About us – What is Evolutionary Power


Through workshops, classes, and private counseling, the Evolutionary Power Institute teaches a core set of practices that help its students live a happier, more fulfilled, joyful life. The EPI community supports each other while students and members learn and practice these tools.

The curriculum of the EPI is based on current research from across such fields as interpersonal neurobiology, theories of emotion, polyvagal theory, animal behavior, energy psychology, and Body-Centered Transformation. EPI’s director, Julie Colwell, PhD, is a psychologist with over three decades of experience as a psychotherapist (working with individuals, couples, families and groups) and leading thousands of people in classes, groups and workshops in the EPI model.

Instead of the traditional, highly limited paradigm of power as domination and control, Evolutionary Power takes humanity collectively to our next level. Evolutionary Power declares that every human has equal value, and that transcending hierarchy maximizes each person’s functioning. Evolutionary Power exists in a field of non-resistance, creates an environment of optimal cognitive functioning, creativity, and health, and supports the way we function best: in connection.

There are Six Facets to Evolutionary Power, including:

    • Translating the wisdom of your body
    • Navigating your inner world
    • Discovering your true power
    • Getting Unstuck
    • Living from essence
    Living your big life

Evolutionary Power speaks to the next step in human evolution, where each person reaches their potential relationally, clearing old patterns of reactivity so that they might fully express their true selves. This type of power thrives on collaboration, cocreativity, and the celebration of each person’s innate gifts. Ultimately,  to live from Evolutionary Power means connecting essence to flow and so manifesting outcomes consciously and directly, resulting in a life that is a walking expression of one’s deepest self.

Our Founder’s Story.



Julie Colwell grew up transfixed by “Can this marriage be saved?,” a column in the Ladies’ Home Journal wherein the life of some suffering couple, clearly on the brink of divorce, was highlighted in all of its misery. A therapist eventually would swoop in and apply their wondrous skills, often (not always!) snatching the couple out of the jaws of certain demise.

Heady stuff for an eleven-year-old, especially one trying to stay afloat in a family buffeted about by the upheaval of the sixties. Alternating her magazine reading with immersion in Superman comic books, it’s no wonder the idea of “therapist-as-superhero” branded itself into her unconscious.

Julie’s motivation to wrest order from chaos was born out of her personal stew of upbringing factors. Her mom’s depression, chronic health issues, suicidality, and assorted addictions must have originated in undiagnosed trauma (it was the sixties–trauma was barely on the map of psychological theory). Her dad was a classic power-over guy, barely covering his disdain for her mom’s working class origins. She was the fourth of four kids who were left to fight it out amongst themselves, so she understood the impact of hierarchy from the inside. Meanwhile, watching her parents display their main ways of coping–working hard, drinking hard, stoically powering through, while icing each other out with long periods of silence–imprinted into her as the only functional ways to exist. It was unfortunate, sure, that this set up all involved up for lives of anxiety, depression, and disconnection.

The seventies continued her early education in psychology and sociology. Women’s Lib” was all over the news, and Julie stepped out of her rule-following, Girl Scout, whitebread morality when she fell in love with her first girlfriend. She was suddenly catapulted out of simply following what she was told into this crazy world where women were burning their bras and protesting in the streets, while a previously unknown part of herself would not be quelched.

College threw Julie into a wild morass of new ideas and experiences. Women studies’ classes exposed her to classic and current theories of oppression, while the annual Michigan Womyns’ Music Festival opened her eyes to a parade of images of tough, strong, and trailblazing women. She thrilled in experimenting with being a lesbian separatist, loving the clarity of being against, anti-, rebellious. She read Starhawk’s Truth or Dare, planting the seeds of “Power Over/Power Under,” and that third possibility, “Power With.”

After abandoning a brief foray into nursing (her mother had assured her that, as a lesbian, she could at least always get a job as a nurse; Julie finally realized this would mean she could always get a job she hated) Julie took the jump and studied psychology. At the University of Michigan in 1978, this meant immersing in Freudian and psychodynamic theory, including its homophobic underpinnings. (During one lecture, the professor listed homosexuality as pathologies equivalent to pedophilia and bestiality.)

