Sue Wallingford | 303-546-3561

Associate Professor
Core Faculty


MA Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Mindfulness-Based Transpersonal Counseling - Core Faculty


MA in Transpersonal Psychology: Emphasis Art Therapy
BA in Studio Art and Art Education, University of Kentucky
LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor)
ATR-BC American Art Therapy Association

Sue Wallingford, has taught in the Graduate Transpersonal Counseling Program for 20 years. She is the founder and director of the Boulder Art Therapy Collective (BATC), where a variety of art therapy services are offered to the community, including individual and group art therapy, open studios, work shops and trainings.  The BATC model is grounded in a collective vision and the goal is to build an inclusive community that values the dignity and contributions of all members, regardless of age, color, culture, disability, ethnic group, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, or socioeconomic status. To learn more about the Boulder Art Therapy Collective go to

In 2011 Sue spearheaded the creation of the Naropa Community Art Studio-International (NCAS-I), a sustainable service-learning project with the mission to bring art therapy practices into international populations working toward social justice and human rights issues. Sue has led month long trips to Cambodia with students to work with local NGO’s that shelter women and children rescued from domestic violence, extreme poverty and the sex trafficking industry. The intention behind this work is to bring to awareness and engender deep compassion for the plight of the Cambodian people complicated by years of historical and generational trauma, while offering art therapy practices and trainings to the clinical teams of our partner organizations in Cambodia. To learn more about this project go to

Sue presents locally and nationally about the efficacy of art therapy, particularly as it relates to healing trauma and sustaining communities. 

From the Heart

I recently lost my mother and my sister to lung cancer. I received my own diagnosis in 2014, but was fortunate to have found it early, and so I enjoy another chance at living. I have had many teachers in my life but none as impactful and life changing as cancer. My mothers last bit of wisdom she gifted to me before she died was her belief in the preciousness of life. She taught me that each moment offers an opportunity to embrace and live life to the fullest, rather it be painful or not. She, like my sister, lived their lives to the fullest, with grace and open-heartedness up until their last days. I hope I can do the same. 

Academic Awards and Honors

  • Recipient, Teachers Excellence Award, Peer Review, Naropa University, 2015.
  • Recipient, The Presidents Award for extraordinary and dedicated service, Naropa University, 2012
  • Recipient of 3-year grant for NCAS-I from Jenzabar Foundation, 2012, 2013, 2014
  • Honored recipient of funding for NCAS-I from Vagina Monalogues, 2012
  • Recipient of grant for NCAS-I from Quota Club International of Estes Park, World Service Committee, 2012
  • Faculty Excellence Award, voted by the Student Government, Naropa University, 2010

