Tara at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, CA
If you let cloudy water settle, it will become clear. If you let your upset mind settle, your course will also become clear.
I believe that there is something intuitively and fundamentally alive within each of us. In order for our aliveness to blossom, we need an other to hold space to allow those gifts to emerge: your potential for aliveness, creativity, and joy. Too many people have never felt held in ‘safe space’ by an other; therapy offers a safe space to be held and seen without expectation.
The ‘About Tara’ page is the backstage area of the website. I know there’s a lot here. Don’t feel obligated to read anything that doesn’t interest you. I’ve included a lot to address the diversity of people, issues and philosophies I work with.
On this page you’ll find my philosophy about therapy as well as my therapeutic background, training, and influences as an integrative therapist. There’s a brief resume (that mostly skips over my career in theatre, entertainment, television, and film), samples of my writing, including abstracts of presentations I’ve given or am scheduled to give at conferences, and what informs my commitment to being an inclusive therapist.
I approach both life and work in the belief that life is best lived integrated, guided by the concept of Kaizen.
We may never reach complete integration and wholeness, but as finite, limited, imperfect, sensitive, and creative beings we strive toward wholeness and healing through compassion and integration.
Life Challenges Us
In many people’s lived experiences, life is "too much"...often too much of the time.
You may feel conflicted; there’s a feeling that if you choose yourself, you must be hurting someone else, or you’ll be abandoned, bad, unwanted, or judged in some way. Childhood scars and trauma can make you wonder if you’re crazy (or worse, you’ve been told you are). Or you may wonder why you're no longer able to give endlessly, or are longing for sanity, stability, safety, peace, and creativity.
Disconnection creates addiction, hierarchies, marginalization, isolation, violence, and devalues life and lived experiences. Human disconnection from nature has caused instability and legacies of trauma within individuals, families, communities, cultures, species, and globally. Integration work addresses conflicts, overwhelm, helplessness, stuckness, and the fear of or desire for control while nourishing reconnection with what matters, and establishing processes of repair.
Ensô, Torei (1721-92), ink on paper
*s/Self is a modern representation C.G. Jung’s archetypal use of language, in which self with a lower case ‘s’ refers to the personal identity, and Self with a capital ‘S’ refers the more than personal, archetypal/Transpersonal/
Collective/Cosmic/All-that-is/and or Divine Self. When you see s/Self, this refers to both the personal self and the "larger" Self.
-Lionel Corbett, 2018, Psyche and the Sacred Lecture, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Carpinteria, CA
An early mandala by Jung, called Systema munditotius (the system of all worlds)
In a patient-centered approach, I help patients grow into their goals. As you shift, see, and grow differently, around and around in your self, you’re supported to explore senses of purpose, identity, experience, and meaning-making, to allow discovery of different aspects of self, your energies naturally become more congruent, converging into an experience of s/Self-synchrony*, harmony, and holistic integration.
I attune to whole person synchrony by creating an emotional container that allows you to feel understood. Together, you’ll begin to frame, make sense of experiences, and restore an inborn sense of relationship with the natural world. There are many intersections of integration "between"—parts of self; self and world/Cosmos; with other individuals and collectives; past, present, and future; multiple generations of ancestors and familial culture, loss/deprivation of ancestral connection and culture, and intergenerational and historical trauma; of the phases of life, transitions, dreams; loss, forgiveness, and acceptance; and numinous experiences.
Integrative depth psychology combines various backgrounds. I bring approaches together that resonate with the needs of patients. At times this has included somatic, attachment-focused, relational, compassionate communication, Jungian, Relational, Dreamwork, earth-based wisdom traditions, spiritual, subtle energy, and restorative practices: decolonization-Liberation, Ecological, social justice, and recovering the wounded feminine and wounded masculine within all genders.
Inclusivity and Social Justice
In sessions and in the world, my work reflects my commitments as an antiracist, ally and activist in social and ecological justice, to decolonization-liberation, universal patient and human rights, integrating and listening to extraordinary-numinous experience, and compassionate approaches to suffering. I attempt to bring reflexivity to my sense of identity and into inhabiting my therapeutic work. I’m a neurodivergent cisgendered ‘tom boy’ female descendent of generations of European colonists (who perceived the world and other Peoples as dangerous threats to be dominated and destroyed), and I cherish the teachings of the occupied native lands I was born to.
