Lisa VonderHaar, PhD
Blending my interests of the wilderness, psychology and spirituality has been evolving through the years.
I was raised in Louisville, Kentucky in a Catholic family as the oldest of eight children. I enjoyed my role as the oldest child, and learned early how to love a diverse group of people! I attended Catholic school throughout my childhood, appreciating the message of love and the value of ritual. However, I struggled with some of the rules and the exclusivity of the church. Throughout my life, I have read and studied various Eastern and Western spiritual paths, sometimes attending church and sometimes not. But spirituality has always held a vital role in my life.
I earned my BA in psychology in 1977 from Miami University of Ohio and furthered my education by attending the California School of Professional Psychology. I earned my Ph.D. in 1982 with an emphasis in rural psychology. I was especially intrigued about the healing process and resonated with the notion that every person can be reached if truly heard.
I was unaware of my “nature lover” until I went backpacking in college. A connection to nature was opened, I loved it! And that experience began a lifetime of hiking, camping, and backpacking which has fed me, both physically and spiritually. Fortunately, 30 some odd years ago I met a man in the lift line at Mammoth Ski Area, who loves these activities as much as I do. Throughout our marriage, we have spent our free time in nature, sharing these experiences with our children and grandchildren as well.
In my adult life, I have chosen to live and work in rural areas, close to nature, always managing to find a trail within walking distance of our home. I have had a private practice since becoming licensed in 1984, loving both the time spent with my clients and the independence of creating my own schedule. During the years of working as a psychologist, I have come to realize that my work is really about love—supporting my clients to both love themselves and love others.
Over the years, I found that nature is my church, where I truly feel Spirit’s presence. I continue to love my work as a psychologist, and feel a deep yearning to add a connection between my work and nature that can reach even more people. . .hence, the birth of SoulTerra.