Introduction to Jim & Felicia Matto-Shepard|
Jim and Felicia have been married since 1990. To their union, each brought lifelong questions regarding gender dynamics, how to be an individual within a couple, and what it means to be engaged with the larger forces of life.
As they found ways to address these questions in their careers as psychotherapists and teachers, they also explored them within their personal relationship. Influential disciplines include Vipassana meditation, Tantric philosophy and somatic psychology.
They have created After the Honeymoon based on years of working with couples, individuals, families and communities, as well as by drawing on their personal experiences in relationship development and transformationsl practice.
During the impressionable years of my girlhood, I was caught in the currents of the women's movement. While I was shaped by a family that modeled traditional gender roles, I was also imprinted with what was happening in the culture around me.
On the heels of the "Sexual Revolution", women were protesting, demanding equal rights and the recognition that they were capable of doing anything men could do. Women could be corporate executives, athletes, and community leaders- "assertive", even "cut-throat." I believe this spurred my lifelong interest in the similarities and difference in women and men.
I have been particularly captivated by the ways that women and men attain power, influence others and exercise authority differently. Thus some of my professional and personal interests constellate around issues of gender dynamics, the relationship between power and sexuality, and the role of relationship in individual transformation.
In 1987, I began working in the mental health field, using creative and performing arts with adults in substance abuse recovery. I received a Master's Degree in Psychology from San Francisco State University in 1991 and was licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist in 1993 (license # MFC31225).
It was during my graduate studies that I began exploring gender dynamics more formally. For the next decade, I immersed myself in women's studies- female psychological development, feminism, the relationship between women's sexuality and spirituality, and the archetype of the Feminine. More recently, I have developed an interest in the archetype of the Masculine and how it lives within women.
Over the years, my professional development has been through both traditional and non-traditional education. My studies have included a specialization in child therapy, the study of cross-cultural shamanism, couple's dynamics, the use of movement and dance in personal transformation, dream work, and a growing interest in Jungian depth psychology.
In terms of my clinical work, I serve a variety of clients in private practice- individuals, children and teens. I concurrently work part time at Hospice of Petaluma, assisting patients and their families as they navigate the dying process. I also spent several years as Adjunct Faculty at Sonoma State University, teaching in the Master's in Counseling program.
But perhaps my most valuable education has been my partnership with Jim which began in 1990. In the container of our relationship, I continually face the challenge of being an individual while maintaining a deep and intimate connection to another. It is a fertile playing field where theory meets reality and the true learning can happen.
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I was born in 1950 in San Francisco into what turned out to be a very difficult family environment. In 1975, after an early failed marriage I had the insight that I wanted to become a couple's therapist and entered community college to begin the long educational journey. It wasn't until 1993 that I received my Ph.D. from the California Institute of Integral Studies.
During those eighteen years of study, I worked in a number of preparatory jobs. The highlights include a ten year stint as the Director of a residential treatment center for boys and girls, and about five years as the Director of Counseling at Petaluma People's Center. I also augmented my psychology education with various personal growth practices including personal psychotherapy, various Shamanic transformational practices and Vipassana meditation.
For the past twelve years I have also worked and taught at the Institute of Imaginal Studies, a graduate school in transformational psychology. I have been core faculty a number of those years. I have been in private practice as a psychologist since 1997 (license # psy15031).
In 1990, after several relationship experiments, I met and married Felicia. We have been working at our happy marriage since. We currently live in an intentional community in Petaluma where we practice appreciating differences while deepening into authentic relationship.
My current interest in relationship as transformational practice brings together a lifetime of personal practice and professional study.
I have specific training in several psychological theories and techniques. These include differentiation based couples therapy, attachment based couples therapy, somatic psychotherapy, EMDR, Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Therapy, and group therapy; as well as a background in Imaginal Psychology and general psychodynamic theory and practice.
These years of study and practice have led me to the belief that, stated simply, psychotherapy is the process of learning to access and utilize "adaptive action tendencies" — internal resources that are inherent in life, but that, due to lack of education, problematic models, or trauma, we have not been able to effectively make use of. When living in an optimal environment, with the support of appropriate familial and cultural structures, growth and transformation is natural and ordinary. The help of a therapist becomes necessary because the environment that most of us live in is not optimal, and because tangles and log jams have occurred in the course of our psychological development.
I am an advocate for optimizing our ability to work, play, love and experience life as a satisfying journey. I'm grateful for the opportunity to assist others in this process.
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