Recent Presentations and Publications

  • “Transpersonal Service Learning: A Call to Right Action”, Chapter in Shadows and Light: Philosophy, Practice and Pedagogy of Contemporary Transpersonal Counseling which is scheduled to be released Fall of 2016
  • “Trauma Informed Art Therapy,” Staff and student training at Cambodia Women’s Crisis Center, Sisaphon, Cambodia, 2014.
  • “Self –Care for Caregivers with Vicarious Trauma,” Staff and student training at Cambodia Women’s Crisis Center, Sisaphon, Cambodia, 2014.
  • “Always Remember, Never Forget.”  Digital Story/Video featured on Naropa Blog and Naropa Community Art Studio-International Blog. 2014/2015.
  • “Art Therapy in Cambodia.” Presentation to Art Therapy Association of Colorado, Boulder, CO, 2013.
  • “From Local to Global: Expanding the Boundaries of a Community Art Studio.”  Panel presentation at the American Art Therapy Association Conference in Seattle, WA, 2013.
  • “Seeds Sown from the Killing Fields: Tending to the Lotus Flower.”  Panel presentation at the International Expressive Arts Therapy Conference, Berkeley, CA 2013.
  • "Service Learning Project: Art Therapy for Cambodian Girls Rescued from the Sex Trafficking Industry.”  Presentation at Naropa University. 2012.
  • “Ceremonial Art to Honor Life’s Transitions of Severance, Transition and “Coming Home.”  Workshop presented at the Wilderness Therapy Symposium, Boulder, CO, 2009 and 40th Annual Conference of the American Art Therapy Association, Dallas, Texas:  American Art Therapy Association, 2009.
  • “Every Transition a New Opportunity: Supporting the Birth of a New Family Story through Art & Play.”  Workshop presented at Whole Arts Studio, Boulder, CO, 2008.
  • “Geo-caching Treasures: A New Venue for Art Expression.” 38th Annual Conference of the American Art Therapy Association, Albuquerque, New Mexico:  American Art Therapy Association, 2006.
  • “Art Therapy for Palliative Care: Portals to the Transpersonal,” Workshop presentation at 5th Annual Integrating Spirit & Care giving Conference, Boulder, CO 2007.
  • “A Little Patch of Sacred Space: Creating Portable Box Art.”  Workshop presentation at the 37th Annual Conference of the American Art Therapy Association, New Orleans, LA:  American Art Therapy Association, 2006.
  • “Sacred Sandtray Spaces “To Go”: Where Art and Sand Tray Therapies Converge.” Presentation at Sand Ways, Conference by the Colorado Sandplay Therapy Association, 2005.
  • “Through Artist’s Eyes:  A Way to Live Your Life.” Presentation at the 33rd Annual Conference of the American Art Therapy Association, Washington, DC:  American Art Therapy Association, 2002.
  •  “Engaging the Artist’s eye: A Transpersonal Application for Training Therapists to see.”  Oral Presentation at the 32nd Annual Conference of the American Art Therapy Association, Washington, DC:  American Art Therapy Association, 2001. 
  • “Introduction to Art Therapy,” presented at CU during Humanities Week, Boulder, 2001.
  • “Transpersonal Art Therapy Education,” Paper co-authored with Michael Franklin, Mimi Farrelly, Nora Swan-Foster, and Bernie Marek, in the Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, 17(2) pp. 101-110, 2000. 

Recent Art Exhibits

  • Making Sacred:  The Smallest of Things, Lincoln Gallery, Naropa University, Boulder
  • “7 ATE 9,” faculty show, Lincoln Gallery, Naropa University, Boulder CO, 2009
  • Women and the Healing Arts, Lincoln Gallery, Naropa University, 2005
  • Art and Spirituality, Denver, CO, 2003
  • Indigo Gallery, Denver, CO, 1999
  • On Broadway Studio and the Boulder Spa, one woman show, 1999
  • Faculty Art Exhibit, The Naropa Institute, 1998

Creative Activity

In my spare time I engage in my own art making and am currently preparing for my next art exhibit comprised of mixed-media assemblages working with the theme of transpersonal passages and portals.  

Courses Taught

  • Transpersonal Counseling Service-Learning Practicum
  • Art Therapy Clinical Observation
  • Therapy with Children and Adolescents
  • Group Dynamics
  • Internship I and II
  • Internship Studio Methods I and II
  • Master’s Paper Seminar I and II
  • Helping Relationships I and II
  •  Professional Seminar and Ethics I and II 

What book do you find yourself regularly pressing into the hands of students?

I have many books that continually inspire me but if I were to pick one, and one that probably has influenced me the most as a teacher, therapist and artist is The Art Spirit by Robert Henri. He more than anyone I have read before experienced “other” with full equanimity, in the most honest, and compassionate way.

Describe a moment when you helped a student reach an “ah ha” or transformational moment.

My students inspire me all the time, they are as much my teachers as I am theirs. I truly believe this, and maybe, just that attitude alone helps them transform and understand that what they have to give to the world is of tremendous value. To not share serves no one. If my students learn to use their greatest instrument, themselves, to serve the world, then I know I have done my job.

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