Meet Holly (she/her)

Grief Therapist // Community Organizer // Lawyer

First, you must know, my Soul is a wild one (with a special kinship to donkeys and crows). She’s rebellious, and doesn’t do well with being told what to do. She’s very adamant about what I am here to do — my calling. And, she doesn’t tolerate bullshit. The ground was laid a long time ago for me to work with grief, conflict, community and justice (if you saw my natal chart you’d know). All of these are raw, often feral, and void of posturing — there’s just no room for pretending when you’re in the depths of loss, transition, conflict, and liberation work.

I’ve had my fair share of experiences that left me cracked open, shattered, groundless. Experiences I would never choose to do again, yet they’ve taught me how to tend to the depths of grief and injustice. They have left me fuller, more compassionate, alive, courageous and connected to all that is.

When I was 10 years old my older brother, Brett, died of a heroin overdose. He had long, beautiful hair, wore a snakeskin belt, and played the guitar with magic fingers. He’s someone I looked up to and loved my entire life, and then one day he was gone. Everything changed in an instant. That’s when I began my walk with grief. Though for a long time it felt less like a walk and more like a battle — a lonely battle in which I was much too small of a warrior.

When I was 21, I experienced another life-shattering event. Something that left me forever scarred, and completely blown open. Six weeks before graduating from college, I was run over by a drunk driver. I had a traumatic brain injury which left me with over 200 stitches in my head, a broken pelvis, and crushed knee. That night the doctors couldn’t tell me if I would live. Later they told me I would never finish my college degree and never go on to get a Masters or Doctorate (proved them wrong on all counts — told you my soul is rebellious).

Most recently, in July 2019, my sister, Ivy, died. Even as I write this (in 2021), her death feels unfathomable to me and I’m still learning to be in this world without her. She was a fiber artist and poet, weaving together materials and words into captivating pieces. She lived with chronic illness and disabilities for years, continually experiencing the predatory and dehumanizing impacts of an ableist soceity + the medical industrial complex. She’s now a mighty and beloved ancestor; I continue to tend to our relationship every day through ritual, writing, and after-death communication.

My other sorrows include a divorce and significant breakups (including with friends), an abortion, witnessing the ongoing destruction of nature and animals, and living in an unjust and domesticated civilization. All of these have pained me and changed me. None of these are mine alone; everyone has stories of loss and sorrow, some similar, some completely different.

Now, as I cultivate sustainable relationships with grief, gratitude, and the more-than-human world, I feel more alive than ever before. And, as I continually commit to dismantling systems of oppression (within and outside of me), including the delusion of white supremacy, I feel deeply connected to truth and the communal well-being. So, I cry often and laugh a lot. I try to speak the fuck up when needed and step back to listen when appropriate.

I’m in love with nature, land, animals, my human friends, community, and books (lots of books). I’m the guardian of two dachshunds, a miniature mule, and miniature donkey, who, along with the land I inhabit, are my primary teachers. I’m a white-settler on the stolen, ancestral lands of the Arapaho and Ute tribes in so-called Lyons, Colorado. My blood-lineage is mostly Bohemian (Czech) and English. I’m a cis, queer, half-donkey (just go with it) / half-woman who appreciates skillful cussing and anything turquoise. If you’re into astrology, I’m a Capricorn sun, Aquarius rising, Gemini moon with LOTS of action in my 11th and 12th houses. On any given day you can find me painting rocks, reading, connecting with my friends and animals, or writing about community, collapse, grief, the Earth, justice, and love.

Professional Bio
Education
Experience
Trainings & Certifications
Professional Bio

Holly Truhlar (she/her) is a grief therapist, community organizer, and lawyer. She integrates her Doctor of Law and Masters in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology to create justice-based, transformative relationships between people, groups, and the more-than-human world. She’s currently practicing and researching social technologies, such as ritual, Deep Democracy work, and interspecies communication, that foster large-scale trauma resolution and collective nervous system regulation. She's been called to help hold grief in these troubled and transitional times, so she lives with her heart broken open and soul on display.

Education
Juris Doctor (J.D.), 2014

University of Denver, Sturm College of Law
*emphasis in mediation, alternative dispute resolution, integrative law, and civil rights

Master of Arts (M.A.), 2013

Transpersonal Counseling Psychology, Naropa University
*experience in mindfulness-based modalities, relational therapy, non-violent communication, and group systems

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), 2006

Political Science, Minor Environmental Affairs, Colorado State University

Experience

Holly has worked with therapy and consulting clients since 2012, as well as led groups and workshops with over 200 participants. This includes facilitating difficult dialogues, community building, rituals, group process work, and organizing Tending the Threshold, a large-scale conference. She’s extensively trained in grief work and group dynamics (see education + trainings). She’s participated in Desiree Adaway’s Freedom School, Generative Somatics‘ Practice Group for white Organizers, the Racial Equity Coalition of Southern Oregon (REC), and other justice-based groups. She’s a trained mediator (through the Colorado Bar Association’s Continuing Legal Education) who brings in a strong systemic analysis and equity lens. She maintains creative + nature-based practices, as well as ongoing training and supervision (currently mentoring with Desiree Adaway,  Melissa Taylor, & Francis Weller). 

Trainings & Certifications
deep democracy, levels 1-3

Lewis Method of Deep Democracy with Sera Thompson & Aftab Erfan 

ENTER THE HEALING GROUND

The Sacred Work of Grief + Ritual Training & Mentorship with Francis Weller 

Certified Compassionate Bereavement Care™ Provider

The Art of Traumatic Grief Counseling, MISS Foundation, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Family Trust

Comprehensive Bereavement Skills Training

Center for Loss and Life Transition

trauma dynamics training, Containment and autonomic regulation

Trauma Dynamics (previously the Love and Trauma Center)

core skills plus in emotionally focused couple therapy

Colorado Center for Emotionally Focused Therapy through ICEEFT