I am a California transplant, having moved here at the age of 10. Colorado, therefore, is home. I miss the ocean because I am more beach than mountains, but I like to explore and see new places. Since before I could walk, I have been on horseback. My parents raised me to respect, love, and be always patient and kind with animals. This is from where my love of animals stems. We had all kinds of animals. I learned that empathy towards animals was a strong gateway to empathy towards humans. I also learned patience through animals; if the animal does not trust you, it will not listen. Horses became a passion of mine at a young age, not only for the reason mentioned above, but also because they teach us to overcome obstacles that feel unmovable. I competed, rode, trained, learned, and handled horse nearly every day of my life. This took me into my first career: veterinary assistant.
In 1995, I met my husband, a soldier on Fort Carson, Infantry Division. We married in 1996, and had our first and only child in 1997. Trial by fire, I learned the ways of the military and the way it effects a family. It was hard and rewarding, uplifting and saddening. I took an interest in how the regular shift in dynamics plays into the mental health of military children. Being in a city with a heavy military presence, I went back to school to become an educator. I graduated with a K-12 endorsement in education with emphasis in English. I have learned so much from my students.
In 2013, my husband passed away as a result of his 3rd tour in Iraq. This was such a critical time in all our lives. At 16, my son could handle this in a variety of ways. Alone and scared, I could have handled it in many ways as well. So we worked together, stayed close, leaned on each other, mourned, and remembered, and made sure we learned from the experience he had so as to better the lives of future Veterans. It was then that I realized, when the time was right, I would go back to school for my psychology degree.
In 2016, the time was right. I went back to school at Adler’s School of Psychology. In December of 2018, I graduated with my MA in Psychology with a specialization in military psychology. Here, I gained invaluable insight into the lives of our service members and how to help them acclimate back into society. Recently, I decided to register as a psychotherapist in Colorado, become EAGALA certified, and practice psychotherapy with equines assisting in client growth. I live in Black Forest, raise my 36 animals here, and live with my new fiancee here, building our lives, my practice, and my skills, one day at a time. I believe in therapy as a means of getting unstuck from our past and driving forward to be the best versions of ourselves. I use animal therapy, psychodynamic theories, as well as crisis intervention, exposure therapy, and positive psychology. I am crisis trained, trauma trained, loss, grief, moral injury and guilt/shame trained, a life coach, trained in personality disorders, families, teens, corporations, kiddos, adults, and so much more. Specialization in Vets, Soldiers, their families, and combat trauma. I look forward to meeting new clients, their families, and loved ones through this incredible new journey. Thank you.
Want to donate? We accept donation for the following purposes. If donating, put in the memo for which purpose you are donating on PayPal @ paypal.me/maybellsmission:
We see veterans, active duty, and their families free of charge. In order to keep providing this much needed service, we need your help. Please donate to TROOPS on PayPal @ paypal.me/maybellsmission.
Want to sponsor a session for someone in need who cannot afford it? Help a family, couple, or individual see our horses for therapy by donating today! Visit us at PayPal @ paypal.me/maybellsmission and add “SESSION” to the memo.
Giving back to our future? Sponsor a portion or total fee for teen camp this summer by donating to the scholarship fund at PayPal @ paypal.me/maybellsmission and put CAMP in the memo. The camp is $350 for one week teen camp each summer where we build up our teens. This includes all therapy sessions, camping, food, fun, games, and horses.
Want to adopt a horse, virtually that is? We take horses who are on kill lots, confiscated by the sheriff, starving, abused, neglected, or from those who simply cannot care for them anymore. We cannot end this epidemic alone. Help us adopt one on your behalf or support one we adopted and care for now. Go to our PayPal @ paypal.me/maybellsmission and enter ADOPT FOR ME or ADOPT (horse’s name) in the memo.
We want to welcome Makenna Sauer to our program. She is 1 in a million. When you work with the horses in our program, she is there .to guide and comfort you through the process. It is done with knowledge, respect for the horses, and a smile. One feels immediately warm upon meeting Makenna. We are so blessed to have found her and to have added her to our program.
Scott Sundseth is our barn and equine manager. To say we cannot begin to offer the community these services without him would be an understatement. I met Scott in 2017 and forever my life was changed. Scott is often the first person to greet you upon coming to Destinacion’s. He knows the horses inside and out, and they love him. He fixes and builds and tears down and cleans and moves dirt and you name it, he does it. Say hello to him when you come by! He will greet you with warmth.