To Top

Meet Andrea-Marie Stark of Tree Of Life Healing in Pasadena

Today we’d like to introduce you to Andrea-Marie Stark.

Andrea-Marie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Theatre, Writing, Visual Art, Tarot, Intuition, Sacred Feminine, Energy Work, Reiki, Mystic Shamanism, Bon Buddhism Somatic Psychotherapy! ~ This is a one-wordish driven timeline demonstrating two issues: the art of being succinct, and, how I landed where I am in this very moment! All of these fabulous trainings and experiences are present in what I currently do at Tree of Life Healing, Inc.

My husband, Dr. Chris Tickner and I are passionate about and dedicated to bringing alternative and holistic approaches to our clients and community. With over 30 years of counseling experience between us, Chris and I work directly with clients, regularly teach other practitioners in the healing arts, and are dedicated to fostering and educating healers of all kinds.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Has it been a smooth road? That’s a lovely question. In the human perspective, all the roads are smooth, we are the bumps and gullies! Our reactions create the obstacles, and the barriers we perceive as blocking us are usually just helping us understand we are moving in an inefficient direction, one less useful for us. This is how I have approached my pathway.

The pathway of healing and being an intuitive has a very specific bumpiness that requires great deal of personal mindfulness, personal work. One must be available to oneself, in order to be available to others. In the healing world we say, ” You may only assist someone to the extent which you have assisted yourself.” Feel free to replace that word “assist” with another, for example, “heal”, or “comfort”, or “be present with.”

It is also the best kind of bumpiness. Every human needs to be present for themselves, so a career in which this is a requirement, is a darn good one. It is good for every kind of life work, career. I first learned this in the Theatre, and then it became applied to every other endeavor.

I know you are thinking I am only addressing the roads internal. I might answer that with…. there are no other roads.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Tree of Life Healing, Inc. – what should we know?
My husband, Dr. Chris Tickner and I both specialize in Relational Somatic Psychology. I studied Hakomi Therapy, and am a Hakomi Counselor, which already sets me apart from the usual kind of counseling, talk therapy.

In addition, I use other modalities including energy work and shamanic work. Our entire collective at Tree of Life is comprised of healers, therapists who work holistically.

What on earth does that mean, holistic? This word gets bounced around quite a bit! Let me explain what it means in our court. It is about interconnectedness, how any thought or emotion you may experience, have a connection, one has generated the other, and along with a thought and an emotion is a physical experience, a state of being in your body, mind and whatever you prefer to refer to as your spirit. We are constantly shifting our states of being, moving from one emotion/thought state to another, and if we develop an understanding of how we do this, particularly when we are doing it in a way that is making us sad, depressed, anxious, or another negative, we are able to learn how to alter our state of being into a much better one. Many other modalities of counseling/therapy do not offer window into selfhood like somatic work does. It is a profound, gentle and freeing pathway.

I first encountered it when I saw my first Hakomi therapist in Chicago, it was a revelation for me, it dovetailed so well with my actor self, my artist self, that even at that time, when I was a full-time actor, I said to my friends, “If I ever leave acting, I will study Hakomi Therapy.” Ha! That is exactly what I did!

We both, Chris and I, find ourselves also serving other therapists, even medical professionals, and very commonly, clients who have been in traditional sorts of therapies and find they need a more holistic approach. We also see many artists and actors. Full circle, we started and met in the theatre, studied somatic therapy and we now see theatre folks as clients.

We also run deep process retreats, which are just a joy to lead. Group work is very powerful, especially in the somatic realm. We also work quite a bit with trauma. We see clients who suffered early in life or have had recent adult trauma. Trauma work is very specific, must be worked with in the somatic realm. I am grateful for the ability to combine my training in trauma, interpersonal neurobiology and energy.

This is absolutely what sets us apart as a healing entity. And in my practice, I combine somatic psych. with intuition and energy, and spirituality if appropriate for the client. It is not the norm, that is certain. And, the way in which it all works together, helping a client find themselves, who they truly are versus an adaptation of self, and helping them address the human penchant for feeling alone versus connected to a much bigger idea or presence, this is the most exciting work, most fulfilling. Helping someone understand that they are valuable, unique and able to feel good about being themselves, this is an amazing privilege.

I also teach Reiki and Shamanism. Our practice is based in science of somatic psychology and expands also into the realms of energy and shamanism. We are a broad offering in the healing world.