At this point, the reader could look ahead and predict how Julie was doing, emotionally. Indeed, the glee of new discoveries alternated with ongoing depression, anxiety, and self-hatred. She finally sought out personal therapy, which began a long journey of sorting out how to actually be of this world. Her mind was brimming with psychological concepts that she tried to apply to living, which vaguely helped some of the time.

Julie’s twenties were as chaotic as most. Her job as a naive white girl at a group home for adolescents from inner city Detroit was experiential education in power dynamics, racism–and a first magical moment of watching the right words in the middle of a conflict make all of the difference in bringing people back into connection. She was in long-term relationships where tried everything she knew about relationships–and tried, and tried. And was flummoxed at how what she knew didn’t actually help sort out difficulty.

Going to graduate school in Clinical Psychology at the University of Colorado in 1984 meant further immersion in psychodynamic theory, and shored up her reliance on naming what is wrong, bad, pathological as she developed her ability to diagnose psychopathology. Even within that framework, however, her old lesbian-feminist roots took hold. She learned about family therapy and systems theory, both of which were in their heyday. Serendipitously she found the writings of Judith Hermann and the Stone Center out of Wellesley College. Suddenly she was reading theorists who argued that the Western European high regard of “rugged individualism” was quite misplaced. They touted “Self-in-Relation” theory, showing how humans (and especially women) develop, not out there all alone on the prairie, but through the mutuality relationships. In other words, instead of the epidemic of “co-dependency” that others were sounding the alarm about, the Stone Center folks described healthy relationships as the vehicle for individual development.

Julie examined these presumptions more carefully with her Masters thesis and dissertation. Curious to test whether the psychodynamic concern about “lesbian fusion” was accurate, she developed an assessment tool, the Merging/Disengagement Scale, using it to compare levels of merging (ultimately defined as “anxiety around aloneness) and disengagement (“anxiety around closeness) in same-sex versus opposite-sex couples. (She found, to her surprise, that lesbians didn’t “merge” most, they “disengaged” least. In fact, gay men in her sample “merged” most.)

What Julie was learning from books and theories were nothing compared to her real-life challenges in her intimate relationship, as well as her relationship with herself. Upon graduation, and setting out to build her career, she continued to apply what she learned about relationships growing up. Power struggles were rampant. Whether she won or lost those battles seemed to result in the same outcome: feeling terrible. Not all the time for sure–so long as she could sustain a sense of romance and idealization (of herself, her partner, her career) she could swim over her anxiety, guilt, depression. But it was waiting for her to plunge back into.

More psychotherapy helped. And then, one day she stumbled on a book, Conscious Loving: The Journey to Co-commitment, by Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks. It was the subtitle that got her: “A way to be fully together without giving up yourself.” This was what she was trying to sort out in her dissertation. She savored the Hendricks words, and started trying out their concepts with her clients. It was the fateful day with her partner, though, that made her a convert. Stuck in another power struggle, sitting across from each other on the floor, arms mutually crossed, Julie’s partner picked up Conscious Loving and started asking questions:

How do you feel? [Easy. ANGRY]

What do you want? [FOR YOU TO STOP BEING A JERK]

What are you getting out of staying stuck? [Whaaaaat?? Hmmm? WHAT? Now that’s interesting…]

Suddenly a whole new world opened up. The world of the unconscious, but in a way that Julie could touch with her curiosity.

She knew she had to find these people.

Julie’s first experience with Gay and Katie Hendricks was an eight-day “Conscious Relationship” training at a beautiful retreat center in Wilsonville, Oregon. Gay and Katie called their work “Body-Centered Transformation.” Julie breathed, she moved, she learned about speaking the unarguable, “microscopic” truth. This strange new world of being in her body stunned her. She felt increasingly alive and happy and expanded. Her existential doubts and anxious ruminations receded behind a great wave of connection, vitality, and passion. She woke up (and in fact, was barely sleeping by the end of the training, whereupon she “upper-limited” and got laryngitis).

She felt GREAT. And she realized she wanted to feel that way all the time.

