Patty Hlava, Ph.D.

Dr. Patty Hlava is a Personal Transformation Guide dedicated to helping you find your power, heal your wounds, and own your life.

About Patty:

Patty specializes in guiding individuals to find their power, heal their wounds, and own their lives. 

She is a personal transformation guide and self-empowerment coach; a professional with a deep love of learning, balanced with a playful side. She works with people who have been isolated or shamed for being who they are, helping them experience deep connection and belonging in their body, in nature, and with others in the world.


In 2017, she co-created AwakenPeace Healing, where she helps people live meaningful lives and unveil the best versions of themselves through her group coaching program, online courses, and public workshops and events.  


In 2018, she retired from her clinical psychotherapy practice to develop Awaken, her signature program within AwakenPeace Healing. As a Certified Yoga Health Coach, ICDS Intrinsic coach™, meditation instructor, Ayurveda Wellness Counselor, and registered yoga teacher, Patty is an expert in guiding individuals toward sustainable changes for mind, body, and spirit—the habits that lead to deep connection and authentic living. 


She holds a Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology and has over 7 years of experience teaching graduate level psychology in University settings. Dr. Hlava has been involved in research and teaching on the subject of gratitude since 2006. Her research has been published in the International Journal of Transpersonal Psychology and Journal of Humanistic Psychology, as well as in several books. 

Having extensively studied psychology, ayurveda, yoga, and behavior science, her work has evolved into a very mindful and science-based approach that reflects her love of nature, integrated healing, and personal growth.


  • Ph.D., Psychology

  • M.A., Marriage and Family Therapy

  • B.A., Fine Art

  • Certified Yoga Health Coach

  • Certified Level 1 Ayurveda Wellness Counselor

  • Certified Meditation Instructor

  • Certified ICDS Intrinsic Coach

  • Registered Yoga Teacher 

  • Certified Reiki Practitioner

Additional Training:

  • Ayurveda of Relationships

  • The Four Desires

  • ParaYoga Nidra 

  • Restorative Yoga Teacher Training

  • Yin Yoga Teacher Training

  • LifeForce Yoga for Mood Management

  • Yoga & Psychology Integration Training

  • Healing Touch, Level 1 and Level 2


  • Elfers, J. & Hlava, P. (2017). The spectrum of gratitude experience. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan

  • Hlava, P., Elfers, J., & Offringa, R. (2014). A transcendent view of gratitude: The transpersonal gratitude scale. International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 33(1), 1-14.

  • Hlava, P. & Elfers, J. (2014). The lived experience of gratitude. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 54(4), 434-455.

  • Hlava, P. (2011). Cultivating gratitude. Minneapolis, MN: Mill City Publishing.

  • Hlava, P. (2011). Living gratitude Minneapolis, MN: Mill City Publishing.

  • Hlava, P. (2008). Exploring the lived experience of gratitude in couple relationships. (Doctorate in Psychology Dissertation), Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Proquest

Professional Experiences:

  • Private Practice Psychotherapy: 10 years

  • Adjunct Faculty, Graduate Level University: 9 years

  • Dual Board-Approved Clinical Supervisor: 7 years

  • Department of Corrections Behavioral Analyst: 2 years

  • Licensed Mental Health Professional (LMFT): 15 years

  • Co-host of the Living Happiness Radio Show: 2 years

My Story:

I grew up in a state of isolation.


My parents were immigrants, who spoke broken English with very heavy, Eastern European accents. I was the first in my family born in the U.S., which created a sense of separation from my parents and much-older siblings. I had no accent, I had no memory of “back home”. This feeling of separation was even more pronounced when visiting the Czech Republic and meeting my extended family for the first time at the age of nine. Being with family was not a source of empowerment and support, but rather an experience of highlighting difference. 


I spent most of my life being the “odd one out,” feeling like I didn’t belong anywhere.


Just like most of us, I inherited my view of the world from my family system. I watched my parents navigate the world: My mom, fearful and anxious, always worried about appearances: hers and mine. Living her own isolated experience an ocean away from her support system was not easy for her. My dad was bold, aggressive, and confident: working multiple jobs until he started his own business in welding. Both communicated the message that the world was not safe, and if you weren’t careful, you would be somehow eaten alive. Living was a game of survival. 


I seldom saw my parents interact with other people outside of my dad’s welding shop.  The rules were clear:

  • Perform well

  • Keep to yourself 

  • Work hard—learn everything you can

  • Your problems are your own

  • Don’t trust anyone


These fear-based rules were projected onto the landscape of my developing worldview. I internalized the messages, and lost myself—and my voice—in the process. 


