About Dorothy

My own journey through healing and wisdom may be the best and easiest way to give you sense of what I’m about. As a teenager, I fell in love with dance. I started at 15 (rather late), so I felt I had to make up for lost time and thus was willing to try anything I thought would give me an advantage. At 17, I began studying the Alexander Technique – not for any goal of “personal growth” or “enlightenment”, but because other dancers were raving about “better extension” and “turn out”. At first it was grueling to slow down and really pay attention internally, but I loved dance so much I continued to push through. Eventually I learned subtler and subtler levels of awareness, how to detect detrimental patterns of movement right at their point of initiation, and be able to redirect my movement and awareness in more functional and satisfying directions. I don’t remember when exactly it happened, but at some point before I said goodbye to my teens, I discovered a value, and even passion for, this level of awareness and exploration.

During this time I was attending UCSD and majoring in Theatre and Psychology. Unfortunately my undergraduate experience left me feeling flat. I got my BA but felt the academic world held no real answers or interest for my curiosity and thirst for deep self-knowledge and transformation. While in college, I explored one-on-one therapy to address a mild eating disorder and quickly realized my biggest limitation in life was my low self-esteem and perpetual feeling of never being good enough. I found this process to be somewhat helpful, but was convinced my path was to focus on dance and body-centered therapies. That would soon change.

I continued to study the Alexander Technique and began receiving regular rolfing (extremely deep tissue work) sessions. The combination began to have the effect of unleashing long repressed energy, emotions, and memories. I began to involuntary kick and punch out while being worked on. Within a few months, I started reliving a traumatic car accident I had been in at the age of 4. I had always “remembered” what had happened, but, until now, there were no feelings attached. Now I was crying and screaming hysterically almost every other night. I eventually realized the hitting and kicking out was my body’s memory of being held down in the street (I had had a head injury) while I was thrashing to get away to run to my grandfather who was being wheeled into an ambulance with a broken neck. My body was still trying to fight to get to him.

This was a major pivotal point for me. While, yes, it was a challenging and painful time – I was also beyond fascinated. I was within myself witnessing the playing out of the brilliance of the body-mind connection. Wow. Amazing. It reinvigorated my desire to study psychology – but where would I get the knowledge I was craving?

And then another major life changing event happened. My Alexander teacher, who was very concerned about me, encouraged me to work with a Shaman he knew. That idea challenged me at first since it was outside the realm of my sheltered Episcopal upbringing. After much contemplation, my gut just knew I needed to do this. I scheduled my first Soul Retrieval with him – and I never relived the car accident again! It was not only a lovely experience – but now I was again thrown deep into the reality of the body-mind-spirit connection. I could never go back – they were now all one for me and I wanted to spend my life exploring that wisdom and potential.

During my first conversation with the Shaman, I off-handedly mentioned some things I had seen in my imagination. He quickly realized – and let me know – that that had not been my imagination but that I had been journeying. I was rather surprised because it had been something I had been doing as long as I could remember and just took it for granted. The Shaman felt it his duty to keep me safe, so, over the years, he gave me small teachings to work on. It gradually became a “normal” thing for me to do. By the time I did my more formal training with him years later, it felt like I could never remember a time I hadn’t been doing what he was having me do.

At 26, I moved to San Francisco to further pursue my dance career. Within just a few months, I began suffering chronic knee problems. I was forced, with a broken heart, to give up on dancing full time. Luckily within the first day of arriving, I found the Taoist master that would become my long term teacher and new I had found my new path. I practiced Chi Gung and Tai Chi hours a day.

As for becoming a Psychotherapist, I really do not remember ever actively thinking “I’m going to do this.” Around the time I moved to San Francisco, I began to devour books on different forms of Spirituality and explorations in human consciousness. I couldn’t get enough. I had several people tell me that I would really enjoy going to the California Institute of Integral Studies – a graduate school with the mission to integrate Eastern and Western philosophies of psychology and spirituality. I followed my gut and had the best time in school I’d had since preschool. And left with my Masters in Psychology.

You may wonder where and when the Feldenkrais Method came into the mix. Well, though I knew I’d never go back to dancing full time, it would always be my first love. I had inherited dozens of free lessons on tape and worked with them daily over the years. I realized it was the only thing helping my chronic knee problems. I was also immensely intrigued by it theoretically – so off to a four year professional training program. It was worth it. Not only have I been able to continue to dance, but the spirit and philosophy that’s at it’s core infuses virtually everything I do. I feel it’s the most brilliant approach to learning anything that I have ever found. I also value it tremendously for helping people release themselves from an external locus of control and into trusting their own inner authority.

Through all of this, the most amazing gifts I’ve been given are an endless passion for learning and the ability to deeply fall in love with what I’m doing. I’ve been very fortunate to have many loves along my professional journey – and I continue to love them all and love sharing them with others.