Calming Presence

Our Team

Home / OUr Team


Leif Peterson, LPC, NCC

Owner of CPC

Early traumas in my own life, including becoming paralyzed when I was 17 yrs. old, contributed to my interest in finding out how people get through life's most difficult moments. As a professional counselor, I have a genuine interest in people's stories and do not judge their past or current challenges, because I know how unresolved fear, anger, sadness, and confusion can lead to thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that do not reflect their true selves. I am honored with the opportunity to sit with someone in their pain and help them find their way into the light again.



I received my bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS). There I developed a solid base of understanding of the workings of the human mind. Volunteering as a research assistant, including on a trauma study with first responders, gave me a glimpse into how traumatic events effect people. My first hands-on experience treating people was as a biofeedback technician, which uses measurements of physiological responses, such as muscle tension, skin temperature, and heart rate variability, to measure how people's bodies respond to mental exercises.

It is fascinating to see how we can affect physical reactions in our bodies by changing how we use our minds! I returned to UCCS to complete my Master's Degree in Counseling and Human Services in 2017. My main internship was as a counselor at Mt. Carmel, a non-profit which serves veterans and their families. I have always had a passion for supporting America's veterans, since my dad died from suicide, due largely to unresolved trauma resulting from being drafted into the Vietnam War. At Mt. Carmel I continued to learn about the burdens many of our veterans, and their families, carry due to trauma from combat or other service-related experiences, and the resilience they can develop given adequate support. I became trained in EMDR, an evidenced-based treatment for symptoms of trauma, and continue to learn all I can to be an effective trauma-informed counselor.

My personal experience with addiction has also helped me support and guide clients through recovery, whether that means appropriate moderation or sobriety. I developed an addiction to opiate pain medication following my spinal cord injury. That combined with alcohol and nicotine led to a dark time in my life. During the darkest periods of addiction, it was hard to see a way out, but using and building on my support system, and using exercise, adaptive recreation, medication-assisted treatment, counseling, and the meaning I gained from helping others, allowed me to recover from opiate, alcohol, and nicotine addiction.

I have gained insight and experience working with individuals, couples, and families. That combined with my life experience helps me facilitate the healthy expression and processing of emotion, in the service of improving relationships and building support. I hope you give me the opportunity to help you find your own path to healing.


Mental health conditions do not discriminate (and neither do we).
They can affect anyone regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, social status, physical ability or a variety of other circumstances.


Sarah Tan

Counseling Intern

Hello! My name is Sarah. I am an intern currently working towards my Master's Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at UCCS. I have worked with adolescents within the juvenile justice and foster care systems within an inpatient setting, and young adults attending university. My areas of interest include anxiety, depression, life transitions, and identity exploration; and I am constantly working towards expanding my clinical expertise.

My goal is to provide a nonjudgmental and culturally sensitive safe space for youth, adolescents, and adults to feel seen, heard, and understood. I believe this is one of the crucial elements of growth and change, and I am ready to walk alongside you on your journey to wellness. Whether you are in a period of transition and would like someone to help you make sense of things, or are experiencing or have previously experienced difficulties in your life that you would like to process, I am honored to have the opportunity to work together to help you meet your goals.

When I am not at school, studying, or in session, I like to spend my free time connecting with friends and loved ones, cooking and eating (I am a self-proclaimed foodie), enjoying Colorado via camping, skiing, paddle boarding, and hiking, or being a homebody with my husband and two dogs. Because I always encourage clients to engage in hobbies or activities that enrich and add wellness to their lives, I’m always trying new things to discover what helps me with my own wellness. (Right now, I’m enjoying puzzles, going on walks, and guided breathing!)


Sarah Tan

MA Candidate, Counseling and Human Services, UCCS

Specialties/Areas of Interest:

Enjoy this short introduction
video from Sarah!


What approach or techniques do you use in therapy?

The approach of CPC therapists vary based on their unique training and life experiences.  Leif Peterson, and therapists he hires and supervises, value a person-centered approach to therapy.  This therapeutic orientation emphasizes the therapeutic relationship and inherent worth of the client and the belief that people are inherently motivated toward achieving the best possible life for themselves.  It is the job of the therapist to create an environment and relationship through which the client can reach this best possible life, however they define it.  Qualities our therapists strive to exhibit include authenticity, empathy, nonjudgment and acceptance.  Leif’s unique training includes EMDR (a treatment shown to be effective to reduce disturbance from trauma or adverse experiences) and motivational interviewing (a treatment approach for helping people work through the stages of recovering from addiction.  He also used IFS (Internal Family Systems) which reframes “negative” thoughts and feelings as internal parts or characters, each of which are trying to do something good for the person but may have gotten stuck in an extreme role due to previous unresolved experiences.

How much does therapy cost, and do you accept insurance?

Leif’s individual sessions are $130, couples and family sessions are $140 for 50-60 min sessions, $70 for 30 min or less. He takes most major private insurers. He maintains 3 slots for sliding scale clients who cannot afford the full self-pay rate and would like to request a reduced rate. 

  • Interns’ individual sessions are $60, couples and family sessions are $70. They can negotiate sliding scale.
  • Pre-licensed clinicians (have their graduate degrees and are pursuing their post-degree hours for licensure): $100 for individual, $110 for couples and family.
How do I know if therapy is right for me?

