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Meet Davina Kotulski, Ph.D., Life Coach and Psychotherapist in San Gabriel Valley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Davina Kotulski, Ph.D.

Davina, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I am a licensed clinical psychologist, life coach, and nationally known, best-selling author and speaker in the field of LGBT equality. I am passionate about helping people overcome obstacles to make their dreams come true. I have an international life coaching practice. I lead teleseminars, live workshops and facilitate online coaching programs on following your courageous heart, spiritual growth, and authentic self-expression.

After receiving my Ph.D. in clinical psychology in 1996, I worked for over 13 years as a psychologist in a federal prison, leading empowerment workshops with female inmates, introducing them to the teachings of Thich Nhat Hahn, Napoleon Hill, and Tony Robbins. My award-winning novel, Behind Barbed Eyes is based in a federal women’s prison and my experiences with female inmates, correctional staff and the prison environment.

I was an early advocate in the marriage equality movement. In 2004 my book Why You Should Give a Damn About Gay Marriage was published. I have appeared in dozens of documentaries, Newsweek magazine, USA Today, CNN, the San Francisco Chronicle, L.A. Times, the Oregonian, and several other mainstream newspapers throughout the United States and Europe. I have shared the stage with comedian Margaret Cho, civil rights leader Dolores Huerta, Senator Mark Leno, and celebrities Cloris Leachman, Dustin Lance Black, and Armistead Maupin. I’ve received numerous awards for public speaking and leadership including; the Saints Alive Award and San Francisco LGBT Pride Community Grand Marshal.

My second book Love Warriors: The rise of the marriage equality movement and why it will prevail was published in 2009. Post-prop 8, I created the How to Come Out Of the Closet and Into Your Power audio programs addressing coming out and living an authentic life for LGBT.

My new 90 day program, Follow Your Courageous Heart, helps people connect to their authentic essence and a courageous community so they can transform their lives and start living a life of their dreams. This program is based on my years of coaching and counseling clients one on one to move beyond fear and find fulfillment by designing a life guided by their true heart’s desires. This program shows you how to tap into your truth, guides you through the challenges, and helps you create a life that is meaningful and in alignment with your heart’s calling and your soul’s longings.

I also lead meditation, visioning, and past life regression workshops at the Salt Studio in Pasadena.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I gave notice at my prison psychologist job in September 2008, the next day they announced the recession. I could have chosen to stay; however, my heart was calling me to create a full-time practice doing what I’m doing now. So I leapt. My upcoming book, Follow Your Courageous Heart-Be Your Own Hero, discusses the process of change and transformation and how to deal with struggles. I share my own challenges around that in the book and the strategies I used to get through slow times and seeming disappointments and delays. Following my divorce, in 2012, I relocated from the San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles and started my practice anew. I experienced challenges as I rebuilt my practice in an entirely new city, with a very different clientele. Again, I used the strategies I taught my clients to keep focused on my goals, keep my spirits up, and take the action I needed to take to recreate a thriving private practice. When we are making transformational change in our lives we have to focus on our psychology to keep our heads in the game, we need support, a good coach, to find our tribe. Taking leaps in our lives is more effective when we have a strategy to get us through the free fall. I’ve been through this several times and I love helping my clients be a bigger, better, braver version of themselves. I love supporting people in stretching and reaching their dreams that they previously thought were out of reach.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Davina Kotulski, Ph.D. Life Coach and Psychotherapist – what should we know?
People call me the Courage Whisperer. Check out my Yelp reviews. I’m known for being tough and tender. I help people find their courage, light their fire, and go after and live their dreams. And I do it all with lots of love and support. Clients know I have their back.

My Follow Your Courageous Heart-Be Your Own Hero programs helping my clients be a bigger, better, braver version of themselves.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I believe that good coaches and therapists are always growing too. I’ve had so many amazing mentors. I had a great coach, Margie Gordillo and a wonderful friend and mentor, Rev. Joan Steadman. Like many people, I learned a lot from Tony Robbins, Oprah, Wayne Dyer, Eckhart Tolle, Michael Beckwith, Mike Dooley, Deepak Chopra, and other inspirational speakers.

I love reading autobiographies by successful people and how they dealt with life’s challenges. I just finished one by comedian Carol Burnnett, I also love reading spiritual self-empowerment books and books on spiritual mysticism. The Surrender Experiment, by Michael Sanger, blew my mind. I’ve also read the classics like Think and Grown Rich, Napolean Hill, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie. I think it’s important to connect with other inspirational writers and individuals alive or dead. They can become a part of your inner circle.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has been a huge mentor in my life. I’ve read all of his books. He was a spiritual leader and transformational life coach on a global level. We can learn so much about how to be courageous and loving in our everyday lives from his work.

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Image Credit:
Blake Gardener

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