Aurisha Smolarski, MA, LMFT, PACT
Who I am and how I work
I am a licensed marriage and family therapist and have a clinical practice in Los Feliz, CA, where I work with couples and individuals. I have more than a decade of clinical experience with people of diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, and sexual orientations.
Having a background in music performance and education informs the way I work. The creative process of making and performing music involves verbal and nonverbal, literal and nonliteral, communication to create connection. This intuitive process is also how I approach therapy. I work in a collaborative, active, and transparent way, and together we walk down the path of discovery. I believe that once awareness occurs, change can begin.
I specialize in Co-Parenting, using what I call “The six Cs of Co-parenting”: certainty, collaboration, consistency, clarity, consideration, and community. I have found that when co-parents follow these relationship principles, they create a safe haven for their kids, reducing the short- and long-term negative impacts of a separation.
I have advanced training in couples therapy, specifically the Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy (PACT)model created by Stan Tatkin, PhD. PACT combines attachment theory, neurobiology, and nervous system regulation. The work is deeply gratifying, as I see couples move quickly toward increased intimacy, deeper connection, and a more secure-functioning relationship. In addition, I have been a guest presenter at San Diego State University, introducing PACT to a Clinical Psychology Couples Therapy graduate class.
I am an EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) therapist. EMDR is a proven technique to help people process trauma, anxiety, panic, disturbing memories, and post-traumatic stress. I incorporate IFS (Internal Family Systems), TRM (Trauma Resiliency Model) and Somatic Experiencing to give you tools to work through trauma, using your own natural body responses and resources to get back in balance and reconnect with your body, mind, and spirit.
Working in the here-and-now; incorporating insight; and using Psychodynamic Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Attachment and Gestalt theories, Mindfulness, and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy form the basis of how I work. Mindfulness (sometimes called the body-mind connection) teaches you to observe the impact of your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes on your physical sensations, nervous system, and overall sense of self. I have witnessed both personally and professionally the immediate positive impact 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 Nonviolent Communication and Nonviolent Parenting, which enhances and enriches my work with co-parents, couples, groups, and families.
Listen here to my radio interviews series: Creating Safety in the Relationship and How to Break the Cycle of Shame.
EDUCATION AND CERTIFICATES:
Asian Pacific American Dispute Resolution Center, Los Angeles, CA: Certification in Mediation
Antioch University, Los Angeles, CA: MA in clinical psychology
Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA: BA in music
Group Psychotherapy Association of Los Angeles: Certification in Principles of Group Therapy
Institute of Creative Mindfulness: EMDR therapy, Level 1 & 2
Los Angeles Dispute Resolution Program: Certification in Mediation
Office of the Los Angeles City Attorney, Los Angeles, CA: Conflict Resolution and Facilitation certification
PACT Institute, Los Angeles, CA: Level 1 & 2 certification
PACT Institute: Los Angeles coordinator
Parnell Institute: EMDR therapy, Level 3
Trauma Resource Institute: TRM therapy
California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT)
Group Psychotherapy Association of Los Angeles (GPALA)