In 2015 Tara opened Athena Counseling, her private practice in Santa Rosa, CA where she treats a range of mental health and relational problems with specialties in sexual abuse, trauma, and rape crisis, and anxiety disorders. Her approach builds on a genuinely caring and authentic therapeutic relationship and combines the best of current evidenced based practices and effective approaches such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Internal Family Systems, and EMDR. Her approach is collaborative, friendly, and empowering.
Tara received her B.A. in Deaf Studies with a minor in Human Sexuality from California State University, Northridge in 2007 and her M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University Santa Barbara in 2011. Her early volunteer work with trauma survivors inspired her to pursue the formal training of a license in Marriage and Family Therapy. She received her clinical training at the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center (SBRCC), where she provided crisis interventions as the lead weekend responder to the 24 hr crisis hotline and as a California appointed advocate on the Sexual Assault Response Team, accompanying survivors and their families through the forensic exam process (also known as a rape kit) after an assault. At SBRCC she also ran support groups and ongoing individual therapy for survivors and families. Post graduation she was invited to assume the position of Program Coordinator for the Masters of Art in Clinical Psychology program after serving as student assistant to the position for two years.
In 2012 she relocated to the Bay Area and began training with Almaden Valley Counseling Service, a community based counseling center in San Jose, CA. The program emphasized school-based counseling and she worked with teens on a high school campus helping them manage anxiety, depression, academic stress, and personal conflicts. She also provided individual and family therapy in a community clinic setting, focusing on cases of childhood trauma and anxiety. She was hired to serve on administrative staff as the Intake Coordinator where she helped hundreds of people connect to therapists and services suited to their needs.
Beyond being a therapist, Tara is an avid fiber artists and life long learner. She’s is always reading 5 books at once in a feeble attempt to absorb new knowledge as fast as it’s published. A list of her favorite books are included on the references page. She has personal experience living with an anxiety disorder and is passionate about helping other people reduce their stress and learn how to surf through fear towards their goals. She successfully cured herself of a phobia of phone calls through exposure therapy and continues to search and practice new techniques as evidence emerges in the fields of neuroscience, psychology, and biology.
Certifications and Advanced Training:
Sex Therapy (in progress) California Institute of Integral Studies
California Certified Sexual Assault Counselor Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center
EMDR Basic Training EMDR Education and Training Center
Foundations of the IFS Model Richard Schwartz, Pamela Krause, Toni Herbine-Blank
California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT)
Redwood Empire chapter of California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (RECAMFT) – President 2020
American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT)
American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT)
Bay Area Open Minds (BAOM)
National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF)