Tuesday, April 29, 2014


I live on Bruny Island, off the Southern Coast of Tasmania, and am retired after 30 odd years in private practice - increasingly couples work as the years progressed. I have just been writing (on my blog) about how your 1977 article on  interlocking rackets (couples' conflict) was my first introduction to the construct of cycles of negative interaction and how your model provided a foundation from which my thinking and practice developed over the succeeding years. So I thought I would write and tell you, and say thanks. John Barnaby

Monday, March 3, 2014

It has been 581 days without drinking! My life looks better than I thought it would. I am so thankful for you and for the life you showed me was possible. You truly changed the way I look at (and interact with) the world. I am beyond grateful! N.D.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


I've been to at least 3  therapists before I found you, Mike, and I'm so glad I did. The previous 3 therapists didn't correctly diagnose my ex's condition, even after several months. You did so on the first session. You took out the DSM-IV and went through line by line until it sunk in that my ex did have a personality disorder, and that I made the right decision leaving the relationship of 7 years. You also helped me navigate subsequent relationships after. I now am in a sound relationship and feel more confident about the decisions I make about my romantic life. Occasionally, I refer to you as my "crystal ball", your wealth of life experience and insights helps guide me in making better decisions especially when I'm at the crossroads pondering my options. You're able to tell me what to expect if I take one path versus another and I am so glad I found you. I appreciate your recommendation for divorce lawyer, and the connection in Vietnam. I hope to keep you around for life ;).                                 T.A.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

From unsolicited email of former client:

" You, above all, should be kept informed of our progress, as it was you who brought Brian and me together. Our days are often long, complicated, and full of stress, with all the recent moves and emotional challenges. But, we remain committed to one another, and to the love that you helped us find. We count ourselves lucky every day, and hope you are too,"   A.E.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


I had the opportunity to read your paper "Three Decades in the Gay Community as a Straight Therapist"  Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services, Vol. 16, #2, Nov 2, 2004, for my social work foundation class at East Tennessee State University. I am so completely moved by you and your support of the gay community, especially during a time in our history when homosexuality was still considered a psychopathology and many gay therapists themselves were unable to come out of the closet and openly advertise themselves as a safe place for gays and lesbians to seek help. Your work with folks during the AIDS crisis is also admirable, and as someone who lost a number of friends in the mid 80's I can only imagine what that must have been like to facilitate support groups for this population.  I subsequently found your website and have to say, I love the way you present yourself with both warmth and strong boundaries, especially around the way you set up your fee scale."    10/23/2012

Beth E. Barber, MSW Intern, Graduate Student Success Specialist, School of Graduate Studies

EAST TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

(Part of an email to Mike - used with permission)

And you, Mike, will always be the person who saved my life (or helped me to save it myself).  I have never forgotten that, and was asking if you were still working, b/c I am still running across some very troubled young men that really could use your help, but I haven’t broken them down yet… So, I know I have said it many times.......Thank you...........I doubt I would have made it this far, if you had not been the therapist closest to my  house, that year I was holed up there in my bedroom (1990-1991).  I was 27 that year, and   I am thrilled to be turning 50 in March. I wish you the best, in the rest of your career, and your eventual retirement.  This will be a huge loss for a lot of people.”     S. P.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

(Part of an email sent to Mike)

You assured me and talked me down through all of those years and it all bore fruit in the nicest way this year. So I wanted to share these photos with you. They are in good measure thanks to the wonderful work you did with me and its not only something I'll never forget but it also changed my life.   B.G.