I’m proud to have been accepted as an Inclusive Therapist. To view my application to Inclusive Therapists, and read more about my perspective on racial justice, gender and sexuality justice, disability justice and neurodiversity, please click here.
I believe racial justice, decolonizing systems and care, gender and identity justice, human rights,
and eco-justice are all intrinsically, intersectionally linked.
Any idea or value which allows us to
teach or tolerate blindness to the aliveness in ourselves, others, and the world (as described by
Robin Wall Kimmerer as a ‘language of animacy’ in Braiding Sweetgrass) fails to address oppression.
One interesting place (of many) to engage with social justice allyship and activism is Reverend Angel Kyodo William’s work on Liberation and radical dharma.
For more information on Universal and International Human Rights, see University of Minnesota’s Human Rights Library.
More specifically, for the intersection of Health and Human Rights, see Vernellia R. Randall’s website (2010) Institute on Race, Health Care and the Law at The University of Dayton School of Law, and the World Health Organization (WHO) page on Health and Human Rights (2017).
For an antiracist approach to patient care see resources, paper by Legha & Miranda, 2020, An Anti-Racist Approach to Achieving Mental Health Equity in Clinical Care, Psychiatr Clin N Am 43 (2020) 451–469 (especially pp. 451-452, the tables, and p. 465).
Presented in 2022 to the International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis. This presentation is an exploration of ways to hold and engage with intense somatic processes. To view the abstract for this presentation, please click here. To view works relevant to this presentation, please click here.
Submitted in 2018 to Betsy Perluss, this work integrates autobiography and exemplifies Tara's writing and thinking about what nature is and the role it plays our lives and in the practice of psychotherapy.
The natural world and our environment is an often-overlooked element of human health and well-being. I believe many traditional wisdom lineages have emphasized that humans cannot be healthy and whole if they lose right relationship with their natural world.
This is a handout from a workshop co-presented with Devin Nogaki in Altadena, CA, is example of early work that demonstrates my way of working with and thinking about pain and dis-ease in the body. It provides a practical response to migraines, chronic pain, anxiety, etc.
So what can you do, with an aura chasing you down? Go to where you feel the awareness of it, and ask, "is this the beginning"? And if it says "yes," great. If it says no, ask where the beginning is.
Proposal for presentation at Association for Transpersonal Psychology's conference in April of 2019 in Pacific Grove, CA.
Proposal for presentation at the 2019 Art & Psyche conference themed The Illuminated Imagination taking place in Santa Barbara, CA.
My certifications: I hold/ am an MA, MFA, C.CHt., LMFT. I’m currently in the dissertation phase of Ph. D. studies in Integrative Therapies in Depth Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute. In addition to my work as a licensed psychotherapist I’ve been in practice as a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist since 2008. For those interested working with me in my hypnotherapy and meditation practice, please visit Spiral Centric. In previous careers I supported mothers, babies, and families as a birth and postpartum hypno-doula; and after earning an MFA, I worked and taught in the performing arts and entertainment for 20 yrs.
I specialize with creative and sensitive patients who identify as or who’ve experience(d) neurodivergence; childhood, complex, and attachment trauma; LGBTQIA; multi-racial; stroke survivors; alternative sexuality; and polyamorous patients. I’ve been leading groups since 2008 in NVC, Dreamwork, Meditation, and Women’s Processing.
Training & Affiliation
My integrative depth psychological approach grew from studies at Pacifica and the the tutelage of Lionel Corbett MD, and Kristi Walsh PhD LMFT, Steven Frank, PhD, and also Allen Koehn DDiv LMFT, Allen Bishop PhD, Juliet Rohde-Brown PhD, Fanny Brewster PhD MFA. I studied approaches to understanding dreams using traditional Jungian, Archetypal, Alchemical, American Indian teachings, and non-dual approaches. My dreamwork approach is based in studying the work of Lionel Corbett MD, Stephen Aizenstat PhD, and Donald Kalsched PhD. Tara is a member of CAMFT, an AAMFT Clinical Fellow, and an associate member of Sandplay Therapists of America.