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Inspiring Conversations with Kathryn Bikle

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kathryn Bikle.

Hi Kathryn, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I am a licensed psychotherapist in the greater Pasadena/San Gabriel Valley area. My therapy style combines Jungian Depth Psychology with a somatic approach, harnessing a client’s own innate deeper healing wisdom by accessing images from the unconscious through dreams and messages from the body in support of emotional growth, psychological wholeness, and healing of trauma. I offer both a private practice therapy for individuals and personal growth workshops for groups. I am also a Somatic Experiencing Trauma® practitioner and a Certified Labyrinth Facilitator. How did I get here? My first love is the theater. And acting. I love acting and directing. In fact, I came to LA in 1985 to be a famous film actress. Clearly, that dream did not pan out the way I intended! But the universe is a wise and wily beast; bringing us by back roads to the place we should have been headed all along. When my famous acting career did not bring about the desired results, my husband and I started a family and I turned my energies to directing for the stage. I was extremely active in a small 99-seat company in Pasadena called The Basement Theater for a number of years and was a founding member of the Arroyo Repertory Theatre company. But when finances became an issue, I switched to teaching and coaching presentation skills. I discovered, however, that full-time teaching did not align with my creative soul’s need for impulsivity and a loosely structured schedule.

So, once again I made a change and in 2005, I went back to school to become a psychotherapist. And magically, everything I love most about doing theater and coaching and teaching, I been able to channel into my psychotherapy practice and workshops that focus on personal discovery and psychological growth. So, what do I love so much about doing theater and coaching and teaching that translates to my psychotherapy and workshop world? I love the way that the body, through movement and the voice, through language and intonation convey the nuances and complexities of one’s emotional journey through circumstance and relationship. I love how, through diving into an Other’s life experience and exploring it respectfully, as though it were your own that you can learn so much about humanity’s strengths, vulnerabilities, wounds, and protective mechanisms. I love the way that images expressed through language, poetry, art, and dreams reveal deep currents of inner knowing and universal connectedness. I love how clear it becomes through exploring relationships to one another that we are all on the same journey of human suffering and the desire to heal. I love how we never really know what will come next and that if we stay open to the idea that each of us is mirror in the learning process of every relationship we find ourselves in, we learn more deeply who we ourselves are and why each of our unique lives is so important on this earth. I love the challenge of meeting each client authentically in a therapy session as well as dipping into my creative wellsprings in crafting the structure of a new workshop.

This is the “juice” I loved in my previous lives and I am so grateful to have these aspects front and center in my life now as well! I was initially introduced to the labyrinth by Dr. Melissa Johnson before I became a therapist. She was familiar with my Embodiment Workshops and had the brilliant idea of introducing me and Peggy Burt, choreographer, yoga instructor and labyrinth facilitator. It was Melissa’s brainchild that Peggy and I collaborate and create what became the Embodied Labyrinth Meditation and Yoga workshop which was offered through the Institute for Girls’ Development in Pasadena in 2012. Although Peggy and I no longer offer this workshop together, at the beginning we were a fabulous team exploring, creating and fine-tuning the most effective combination of elements that would provide a fulfilling workshop experience to support opening the psyche and body to deep inner wisdom and healing. I embarked on the process to become a certified labyrinth facilitator myself and currently, I offer a variety of personal growth-oriented embodiment workshops throughout the year, many of which include walking an actual labyrinth in person or virtually using a finger labyrinth because of the COVID pandemic shutdown. I love supporting the journey of deepening one’s awareness and opening up access to the wisdom of one’s inner Self through individual psychotherapy work and workshops.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
My biggest challenge has been creative life/work balance. Even though it may look like a therapist’s job is pretty cushy—just sitting in room listening to people talk, and making the occasional comment, reflection, or query—to be the kind of therapist who truly attends to what is not only being said in the moment but what has previously been said on the same topic (is it the same? Or different?), and most importantly, being attuned to what is happening on the deeper levels of the psyches through observations of minute shifts in the way the client’s body and emotions are presenting in the moment takes a great deal of focus and energy. Creating and preparing a workshop also takes a lot of energy and intense focus; not to mention creating advertising, outreach and keeping track of who has signed up and paid! All of these things take time and energy. Mere desire to put on a workshop is not enough to make it happen. It’s almost like mounting a one-day production. It’s a lot of work! So, my biggest challenge has been in building and maintaining a solid private therapy practice but at the same time leaving enough unstructured time in the month for self-care and creative ventures like mounting a workshop.

What would you say have been one of the most important lessons you’ve learned?
I continue to learn to trust my instincts, including trusting what I am experiencing in my body as a directive for understanding relational dynamics, as well as when to move forward with realizing an idea, when to retreat, and when to stay put. I am learning to see myself as a part of a greater whole even if I am acting alone. I take great comfort in being a part of a community of caring individuals who are dedicated to supporting one another. I am learning that I do not have to re-invent the wheel. That there are lots of super smart people out there who have come up with great ideas and solutions for things that I am struggling with. And I am learning that it is a beautiful thing to ask for help when feeling lost or overwhelmed.

Contact Info:

  • Email: Kathryn@Kathrynbikle.com
  • Website: Kathrynbikle.com
  • Instagram: psyches.spring


Image Credits:

Bari Edwards Natasha Morisawa Spiral Path Yoga

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