counseling bio

My name is Dr. John O’Malley (call me John) and I am a Licensed Professional Counselor in Colorado and a Board Certified counselor through the NBCC who strives to inspire others to live a life of meaning, value, and purpose. I do this by using humanistic approaches as well as evidence-based approaches such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment therapy to help you reach your goals. Whether working one-on-one or with couples, I will challenge and support you to overcome the challenges you have faced personally or in your relationships. Having received a BM in Music Performance from the University of Denver, M.A.Ed. in Community Counseling from the University of Nebraska-Kearney, and a PhD in Counseling Education and Supervision from the University of Wyoming, I believe my education and training equip me to give you the help, skills, and strategies you need to move forward. Whether I am playing music, teaching as a Clinical Assistant Professor in the University of Denver’s Counseling Psychology department, or working with clients and couples in my private practice, I seek to build meaningful relationships to help support the future work you would like to do.

Licensed Professional Counselor

Board Certified Counselor


professional bio

Dr. John O'Malley PhD, LPC, NCC is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Counseling Psychology department at the University of Denver’s Morgridge College of Education. Dr. O’Malley received a Bachelor's in Music from the University of Denver, a M.S.Ed. from the University of Nebraska-Kearney, and a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision from the University of Wyoming. Dr. O’Malley is a Board Certified counselor and a Licensed Professional Counselor in Colorado. Dr. O’Malley teaches master’s-level courses in Morgridge’s School Counseling, Clinical Mental Health, and Higher Education programs. He runs the Lived Experience and Narrative Research Project (LEAN Lab), which seeks to lean into lived and told stories to improve mental health and educational spaces. Dr. O’Malley maintains a private practice serving individuals and couples in the Lowry neighborhood in Denver, CO.



personal bio

Throughout my whole life, I’ve been fascinated with relationships and the comeback story of the underdog. When I needed to do my presentation during my job interview to become a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Counseling Psychology at the University of Denver, I was asked to discuss my “Professional Passions.” I used the story of David and Goliath to talk about helping the underdog. I connect strongly with Malcolm Gladwell’s version of the story because although David was seen as an underdog, in that fight he had strengths that helped him overcome the disadvantages. This is my lens when I approach our work together. Have people doubted you or put limits on you?


Many people seek me out because of the hardships they have faced and many people seek me out (even older adults) because of the scars traditional school experiences left them with. No matter what hardship you faced, many times, left unexplored, this has led to depression, anxiety, or PTSD. For me, one of my key moments came in kindergarten, when it was first identified as having a learning disability, or what others call dyslexia. Although this was seen as a negative early in my life, my neurological diversity allowed me to see patterns and hear in a different way that allowed me to excel in music. This is why I help people find the strengths that come from adversity and hardship. These strengths can be resilience, grit, compassion toward others, responding to crisis just to name a few. I’ve come to learn that my dyslexia makes me a better counselor because of the strengths it brings me (finding patterns in relationships, finding creative solutions to problems, thinking outside the box to help you achieve your goals, and being able to see clearly in crisis). Together, while honoring the struggles and hardships you endured in your life, let’s uncover the strengths that have come from you overcoming the obstacles in your life. 


Throughout my years, I've learned how powerful relationships can be in helping ourselves and helping other people. This is why my counseling approach is so focused on strong relationships in providing space for you to feel validated and heard. However, I don't want anyone to think we'll get off easy. The most powerful people in my life was my high school music teacher and past counselors. They pushed me because they saw that I was more capable than I gave myself credit for and I hope I can do the same for you. Therefore, I hope I can earn your trust to both challenge and support you to reach your goals.


When studying music at the University of Denver, I found my calling to the helping field as a Resident Assistant. I loved spending time hearing people’s stories and being there for people when they experienced hard times. I also loved helping people navigate relationships, which is why I now love working with couples as well as individuals. I’m often asked why I changed from music to the field of counseling and to me, they are similar. Whereas music is an avenue to connect with the human soul, so too is counseling. Therefore, I hope we too can connect.


This led me to study at the University of Nebraska-Kearney which was a huge culture sock growing up in the suburbs of Chicago. After spending time working in a number of student service roles at University of California-Riverside, Northeastern Illinois University, Northwestern University and Johns Hopkins University summer program, as well as Johnson & Wales University, I went to the University of Wyoming and received my PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision. I am now at the University of Denver teaching master’s-level courses in the Morgridge College of Education School Counseling, Clinical Mental Health, and Higher Education programs. I am also a Board Certified counselor through the NBCC and Licensed Professional Counselor in Colorado. I state this to give comfort in the fact I am well trained and have a great amount of experience to help you.


In addition to my private practice and faculty appointment, I am a  husband and father. Partnership is one of the most beautiful and meaningful parts of the human experience and it can be hard. Therefore, I hope you feel comfortable reaching out to someone who can connect with this experience.


In summary, who I am and the experiences I’ve had as a counselor sharpen my approach. Please reach out for a free 20-minute phone consultation, I’m  happy to answer any more questions you might have about me.  

Champion of the Underdog

Neurologically Diverse

Trumpet Player




As I tell my students who are training to become Professional Counselors, who we are in our own life experiences shapes the therapists we become. Below you can get to me through three versions of my bio. My counseling bio is a snapshot of me and my clinical work. My professional bio is used for conferences or speaking engagements. My personal bio is my own life narrative and how it may influence our work together. I hope these narratives help you feel comfortable to reach out to me for a free 20-minute phone consultation to see if I might be the right therapist for you.

Meet dr. john o'malley