She is widely recognized for her knowledge, compassionate approach and ability to provide workable solutions to real life problems. Direct and to the point, she encourages those in her care to muster the emotional courage needed to successfully take control of their lives.
“What fuels my passion to bring the family and couples counseling techniques of my private practice to radio and television is the conviction that I can reach millions of people who think they are alone in feeling shame, believing they’re damaged or living in isolation. It’s a gift to be their reality check, to say ‘there’s nothing wrong with you and it’s time to let go of those erroneous beliefs about yourself’…and have people respond,‘Yes,yes that’s me.”’
Tara has had a thriving private practice in both Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area for over twenty years treating individuals, couples and families. She incorporates her advanced level of training in the Gottman Method Couples Therapy in her work with those who are looking to both repair and strengthen their relationships. Her commitment to her family systems training has taught her that the inclusion of as many immediate and extended family members as possible in treatment facilitates profound and lasting change not only for the “identified patient” but for the family as a whole. Whereas traditional therapy singles out an individual for treatment, a family systems approach seeks to uncover how each member may be contributing to the presenting problem. Family systems therapy seeks to alleviate the burden of one family member being labeled as the “problem.” Tara has found this to be a powerful treatment approach to achieve lasting change for those challenged by the stress of addiction, divorce, infidelity, financial hardship, hoarding, or a family struggling an eating disorder. These techniques along with patience, determination and emotional courage can help a client who is feeling helpless experience a greater sense of empowerment over themselves and their environment.
Along with her classical Western training, Tara brings her own Mindfulness Mediation practice to her therapy practice. Combining the practice of mindfulness with the more traditional use of Cognitive Behavioral therapy affords the most reliable and lasting relief from a wide range of issues that families, couples and individuals seek treatment for, in many cases replacing the need for medication.
Tara began her media career at ABC 7 TV in San Francisco as an expert on a variety of psychological issues making news. She also filled in as a guest talk show host on KGO radio. Her first full time talk show host position was For Lovers Only on KZST in Sonoma County where Fields discussed intimate issues in a frank and candid manner. That lead to the launching of the popular Dr. Tara Show, a daily 3 hour call-in advice program in the San Francisco and Seattle markets, which gave her the moniker “The Bay Area’s Dr. Frasier Crane.” Tara was one of the original interventionists for over 2 seasons on A&E’s Emmy award winning docudrama Intervention. In addition, she was a psychotherapist on season one and two of A&E’s hit show Hoarders. She has been a frequent guest on Good Morning America, Dr. Phil, The Oprah Winfrey Show and CNN and HLN. For 11 years, Fields had a weekly segment on KRON 4 TV’s Saturday Daybreak in San Francisco, and has hosted or been the expert on TV news specials, most notably The ABCs of AIDS, on San Francisco’s ABC affiliate, KGO-TV, a one-hour live news special talking to kids and parents about sex and AIDS, as well as an educational video series Smart Starts for Parents, from 21st Century Learning. Her weekly radio segment On the Couch with Dr. Tara can be heard on KSRO radio.
Fields says she doesn’t do therapy on the air, and believes it’s unethical to give listeners snappy answers or glib criticism. “I give strong opinions, but the ball is in their court,” Fields says. “My intent on the air is just to get people on the right path. There are no quick fixes and I remind my listeners that they need to seek help for tougher problems.”
Fields has been a keynote speaker, workshop leader and panel moderator numerous times for such organizations as the Commonwealth Club of California, Northern California Radio and Television News Directors Convention, American Women in Radio and Television, and Canyon Ranch and The College Of Marin. Topics have included “The Ethics of TV and Talk Radio,” “The Psychology of Celebrity Stalkers,” “ A Family Systems Approach In Structuring An Intervention,” and “Treating the Eating Disordered Family.”
Her blogs, interviews and quotes have appeared in The Huffington Post, Redbook and Glamour magazines. Tara’s ability to make sense of the latest science based research on effective marital interventions, stress reduction and parenting enables her to help readers translate hard science into news they can use.
Tara earned her master’s degree in clinical psychology and her doctorate in counseling psychology. Her doctoral research focused on a family system approach to adolescent alcohol abuse. She completed her three-year clinical internship at the Maple Center Community Mental Health Clinic in Beverly Hills, California, where she trained in marriage and family therapy, as well as adolescent and child psychotherapy, supervising peer counseling groups and leading therapy groups for excelling senior students at Beverly Hills High School; additionally, she participated in a six-month practicum with Dr. Marion Solomon on the diagnosis and treatment of narcissistic and borderline personality disorders. During this time she also began her training in addictions, eating disorders and facilitating an intervention. Tara Fields received her certification of clinical training in Psychodrama from the Los Angeles Psychodrama Institute where she trained and then directed with Dr. Lewis Yablonsky and Dr. Michael Solomon. She has had twelve years of training and practice in Mindfulness Meditation methods at Spirit Rock Meditation Center with Jack Kornfield Ph.D. and other renowned teachers.
Fields has been a member in good standing in the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists since 2000 and the Marin County Chapter of California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. Dr. Fields was invited to serve as an Oral Examiner for the State Board of Behavioral Sciences for California.
Tara actively donates both her time and financial support to a variety of charitable causes and organizations. She is an advisor, board member and program committee member for Kid’s Turn, an organization that offers survival skills to children of divorced or separated parents and has been an M.C. and auctioneer at the Kid’s Turn annual fundraiser. Dr. Fields and her husband have maintained a monthly financial commitment to Spirit rock Meditation Center’s Stewardship Circle since its launch in 2003 through present. The funds from the Stewardship Circle provide scholarships to those with low income as well as those with life threatening illnesses who require financial assistance. For five years Tara enjoyed dancing with other Media and Sports Celebrities in the Oakland Ballet’s Annual “Nutcracker” fundraiser. Dr. Tara’s love of animals has made her a passionate animal rescue advocate. Tara has been a volunteer adoption counselor at both the San Francisco S.P.C.A and The Marin County Humane society. Her most meaningful volunteer experience was as a volunteer with the Hurricane Katrina animal rescue mission by the Humane Society of Marin County caring for and then reuniting dogs with their families or finding them new loving homes.
Tara lives in the San Francisco Bay area and spends as much time as possible outdoors, hiking, mountain biking, snorkeling and swimming with wild dolphins. Most of all, she loves spending time with her husband, family, treasured circle of friends and her latest rescue Dalmatian.