I am located in Boulder, CO and work as a Therapist and guide for young men and their families.
I was adopted at birth and raised by wonderful parents Carol & Jon Shanser in San Fransisco, CA. My childhood was full of play and exploration in the woods behind my house. At a young age I found that connecting to nature through gardening, adventure, and sports was where I felt most comfortable.
In 3rd grade I began to test my limits and argue with teachers. I found sitting in class all day to be agonizing and I would find myself day dreaming about being outside. After some years of mediocre academic performance my family took me in for a day long assessment. They wanted to know how I could be so smart and learn so quickly at home but not in school. What we learned was that I have ADD (attention deficit disorder) and some other learning disabilities such as dyslexia and dysgraphia. I remember learning this and having a huge sense of relief; it was like having some validation and insight into my academic struggles.
Taking this new information I went on to high school where I received academic coaching to learn how to work with my disabilities. This was very supportive and allowed for me to engage more in school and focus on other challenges. Just as I was mastering my learning style I had to learn how to navigate the crowded and confusing hall ways of high school. At this time I started to experience depression and social anxiety related to school. Once again I was feeling confused and unsafe and challenged in school. Now my behavior was starting to affect my relationship with my family resulting in more fights and disconnection. I also started to experiment with drugs and alcohol to cope with my anxiety and pain.
Throughout this experience I was lucky to have some supportive mentors and therapists that really helped me learn from my experiences. While my experience was challenging and painful both for me and my family, we were able to make it through and still love each other, although at some points that didn’t seem possible. We now have a wonderful and connected relationship with open lines of communication and a commitment to work through the hard stuff.