Deborah Harkin, Ph.D., MFT
(805) 882-2424 x 307
Education & Credentials:
Deborah Harkin, PhD, MFT, earned a doctorate in Clinical Psychology with a Specialty in Somatic Psychology at Santa Barbara Graduate Institute (now part of the Chicago School of Professional Psychology).
Deborah is licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist and works with individuals, couples and families.
Treatment Philosophy and Approaches:
“The most painful things are the ones we feel we cannot talk about. I think of therapy as the opening of a conversation. Often what we are struggling with is a doorway to growth, change and new possibilities.”
Deborah works differently with clients depending on their needs. At the core of her work is identifying clients’ strengths and resources as the foundation for addressing challenges. Deborah’s therapeutic style is open, collaborative and actively engaged. She believes that effective therapy brings about, not only new insights, but shifts the way in which we experience our lives.
Deborah’s work is informed by: psychodynamic, family systems, cognitive behavioral, and somatic psychotherapy, as well as a background in neuroscience, attachment theory and mindfulness.
Deborah’s doctoral research examined adolescence as a critical period, and synthesized traditional theories of adolescent development with attachment theory and new discoveries on the adolescent brain. Doctor Harkin published two academic articles on the adolescent brain and applications for treatment in the USA Body Psychotherapy Journal.
Professional Interests and Specialties:
Specialties include anxiety, depression and trauma. Other areas of interest include major life transitions, such as growing up and leaving home, career change, separation and divorce, co-parenting, empty nesting, care of an aging parent, loss, grief and mourning.
Deborah’s work with couples focuses on communication, emotional and sexual intimacy issues. She views learning to work through conflict as an opportunity for greater self-awareness and deepening of connection.
Deborah has a diverse background in the social services, business, arts and education. She worked in the group foster care system in Madison, Wisconsin after completing her undergraduate work in Psychology. Deborah studied dance in New York City, where she worked for a travel company, managed fashion productions, and ran a tour to the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. Prior to returning to her lifelong interest in Psychology, she worked in the entertainment business as a development executive, interfacing with the networks, writers, producers and directors. Her interests in psychology, dance, movement and the arts were brought together in her doctoral studies. Prior to joining Family Therapy institute in early 2010, Deborah worked as a faculty member and administrator at Santa Barbara Graduate Institute.
Deborah has travelled extensively in Europe, India and SouthEast Asia, and loves working with people from many different backgrounds and cultures.
Deborah enjoys time with family and friends, travel, the beauty of nature, dance, yoga and tai chi.