Who We Are
Tea Cup Counseling is a family business consisting of Nina and Ayal Hausfeld. Nina and Ayal are both LPCs (Licensed Professional Counselors) with master's degrees in counseling and art therapy (Nina has Art Therapist Registration as well, which is what the ATR abbreviation stands for after her name). Please see below for more details regarding Ayal and Nina's biographies and credentials.
Ayal Hausfeld, LPC
I am a listener first and foremost. A believer in empathy, described as the ability to see and feel the world through another's eyes, above all else.
The ability to empathize has been a defining characteristic of both my personal and professional life. As a kiddo, I was often overwhelmed by how much I felt for other people. Whether it was watching a telethon for less fortunate kids, seeing friends affected by illness, or countless other heartaches in the world. I was keenly aware of suffering, I just didn’t really know how to help, or what to do with all I was sensing. Thankfully, art making was introduced to me at an early age and I took to it strongly. "Making stuff" somehow gave form to my most difficult feelings and a welcome sense of peace and order.
When the time came to apply to colleges, I wanted nothing more than to become a bona fide artist. I graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1997 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, having majored in Illustration. After which, I worked as a self-employed artist for several years. Despite my best efforts, I found the endeavor to fall short of my hopes. The missing ingredient in my personal recipe for satisfaction, was a quality of connection and genuine usefulness to other people. It was during this impasse I discovered the field of Art Therapy. Art Therapy presented itself as a bridge between worlds. Not just those of artist and therapist but sensation and language, right and left brain and heart and hands to name a few. It was Naropa University’s Counseling and Art Therapy program that brought me to Boulder in 2000 and Colorado has been home ever since.
In my time as a counselor/ art therapist I have worked with children, adolescents, individuals, couples, families and groups. I have been employed in a variety of settings ranging from outpatient to inpatient, school-based to correctional services. While my role has primarily been as a clinician, I have also worked as a supervisor and manager within the community mental healthcare system. Suffice it to say, I have had the pleasure of meeting a great many people, from a wide range of backgrounds, who have helped me to learn what it means to put empathy to work.
In regards to therapeutic orientation, I draw from several tried and true methods and philosophies for conducting both “talk” and art therapy. While my primary allegiance is to Gestalt Therapy, I also incorporate tools and perspectives from Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), Strategic Family Therapy (SFT) and other mindfulness based practices. When it comes down to it, I am interested in what helps the person(s) sitting beside me. More than any specific idea or technique, healing occurs in relationship and relationship exists beyond what has been written.
Nina Hausfeld, LPC, ATR
I grew up in Russia and immigrated with my family to the US when I was 19 years-old. My cultural and familial background gave me a deep reverence for art but also a notion that art making was reserved only for those who were ambitious enough to pursue it as a full-time profession. I happily parted with this idea when I took my first painting class as an undergraduate.
From there, luck and an unshakable belief that one can practice what they enjoy regardless of how the rest of the world may perceive you, have lead me to becoming an Art Therapist. I obtained a Master’s degree in Art Therapy and Counseling from Antioch University, Seattle in 2006, and for a several years after, was fortunate enough to work with refugees from war torn countries, traumatized children and anyone who, for one reason or another, lived in the margins of mainstream American society. Often times, my clients did not speak English and even though we had an interpreter, art making became the language we all shared. This experience has been equally true while working with English speaking clients in private practice and leading art therapy groups for populations such as elders, adults living with persistent mental illness, parents raising young children, and people suffering from Traumatic Brain Injuries/ Strokes. I have been honored to foster the creative process in people’s lives, regardless of their circumstances and have found that art making creates a powerful space for connection no matter what your spoken language. A place where it is safe to experience and express the full range of our emotions.
Our emotional range, or what we might call the rainbow of our feelings, is by nature made of vastly different colors and hues. When problems arise, we may find ourselves with a limited palette. For example, our sadness may be so deep that we feel we are drowning and our despair so profound, we can’t imagine ever feeling hopeful again. I believe we can use the intensity of this experience to locate previously unknown or disowned shades of expression that add dimension, texture and depth to our lives. These moments become excellent times to seek therapy.
When working with a client, first and foremost, I offer compassionate listening and encourage loving attention to those sensations and emotions that are sometimes too painful to make contact with alone. Together we turn our attention inward and allow what’s there to emerge, to be held with tolerance, if not affection, and integrate into the fabric of our personal cloth.
I believe that this practice of increasing our tolerance for intensity allows us to feel more present and alive in all aspects of our lives. It enables us to feel profound sadness without becoming depressed, experience fear without overwhelming anxiety and give ourselves to rage without the need to act violently. I believe this is all possible within a mutually trusting therapeutic relationship.
In addition to seeing clients in my private practice I offer clinical supervision for those seeking to fulfill supervision requirements for their License Professional Counselor credential (LPC) as well as their Art Therapy Registered credential (ATR).