And… I am training an ill pup to be in my office with me, I mean, how much better does it get?

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?

I appreciate that you include clients in this question. My clients and students are such incredible sources of inspiration. I work quite a bit with clients who suffer from trauma, whether it was childhood abuse or adult events that were traumatic. The healing process for trauma must be somatic, there is no other way to do it, and it takes courage. I could not be more amazed and honored at being able to do this kind of work. It isn’t just about success stories, it is about a being able to witness someone taking their life back, be a part of it, assist them in doing so.
I have clients who have completely changed their lives, from work to relational issues, utterly changed because they found their true selves. This is where inspiration lives in my work. My clients and students are my inspiration.

The success of Tree of Life Healing, Inc, is the success of the individuals who work in it and the successes of those who seek healing from it, it is a living entity and exists to serve the greater community. We are not separate, our success is not separate, we are all interconnected.

Every day I thank my dearest teachers. I have many daily practices and one of the first is gratitude. I have had amazing teachers in all my endeavors. I was so blessed to study theatre with some amazing women, including my main teacher the late Uta Hagen. She knew human behavior! She taught me much about myself as an actor and a human. She was also quite a champion, she hands wrote a recommendation letter for me. Yes, I still have it.

When I was studying Hakomi therapy I found myself constantly commenting on how the somatic therapy exercises were acting exercises. Making the transition from Theatre to Therapy was interesting, in the process, I knew my teaching of theatre and my acting became infused with many hakomi and shamanic influences, I was melding quite a lot of different techniques into a wonderful gentle and honoring way to address a human being, whether it be a student or a character to portray.

I have much credit to give to my voice and acting teacher Claudia Anderson (DePaul Univ.) she alone in my Graduate studies was the most influential and impactful. I truly use what she taught me, every day. These are life skills; art skills are life skills.

And my amazing Hakomi trainers, Jon Eisman and Donna Roy at META Portland. They are simply incredible human beings. I would not be the counselor or the human I am today if I had studied anywhere else. When I entered in to the training, I felt like I was home. I would be listening to a lecture or watching a demo and I would say to myself, “this is exactly where I am supposed to be right now.” They held that space, created it. I could not be more happy and grateful for it.

Manuela Mischke-Reeds, an amazing Trauma teacher. I was beautifully broken open during the training and the skills she taught me are the back bone of much of my work.

And, there is always more, my Reiki trainers, and Shamanic Teachers, Bon teachers. I am very connected to my teachers and teachings, they are integral parts of my being. I studied and now teach Mystic Shamanism with one of my teachers, Dr. Raven Lee. It is a wonderful opportunity to be taught by and then teach with someone. I get to tell her how grateful I am for her all the time.

And, I have amazing friends. They are so supportive, and always encouraging, I hold my friends as close as I can, I love my friends deeply and wish they all lived in my house. I am not joking. They know this.

My husband. He is such a gift. He is supportive and loving, and so expansive. He is able to take a vision I have and make a spreadsheet and we make it happen. I once said, referring to a little one bedroom apt, ” We need a loft.” He had it built when I came home that night. I love that story! And yes, he created the spreadsheet for my Tree of Life Healing vision! He is my champion.

My dad passed away, my original champion, just lately. My dad loved my husband, just as if Chris were his own son. He never ended a conversation without saying how proud he was of both Chris and I, and how grateful he was that we were together. And, my dad never said one discouraging word to me about me in my life. Even when I was low, broke, or smoother hard place, he would easily come up with something honoring and encouraging, reminding me how proud he was of what I was choosing to study or do. My parents divorced when I was a child, it was a challenge for my sister and I, and our family had many challenges. In all of it my dad kept his voice encouraging and loving to me regarding whom I was, whom I could be, no matter what the circumstance. When I sit with a client, I am sitting with this experience, this example of human ability to leave ego and come forward with only compassionate support. It may sound lofty, but the reality is rather simple, we can hold what another is feeling, help them to find more space for that feeling, and make an impact. We can listen and be present.

My dad also played intuitive games with me when I was a girl. One of us would think of an object and the other would meditate and connect to find out what it was. I had a little toy barn with tiny animals in it, he would have me guess which animal he placed in the barn. We wrote poetry together as adults. He acknowledged my intuition and intellect both.


  • 50 minute session is $125.00
  • 75 minute session is $180.00
  • Reiki and other Training please inquire

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in