Sarah Nakatsuka BFA, B.Msc, RTC
Thank you for taking the time to get to know me a little more.
Let me begin my story here: I am a mother, and steward of the earth.
I work out of my beautiful custom-crafted Wise Heart Centre studio space, on our home property near the sea in Victoria. I live with my husband and young daughter, our dog, cat, and the menagerie of winged, furred and feathered creatures that allow us to share this land.
I count my blessings every day that I get to make my living doing what I LOVE.
Although technically, I draw upon a variety of therapeutic approaches (Systems, Experiential, Transpersonal, Attachment, Somatic, Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples), in my practice, I essentially work with a “heart-centred” approach.
What Brought Me Here
My career began over fifteen years ago as a theatre artist. Fuelled by a fascination with people and stories, I collaborated with gifted artists, wove narratives, and put on shows. I fell in love with yoga, mindfulness & meditation. I became a yoga teacher.
I slowly learned that what anchored me along my path, was a deep intrigue with relationships and honest inquiry into the human soul. I loved talking with students before and after class about their internal landscapes. About their lives. I felt called to study the human mind and heart in a different way…and I became a psychotherapist.
I trained at Clearmind International, a program on the leading edge of Systems and Transpersonal Psychology. As a Certified EFT Therapist, I also have expertise in one of the most researched and highly effective relationship counselling approaches in the world: Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. This means I have a well-researched understanding of the needs of adults in romantic/love relationships and what is known about helping couples have healthy, long-lasting relationships.
I have been told that I have a gift for seeing the wholeness in people. My approach gently meets clients right where they are, and hold safe supportive space to explore all that may be alive in them ~ whatever is present. I operate from a compassionate belief in the potential for the human spirit. This means I see your beauty and the WHOLE you, no matter what.
The radical optimist and radical compassionist in me fuels my work. As does a deep respect of the sacred rights of all beings.
I feel strongly that we each deserve a safe and supportive space to explore the unique landscape within each of us: the unique pain, joy, and everything in between. I am grateful for the life experiences that have afforded me the skills to become a specialist in this field.
I can say with 100% certainty that I am grateful to the struggles I have faced (and still face), that help me honestly approach myself and the important relationships in my life with the reverence and respect they deserve.
I’m not saying it hasn’t been hard. There have been times when the circumstances of life, or internal feelings have been so intense, I have wanted to crawl out of my skin. What I am saying is I feel grateful to know now in my bones that each time I meet a new road block (or loss), I have an opportunity to be with it…be-friend it, with full faith that another piece is being birthed.
My historic challenges with being highly sensitive for example, have shifted significantly from seeing my sensitivity as a burden, to now opening to the beauty and deep gift that this quality brings to my life and to the lives of others.
When I experienced the gut-wrenching pain of pregnancy loss, I was convinced I would never find a way out of the grief. With compassionate support, and allowing the process to unfold as it needed to, I now have a dynamic, kind, and ongoing relationship to forgiveness that I never imagined possible. I am grateful for the relationship I have to walking with grief and with death, in a way that has me experience a deep reverence and quiet gratitude for ALL life. A deep bow of respect to you, if loss has touched your life, too.
And then, there was the initiation of motherhood. Despite coming into the gig of mom-hood with a rather self-assured attitude of “Yeah, I got this”, and feeling well-equipped with years of personal growth work, I was not prepared for the amount of doubt and insecurity I would feel about how I was doing as a mom. And, despite historically having a pretty solid handle on how to navigate through the territory of anxiety, I was really not prepared for the levels of anxiety that on some days felt like it enveloped my body from head to toe. My perfectionist demons reared their heads, as did a fear that I was going to screw up this beautiful, innocent child.
The process of loss, finally growing & birthing a child, then the experience of stewarding that child…has brought me to my knees. In the best possible way.
I am grateful for learning how to nurture myself. I am grateful for the relationship to my inner guidance. I am grateful for the ongoing relationship to humility I now dance with. I am grateful for the Self-Compassion that was (and still is) a necessary component every day. And, I am grateful for the delightful, trusting, connected relationship I have with my daughter that has come from that.
I am grateful too that the process of befriending the hard stuff, and allowing self-compassion in, naturally has enhanced my knowledge and refined my skills as a therapeutic practitioner.
I love my job. I love that every day I get to open my heart to the beautiful, magnificent mystery of our shared humanity.
When I was a little girl, I would spend hours creating magical worlds in the forest that was our backyard, in the rural interior of BC. I built fairey homes, flower mandalas, altars, and sand-paintings. At the time I had no framework for the importance of ceremony. Rather, it was like an innate force inside me was constantly seeking – and then finding – opportunities to play in ritual time.
My little internal “ritual seeker” led me to my first love: the theatre. Looking back on the essays I wrote along the way to my degree in theatre, I noticed one after the other mentioning ritual as an art form, and suggesting the blurred line in ancient times between theatre and ritual. Ritual for the ancients was afterall just part of life. And so was art.
When my husband and I were on the precipice of marriage, I began to reclaim the ceremonialist in me in a deeper way. The process of building our own personalized wedding and moving through the threshold from “single” to “married” was a big one. Co-creating a ceremony that truly fed my soul re-awakened that love for ritual time. Giving the attention to such an important threshold gave way to a gnawing sense in me that it was time to pursue ritual further.
I entered an intense period of study in Transpersonal Psychology and Professional Celebrant training. I became a mother. And through it, my relationship to ceremony has become more intimate and real. For me, marking passages in a meaningful way, and supporting others to do the same, is now a non-negotiable, essential part of my life.
I love what I do. I have so much gratitude for the journey that has led me here, for the incredible community I am a part of, and for all of you who allow me to do my life’s work with you. In the process, my heart feels wide open and I feel in alignment with my life’s purpose. What a gift.
Education, Professional Registrations & Designations
Registered Therapeutic Counsellor with the ACCT (Association of Cooperative Counselling Therapists of Canada)
Applied Transpersonal Psychology Program: Clearmind International Institute
Certified EFT Therapist (Emotionally Focused Therapy) for couples & individuals
Bachelor’s Degree in Fine and Performing Arts (BFA) from Simon Fraser University
Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant® Program: Celebrant Foundation & Institute
Bachelor’s Degree in Metaphysical Science (B. Msc.) from University of Sedona.
Mindfulness Educator Essentials (Mindful Schools)
Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples Externship with Dr. Leanne Campbell & Dr. David Fairweather, empirically validated by American Psych. Assoc.
Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples: several externships with Dr. Sue Johnson. PhD. (creator of EFT & author of Hold Me Tight & Love Sense.)
Emotionally Focused Therapy Summit (3 day instensive)
Creating Connections Conference on Attachment & Neuroscience in Washington, DC
Certified Hatha Yoga Teacher Training (Prana Yoga & Zen Centre)
Medicine Wheel Training with Andrea Lougheed (Three Flame Medicine)
For more information, please contact me here to arrange your FREE PHONE CONSULTATION.