Are you in pain and want to heal and/or feel stuck and want to maximize your potential, create stronger relationships and feel more meaning in your life? Then therapy is right for you.  This does not mean any therapist is right for you.  Like other relationships, compatibility is a factor.  We hope to be a good match with you, but if we are not the right fit we will happily refer you to another provider.  Our goal is to find you the best/most appropriate level of care, whether that is with us or with another provider or pactice.

How do I schedule an appointment?

For now, the best way to schedule an appointment is to call the office at 719-331-5463, or email Leif ( or our administrative assistant (  We are working on integrating direct scheduling on the website soon.

What should I expect during my first therapy session?

Our providers want to understand the history of the issues bringing into counseling, and your vision (as much as you can verbalize) for healing and creating your ideal life.

What are your symptoms? What brings you into counseling? How long have you felt this way? Has anyone in your family dealt with mental health challenges?

(at least 1 in 4 people will experience mental health issues in their lifetime, but some families don’t talk openly about these issues so they may have appeared as anger, conflict, disconnection, excessive substance use, frequent divorce/separation)

Do you know what kind of counseling/counselor/therapist you want?

(Many people don’t know how to answer this because they have never been to therapy or have not had a good experience with therapy. But generally we are looking to understand if you want a more challenging/direct approach or softer/gentler approach, or if you are looking for a specific treatment approach, e.g., EMDR, CBT) Are you having, or have you had, suicidal thoughts or attempts? How safe do you feel in your environment?

Is therapy confidential?

Yes, with legal exceptions: imminent risk of harm to yourself (suicidal, out of touch with reality to the point that you are imminently going to bring harm to yourself), harm to others (having plans to hurt or kill others, talk about ongoing child abuse, elder abuse or threat to national security). If you are concerned that a legal exception may risk your right to confidentiality, please ask us more detailed questions. We want to help people who have harmed, or are harming, others due to anger, fear, confusion, overwhelm, or unprocessed abuse.

What happens if I need to cancel or reschedule an appointment?

How will I know if therapy is working for me? Ideally, we would like at least 4-6 sessions to get an idea of how effective therapy is for you. This doesn’t mean all your problems will be solved by then, but with a good therapeutic relationships you should start to feel more comfortable sharing and expressing deeper emotions and have clear goals and objectives for the changes you would like to see in your life.

Do you offer teletherapy or online therapy sessions?

We do! Therapynotes, the electronic records program we use, offers a HIPAA-compliant telehealth platform.

What is your availability for emergencies or crises?

We do not provide emergency or crisis services outside of regular business hours/availability. The providers need to have time outside of work to take care of their own self-care and mental health in order to provide you with the empathetic, calm counseling we strive to afford. You may request an additional session, outside of your regularly scheduled session, if you have experienced a recent stressor or an escalation in symptoms. Your provider can speak with you about their availability. If you need immediate care outside of scheduled appointments, please call 911 or Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-8255 or text “TALK” to 38255.

Can you provide referrals to other mental health professionals if needed?

Absolutely! We see the best results when counseling is provided alongside other support, including other mental health professionals. If you might benefit from psychotropic medication, we can refer you to a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner. If you need a psychological assessment, we can refer to a psychologist. If you need crisis services we can refer you to inpatient or intensive outpatient facilities. If you need community support for addiction, we can help you find an appropriate support group. If you need practice connecting your mind and body, we can refer you to yoga, massage, physical therapy, etc. Let’s get you a team!

How long are therapy sessions?

For individual and couples’ therapy, the initial intake session typically lasts 60 minutes, with subsequent sessions lasting around 50 minutes each. For family therapy, the intake session is typically conducted together and lasts approximately 60 minutes, though the duration may vary depending on the specific issues being addressed. Additionally, your therapist may schedule individual meetings with members of your family, which typically range from 30 to 45 minutes each.

How often should I expect to attend therapy sessions?

The frequency of sessions depends on the level of challenge presented by the issue and its impact on daily functioning. This decision is made collaboratively between you and your therapist. Sessions typically occur on a weekly or bi-weekly basis

How long will therapy last?

The duration of therapy depends on the complexity of the presented by the issue and its impact on daily functioning. This decision is made collaboratively between you and your therapist. On average, a therapy case spans from 3 to 6 months. However, therapy can continue beyond this timeframe if preferred by the client. Additionally, previous clients are welcome to return for refresher sessions as needed.

List of Contracted Insurances:
  • Aetna
  • Aetna Allied Benefit System
  • Aetna AmeriBen
  • Aetna CoreSource
  • Aetna EBMS
  • Aetna GEHA
  • Aetna Meritain
  • Aetna WebTPA
  • Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield (HMO)
  • Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield (PPO)
  • Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield – Pathway
  • Apostrophe
  • Cigna
  • Cigna TPA
  • Cigna-EAP
  • Foster Source
  • Friday Health Plans (CO)
  • Justice Reskill Benefit Network
  • Optum – Carveout
  • Optum/United-EAP (CO)
  • Oscar Health Plan
  • TriWest
  • United All Savers
  • United GEHA/Shared Services
  • United HealthScope Benefits
  • United Healthcare (CO)
  • United Healthcare Golden Rule
  • United Oxford (CO)
  • United Student Resources (CO)
  • United Surest
  • United UMR
Scroll to Top