With one British and one South African parent, Tamara Gittelson grew up moving frequently from London to Cape Town and back, interspersed with “a couple of years in Israel doing ulpan and living on a kibbutz.”
By her own admission, she became a bit of a wanderer. There is “some kind of gypsy tendency in me — or was,” she notes. Now, three years into settling in Seattle and establishing her growing psychotherapy and psychoanalytic practice, she’s found a place to hang onto.
She graduated high school in the UK and did university and post-graduate studies in both England and South Africa, taking a circuitous route to her present career. She studied drama, generating an interest in psychodrama and drama therapy. That led to an additional degree in drama therapy with its “action-based methods and applicability to group work," which fostered her interest in psychoanalysis.
“It sounds compartmentalized,” Tamara says, but all these are about “communication and the facilitation of self-expression and feelings.” Psychoanalysis stresses expression of unconscious thoughts or dreams and drama involves both verbal and non-verbal communication.
“I love all of them in their own way,” but she says she finds psychoanalysis the most exciting with its “sense of never ending discovery and…profound and in-depth relating” to the self and others.
Having lived “the cultural divide,” Tamara has developed a professional interest in clients who, among others, come from mixed cultures or who have been, or are, refugees.
“One can feel like a refugee even if you haven’t been forced out of your country,” she says, an idea many Jews can relate to. “Being Jewish can dovetail with the experience of being stateless.”
Before she started her training at the Northwest Psychoanalytic Institute, Tamara taught English as a second language in England, Turkey, Chile and Israel, working with diverse clients including graduate students, corporate executives and refugees.
Tamara works with couples and individuals, and is drawn in particular to clients with infertility issues, other mental health professionals interested in getting to know themselves via psychoanalysis, and those suffering from depression and anxiety.
While she is just finishing her analytic training, Tamara already has established a practice. Contact her at email@example.com or 206-351-2655.
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“Summer has finally come and I am just delighted to be here,” Nancy Uscher told me when we spoke last month. The new president of Seattle’s Cornish College of the Arts started her job Aug. 1, and while she admits she’s “climbing the learning curve,” she’s finding Seattle “cultured, arts loving…science loving and loving about learning,” qualities, she says, “mirrored at Cornish…an institution full of smart and good people.”
Nancy is a violist and holds a doctorate from NYU in music performance from that university’s Steinhardt School. Her career includes six “life-changing” years at the Jerusalem Symphony starting in 1978, during which she enjoyed getting to know the country and learning some Hebrew. She returned to Israel in June after a long hiatus, part of an arts college delegation reviewing opportunities for study in Jerusalem.
“I never stopped being a musician,” she says, but she joined the academic world in the early 1990s when she began teaching at the University of New Mexico.
In addition to teaching music there, she taught in the women’s studies department and helped found the law school’s Center for Arts and Society. After seven years she moved into university administration in the provost’s office. Before moving to Cornish she was provost at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), becoming acting co-president in her last semester there.
Raised in White Plains, N.Y., Nancy was confirmed at the Westchester Reform Temple. In Albuquerque she was active at B’nai Israel where her daughter, Alessandra Barrett, became Bat Mitzvah. She says she’s looking forward to getting to know Seattle’s Jewish community.
Nancy says she’s fortunate that “my hobby is my passion is my profession,” and hopes to have the opportunity to perform locally at some point in the future. By the way, Alessandra is also a violist, and a senior at CalArts, and one of Nancy’s “favorite musicians to perform with.” Of course you can find them on YouTube at http://youtu.be/HZAKFzhvCQ0.