Harold's Story

Mountain stream in Yellowstone

Picture of Harold Anderson

I was born in Twin Falls, Idaho where we stayed until moving to Boise when I was about 6.  My parents were happily married for more than 50 years until the death of my father in 2003.  When I was five my sister arrived.  She was as cute as a button and we had a great childhood together.  We I grew up in a stable household where the predominate atmosphere was one of love and support. 

My adolescence was a more difficult period marked by rebellion and rowdiness.  “Dropping out and dropping in,” as the colloquialism of the day called it, saw me as a part of the “hippie movement” that included “love, drugs and rock and roll,” again according to the common parlance of the day  When I was 23, I realized that the hippie movement was a dead end street.  Giving up drugs but not love or rock and roll, at 23 I found a more spiritual direction to my life, which moved me from the hippie culture to ordination as a United Methodist minister.  In 1977 I graduated from Northwester Nazarene University, graduated with a M.A. in 1980 from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA, and received an M.Div. from the Nazarene Theological Seminary (NTS) located in Kansas City, MO in 1982.  The common academic thread in all these degrees was theology and philosophy.  Following my graduation from NTS, I became a United Methodist and was ordained in Fayette, MO in 1987.

In 1989, I moved to Denver, CO to attend the Joint Ph.D. Program of the Iliff School of Theology and the University of Denver.  While attending the program, I taught philosophy and religious studies at the University of Denver, Regis University, Metropolitan State University, Red Rocks Community College and a host of other colleges in the Front Range Area.  I graduated with my Ph.D. in 1999.  My area of emphasis was theology, philosophy and cultural theory.  My dissertation was in the area of ethics, and I was one of the first to develop an ethic for a digital ontology (digital way of being), which I called “digital culture.”  It was a view steeped in a postmodern rendering of systems theory.

During my years of ministry, I did a great deal of counseling, especially in rural areas where counselors were not plentiful.  It was at this time that I realized two things.  First, I realized that for the most part, ministers were not adequately trained to do counseling.  The few counseling courses I had in college and seminary were woefully inadequate.  Most lacked an adequate grounding in counseling and therapy models.  I quickly realized I was not prepared to do counseling although I was often called upon to do just exactly that.  Second, I realized that I really enjoyed counseling, and early in my ministry I began to entertain the prospect of obtaining more education and the proper licensure necessary to do therapy.

My interests in counseling took a detour when I decided to get my Ph.D. in theology, philosophy and cultural theory.  My area of interest was directed towards philosophy and cultural theory more than it was theology, but as I worked on my dissertation, I realized that while we live in a world defined by systems theory, we often define the people living in that world in non-systemic ways.  Put differently, I realized that if we are to truly understand a person’s place in their world, old individual models of human development simply do not work.  In response to that, I developed a way of thinking systemically about the self and what that meant for ethics.

Retiring from the ministry provided me an opportunity to make the transition from theology and philosophy to psychology and therapeutic theory and practice.  To this end, I have taken over 48 hours of postgraduate work from Capella University and completed my family and marriage therapy work at the Colorado School for Family Therapy in Denver, both fully credited institutions.  I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), a clinical fellow of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT), served as Treasurer of the Colorado Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (COAMFT), an AAMFT Approved Supervisor, and a Certified Addiction Counselor (CAC) III.  I continue to teach part time when possible and will begin teaching philosophy at Morgan Community College.  I have had a fascinating life and look forward to spending my “golden” years with my beautiful wife, Bec

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