Hello, I’m Shawn Smith, a licensed psychologist in Denver, Colorado. (“IronShrink” is just the name of the blog, not a weird alter-ego.) Aside from my Colorado licensure, I participate in PSYPACT, which allows me to practice telepsychology in these US states. Telepsychology doesn’t fit every circumstance, but it can be a good option for non-urgent situations.
Most of my clients are adults working to sort out their relationship histories, and couples working to improve their relationships.
Some people contact me hoping one or two meetings will be enough for me to offer advice on specific situations or relationships. While it’s useful to seek outside perspectives, I’m not qualified to give advice. (I will likely instead want to explore the motives for seeking the advice of a stranger.)
Instead, my clients are typically looking to establish clarity and freedom from long-standing interpersonal patterns or sources of anxiety. There’s no set number of meetings for approaching that sort of question. If we decide to work together, the duration and frequency is up to you.
The work usually involves a period of information gathering during which we put words to your goals and history. We’ll identify what you hope to accomplish, and how we’ll get there. Then, if all goes well, there will be a bit of experimentation with new ways of operating. I work with my clients as a teammate and confidante, not an authority figure. The goal is to create freedom from outdated ways of operating, and to explore new ways of moving through relationships and the world.
Do I meet clients in person?
Yes. For my local clients, I have an office at 40th and Wadsworth in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. My office is spacious, comfortable, and very private.
How much do I charge?
I charge $250 per session. I will meet with you for a solid hour rather than the standard 45-50 minute session. I don’t offer a sliding scale.
Do I work with insurance companies?
I do not work directly with insurance companies. I will, however, provide a receipt with relevant information if you wish to seek out-of-network reimbursement. Please check with your insurance provider about their reimbursement policies.
There are two reasons I don’t work with insurance companies. First, there is evidence that the involvement of an insurance company can damage therapeutic outcomes. I want to make sure that I am working for you, not for a third party with a set of motivations that might interfere with our work.
Secondly, I take your privacy very seriously. Insurance companies require providers to divulge information that may later affect you. My billing approach offers a higher level of privacy if you choose to seek out-of-network reimbursement.
What is my training?
I have a doctorate in clinical psychology (PsyD) from the University of Denver. This is a professional degree akin to a J.D. or M.D. The focus of a PsyD degree is on clinical work rather than research.
What’s my background, and why did I go into psychology?
My fascination with psychology began as a child, growing up in the family-owned bar. Watching my father defuse all manner of problems, I knew that I had found my calling. You might be surprised how clinically savvy a bar owner must be.
I worked my way through the University of Colorado at Denver with jobs ranging from security guard to loading dock worker, and earned B.A. degrees in Psychology and Communication. After college, I worked in such glamorous places as detox facilities and a home to troubled teens. I also spent part of each week with the Denver Chapter of the Guardian Angels for five years, where I learned conflict resolution skills from the best in the business.
Having grown up and worked in colorful environments, I took a special interest in violence prevention. Prior to graduate school, I offered training to companies and government organizations, and as part of my doctoral program I designed a violence prevention curriculum for a traumatic brain injury rehabilitation center. Violence prevention remains a passion of mine, and I am proud to be cofounder of a group that offers martial arts and community safety training to adults and adolescents with developmental disabilities.
In 2006 I earned my doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Denver. There, I enjoyed the supervision of top-notch clinical trainers. I was lucky enough to train at the Colorado Department of Corrections, the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and the International Commission for Missing Persons in Bosnia, among other clinical placements.
My training included the treatment of trauma, substance abuse, and traumatic brain injury. I took an early interest in treating anxiety disorders and working with couples. I have been in private practice since 2006.
I have been happily married for 24 years. In recent years, my clinical focus has shifted toward helping men create great relationships with women. That passion led to my most recent two books.