Reentry was jagged. Julie extolled her amazing experiences to her partner and friends, even gathering them with newsprint and easel, trying to communicate her miraculous experience. Of course, her loved ones had not a clue what she was trying to describe (in retrospect, she wondered if they thought she’d joined a cult). Her excitement dulled down in the following couple of weeks, leaving her to wonder if she had simply experienced a “workshop high.”

But it was too good to give up on. So Julie signed up for the next Hendricks workshop she could find. And felt it again, like the sun reemerging after a long, dark winter. She vowed to herself to find a way to live this way, and to have playmates who would challenge her to stay awake. Learning about intentions and commitments, Julie made her lifetime commitment: To create conscious community.

Julie continued to see clients while training intensively with the Hendricks, now with the challenge of integrating the pathology-based theories she’d been immersed in during graduate school with her life-changing experiences of Body-centered Transformation. Meanwhile, Julie was absorbing the ideas of other theorists during the nineties and aughts. Trauma theory finally burst forth, which started bringing the actual body into psychotherapy. She found David Hawkins “Map of Consciousness,” highlighting Hawkins delineation of “power,” which was a connection to expanded states (e.g., love and joy) and “force” which was an expression of reactive states (e.g., anger and fear). She learned about interfacing and working with energetic fields of nature through her teacher, Ethel Greene. She discovered Stephen Porges’ Polyvagal Theory, which proved to be complementary with Hawkins’ map.

The early nineties were also a dark time for LGBT issues. Amendment Two, a statewide referendum legalizing discrimination against lesbians and gay men, was passed in Colorado. Julie joined the local anti-oppression group, Valuing Diversity, and worked to bring understanding to targeted outgroups. She started “Enhancing the Dance,” workshops that taught the Hendricks’ tools for conscious relationships, to provide gays and lesbians extra support.

All of these pieces began coming together into a tapestry of a new model of transformation. Harkening back to Starhawk’s description of “Power Over/Power Under/Power With” that she’d encountered back in the 70’s, Julie built a new framework of human functioning and how people change. She began building her own Inner Map, synthesizing Hawkins, Porges’, the Hendricks with the work of Marc Bekoff and Temple Grandin, who focused on the inner world of mammals. She theorized that all mammals experience the same range of states, from the most expanded to the most contracted, and that each of these states is adaptive, that maladaptation results from being unable to shift out of those states (a difficulty that is a mostly human characteristic due to our use of language).

While developing these concepts with clients and students, Julie founded and directed a nonprofit called “the Boulder Center for Conscious Community” making good on her commitment of creating conscious community. The community at the BC3 proved to be an excellent place to test out the ideas that eventually grew into the development of her own body of work Julie calls “Evolutionary Power.”

Dr. Julie Colwell

Our Faculty

Dr Julie Colwell

I teach this work because it’s changed every moment of every day for me. Truly.

In my thirties, I saw myself as an anxious, depressed person from a lineage that shared those attributes, as well as alcoholism and drug abuse. I thought that was my path, and that either addiction or being on medication all my life was inevitable. Learning how to be a clinical psychologist only cemented those scary beliefs.

In 1994 I stumbled onto the body-centered work of Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks (along with several other dynamite teachers) and felt something new: joy! But I didn’t know how to sustain that feeling. I set the intention of “creating conscious community” so I’d have people to play and practice and learn with, and have been on that soul-nourishing path ever since. Along with the 50,000+ hours I’ve worked with clients, I’ve since created my own body of work: I’ve written three books, recorded countless podcasts and videos, written hundreds of blogs, and taught thousands of people in workshops, presentations and classes. My heart is filled with appreciation and love for all of those clients, students, and colleagues who have been willing to step together into the flow of new possibilities that this work opens up.

Cynthia Hildner

I had a sinking feeling, a wondering, that I was missing something in my life. I had a life most people would think was fulfilling…a steady job in a field I loved, friends, family, and the ability to access my passion for all things outdoors. And I knew something was missing. Six years ago, I hit my lowest point. I felt alone in my marriage, fried by my job, and was continually bracing against the next awful thing that was “bound” to happen.

