Tara Approach: Energy Medicine
The Tara Approach
is a rehabilitative energy medicine system integrating image, therapeutic dialogue and an applied touch component of Jin Shin Tara, a five
element based meridian system of healing and balancing the nervous
system. The Tara Approach was developed by neuropsychologist Stephanie
Mines, Ph.D., and incorporates elements of pre/perinatal psychology and
therapeutic dialogue into the treatment process. It is my great good
fortune and tremendous blessing to have been certified as a practitioner by Dr. Mines herself and to continue my studies of her system and treatment approach under her personal mentorship. It
is with profound joy that I offer this beautiful work
to those who are drawn to it.
Simply speaking, the TARA Approach is a nourishing, calming way of using meridian flows to restore disrupted patterns within the nervous system that can cause disharmony and confusion to arise rather than "flow." The system involves both sessions with a helper (me, in this case) and a self care component that I teach you. Self care is an essential and vital part of this system.
A session flows generally as follows: We begin with a dialogue about what brings you to me. There could be specific things you are interested in exploring or it could be tracing the origin of a persistent pattern you find repeating in your life that continues to trouble you despite having gone to therapy, received bodywork, or explored other treatment methods, such as EMDR. I will take your pulses at numerous times during our session, the first being after this exploratory conversation. I will then tell you what the pulses are asking for and the needs that are often associated with certain meridians when they are asking for attention, and we'll explore that.
Then, generally, you will lie comfortably on a treatment table and I'll begin the "flows"--acupoint sequences designed to open and restore the bioenergetic flow of the extraordinary meridian system. While these flows are being stimulated, you and I may have an imagistic dialogue or rediscovery process where I ask you to attend to sensations or images that appear during the session. We follow your system into these sensations, images and events that arise. I will often ask you to access both a compassionate witness/observer and an internal mature, loving adult as the healing process unfolds in image and dialogue between us. The process can take anywhere from one to two hours; we allow plenty of time for images, sensations, experiences and repatterning to emerge and complete. We will generally both know when the session is done, at which time you'll be allowed to rest a while before re-entering the ordinary world.
I'm still working on finding words to describe the experience of a Tara Approach session. I have written about an experience of receiving a treatment here. Part of the challenge of writing about a Tara session is that what happens within it lives in a dreamlike world that our everyday language falls far short of describing except through poetry.
Things my clients have said, and that I've experienced myself, are that the process leads you into a deeply restful and meditative state, one that feels both calm and energized and allows deep unwinding and centering to take place. Even when the experiences within the session are charged in some way, there is still the sense of the compassionate presence of the witness, of being with oneself while healing unfolds its wings. One of my clients told me that his first experience of accessing the Divine, or the experience of oneness or divine love, began during the course of our sessions and the journey he made with what emerged.
Something that does seem to be true of the TARA Approach is that it is a deeply powerful work that accesses cellular memory, and that it works quickly. For this reason, it is essential that any client taking the journey have a well developed compassionate witness/spiritual presence and internal mature/loving adult who can serve the journey of the deepest layers that are in need of healing.
Dr. Mines, who completed her postdoctoral work with Peter Levine of Somatic Experiencing notoriety, is in the process of conducting research studies on the effects of the TARA Approach on such conditions as early birth trauma, autism, stroke, and traumatic brain injury. The TARA Approach can be accessed either as a minimally guided, meditative session or as a more deeply guided imagistic dialogue with the self. The latter path is a more dreamlike and shamanic journey that involves visualization, action and repatterning. Both are helpful; it simply depends on where you'd like to go with our sessions.
The Tara Approach can be used as an adjunctive approach to talk therapy. In many ways, though, I think of it as a post-psychotherapy process, the final stage of a healing journey that has come to the stage of liberating nourishment and joy and continuing health rather than always identifying and solving problems. Most of my Tara clients have already completed extensive psychotherapy and are ready to restore their vitality and enjoyment of life. I would say that psychotherapy is about sorting and identifying the layers of one's understanding of one's story; that Feldenkrais and dance are about coming home to live fully and graciously in the body in the present moment; and that the Tara Approach and meditation are the final stage--that of fully reclaiming shocked or wounded aspects of the self and nervous system, restoring them to vitality, and caring for them as we age. I'm sure my lens will continue to evolve and deepen over time as I grow into deeper, wiser healing hands.