My Name Is … Dawn Gabriel of Castle Rock

Counseling center owner takes therapy to the trails


About me

My husband, Chris, and I moved to Castle Rock seven years ago to raise our family of two very active boys, Joshua, 8, and Lucas, 4. I moved around a lot (Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Indiana) up till I moved to Colorado after graduate school and married my husband who is a native to Colorado. We love "cabin camping" in Estes Park and hiking as a family. 

My work

I am a consultant/coach and owner of Authentic Connections Counseling Center (AC3) in historic downtown Castle Rock. I have been a licensed professional counselor for 15 years and have worked in a variety of settings including: college campuses, county jail, community mental health, psychiatric hospital, churches and moms' groups. I started AC3 five years ago after my mom passed away from cancer and I realized life is too short and I wanted to live out my dream of a group counseling center.

A typical day of business starts at the counseling center (which is a cute little brown house) seeing clients, networking with other business owners either with chamber events or through Castle Rock Therapist Network, connecting with my team members one-on-one or all together for training or team building, talking with my mastermind group of other group practice owners, working with my "in training" therapy dog Kuna  (Australian Labradoodle puppy), going on a trail therapy hike with a client or continuing education for myself to make me a better person and business owner. 

My passion

I am most passionate about providing a safe place for people to truly experience hope and healing, in a deep way. In today's society, we are disconnected and there are not enough "spaces" for people to be truly honest and dig deep on finding the truth and letting go of the lies we tell ourselves in our heads. 

With my consulting clients, I love working with other therapists to help them find freedom from what is keeping them stuck and watching them live out their purpose and passion. I specialize in what I love: integrating faith into private practice, building a team culture, networking, and trail talks during sessions conducted while hiking. 

Challenges on the job

The most challenging thing is honestly my own inner critic and trying to live out what I teach. As a business owner/entrepreneur we have to work hard at taming the inner roller coaster of running a business. The rhythm of trying to balance all of what I do is hard at times as my profession is a very personal one and you have to be in the moment with people and connecting while at the same time running a business.

My hobbies

I love hiking, I am a chai connoisseur (not a coffee drinker), currently training for a half marathon (I am a slow runner, but it is my self-care so I am not running to win the race), wine tasting and charcuterie boards with girlfriends, voracious reader, and eating Indian food (or any fun restaurant) with my husband.  

My advice

You always have a choice of what you focus on. Live fully IN SPITE of _____________ (anxiety, depression, grief, etc.). 

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