Aurisha Smolarski, MA, LMFT, PACT therapist
WHO AM I AND HOW DO I WORK
I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and have a clinical practice in Los Feliz, where I specialize in working with couples and individuals. I have 8 years of clinical experience working with people of diverse backgrounds, ethnicities and sexual orientation.
Having a background in music performance and education informs the way I work. The creative process that goes into making and performing music involves verbal and nonverbal, literal and non-literal communication to create connection. This intuitive process is very similar to the way I work as a therapist. Being curious and staying present with the client to honor what arises each session is where that connection and relationship begin. I work in a collaborative, active and transparent way and together we walk side by side down the path of discovery and exploration towards more positive possibilities. I believe that once awareness occurs, change begins.
Having the courage to work on one’s relationship can be powerful, deeply healing and perhaps one of the most loving actions one can do for a relationship. I specialize in working with couples and have advanced training in Couples Therapy, specifically in the Psychobiological Approach to Couple’s Therapy (PACT) model created by Stan Tatkin, PhD. PACT combines attachment theory, neurobiology, and affect regulation/nervous system arousal. The work is deeply gratifying as I see couples move quickly towards increased intimacy, deeper connection and a more secure functioning relationship.
In addition, I have been a guest presenter at San Diego State University introducing the PACT Couples Therapy Model to a Clinical Psychology Couples Therapy graduate class.
Trauma is an unhealed wound. I am an EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) Therapist. EMDR has been proven to be an effective way to help people process trauma, anxiety, panic, disturbing memories, and post traumatic stress. I also incorporate TRM (Trauma Resiliency Model) and Somatic Experiencing to develop tools to work through trauma using your own natural body responses and resources to help you get back in balance, and reconnect to your body, mind and spirit.
Working in the here-and-now, incorporating insight and utilizing Psychodynamic, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Attachment and Gestalt Theories, Narrative, Mindfulness and Sensorimotor form the undercurrents of the way I work. Mindfulness, sometimes referred to as body-mind connection, teaches you to observe how your thoughts, feelings, beliefs and attitudes impact physical sensation, automatic arousal and regulation and your overall sense of self. Through the tracking of physical sensations, incorporating grounding exercises, and implementing orienting exercises, you build awareness, competency, and develop a sense of empowerment. Sensorimotor therapy and exploration of past experiences can be highly effective in treating trauma, panic, anxiety, depression and physical pain. I have witnessed both personally and professionally the immediate positive impacts mindfulness and insight oriented work can have on creating deep awareness, healing, and effective coping mechanisms for stress and anxiety.
I am certified in Conflict Mediation and Facilitation and am trained in Non-Violent Communication and Non-Violent Parenting which enhance and enrich my work with couples, groups and families.
I create a compassionate, warm, and supportive space where the collaborative working relationship with clients can begin.
Education and Certificates:
Antioch University; Los Angeles, CA
M.A., Clinical Psychology, 2011
Berklee College of Music; Boston, MA
TRM Therapy – Trauma Resource Institute, 2019
EMDR Therapy- Institute of Creative Mindfulness, 2017
PACT Couples Therapist Level 1 Training, Certification of Completion in PACT training Level 1; Los Angeles, CA
PACT Couples Therapist Level II Training, Certification of Completion in PACT training Level 2; Los Angeles, CA
PACT Institute Los Angeles Coordinator
Certification in Mediation,Los Angeles Dispute Resolution Program,
Conflict Resolution and Facilitation; Office of the Los Angeles City Attorney, Los Angeles, CA
Asian Pacific American Dispute Resolution Center, Certification in Mediation; Los Angeles, CA
Group Psychotherapy Association of Los Angeles; Certification in Principles of Group Therapy; Los Angeles, CA
California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT)
Group Psychotherapy Association of Los Angeles (GPALA)
Aurisha Smolarski,LMFT 90391