Communication Games2021-12-28T12:19:31-07:00

UpdateAs of the Winter of 2021, SpeakUP Connection Games is still on hiatus.
Keep checking back for new programming in 2022!

Every Wednesday evening from 6:30-8:30 PST, a curious thing happens. A group of adults – some friends, often many strangers – gather together in a circle. We turn our phones off, shut down the music and look at each other, often for long stretches of silence. The connection between us is what we are there for. And for two hours, we will engage in exercises called “Authentic Relating Games” to help us practice being human together.

Welcome to SpeakUP, my brand of Authentic Relating, a movement spreading all around the world of peer-led groups designed to connect people. The games themselves can be played one on one, in small groups or with the whole group. Some are light, fun and playful, some are serious and edgy. All of them have a focus on paying attention to our experience in connection to each other in the present moment.

Connection Games can also be considered a “relational meditation”. Most of you reading this have heard of seated meditation or yoga, practices typically done alone with a focus on the breath or the physical body postures. A relational meditation is one in which the connection to another person is the focus of the wake up process.

Every week in SpeakUP is a different theme. Some recent ones include, “Interdependence”, “Befriending Fear”, and “Being Loyal to Ourselves”. I will guide you the participants through games designed to follow the theme and help us expand in our sense of freedom in our connection to one another.

From my perspective, vulnerability is a practice and takes practice. I invite you to drop in for SpeakUP to get a taste of what it is like to practice vulnerability with a group of like minded others who believe connection is worth the practice.

$15 drop-in or 4-class pass for $45.


By |June 12th, 2019|Categories: Connection Games|

I want words that aren’t the “doing” kind. Not the phrases that disorient you with some shiny distant maybe thing when underneath and right here and right now I’m dull and tarnished and wanting you to see. “It will work out”, “I’m really very lucky”, and “l’ll keep you posted”, I said How automatically I placated and hid, how easily you got distracted and how lonely I felt when you took my bait and smiled.


By |December 24th, 2018|Categories: Connection Games|

I’m going to give you some advice. I know you didn’t ask for it.If you are hurting, tell someone.You’re the one sitting at the holiday gathering putting on the smile that fools them all, laughing at the right moments and being witty to keep them sure, “This one’s got it together.”

Testimonials for Communication Games

Facilitating in a way that is authentic, intentional, and inspiring can be challenging work, but Dr. Tartaro does it with ease. She navigates the group in a way that feels fluid and natural by allowing participants to take and receive what they need. I’ve attended her events to learn more about myself and others, but always leave with more than I could have imagined. Humanity needs more of Dr. Tartaro’s work.

~Sabrina Caverly, Life Span Doula & Coach

I went to my first SpeakUP session last night and I am so glad I did. Jessica Tartaro, your presence exuded healing. The evening felt like a perfect blend of gravity and levity, nurture and challenge. I kept thinking how the experience of two whole hours of meaningful human interaction is something almost no one engages in anymore. I happened to arrive to the session feeling on the brink of a panic attack after a very challenging week. So, it took a while for me to settle in. But as soon as I got deep into the process of what it means to speak honestly, especially in front of people I didn’t know, my focus drew away from what was bothering me and into the present moment–which was a lot calmer. Thank you. The work you do is so important. Everyone who gets the opportunity to work with you is a better person for it, I know I am!

~Bonnie Obremski, Founder, Storyborne

Until i joined Speak Up, i didn’t know how deeply i yearned for deep human connectedness, how little i had, and how my practice of keeping safe isolated me from others and myself…Now, it’s been 3 months in SpeakUP and a new desire, stronger than the long arm of trauma and fear, has rooted in me…i desire to be known by others, to be REAL, to show my feelings, my needs, my insecurities, my best…for the two hours in SpeakUP, i live inside a world where safety in human connectedness comes from behaviors exactly the opposite of those i have been using to keep me safe! Now, being vulnerable, not hidden…speaking from my emotions and intuition, not covering them up…being truthful, following curiosity to ask questions,feeling unsure but, saying ‘it’ anyway, and, speaking passionately about me and my life, that’s what makes me feel alive and safe!

Jessica Tartaro, our facilitator is unique in my experience of groups, because, she is a vulnerable participant as well as facilitator…i get to witness her vulnerability and see how, being truthful and exposed is strong, how, vulnerable and unsure brings out kindness and caring in others…by her actions, she is a reminder to speak what is true in the moment, to stay present and take care of myself, to speak from “i”, to check out my assumptions, and to follow what feels most ALIVE in me…i feel like a kid learning a new way to walk and talk

~Elisabet Skyhawk, Port Townsend

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