luke’s Hospital in their Employee Assistance Program, as well as an Emergency Room behavioral health assessment clinician. He is also a former CARF (Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) IOP (Intensive Outpatient) Dual-Diagnosis program facilitator. His private practice focuses on: managing stress, recovering from previous trauma, couples communication, relationship enhancement, managing general and social anxiety, life coaching and performance improvement, dealing with shame, managing addiction, and working through sexual or gender identity issues. Dr. Peterson is also a Counselor Supervisor who provides supervision for those attaining Licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor, Psychologist, or Social Worker.
In recent years Dr. Peterson has been an invited keynote speaker for Laureate Education, presenting TED-style talks to over 500 people in major metropolitan areas such as San Diego, Hawaii, Orlando, and Houston, on the topic of diversity, global responsibility, and fostering positive social change. He recently presented at the national American Medical Association (GLMA) Conference about ethical concerns in therapy, at the national ACES (Association for Counselor Education and Supervision) Conference on how to deal with the psychological effects of shame, at the Colorado Counseling Association Conference on how to avoid Microaggressions in a clinical setting, and has presented on these topics for Mental Health America (MHA), Good Therapy, Research Psychiatric Hospital, Saint Luke's Health System, Missouri Health Equity Collaborative (MOHEC), and several community mental health centers in Colorado, Utah, Missouri, and Kansas.
What is the Difference Between a Counselor, Psychiatrist, Nurse Practitioner, Psychologist, or Social Worker?
A psychiatrist (MD, DO) is a medical doctor who went through medical school. A nurse practitioner (NP, DNP, APRN) is usually either a masters or doctoral level trained nurse. Both of these designations have the training to prescribe medication and often work in tandem with counselors, psychologists, and social workers in supplementing therapy with medication. In most states Psychologists, Counselors, and Social Workers are not licensed to dispense medication. Medication alone is not a solution for most individual’s challenges and research has shown that a combination of therapy and medication is more effective than medication alone. In many states a psychologist and counselor educator both have doctoral level training such as a PhD, PsyD, or EdD. Both have significant training in counseling, although counselor educators may have more training specifically in mental health counseling. In some states a psychologist could also have only a masters degree, similar to a licensed professional counselor or licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). Some social workers have only a bachelors degree, although an LCSW requires a masters degree. A licensed clinical professional counselor, licensed clinical social worker, and licensed psychologist are all in the family referred to as psychotherapists and will all have a minimum of a masters degree, with significant training and exam-licensed proficiency to counsel the majority of mental health challenges. I am a licensed clinical professional counselor, licensed professional counselor, counselor educator, counselor supervisor, board certified national counselor, and a professional certified coach with a PhD in counselor education and supervision.
Relational Psychotherapy (RCT) is based on the idea that an individual’s mental health is greatly influenced by how well that person is able to create and sustain meaningful relationships with those around them. Challenges related to anxiety, stress, or emotional attachment have often prevented the individual from feeling secure in their own skin and therefore feeling secure enough to form meaningful attachments to those around them. During therapy we will work together to unravel past experiences and better understand their impact. We will also work together to practice building a secure relationship with one another, recognize problematic behavioral patterns that might be getting in the way of a positive relationship, and develop skills for strengthening your relationship with yourself (self-confidence) and building stronger healthier relationships in the future.
Emotionally Focused Therapy (E.F.T.)
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is helpful for improving your relationship with others (couples, family members, co-workers, friends). It is based on the idea that each individual develops emotional patterns that could contribute to potentially distressing cycles of interaction. Exploring emotions together in therapy can help reveal particular patterns, their triggers, and the dynamic of how those emotions interlock or play off of one another. Developing emotional intelligence and emotional awareness begins in a safe therapeutic environment where each individual is allowed to express their experiences and feelings without judgment. The goal is to eventually learn how to release stressful feelings or anxieties and move into a place of validation (feeling heard and understood by others). Learning how to feel secure in releasing and validating these feelings around others lays a foundation for developing deeper healthier relationships.
Somatic Experiencing (S.E.)
Somatic experiencing (SE) takes into account the connection between our mind and body. The approach contextualizes our experiences into varying degrees of threat and how the body responds to such threat. The goal is to help reduce the negative psychological symptoms of past traumatic events (such as anxiety, shame, PTSD, or aggression) through allowing the body to fully process or release what happened. The idea is that once the body restores or rebalances itself it will be better equipped to self-regulate emotional challenges that arise in the present.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (C.B.T.)
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (M.B.S.R.)
NeuroLinguistic Programming (N.L.P.)
Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (R.E.B.T.)
Psychoanalytic & Psychodynamic Counseling
These approaches are all part of my toolbox of therapeutic techniques involves incorporating the use of number of additional mental health theoretical approaches. One such approach is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT is well known for helping individuals identify and change unhealthy or distorted thought patterns. These thought patterns can then trigger emotional responses that form a chain of emotional events. This process happens so quickly that it is often outside of the awareness of an individual and therefore requires a significant process of unraveling over time. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is behavioral in nature and helps individuals develop new skills for coping with emotions and interacting with others. This involves developing mindful awareness based on living in the present moment and accepting each moment as it is without influence from past preconceived beliefs or emotions. DBT helps a client accept the present moment with a non-judgmental stance and works towards developing new models of interacting with self and others. Psychoanalysis or psychodynamic approaches focus on analyzing past events and how those events shape our present and future. This often involves looking at your attachment to your surroundings, care providers, role-models, and peers. It also strives to help an individual develop awareness and coping skills for dealing with past unresolved issues. Gestalt and Existential therapy focus on pulling everything together by contextualizing the whole person or whole experience with the feelings, thoughts, or behaviors that an individual is struggling with. Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is a goal-focused approach used in coaching to help individuals understand how neurological pathways can be reshaped in an effort to change behaviors, thoughts, and feelings.
