My relational approach to therapy is to help you change your relationship to suffering by holding yourself and your experiences with kindness and increasing your awareness of the choices in your life.

Pleasure and pain are not optional. Suffering is.

When we work together, I am most interested in what you want from therapy and how our connection can help you uncover and fulfill these important needs. In other words, we want to bring whatever is currently unconscious or at the edge of your consciousness into the full light of consciousness so you can have a more intimate and mindful relationship with yourself and others. This takes time and compassionate intention as we build trust, get to the root of things, and look deeply at relational patterns in and out of therapy, working together toward freedom from conditioning.

What you will notice right from our initial correspondence is that I have a warm personality and care about what is happening in your life. In addition to my in-depth study and expertise in psychotherapy, I am a down-to-earth and compassionate companion in helping you change your relationship to suffering.

I use whatever works in my vast toolbox to help you, but lean most on these relational approaches that support freedom from conditioning:

Psychodynamic Therapy helps people uncover unconscious motivations and relational patterns developed in early childhood to gain insight into present-day challenges such as emotional distress and relationship problems. By unpacking these unconscious patterns and making them more conscious, patients have the opportunity to understand their relationship to thoughts, emotions, desires, and fears and make the changes necessary to live a connected, empowered life.

Neurobiologically-Informed Trauma Treatment includes research from modern science and contemplative mindfulness practices to strengthen the neuroplatform, regain stabilization, and create positive mind states in trauma survivors who suffer from difficult relational experiences, anxiety, depression, mood swings, and a history of unsuccessful treatment.

Buddhist Psychology helps people inquire into bodily sensations, emotions, and thoughts in a way that is complementary to Western Psychology. It explores the nature of consciousness, the causes of suffering, and how to be free from suffering. We learn to hold all that arises with kind attention, which is a deep process of recognizing what is going on inside and allowing it to be just as it is. This gives you space to really investigate what is going on until you fully understand what you need and when you know, we hold that need with tenderness. And if, for some reason, you don’t know what you need, we will also hold that with just as much care. With this kind attention, we create spaciousness for your inner wisdom to come into the foreground and awareness to naturally unfold and expand.

Mindfulness-Based Therapy is grounded in mindfulness. Mindfulness has two wings: compassion and moment-to-moment awareness. In this approach, we intentionally slow things down and pay kind attention to the unfolding experiences happening in the body, mind, heart, and energy as we explore what is happening in your life and relationships. We use this information to create more spaciousness around difficult emotions and transform the conditioning and habitual patterns that cause suffering. 

Transpersonal Psychotherapy / Non-Dual Awareness Counseling is based on the realization of who we are, rather than who we think we are or the roles we play. In this approach, realization is not a distant goal that only a few can attain, but our most natural state. Rather than focusing on the body-mind’s stories or attempting to change the psychological mind, this counseling amplifies awareness of the truth of who we are. It is appropriate for those already aware of the psychological and emotional patterns that revolve around constructing the identity of the person and have developed the ability to mindfully observe. It is for those who are interested in letting go of these constructs and experiencing Awareness Itself.

Ecopsychology is an approach in which the well-being of human beings is considered to be intricately connected to the well-being of the earth and the whole web of life and, as a result, offers a ground for deeper exploration of human gifts and challenges. It is implied that healthy people maintain a respectful and sustainable relationship to the natural world and the people who inhabit it. It is also implied that without this sense of connection, suffering inevitably arises. Consistent with my psychospiritual approach, I practice ecopsychology with the intention to help you not only reconnect with the earth and universal energies, but to also become more present and aware of the source of creation.

Social Justice Lens. While it is not “an approach” per se, I inherently operate personally and professionally with a social justice lens which means that therapy cannot be separated from familial, societal, and religious conditioning we experience as unique beings on this planet. As a mixed-heritage lesbian from a working-class family, I appreciate the ways internalized oppression can show up in our efforts to attain mental and emotional health.

Please Note: Due to the nature of my work and the correlation between frequency and efficacy, I do not see patients less than once per week. 

I currently have openings in my private practice. You can contact me at 510-995-6499 or tamara@psychospiritualcounseling.net to schedule your first appointment. If you prefer to talk to me before setting up a session, you can schedule a complimentary 20-minute phone session to see if we are a fit. Either way, I’m looking forward to connecting with you.