Monday, September 5, 2011

(Part of email to Mike)

None of this would have ever been possible without you. If you ever doubt the value of your life's work, will you please re-read this e-mail because the impact you have had on me and my family is just incredible. If their is a heaven there is a special golden chair reserved there for you. It humbles me deeply. All the gratitude in the Universe wouldn't be enough to thank you. I am now inspired to start the draft of a book on our family. I feel complete as a man who embraces all parts of himself fully. This creates a power in the soul that is hard to explain or comprehend. Ben G.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mike, I would like to thank you for your help and support over the last two years. From our first meeting, I realized that you were more than willing to become actively engaged in my struggle to get through a very difficult time which was characterized by persistent self doubt and depression. As we spent more time together, I also came to appreciate your willingness to identify different treatment options and recommend the most effective approaches. Your advice and counsel have proven to be invaluable. Thank you! S.P.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

In order to be truly authentic I needed to acknowledge and accept myself as a gay, mixed race human being -- something that many members of American society despise. My therapist, Mike Holtby, someone I hold in the very highest regard, has brought me to that level of acceptance. My gratitude to Mike is truly endless.  B.G.
You saved my life, and helped me find a life I could live with. I am forever grateful, and always will be. I wish everyone could see you. I remember having fantasies of bringing both my sisters to your office, and saying: "help them to do what you helped me to do." So, a huge thank you is in order. Thank you for helping me find myself. Of course I still struggle with certain things, and always will, but I love and value the "me" I am today, the "me" I found in your group.    Steve P.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

I came out to my wife in the mid 80's (we were living near Colorado Springs), and was having many emotional difficulties. Then I was told about you. Thank you again for helping me so much; you introduced me to gay fathers' coalition, and helped me feel really positive about being gay. My former wife is my best friend, my parents, friends, and all family members totally accept me for who I am! I'm glad you have a website because I have wanted for years to tell you how much I appreciate what you did for me - over 20 years ago.
Sam

Thursday, June 12, 2008

We had another therapist who dismissed my boyfriend as a "narcissist", and told me to get rid of him. Mike was able to look beyond such a simplistic label, and help us work through our issues as a couple. We have since gotten married and become proud parents. Life is good!
Jennifer S.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

In all seriousness, your work with me probably saved my life. I really valued that time.
Matt T.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Before my wife and I were married, we had difficulty communicating with each other. Although we had a basic connection that was strong, there were times when we were ineffective in expressing ourselves. This was taking a heavy toll on our relationship. Mike helped us to quickly define our feelings for one another which helped lessen the anxiety in our relationship. With Mike's direction, we then began improving the different ways we communicated with one another. Our communication is the foundation for our relationship today. My wife and I have been together for more than seven years now. We are both sincerely thankful for Mike's help.
J.J.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Michael Holtby is a fantastic therapist. I went to him at a critical
juncture in my life when I was weighing the decision to have children
against some of my sensory related issues. He guided me expertly
through the thought process, and helped me deal with all of the
tangential issues that arose as a result. Ultimately I made the right
decision for me, and I wouldn't change it for the world. Thanks Mike!
MP

Monday, March 10, 2008

"I've sought help from Mike during several different phases of my life. He has been a pivotal force in my emotional and professional successes over the past 20 years. My work with him has reshaped how I see myself and my role in the world, especially in terms of my marriage and my work life. I can honestly say that without Mike Holtby's counsel I would not be where I am today."
Jeff

Friday, March 7, 2008

Some 12 years ago I found myself with a woman I loved, and wanted to keep! We began couples therapy as a growth move – and it was wonderfully so. We are now married, two beautiful children, and a wonderful, solid marriage. But Mike has been so much more than someone to settle disputes about sex, money and kids – he has helped me personally on a growth stretch that would be difficult to put in words.
Robert

Thursday, March 6, 2008

My first appointment with Mike was about 15 years ago. At the age of 29 I was court ordered to seek counseling. During that time and with Mike’s help and experience I was able to deal with issues I never would have admitted or knew how to handle on my own. After my court ordered "sentence" was complete I transitioned from a one-on-one session to a group counseling format that for me at the time was a very difficult thing to do. To talk about myself, my issues, and to be in a setting where I felt comfortable and safe to open up and really find out who I was. It’s because of that group, which lasted about a decade, and Mike’s ability to ask the right questions that I am who I am today. For me, counseling was something I never thought I needed or would benefit from – I was wrong. It’s one of the best things that I’ve ever done for myself and I owe that to Mike.
- Greg

