Meet Our Faculty & Administration
Our faculty & administration consists of therapists with a wide range of specialties, licenses, and experience. Faculty members teach courses and supervise our student therapists.
At DFI, our student therapists are a mix of graduate students in their final year of school and post-graduate students who are licensed or working towards licensure. These students see clients, take courses, and attend rigorous supervision in the pursuit of becoming the best therapist possible and receiving their certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy. All of our student therapists are supervised by the highest quality supervisors and are eager to serve the Denver community.
The DFI Administration
Emily has been involved in the DFI community since 2015 as a student, Board member, Board chair, and currently as the Executive Director. Prior to entering the field of mental health, Emily spent 12 years in public education and nonprofit leadership as a special education and general education teacher, administrator, and systems leader. Most recently, Emily led the External Relations team for Rocky Mountain Prep, a growing network of elementary schools in Denver and Aurora. After graduating from DFI, Emily opened a private practice and joined the PASS Center as a therapist specializing in attachment and post-adoptive support for families. Emily holds a master’s degree from Loyola Marymount University and a certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy from Denver Family Institute.
The best way to spend a day: Traveling, adventuring, or exploring with no particular agenda or destination
Ayla is a Licensed Social Worker and holistic relationship therapist in private practice, who graduated from Denver Family Institute in 2021 and the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work in 2020. Prior to working in mental health, Ayla served in a rich variety of leadership and administrative roles in the federal government, where she worked for 11 years, and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Heather is a DFI alum having graduated in 2012. She teaches and supervises at DFI, and is proud to be the Program Director. Heather holds an MSW from the University of Denver. She has over 10 years of experience in the field, including community mental health, work at the Denver County Jail, and the Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado. She is the owner and therapist of her private practice “Affirming Psychotherapy LLC,” and volunteers at Belly Bliss, an agency that supports pregnant and new parents.
Why I love DFI: Students receive a therapeutic education that goes the extra mile! Students present live and taped cases to supervisors, and work in a creative space to explore different facets of marriage and family therapy. I love how our students, faculty, and staff think of therapy experimentally. This creates such an innovative and insightful environment!
Gwen graduated from DFI in 2019. She is so proud to continue to be a part of the community as the Internship and Clinic Director. In addition to her work at DFI, Gwen works as a clinician with adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She specializes in narrative and experiential therapies and developed a model for therapy, Touching Stories, specifically designed for people with moderate to severe developmental disabilities. When not working or telling stories, Gwen loves cooking, camping, hiking, and traveling.
One book I recommend: As a narrative therapist, I have to recommend The Uses of Enchantment, by Bruno Bettelheim.