All of us create patterns of behavior in our formative years to help us survive real and perceived dangers. While those patterns may well have been useful when we were children, there comes a time when we need to break free from them to develop a more alive and integrated sense of self. This process of growth and change can be disorienting and difficult to navigate alone. I would like to guide you through that journey.
I believe real change occurs through the collaborative, moment-to-moment interactions between therapist and client in a safe and compassionate space. In my practice, I draw upon aspects of family systems theory, attachment theory, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and existential theory among others.
Call for a free telephone consultation: (310) 508-5242
Contact Kathryn by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I grew up on a farm, the youngest of five children. In 1972 I earned my BA from Mills College in Northern California where I concentrated in Dramatic Arts and Psychology. I went on to study acting at The Neighborhood Playhouse in New York. For the next 35 years I supported myself as an actor. When I was in my mid forties, I experienced a kind of awakening. Within a period of two years, I gave birth to my daughter, sat with my father as he died, my marriage fell apart, and my career as an actor began to fade. The ground beneath me was no longer solid. None of the meanings I had assigned to my life made sense anymore. I became deeply depressed. I had a small child. I was a single mother. I could not afford to go down. I began intensive therapy and I found a teacher -- a Tibetan Buddhist teacher -- and began what has grown into a 25-year consistent, daily meditation practice. I have found that therapy and mindfulness practice have kept me balanced, and as I have grown older, have helped me to accept life more and more as it comes.
At sixty I went back to school earning my MA from Antioch LA. I was by far the oldest student in the school, older than most of my teachers. Starting over was not easy, but it was exhilarating to return to psychology and to find that this was where I belonged.My life as an actor and the knowledge I gained there about the human experience, my own journey through talk therapy and analysis, my experience as a parent and co-parent with my daughter’s father, and my mindfulness practice have influenced and enriched my work as a therapist.
Therapy is a collaborative art. If the therapist and client cannot form a strong alliance, growth and change are impossible. Paramount to creating this alliance is a safe, compassionate, non-judgmental environment. I work with the client to establish goals. And I encourage feedback all along the way. The work can and often needs to be intense but it does not have to exclude humor and ease in the room. We will explore family of origin learned, patterned behavior. We will also explore present moment-to-moment interactions. Our work will provide both support through difficult times and support for change and personal growth.
I work with individuals, couples, creative types, and those who are transitioning into older adulthood, aging with grace.
There is no single, right way of working with clients. We are all unique. And I encourage and celebrate that uniqueness. My approach to therapy is interpersonal. I draw upon aspects of family systems therapy, attachment theory, existential theory, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and gestalt therapy among others. But I believe real change occurs through the collaborative moment-to-moment interactions between therapist and client in a safe, compassionate space.
Most of my work with couples is based on the knowledge I have gained working with Stan Tatkin, Wired for Love, in his two-year intensive. Stan’s theory is based on early attachment theory, neurobiology, and arousal regulation.This approach involves learning about your own coping mechanisms as well as those of your partner. You will begin to understand that your partner’s behavior is, for the most part, not personal or meant to be hurtful. It is just learned, early survival conditioning. Our goal is to create a safe relationship environment in which change can occur for both partners, an environment in which you can turn toward each other for security and relief. Our sessions will be on average two therapeutic hours.
I supported myself as an actor for 35 years. I understand the conflict between having a meaningful life and a meaningful career. I also understand the sometimes-necessary connection between depression and creativity. My own experiences as well as my training as a therapist make me uniquely qualified to guide actors, writers, and other artists along this very personal journey.
I reinvented myself at the age of 60. It has not been easy and it has been incalculably rewarding. Growing older involves letting go and acceptance but it does not and must not involve giving up.
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Kathryn Harrold, LMFT
Santa Monica, CA