I am Tara. I have been practicing out of Austin, Texas for several years, and recently moved back to my home, Portland, Oregon. I hold licenses in both states and provide Telehealth across the states of Oregon and Texas.
My Approach To Therapy
I believe the most important variable in successful therapy is the individual's feelings of trust and safety with the therapist. Therefore my first goal is to create a space where you feel comfortable to be yourself.
Once a safe space is created, we can begin to explore topics that can be difficult to explore without support and guidance of a trusted other who can offer feedback and insight on the patterns that keep us stuck. While we do the work of exploring hard topics, it is my job to keep the pace at a safe level, and bring in laughter, positivity, and reminders of all the strengths you as an individual hold.
I specialize in trauma therapy, sexual health and wellness, addiction, and couples therapy. I love what I do and I am always learning something new about the things I am passionate about.
In my free time you will find me hiking or skiing, reading, cooking something new, spending quality time with my partner or friends, or walking with our rescue dog Rilo (pictured above!), or getting cozy by the fire with our cat Tim.
I love working with folks who have experienced trauma, because I know there is hope for healing. The first and most important step in trauma work is establishing safety. Before going into trauma work, I ensure the individual has resources, or ways to cope with the memories that could arise. Then, we do the work of reprocessing the memory so we can update your brain to the present moment to ensure it knows the memory is over, and you are safe.
Some of the modalities I am trained in to support people in healing from trauma are somatic work (somatic is a fancy word for body), parts work, EMDR, and attachment. If you have questions about any of these I am happy to answer them on a consultation call.
Sexual Health & Wellness:
I have been trained to work with presenting concerns around sexual dysfunctions and wellness. I believe that pleasure is a human right, but all too often we are not taught how to access this. Sometimes, internalized messages around sex in our culture can make people feel that they are "dysfunctional", which can worsen sexual symptoms. I work with clients around topics such as low desire/low libido, pain during sex, erectile dysfunction, sexual trauma impacting current relationships, understanding and expressing needs, sexual fantasies, understanding sexual identities, and more. I enjoy doing this work both with adult individuals and couples.
I work with couples with various concerns. I work with a big variety of couples: married and unmarried, monogamous and polyamorous, couples who recently met and couples who have been together for decades, gay/straight/anywhere on the sexuality spectrum. Some of the topics that I support couples with are communication, addiction in the relationship (substances, porn, spending, etc), sex and intimacy concerns (differing desires and libido, etc), reestablishing intimacy, and future planning (financial, parenthood, etc). I work to bring in the things that do work within the couple to use as strengths to help cope during more challenging times. I use elements from attachment therapy, and use an emotionally focused lens.
I work with folks struggling with a dependence on a substance or thing (porn, spending, food, etc). I view dependence on things as a coping mechanism for some sort of distress that is arising. My goal is to support clients in identifying what the distress is telling them: maybe an unmet need, a desire that has not yet been fulfilled, or a truth not yet realized. The goal is to get the the root of what the addiction is trying cope with and to establish a life where the addiction of choice is not longer as powerful. I am comfortable working from a harm reduction lens, which means finding ways to manage use instead of cutting it out completely.
Education and Training
I got my undergrad degree at University of Oregon and got my Masters of Science in Social Work at UT Austin at the Steve Hicks School of Social work.
Sex Therapy Supervision with Dr. Shelley Imholte - Winter 2017-Summer 2020
Sex Addiction Training with Dr. David Ley- March 2021
Eros Institute, Sexual Trauma Trainings with Peter Levine and Kimberly Ann Johnson- November 2021
EMDR Training (EMDR Center Of the Rockies) - Winter 2021
Parts Of The Therapist Training (Trauma and Parts work) with Ilyse Kennedy - September 2021- August 2022
EMDR and IFS with Bruce Hersay - November 2022
When There Are No Words (Affective Circuit Resetting with EMDR) by Sandra Paulson - September 2023