Shara Briggs is a Licenced Professional Counselor, registered in the state of Colorado, and an Art Therapist.
Shara received her Master’s degree in Psychology Counseling and Art Therapy from Naropa University in Boulder, CO, and her BA in Psychology from Humboldt State University in CA. She has 15 yrs. experience in the mental health field. For the past 6 years, she has worked at Western Colorado University, providing individual therapy for students, faculty and staff. Previous to that she worked for 3 years under a grant to address the needs of at risk children at an Elementary School as a school based therapist, providing individual, family, and group therapy. While in graduate school she served as a mentor at the Naropa University Community Art Studio facilitating groups for high school teens as well as aphasic adults, using art as a means of communication and creative expression, and completed her internship at The Children’s Hospital, providing counseling to children with medical and psychological challenges. Previous to attending graduate school, she ran a social/ emotional program for traumatic brain injured adults for the County of Santa Cruz, CA, and provided therapeutic services to chronically mentally ill adults. Before and during undergraduate school, Shara taught preschool and after-school programs, where she was always drawn to help those who suffered from a range of challenges, motivating her to further her education.
Shara was hired by gO in 2018 because of her specialty in counseling and belief and experience that integrated health care is the most effective way to treat the person as a whole, mind and body. While working in both medical and school settings, Shara became more aware of how mental health issues can be primary or secondary to physical health issues, such as a sports injury. Primary mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression, are present before an injury. If a person has been managing their symptoms through sports activity and suddenly an injury prevents them from engaging in that activity, their coping strategy is no longer in place and their challenging symptoms can increase. Secondary mental health issues are symptoms like depression, anxiety, grief due to loss, anger, substance use, etc. that emerge after a person becomes injured and is unable to participate in activities that provide them with positive outcomes. Counseling is helpful for both primary and secondary mental health issues, where new, healthy, effective coping strategies can be developed.
Shara works with individuals suffering from anxiety, depression, trauma, grief and loss, challenges related to health issues, disordered eating, difficulty adjusting to transitions, as well as family and psychosocial issues.
Shara works with all ages and draws from humanistic, somatic, neurobiological, and developmental approaches to bring about integration and healing. Shara meets people where they’re at mentally, emotionally, socially, and developmentally, and works with them to build upon their strengths, developing authentic expression and the ability to self regulate. Through this process, individuals are better able to cope with, and overcome their challenges so that they can live more fully.
Shara has an eclectic approach due to the belief that people may respond better to certain modalities due to who they are, and what issues they’re dealing with. This has lead to specialized training in areas including art therapy, EMDR, mindfulness, cognitive behavioral therapy, DBT, solution focused therapy, play therapy, sandplay therapy, and wilderness therapy.
Shara grew up in California and New Mexico, with parents who instilled a love of nature and showed her ways to explore it, including skiing, rock climbing and hiking.
Shara took 3 years time before attending grad school to immerse herself in skiing, becoming a certified PSIA nordic and telemark ski instructor, as well as a National Ski Patroller, backcountry division. During that time, she was a caretaker for a Forest Service cabin and spent time on skis nearly every day of the ski season in the Sierra Nevada range.
Shara has a passion for telemark and nordic skiing, hiking and backpacking, climbing peaks, which she does as often as possible, with her husband and dog. Shara has 2 step-daughters, one in college and one who just graduated. Shara also loves spending time being creative, whether it’s painting, drawing, cooking or dancing.
If you are currently thinking about or planning to harm yourself or someone else please seek help from a professional by either calling 911, or go to the nearest hospital emergency room, or call the local Center for Mental Health 970-252-6220 (24 hour service) or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) (24 hour service).