About Joy

Joy Allen

Joy Allen,

Social Worker / Therapist, LCSW, MDiv.

Over and over I witness changes that invite us to newness in life. 

Life is constantly shifting and changing.  We can either face it with fear or with a willingness to grow and change.  Some years ago while reviewing my career path I took horticultural therapy classes.  Nature’s ever changing process of growth and death and growth became a strong metaphor for how I help clients understand life’s challenges.    

My work is built upon a core belief that relationships matter enormously.  I grew up with seven siblings in a Midwestern family dedicated to serving people through ministry and social service professions.  Relationship stability and desiring to be of service runs deeply in my family history.  And I have been in one relationship for longer than I have been a psychotherapist.


In the last 5 years I have attended over 270 hours of specialized couples training with some of the best known experts in the field:  Dan Wile, Susan Johnson, Barry McCarthy, David Schnarch, Brent Atkinson, John Gottman and Julie Schwartz Gottman.  This is over 3 times the amount of continuing education required for my annual license renewal.  In addition, I regularly present to professional and community groups about relationships.  I have been working with couples since graduate school.


The first 10 years of my mental health career were spent in United Way family service agencies working with families, groups and individuals.  I co-led Adult Relationship, Gay Men, Battered Women, Children Experiencing Divorce, Sexual Abuse, and Divorce Adjustment groups.  Since that time I’ve also taught adult education classes in churches and couples groups.  During the second 10 years of my career a part of my work has occurred in association with churches (United Methodist, Presbyterian and Episcopal) and pastoral counseling agencies.  I have been in private practice since 1999.


My educational background of a Masters in Social Work from The University of Tennessee and a Masters in Divinity from Vanderbilt Divinity School provides a great combination for both the conceptual and the practical aspects of psychotherapy. I use my theological training to help individuals deal with the larger spiritual questions of meaning and one’s place in the world.  And I use my social work values and skills to help people become more connected to the important people and opportunities in their lives.

License & Certification:

I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (Texas 51554; Missouri 011607; Colorado 991156).  I am an active member of the National Association of Social Workers.  I am an affiliate member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapist. I am a Certified Gottman Therapist and a Certified Gottman Couples Workshop Leader.  I am active with The Gottman Institute, am a member of the Gottman Relationship Center and Referral Network (www.gottman.com), and have extensive experience co-leading The Art & Science of Love: A Weekend Workshop for Couples on a regular basis. I also have training in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (Dr. Susan Johnson; externship and core skills training).