Rachel Hirning, MA, LPC

  Counseling + Art Therapy

What do we live for, if not to make life less difficult for each other? 

- George Eliot

Hello! I am Rachel Hirning, a Licensed Professional Counselor, Art Therapist, and Artist. 

Yes, all three. Each role dovetails on the other, creating a depth that my clients would not be able to experience if I was employing just one.  Combined, they help me do what I do best – helping you  develop self-compassion, a clear vision of what you want, and integrate the essential tools to get you there. All this happens through intentional talking, creating imagery, making crucial mindset changes, and a lot of other influential practices. 

My work is a good fit for issues related to depression, trauma, anxiety, life transition, and for those who feel highly sensitive to events/emotions. 

Working Together 

The particular methods I use have been carefully chosen because of their ability to be powerful, yet gentle agents of change. Many of my clients have said I’m direct, yet playful. I think that is true, and these practices in particular allow those qualities to come through. Also, I embrace a non-judgemental approach which creates a safe space, making any failures, insecurities, or fear, fabulous opportunities for your personal growth.


I embrace what I call a contemplative, mindfulness approach in working with people. This may mean that I teach you mindfulness-based practices and meditation techniques, lead you in meditations, guided imagery, muscle relaxation, breathing techniques, or somatic awareness exercises. Many of these come with a practical application you can use outside of the session. These practices slow-down the noise in your head so that you can feel and hear what is happening inside. With less focus on the noise,  you increase your awareness and have more resources that provide information. You experience more spaciousness and trust in your life, which makes making choices easier and in alignment with what you truly want. 

Art Therapy

As an Artist and Art Therapist, I’ve seen the powerful effects of making art  in a non judgemental, therapeutic way. In session, creativity can look many different ways. For example, sometimes I ask clients to create work using only lines, shapes, and colors according to how they feel in that particular moment. Sometimes clients create an image of their inner critic. Other times, using the material is enough, like engaging with a material you’ve never tried to build confidence with new experiences. Art is also a great way to ‘see’ your problem objectively. It is non-threatening and can yield a great deal of insight in a short matter of time. You do not have to be an artist to do Art Therapy.


E.M.D.R. is an acronym for eye movement and desentization and reprocessing.  It is a method of asking your brain to store negative memories in a more healthy  adaptive part of your brain. Neurobiologists believe that activating your right and left brain using back and forth movement while focusing on a disturbing thought, unlocks pathways in your brain. These pathways allow that memory to be processed. Basically, the disturbing memory comes out of the fight or flight zone and get stored with the rest of your neutral thoughts.  For you, this means that memories you’ve held for a long time, and the negative thoughts you’ve carried about yourself because of them, lose their grip. Your relationship to those memories change, and so do you. 

Mindset/Cognitive Shifts

I use a lot of talk therapy to learn how your mind is working, and which thoughts are serving you well and which ones aren’t. Changing the thought can have a positive effect on your feelings and outlook, which in turn, changes your behavior. Training your mind to think differently takes awareness and practice. I am here to simplify this process, with practices that make this change easy and acceptable, so all parts of you can ‘get on board’ with the new way of thinking. 

I only work with folks who I think I can help. 

Call today for a free 20 minute consult so we can assess 

if we are a good fit. 



I offer online sessions only for adult residents of CO and for students at Colorado Community College Alpine Campus in Steamboat Springs. 

*Currently, I have a waitlist for online adult sessions. Reach out to get on it. :) 

(If you came here looking for information about refuge circles, please visit:  www.refugecircles.com.)

Fees -

50 min session: 145.00

90 min session: 220.00

I take a variety of insurances and am on many local EAP programs. There are a few slots for sliding scale available for those with financial need. Reach out to inquire. 

Express When Words Fail

Free Yourself From Constraints

Find Your Calm

About Me 

I graduated from Naropa University in 2005 with a dual Master’s degree, in both Transpersonal Counseling and Art Therapy. I have always been a lover of the arts and psychology, and feel blessed that my profession, is a hybrid of the two. The word creativity is wide and expansive, and the metaphors inherent in the term, can be applied to any person, anytime, in any stage of development. Simply stated, we are all creating our own lives, ‘one stroke at a time’ much like a painting gets created, ‘one stroke at a time’. It is these small, but incremental and consistently made choices, that determine what our life looks like. The metaphors in creativity, and the process of art making itself, ground the work I do. I am passionate about helping you discover and master your own creative spirit.

My background includes nearly 20 years working with individuals of all ages and in diverse settings. I spent time at Aurora Mental Health’s Early Childhood Program in Aurora, CO., where my oldest client was 3 years old, and I worked as a home-based counselor for Catholic Charities of Denver, working with adolescents and adults. In Steamboat Springs, I’ve worked at Advocates Building Peaceful Communities and Mind Springs Health and started Inward Arts, LLC, my private practice work where I focus on individual support with adults only. 


(If you came here looking for information about refuge circles, that is not therapy, and therefore on a different site - please visit: www.refugecircles.com.)