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

"I have known Michael for almost 3 years, each time I visit him, my life is enriched with his wisdom. Through our therapy, I have found support and understanding from his expertise and compassion, as well as a deep friendship and professional relationship which never feels cool or sterile. His deep insight into the human psyche and his sense of humor makes our journey progressive and effective. I feel that my spiritual understanding of my life would not have grown in this direction if it were not for the hard work I have undertaken under Michael's guidance. I highly recommend Michael Holtby's service as a psychotherapist, he is well worth the time and the growth experienced can not be understated."
Tom G.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

It is without reservation that I recommend the therapeutic services of Mike Holtby. His experience and connection within the Denver community was critical for me as I was transitioning into a new personal relationship, as well as salvaging an old career in the arts. Mike's own art background was particularly helpful. Without Mike I might not have salvaged so completely! I am now at the precipice of a great adventure with a new family and an inspired feeling of wellness. I truly appreciate all the listening and advice.
-Charles P.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Hello Michael,
I had a strange impulse to check in with you this morning, not sure why, but I imagine it has to do with my current work around gratitude.

I wanted to thank you for all the time and care you put into treating my dreadful mental state a few years back, and wanted to remind you of how drastically your work can change someone's life. Just in case you ever forget.

Here's where your old patient is these days:
--I am still working full time in my business, making a very good living and working with truly extraordinary people who are trying to do some good in the world.
--I am also now a near-full-time student in the creative writing program at Metro State, and am working on crafting a customized degree that will help me to become a better nonfiction writer.
--Part-time, I help moderate an online discussion group for friends & family of substance abusers, most of whom are ACoAs like myself.
--I am happily married, physically healthy, irritatingly positive, and grateful for all I have.

This from a girl who, when you first met her, really didn't see a whole lot of value in herself or her life. I still use all the tools you taught me, and now I use them to help other people. Who'd've thought? Oh, that's right, YOU would've thought (smile)

Have a great day, Michael, and thanks again for all you do....for me, for everyone.
Margaret

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I’m a senior level executive who spent my life until age 35 in the closet, trying to be “straight”. When I finally had my first true relationship with a man, living together for 6 years I made several mistakes such as being codependent and afraid to commit to love and sadly ended up in Mike’s office searching for answers. Though I ended that relationship, thanks to working with Mike I experienced 7 years of tremendous growth as a gay man who now lives every day out, proud, confident and authentic. Mike made the process a very positive experience and basically changed the course of my life.

Now I have a partner who is warm, loving, caring and a lot of fun in addition to being the handsome and sexiest man I’ve ever known. If not for Mike, I would have never grown to the level where I could experience life like this and I highly recommend his services to anyone searching to grow into their best self. I believe that only when you reach that level will you attract someone of equal or better quality. There is a good reason why Mike is so much in demand in the gay community-its because he is highly skilled, honest, caring and has the highest level of integrity and ethics. Take the chance and call him and you will soon discover a bright new future following his guidance and advice.
Ben G.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

