Helen Coons PhD, ABPP
Clinical Health Psychologist, University of Colorado School of Medicine
- Provides engaging presentations on diverse psychology topics using her longstanding professional work, personal breast cancer experience, and motivational style.
- President and clinical director for Health Psychology Solutions in Denver and Boulder, Colorado.
Connect with Dr. Coons
Helen L. Coons, PhD, ABPP is a board-certified clinical health psychologist who has worked with women with cancer, oncology health care teams and the cancer advocacy community for over 25 years. She routinely provides care to women across the life span with early and advanced breast, gynecologic and other cancer diagnoses as well as women at “high risk” for cancer and their caregivers.
Dr. Coons brings her longstanding professional work with women with cancer, her personal journey with breast cancer, and her motivational style to her engaging presentations. She is a dynamic speaker known for her interactive presentations to diverse local, national, and international audiences of healthcare providers and women with cancer.
A highly experienced content expert on psychosocial oncology for print and online media, Dr. Coons also consults on psychosocial oncology care and patient resources as a member of LBBC’s Medical Advisory Board, and served on the advisory committee for an advanced breast cancer survey for Novartis’ oncology division as well as the Institute of Medicine panel on services needs for women with breast cancer. Dr. Coons is the president and clinical director of Health Psychology Solutions, in Denver and Boulder, Colorado, and is a faculty member in the department of psychiatry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
Many women confuse self-care with being selfish – that somehow taking care of ourselves is self-involvement or a selfish act instead of a self-respectful act. When women take care of themselves in all aspects of their lives, they actually have more energy, more reserve, and depth to take care of others at home, at work, and in their community.
Experience & Accolades
- University of Colorado School of Medicine
- Clinical Director, Women’s Behavioral Health and Wellness Service Line, 2019-Present
- Professor, Department of Psychiatry, 2017-Present
- Health Psychology Solutions
- President and Clinical Director, 2016-Present
- Women’s Mental Health Associates
- President and Clinical Director, 2000-2014
- Health Federation of Philadelphia
- Director of Evaluation and Program Manager, 1994-2000
Awards and Distinctions
- American Psychological Association Division of Psychologists in Independent Practice, Psychologist of the Year Award
- American Psychological Association Leadership Institute for Women in Psychology Executive Committee Honor as Founding Chair
- American Psychological Association Committee on Women in Psychology Distinguished Contributions for Women in Psychology Award to the Leadership Institute for Women in Psychology Executive Committee
- Temple University League of Entrepreneurial Women Hall of Fame
- American Psychological Association Presidential Citation
- Pennsylvania Psychological Association, Psychology in the Media Award
- American Psychological Foundation and Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association Timothy B. Jeffrey Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to Clinical Health Psychology
- American Psychological Association Committee on Women in Psychology 2001 Emerging Leader for Women in Psychology Award
- Sexual health after a breast cancer diagnosis in young women: clinical implications for patients and providers. Marsh S, Borges VF, Coons HL, et al.
- Technological and medical advances: implications for health psychology. Saab PG, McCalla JR, Coons HL, et al.
- Nonbiologic factors that impact management in women with urinary incontinence: review of the literature and findings from a National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases workshop. Norton JM, Dodson JL, Newman DK, et al.
In the Media
Talking with your partner about sex
Breast cancer can have physical and emotional impacts on your sexual life. Communication is key to keeping relationships strong, but it’s not always easy to start a conversation about sex. Here our community offers some tips to get the dialogue started.
How ending treatment may impact your emotions
When initial treatment ends, you and your caregivers may feel relief that you’ve made it through all the appointments, medicines, and physical demands of breast cancer. You might also feel adrift or lost because you’re not seeing your providers as often.
Seeing a professional
Talking with a professional who understands the emotional impact of breast cancer can help at any time. Look for someone you trust and feel comfortable talking to.
Maintaining sexual life
Whether you are married, partnered or single, a breast cancer diagnosis does not mean an end to a rewarding sexual life. While your life may undergo readjustment, the insight you gained from the experience of breast cancer may enrich your relationships and restore a joyous sense of your body.
Talking with your healthcare team about sex
Your healthcare team is focused on treating the cancer, but they can also address quality of life issues, including sex. Many providers are sensitive to this issue and want to help you if you have concerns or issues.