I was so uncomfortable in my life and my body. I knew I wanted my life to be different. I wanted to feel happy, healthy, and alive…

About this time, my favorite slam poet posted a video from Dr. Julie Colwell…she was here in Boulder and my curiosity was piqued. I joined Julie’s community of learners and spent the first year thawing out my very stiff body and rigid thinking. As time went on, I began to connect to my own body wisdom and inner joy.

After a few years of Julie’s mentorship, I began my training with the founders of the Hendrick’s Institute and the Foundation for Conscious Living, Dr.’s Gay and Katie Hendricks. I graduated from their two-year Leadership and Transformation (LAT) program. I jumped into this work and became a certified Hendrick’s Institute Big Leap Coach and a member of their Restoring Resourcefulness faculty, an educational program dedicated to sharing conscious living tools on a global scale.

I am a passionate, curious, and playful coach integrating co-creativity and authenticity to invite personal, relational, and group transformation. In addition to being a certified coach and faculty member with the Hendrick’s Institute, I am a Certified Coach and Faculty Member with the Evolutionary Power Institute. I have a private coaching practice supporting organizations, individuals, and families in learning and applying conscious living tools, learning and re-learning how to play and how to use body wisdom to live their fullest lives. To learn more check out DyslexiaPlayground.com

Jewel Afflerbaugh

A few years ago, around my 40th birthday, I became stuck in a season of darkness. Subtly, within the rhythm of my everyday life as a mother, I lost myself. I felt hopeless and depressed and scared that something was wrong with me. With the support of the EPI community, I came alive. I learned that when I tell the truth, I find my real power. When I allow myself to express my fear or anger, expansion follows.  When our collective grief breaks me open, I grow my capacity to connect authentically.

As a faculty of EPI, I weave wisdom from marriage and motherhood, 15 years as a professional creative, and rigorous therapeutic training to support personal transformation within the group setting.  As a licensed professional counselor and certified EPI coach, I also work with both couples and individuals to translate the wisdom of the body and transform stuck patterns in my psychotherapy practice in Boulder. More information about my work can be found at www.rootandunfurl.com.

Jewel A. faculty member

Aaron Taddiken

​​I am endlessly fascinated at how powerful it is to return to my body in the midst of my “problems” and challenges. This work is a well marked road that brings me back to clarity and happiness over and over. It has helped heal many patterns that I used to pursue with vigor and left me frustrated and depressed about my life. 

Through my own practice and playing with others using these tools I continuously find deeper joy and purpose. I look forward to even more discovery and opportunity to teach and explore with the community.

Kathleen Shea

Trusting my voice has been an evolving process for me since I was young. I used to frequently feel a thick knot in my throat when debating speaking up in group environments. I would often freeze up, stay quiet, and hold back from revealing my inner truths out of fear of not being accepted/loved. Since joining the EPI community in 2019, this work has helped me wholeheartedly meet myself where I’m at and has taught me how to surf the waves of raw feeling to find my way through to the other side of the knots. By going towards and through the density, I can emerge into a world that feels full of space and wonder and play. What a relief it is to have ways of freeing myself from stuckness and to get to play in the exciting waters of the unknown with other fellow explorers!

EPP Certified Practitioners:

Kathleen EPI bio picture

Trusting my voice has been an evolving process for me since I was young. I used to frequently feel a thick knot in my throat when debating speaking up in group environments. I would often freeze up, stay quiet, and hold back from revealing my inner truths out of fear of not being accepted/loved. This work within the EPI community has helped me wholeheartedly meet myself where I’m at and has taught me how to surf the waves of raw feeling to find my way through to the other side of the knots. By going towards and through the density, I can emerge into a world that feels full of space and wonder and play. What a relief it is to have ways of freeing myself from stuckness and to get to play in the exciting waters of the unknown with other fellow explorers!

A bit about me professionally – I’ve spent 10 years as a yoga and creative movement instructor, I hold a MA in Somatic Counseling from Naropa University, and am a certified EPI practitioner. My primary role these days is as a body-centered therapist in private practice in Denver. It is a delight and an honor to accompany my clients in peeling back the layers of gunk that keep their hearts from shining their brightest. For more info about my work, visit embodiedradiance.com.

