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More than ever, I believe therapists are needed to be leaders in our world. To inject into the confusion of modern life the insights about human nature and the coping and connection skills that we hone hour after hour, year after year, with our clients.

I’ve also grown to believe that our standard unity of delivery – one-on-one sessions in confidential spaces – is ultimately a limited way to have impact. At a time when far reaching, positive impact is needed by trustworthy people of integrity.

In 2012, shortly after I completed my PhD in Clinical Health Psychology and building from my training as an Intimacy Coach, I began to lead community connection games. For the last six years I have transmitted skills I might teach in private therapy in community, drop-in style connection nights in Austin, San Francisco, Dallas and now Port Townsend, WA.

I model the games events after the format innovated by the founder of Authentic Relating (AR) games, led typically by non professionals (https://www.authrev.com/). As a therapist, I build from the AR template to empower circles of humans to lean into issues that might otherwise divide them, speak from the heart, own their experience and discover deep, nourishing connection. I hold space for therapeutic growth at an event attended by people who might never otherwise seek therapy.

The primary difference between what I once delivered as a VA Psychologist and how I currently lead is that I now share me. Which hasn’t been easy. Somewhere along the lines of my formal training I learned to hide my humanness behind my professionalism rather than join my clients in their humanity. As a coach and community activist, I now lead directly from my own vulnerability. Which is a constant journey requiring ongoing discernment, courage and a willingness to let go.

And what I have found is that instead of helping one human at a time, I am teaching communities of people to take care of each other. THIS, to me, is the kind of reverberating impact that is sorely needed in this world.

And I’d like to share with fellow mental health professionals what I’ve learned.

Join me at Soma Yoga on Saturday, September 8th, for an introduction to Authentic Relating Games for Seattle area therapists, from 2pm-5pm.

During the first two hours of this event, I will guide you through a typical games event sequence so you can have a direct taste of the communalized sharing that is the experiential signature of these events.

During the last hour I will explore with you the process of learning to lead these events. For a typical therapist, the ability to lead groups is part of our basic skill set. The difference between therapy groups and connection games events is that in connection games the facilitator shows up as a transparent human participant too. There is an engagement that is less typical of our profession. But that I believe is a missing agent in having a wider impact in our world.

As I see it, when the leaders become human, the humans become leaders. Despite the ongoing discomfort of revealing my own insecurities and vulnerabilities, I have found that the more I lean into this edge, the more I inspire participants in my groups to cultivate their own version of healthy, heart-centered leadership.

At the closing of our afternoon together, I will make the first announcement about my 2019 “Community Connection Training for Therapists”, beginning in January. This will be limited to 8 mental health professionals who are committed to expanding their model of delivery to include leading connection games and facilitating from greater vulnerability.


Early Bird Registration before August 15th —> $49
Regular Registration after August 15th —> $69

Send payment via Paypal to “DrTartaro@gmail.com” using the “Friends & Family” option to help me avoid fees for this low cost event.

*** If you sign up for my 2019 training at the end of this afternoon, I will offer you tuition at a 15% discount. PM me for details in advance. ***

I hope you will join me to get a taste of what Authentic Relating is all about, and how it might be a skill set in your toolbox for maximizing your healing impact in the world.


Dr. Jessica Tartaro is an Intimacy Therapist with nearly 20 years experience working with individuals, couples and groups. Former Fulbright scholar, she has traveled the world conducting research on growth through trauma as well as studying with leaders in the authentic relating and circling movements. Her gift lies in embodying vulnerability as an invitation for you to find the most authentic, alive, vital and creative parts of yourself through which to connect with others. Compelled by the beauty of the land and people, Jessica recently migrated from Dallas, TX, to Port Townsend, WA, where she has re-opened her private Intimacy Coaching practice and launched her signature, weekly connection games called “SpeakUP”. Look for her dance events, coaching groups, workshops on orgasmic connection and wherever community connection is flourishing. Book her for a complimentary consultation for private coaching or schedule her to speak at your event at www.DrJessicaTartaro.com.

Read more about the connection communities I have founded:

In Dallas – https://www.facebook.com/groups/DallasSpeakUP/

And in Port Townsend – https://www.facebook.com/groups/SpeakUPPNW/.