My story is: married man with kids ... who is gay. The fact that Mike is straight actually helped me. I wouldn't have seen a gay therapist as objective enough. And yet Mike is very knowledgeable about the gay community with lots of contacts and gay clients over many years. Mike helped me come out, come to terms with who I really am, and live a life consistent with that reality... without shame, self-recrimination, and regrets. The other side of the closet as an "out" gay man is really not as scarey, as stigmatizing, and ostracizing as I anticipated. Thanks Mike, I have now lived without a double life, and still have the acceptance of my family, workplace, and even my x-wife for several years. I am more at peace than ever before.
T.J.
I actually first came to see Mike under a court order after being arrested for soliciting an undercover cop. Once the diversion program was over we continued because I was compulsive about pornography on the internet, which had led to forays into the world of lap dancing, oriental massages and prostitutes. At first I tried another therapist, but it was Mike that really understood this obsession. The other one wasn't really comfortable with the subject. Mike helped me save my marriage, my job and my sanity; all things I had put at risk with my sex addiction. I have now been "sober" for three years, and my life is back on track.
One of the "Johns"
I started to see Mike during a very traumatic time in my life. My partner of 15 years had died a few years before and I was in a new relationship. It was the early 90’s so the meds that have positively impacted the lives of so many HIV+ people had not yet hit the scene. Several of my close friends were sick and in the process of dying. I was not in the best of health myself and was living on disability. My new partner was seeing Mike and when Mike learned about my situation he offered me a spot in one of his weekly HIV support groups. I joined the group and remained there for several years. Mike continually created a very safe and comfortable space for us to work through the many issues we all dealt with living with HIV, in addition to other life issues. He offered me tremendous support when my mother was dying. Mike is a very kind and compassionate individual and a great therapist.
John F.
I was referred to Mike Holtby by a friend who had been working with Mike. My friend knew I was searching for answers to balance my life and he told me Mike would be the therapist to help me work toward the path of success that I am on today. Mike is a warm, caring, thought provoking therapist, who will ask not only the hard questions but also the subtle questions that will cause you to search your soul and to start to develop life altering thoughts, patterns and goals to better your life. I found while working with Mike that I am now a much happier, successful person and I am equipped with the tools needed to live my best life now. Thank you Mike, for instilling the education and wisdom that I use in my life daily with those around me in helping them to be successful as well.
W.C.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I was recommended to Michael Holtby by a dear friend; I had just ended a relationship and hadn’t been close to my family for most of my life. I was feeling like I failed not only me, but everyone else. After the first few sessions I really didn’t think I was getting anywhere, I kept going; shortly there after I realized that I wasn’t feeling so bad and continued for about a year. Michael Holtby’s process kept me on track and made me realize why I was feeling the way I did and that I had the power to change it, and I did! I am closer than I have ever been with most of my immediate family and have a relationship I deserve.I can not express how much appreciation I have for you, Michael Holtby, Thanks!
Brent F.
While going through some personal addictions, a failing marriage, and a recent move to Colorado for graduate school, I found myself in quite a dilemma and needed someone to talk to. I had been to therapists before in the previous 10 years, but this time, I wanted someone who would really help me - beyond just "listening". I found that person in Mike Holtby. Mike offered a non-judgemental ear, frank honesty, and plenty of "out-of-the-box" suggestions to deal with each of my issues. We tackled them one at a time, one day at time. I was especially pleased with Mike's progress checks and the supplemental information and groups that he suggested to aid in my
recovery. It's been about 5 years now since I sought his help and I am now living a happy, well-adjusted, addiction-free life, and that's been the longest I have ever gone without seeking therapy. I am forever thankful for his approach and aid in helping me find my true love - myself.
Lynnell G
Michael Holtby is the best therapist I have ever gone to. Last year I had so many things going on in my life and in my head that I could not even complete a full thought before I moved on to the next and I was always frustrated. I had a very rough and complex year with many issues to deal with and new ones every day. I might add, the details of my life were not something I would share with anyone else and I felt completely comfortable with Mr. Holtby right away…..sharing everything.

He has helped me slow things down and sort the thoughts out and make wiser decisions towards my overall happiness. Mr. Holtby listens very intently to every word that I have to say and never misses a beat. He even remembers stuff that I have forgotten. He makes me feel very comfortable because I know he cares for my happiness and helps me figure out what it is that makes me happy.

The main thing is Mr. Holtby makes me feel safe and I know he is there each and every week for me no matter what.

If a friend or family member was having problems he would be the only one I would feel safe recommending hands down!
Laura C.
I can say, that you (Mike), were very supportive, kind, insightful and generous during what was one of the most dramatic therapy sessions of my life...life changing. I so appreciated being able to follow up with you and felt that you were sooooo "in my court"! Thank you so much Mike.
Amy T.