EPP graduate, Jocelyn

I am most in my flow when I am co-creating with another person the life that they most want to live!  Whether using coaching or counseling skills, I truly enjoy facilitating another person in making conscious what is unconscious for them, and watching them gain self-awareness and personal empowerment in the process while learning how to heal what needs to be healed in order to live a life more from intention and less out of unconscious habit.  I like to incorporate whatever modalities a client is most needing in the moment– from body-based awareness, Mindfulness practices, Attachment Theory, Gestalt work, trauma-informed practices, spiritual practices, the neuroscience of Polyvagal Theory and self-regulation, as well as meaning-making and Positive Psychology.    Speak with me

Orientation: I utilize techniques from Solution Focused Therapy, Mindfulness Based Psychology, Gestalt, and NARM (Neuro Affective Relational Model), in addition to EPI’s body based somatic therapeutic techniques.    Speak with me

After nearly a decade of military service as an army intelligence officer and special forces intelligence team leader, Alex left the armed forces to pursue a new mission: learn and share effective tools that help people to heal.

Since then, Alex has broadened her interest and pursued in-depth exploration and study of the mind-body relationship, receiving certifications as a Hatha and Kaula Tantra yoga instructor, an Evolutionary Power embodiment coach, and completing trainings in expressive art therapy, Vipassana meditation, and e

Outside of work Alex loves dancing like nobody’s watching, rollerblading, road-tripping, and relaxing at home with her partner. She feels most resourced by her daily meditation practice, wanderings in nature, and sweating it out at the gym.


Tamara EPP Graduate

Tamra Stanish, CPCC, ACC, is a leadership consultant and personal coach with over a decade of experience building, leading, and coaching high-performing teams. Tamra’s practice works with organizations and leaders by offering key note speaking, bespoke workshops, and leadership develop series. As an Evolutionary Power Practitioner, Tamra also works with 1:1 clients who want to experience more joy, confidence, and freedom in their lives.

Tamra is known for her ability to ignite change through her unique coaching style which incorporates Industrial-Organizational Psychology, breath work, and her passion for body-centered tools.

Zoe Vlasto, EPP Graduate
One of my gifts is being able to see a person’s light even when they cannot see it themselves. If you find yourself blocked from your own inner-wisdom and light, I’m here to help. Perhaps you find yourself overwhelmed by trauma, grief, hurt, or other challenging life experiences. Perhaps you find your blocks manifesting as depression, anxiety, disordered eating, body image struggles, disconnection from others and yourself, or relationship issues. Perhaps you find yourself asking, “Isn’t life supposed to be more beautiful and free than this?”
I am a guide for exploring the inner wilderness, reflecting light into the dark places. I profoundly believe in the wisdom of the body, the healing power of the wilderness, and moving through feelings to touch into what we truly want in life. I honor the darkness and the shadows; I also encourage us to be with what life is tossing our way.
I have a background in wilderness therapy, bilingual social justice counseling, eating disorder treatment, conscious embodiment, and women’s empowerment. My approach is client-centered, non-judgmental, experiential, and trauma informed. I specialize in supporting people to come home to the wild essence within themselves. I look forward to meeting you!
EPP Graduate Jaime Tousignant
My approach to counseling is relational and truly heart centered.  I believe profound healing happens in relationship, especially if we have been wounded in past relationships.  I like to incorporate a variety of modalities, such as Somatic techniques, movement, mindful awareness, psychoeducation, and nature-based practices.  Our therapeutic alliance allows for authentic expression, trust, and contact with your conscious and unconscious beliefs.  I believe we are capable of drawing on our own innate wisdom in order to promote growth, change, and healing within ourselves. My background as a bodyworker and Reiki practitioner help root my practice in somatic and energetic awareness.  Utilizing a trauma-informed approach, I will assist you in staying in the present moment, letting your mind rest while accessing the wisdom of your heart and body, where true healing happens.  Contact me.