Gabrielle Usatynski, MA, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

About Me

Gabrielle Usatynski hiking outdoors in Colorado

As a kid, I was surrounded by music.

Both of my parents are professional double-bass players who played in the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra for a living, so I spent a lot of time in concert halls listening to Beethoven and Mozart as a child.

I remember mom and dad’s friends coming over to the house after I was supposed to be asleep. They were artists, psychologists, and musicians who would sit in my parents’ living room, long before the internet, talking face-to-face about art, music, and psychology. I found myself mesmerized by the meaning and richness of the inner life that they were describing. I think this served as a kind of window into the deeper levels of human experience.

When I was seven years old, my parents divorced. I could see how the breaking apart of our family pained everyone involved. These early experiences planted the seed that grew into a lifelong curiosity about how human relationships work — or don’t. The impact of childhood experiences on later life clearly mattered and were central to healing. I could see it in the story of my own life.

Before I became a therapist, I was a Montessori teacher, instructing and mentoring very young children. I found myself engrossed watching kids become human: I also became very troubled whenever I saw this process get off track. These concerns took me back to college to get my Master’s degree in Clinical Counseling with an emphasis in Couples and Family Therapy. I really wanted to understand the deep principles behind what makes an extraordinary human life.

After I earned my Master’s degree, I opened my private practice as a play therapist, working with traumatized children and their families. I was also deeply invested in serving the community. I was a founding member of the Therapist’s Guild of Blue Sky Bridge, Boulder’s Child and Family Advocacy Center, and was qualified by the District Court as an Expert in Play Therapy and Sexual Abuse. I am a published author in this field and have also served as a mental health consultant to the Sex Assault Response Committee of Boulder County.

My passion for providing therapy for adults really evolved out of my passion for working with children. In my private practice, I was confronted with the day-to-day reality of relationship problems between the parents of my child clients and how this created enormous suffering for these little ones. It dawned on me that if I could help parents reduce their conflict, it could be a game-changer for everyone.

In addition, I had spent a lot of time in my 20’s and 30’s on various spiritual paths. While I felt that I had matured as a result of this and gained insight into myself, I was always struck by how much suffering people experienced in their intimate relationships, no matter how much meditation they were doing.

Gabrielle Usatynski at a science museum
These observations, combined with the painful failure of my own first marriage, led me to pursue intensive training in couples counseling. I studied PACT (a Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy) with its founder, Dr. Stan Tatkin, for eight years. I was among his first group of students in Colorado. In addition to PACT, I received training in some of the most cutting-edge therapeutic modalities with the founders of these modalities, including Sensorimotor Psychotherapy with Dr. Pat Ogden and Brainspotting with Dr. David Grand.

As my clinical training and experience grew, I came to see accurately what was making a difference in the lives of the couples I serve. The role of the nervous system in human bonding became the central focus of my studies. I was introduced to the work of the late Jaak Panksepp, the founder of the field of Affective Neuroscience. Panksepp combined the study of evolutionary biology with neuroscience to bring about ground-breaking insights that have extraordinary implications for the field of mental health and human intimacy. His work has heavily informed my method, The Power Couple Method.

I see the difference that my approach has made for my clients and in my own life.

The proof is in the pudding.

Gabrielle Usatynski with husband Ted Usatynski
My studies in couples therapy have carried over into my marriage with my husband, Ted, the love of my life, who reminds me of what it means to heal and mature every day in relationship.

We live together in Broomfield, CO.

I am also extremely proud of my son who is now in his third decade of life.

I’m inspired by what Carl Jung said:

“As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being.”

I consider myself incredibly lucky to be able to help people through this process. I’ve seen over and over how healing early attachment wounds and overcoming trauma transforms my clients’ lifelong suffering so they can reconnect with the deep meaning in their lives. This is where my training and experience all come together for me and meet the innate desire of my clients to heal and grow.

I provide education for the general public and training for professionals through my business, Power Couples Education (PCE). I love having the opportunity to educate people about how relationships work through my popular Youtube channel as well as online courses for couples. PCE also has a training arm dedicated to the clinical training of relationship professionals.

In my spare time, I love reading Jung, fasting intermittently, watching documentaries on Paleolithic humans, and enjoying the majestic beauty of Colorado.

I am proud when I reflect on the changes I have seen in the lives of the couples I work with — their joy when they discover who they can be together and what they are capable of. Given the chaos and the way in which human relationships are being undermined in our world today, I feel my work is particularly needed. As far as human happiness goes, I see time and time again that it is the quality of a person’s relationships that makes it or breaks it. This is really the foundation of my couples therapy practice.

More than ever, the world needs couples who have each other’s backs, and can bring empathy and intelligent action into the world. Therapy with me is about creating powerful relationships that stand the test of time, giving you the courage to live a full life with your loved ones, express yourselves professionally and make a difference in the world.

That’s why I call my practice Power Couples Counseling.

Gabrielle Usatynski, MA, LPC