A Durango-based psychoanalyst has been awarded a Lifetime Achievement award from Mental Health Colorado after working more than 40 years in the Four Corners.
Jen Marnowski, spokeswoman for Mental Health Colorado, said Therese Michels received the Lifetime Achievement award at a reception ceremony Saturday in Denver. She said a small contingency accepted the award on Michels’ behalf.
Michels, 91, opened her first practice in Durango in 1974, and by her account, she’s served nearly 1,500 people in that time. Michels closed the office in 2000 but still helps people from her home.
“Thousands of people in La Plata County have benefited from Therese’s skill, compassion and generosity,” Andrew Romanoff, president and CEO of Mental Health Colorado, said earlier this month. “As one of her clients put it, ‘I am a much more confident, healthy and happy woman because of her counseling.’”
In 1980, Michels founded Colorado Life Work Foundation, a nonprofit that provides affordable services to “foster emotional and spiritual growth and healing.”
Clients of Michels have said they’ve heard her charge $5 for a session, many times giving advice for free.
“I think it was a calling that took different forms,” Michels said of her career in a previous interview with The Durango Herald. “I do have a spiritual part of me that’s very much a part of all this.”