The experience that I had as I moved through school and my adventures in the world of competitive figure skating in the 1980s, further supported the messages that I received at home. I found comfort in quiet, meditative aspects of being on the ice, paired with paralyzing anxiety when faced with the more vulnerable and expressive elements of choreography. 


My body and mind were conditioned to believe: The world is dangerous. Keep yourself safe—at all costs. Do not let anyone know how you feel. Do not ask for help or support. This living of life among people is a dangerous venture.


I was bullied, teased, excluded, and shamed both in school and at the skating rinks where I trained. The world seemed to echo the message: your acceptance is based on your performance. I excelled in school, I competed well in skating, and I was consistent. I was the reliable one. I was also socially isolated and lonely. I experienced depression and periodic waves of anxiety. Living in the world of competitive figure skating throughout adolescence also fostered a deeply conflicted relationship with food and with my body. Despite the outside appearance of being a “successful” and “good kid”, I felt powerless, alone, and afraid. 


Holding on to these feelings led to a collection of numbing habits including smoking (up to 2 packs a day!), drinking, shopping, and excessive television watching. Eventually, this grew into a busyness addiction, workaholism, and a pattern of perfectionism, creating greater feelings of isolation. If I wasn’t working, I felt guilty and ashamed. It was as if I needed to be working and producing to have value, or to belong somewhere. 


After holding on to the pain, and masking it with pacifying behaviors, disease started to manifest in my tissues. Over time I developed chronic, low-grade health issues. 


My body was starting to speak to me. 


I experienced multiple sinus infections every year. My weight jumped up and down, as did my mood and energy. My digestion struggled as I started to experience more and more food intolerances. I experienced back pain so severe that most mornings I couldn’t get out of bed without crawling prior to standing. 


The worse I felt, the more I worked. Feeling desperate and lost, I managed the only way I knew how: I dove into productivity. I worked multiple jobs, went back to school, and ultimately got a Ph.D. in psychology. I kept pushing on, achieving more—and feeling more isolated. Despite all of these things, it still felt like I didn’t belong anywhere. As each day went by, I felt less and less connected to my own body and life. 


Despite seeing medical professionals and healing practitioners from every possible modality: internists, allergists, ENTs, psychologists, acupuncturists, nutritionists, homeopaths, massage therapists, energy healers, and anyone else I could find, nothing helped. I still couldn’t breathe well, was still experiencing recurrent sinus infections, my back hurt daily, and new symptoms kept appearing.


I felt powerless, isolated, and broken—until I one day I had had enough.


A part of me knew there had to be more than this. 


I chose to take control of my health—and my life.


Instead of relying on others as a source of confidence, safety, and validation, I chose to turn to the one person that I had been ignoring from the beginning: myself. 


I began to let go of my past and started to consider what it might be like to feel differently. To feel connected—to belong somewhere. I started to get curious. 


Through a friend, I learned about Ayurveda—and ancient system of preventative medicine. As Iearned more about the principles of Ayurveda and yoga, I learned how to befriend my mind, my body, and spirit, which offered a new experience of connection and belonging. Over time, my habits changed. My identity began to evolve, and I began to experience the world—and myself in it—in a very different way. 


I overcame the sinus challenges—without medication. My back seemed to spontaneously heal, and my weight stabilized—as did my mood and energy. A surprising side effect of my healing path included learning how to have a loving relationship with food, with my body, with movement, and with other human beings! 


The journey was not an easy one, but it is one that I deeply cherish.


  • I know what it’s like to feel like you will never fit in or belong anywhere.

  • I know what it’s like to believe that your worth is based on your performance.

  • I know what it’s like to not trust your body—or your intuition.


  • I also know how to break free of these limiting mindsets and isolating experiences.


My personal experiences, research, education, and training have offered me a breadth of knowledge when it comes to overcoming personal challenges, changing habits in mind and body, making connections, and discovering your true voice in the world. The gifts in my history are now a source of empowerment—and your can be too. 


I have been there, and I am dedicated to helping others experience deep connection, gratitude, and belonging.


While I’ve helped people work through a variety of struggles, I specialize in helping people find their power, heal their wounds, and own their lives. I help people awaken peace in their lives by living a life that is in alignment with who they really are.


I know what it’s like to spend years searching for answers and to be repeatedly disappointed and dismissed. I know what it’s like to be confused and overwhelmed by all of the information and promises about how to heal, connect, and experience joy. 


I am here to guide you into your power, your wisdom, and your natural state of deep connection and ease.