I see all experience as human experience, and I find that framing experience this way allows it to be normalized and seen through a non-pathologizing lens.  This orientation allows the therapist and client to see beyond the diagnosis or “problem” and fosters compassion for the human animal in each of us who strives to survive physically, emotionally, and spiritually in an environment that is at times harsh and overwhelming.

I also believe in the inherent health of that human animal and the naturalistic drive toward finding happiness and balance. Because of that, I apply an organismic perspective when working with people as a way to rekindle their trust in themselves and their lives: Any simple organism instinctively knows what its functions are and how to get its needs met, but if it were to be placed in an environment that was more complex and demanding than what it was originally designed for, it would exhibit stress-related symptoms.

Our world has become so fast-paced and complicated that it is increasingly difficult to get even our basic needs met, let alone those that are further up the hierarchy of needs. We may find that we are unable to identify exactly when we first noticed we had become lost or disconnected from the people and experiences that matter most to us. Rebuilding the human animal's capacity – our innate ability – to love and to trust is an essential process in our evolution.

From a holistic perspective, I am interested in understanding the non-linear process of how people are organized both biologically and psychologically. I am curious to learn how external experiences have shaped, shifted, and been woven into the internal experience of who individuals believe themselves to be at their core, how they understand themselves, their identity, and personality. I am interested in the way that nature and nurture have combined effects on people. I am especially drawn to exploring how personal stories have impacted people's capacity for connection to themselves and their relationships.

My work is client-centered and aims to help improve the quality of people's relationships both to themselves and with those in their life. Trauma is one of the ways by which our relationships can suffer leading to feelings of disconnect, powerlessness, and mistrust of our own instincts. Having learned that trauma causes both nervous system dysregulation as well as psychological pain, I employ a few different approaches to help clients restore their sense of connection and personal empowerment.

Somatic Experiencing®, Integral Somatic Psychotherapy, Organic Intelligence®, and the Neuro-Affective Relational Model™ (NARM™) are all body-oriented approaches that acknowledge and integrate the felt sense and physiology of the nervous system. At times, and if appropriate, these approaches may include physical touch, either with the client making contact with him/herself or with the therapist (myself) making contact with the client. This can be done seated, standing, or lying on a table, and I will never make contact without your consent and a thorough discussion beforehand. Many clients report feeling less anxious, more embodied, and more connected to themselves through the use of this kind of gentle, therapeutic touch.

A “top-down,” or a more cognitive focus on our thoughts, is just as important as working from the “bottom-up,” or the physiological, body-based aspect, of one's experience, because in order to grow and change one must become aware of the beliefs and identifcations one has with past experience that may be interfering with personal goals and intentions.

I like to say that I “speak nervous system” as a way to describe how I attempt to create safety, empathy, and rapport within the therapeutic relationship. Speaking the language of the nervous system is a way of noticing patterns of tension as well as expansion and ease, and using those nervous system states as indicators of what a client might be needing on a moment-to-moment basis. This work is not cathartic in the sense of digging deeply and quickly for fast, explosive change. I prefer to use a non-pathologizing lens, gentle reflection, attunement, titration, and orientation to build resiliency so that new insights and experiences can be contained and integrated without overwhelming one's nervous system or sense of integrity.

For more information about how I work, please contact me by phone at (831)689-7676.

I am happy to answer your questions prior to scheduling a session. You may also contact me via email at:

karenouse@santacruztraumatherapist.com.

Some theoretical models that inform my work:

Other perspectives that inform my work:

Other training and experiences that inform my work:

• Attachment Theory

• Family Systems

• Humanistic-Existential

• Integral Somatic Psychotherapy

• Jungian Psychoanalysis

• Narrative Therapy

• The Neuro-Affective Relational Model™ (NARM™)

• Object-Relations

• Organic Intelligence®

• Somatic Experiencing®

• Anatomy & Physiology

• Astrology

• Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy

• Ethology

• Holism

• Human Ecology

• The Occult

• The Enneagram

• Complete training and certification as a Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapist

• Over 20 years of study in professional ballet and other dance and performing arts

• Tribal member of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria (Coast Miwok)