Peterson, J., (June, 2019). Certified Anger Management Treatment Professional – 2 Day Intensive Clinical Certification Course. PESI Behavioral Health Continuing Education & PESI Publishing, King of Prussia Crowne Plaza, Philadelphia, PA. 12.5hr CEU Curriculum Developer & Presenter.
Peterson, J., (May, 2019). Certified Anger Management Treatment Professional – 2 Day Intensive Clinical Certification Course. PESI Behavioral Health Continuing Education & PESI Publishing, Pasadena Convention Center, Los Angeles, CA. 12.5hr CEU Curriculum Developer & Presenter.
Peterson, J., (Apr, 2019). Depression, Shame, Suicide, and LGBTQ - Treatment Considerations. Saint Mary’s College, Kansas City Mental Health Associates, Overland Park, KS, 6hr CEU Workshop Presenter.
Peterson, J., (Feb, 2019). A Clinician’s Ethical Responsibility to Reduce Racial, Sexual, and Gender Identity Microaggressions. North Kansas City Hospital, Kansas City, MO, Keynote Presenter.
Peterson, J., Whitman, J. (June, 2019). Developing Professional Competency for Working with Polyfidelitous and Polyamorous Clients. Submission for Publication Pending.
Peterson, J., Whitman, J. (June, 2019). Developing a Clinical Understanding of Polyfidelity and Modern Polygamy. Submission for Publication Pending.
Peterson, J., (Oct, 2018). Depression, Shame, Suicide, and other Stigmatized-Minority (LGBTQ) Mental Health Risks. Cottonwood Hospital, Olathe, KS, Keynote Presenter.
Peterson, J., (Sept, 2018). Chronic Suicidality and Other Long-term Effects of Shame: How Clinicians Can Help!. Saint Mary’s College, Kansas City Mental Health Associates, Overland Park, KS, 6hr CEU Workshop Presenter.
Peterson, J., (July, 2018). Psychological Impact of Forced Child-Parent Separation. Immigration Reform: We are the People, Kansas City, MO, Panelist.
Peterson, J., (May, 2018). Mindful Path to Self-Care for the Helping Professions. Saint Luke’s Health System, Kansas City, MO, Presenter.
Peterson, J., (April, 2018). Mindful Path to Self-Care for the Helping Professions. Cottonwood Mental Health Center, Overland Park, KS, Presenter.
Peterson, J., (July, 2017). Addressing Shame in a Behavioral Health Clinical Setting. Mental Health America (MHA), Kansas City, KS, Presenter.
Peterson, J., (June, 2017). Reducing Sexual and Gender Identity Microaggressions in Mental Health Counseling. Signatures Healthcare System, Kansas City, MO, Presenter.
Peterson, J., (Apr, 2017). Addressing Shame in a Behavioral Health Clinical Setting. National Webinar Presentation for Good Therapy, goodtherapy.org, Presenter.
Peterson, J., (Apr, 2017). Best Practices for Treating Shame in a Clinical Setting. Invited Workshop Presentation for Kansas City Behavioral Health Professionals, Kansas City, MO, Presenter.
Peterson, J., (Apr, 2017). Best Practices for Treating Shame in a Clinical Setting. Workshop Presentation for Saint Lukes Health System – Employee Assistance Program, Kansas City, MO, Presenter.
Peterson, J., (Dec, 2016). Polyfidelity and the Dynamics of Group Romantic Relationships. Ann Arbor, MI: ProQuest Publications.
Peterson, J., (Oct, 2016). Best Practices for Working with Sexual and Gender Minorities. Keynote Presenter for Kansas Association of Court Services Officers (KACSO) conference, Overland Park, KS, Presenter.
Peterson, J., (Sept, 2016). Best Practices for Working with Sexual and Gender Minority Clients. Keynote Presenter for Mental Health America (MHA) workshop, Kansas City, MO, Presenter.
Peterson, J., (August, 2016). Reducing Sexual and Gender Identity Microaggressions in Mental Health Counseling. National Webinar Presentation for Good Therapy, goodtherapy.org, Presenter.
Peterson, J., (June, 2016). The Developmental Impact and Long-term Effects of Shame. Invited Workshop Presentation for Research Hospital, Kansas City, MO, Presenter.
Peterson, J., (Apr, 2016). Best Practices for Working with Sexual and Gender Minorities. Invited Workshop Presentation for Professional Treatment Services, Lawrence, KS, Presenter.
Peterson, J., (Mar, 2016). Addressing Shame in a Clinical Setting. Invited Workshop Presentation for Kansas University Continuing Education, Kansas City, MO, Presenter.
Dr. Peterson is Affiliated with these Professional Associations