Food for thought: Nonprofit psychotherapy at Sierra Agape in Tahoe Truckee
July 13, 2010
Sierra Agape Center for Soul Tending, a donation-based place for psychotherapy is a breath of fresh air in the field. Born from Kimball Pierand#8217;s gradual, creeping knowledge she needed to help the underserved and address the strain our non-stop society places on families and individuals, especially youth ages 16-25, Sierra Agape may be the answer for many.
Pier, a longtime therapist, feels impassioned about the need to reimagine psychotherapy, to dig into the broader scope of human behavior. She entered into a Depth Psychology program in Pacifica, Calif., a study and exploration of the human soul, which is ancient in origin.
and#8220;We are a culture of consumers, we have a hunger and feed ourselves using the wrong food. We buy, we get, we overeat, we take medicines,and#8221; said Pier. Speaking with Pier, her high forehead and calm blue eyes framed by long, silken hair, one feels peace radiate. You immediately sense a calm, a person willing to help bear your burden and expand your vision. Sierra Agape can do just that. At whatever income level you can afford.
For people who are in poverty, the struggles are the same, be it relationships, drug or alcohol abuse, overeating. Pier knows how hard it can be. She came tumbling down in a financial crash, and#8220;falling hard on my butt,and#8221; and dug herself a huge hole. She too thought and#8220;thingsand#8221; enhanced her life, that the feeling of abundance comes from the world rather than from within. With the fall, came awareness. The combination of her own economic demise and a newfound approach of depth psychology gave Pier the idea to serve the community regardless of income. She opened Sierra Agape as haven, so money is not the mediating factor in mental health care.
and#8220;There is a huge amount of stigma surrounding mental health problems,and#8221; said Pier. Some adaptive behaviors we create do not work well. Pier is especially concerned about the children. Children are being identified as ill, and being labeled in the school systems, according to Pier.
and#8220;Our educational system is a lumbering titanic beast in desperate need of deconstruction and reimagination,and#8221; she said. In a stint in San Diego, Pier was trying to address the obesity problem in a mental health program. Teaching how to eat healthy food on a low budget. and#8220;Most children are trying to feed a hunger, to insulate themselves. Eating is a satisfying sensory desire. Somethingand#8217;s got to change.and#8221;
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Sierra Agape is a place where children, parents, anyone is welcome to express a voice. To be heard. To be in the world with an undefended heart. To think from that place and find what gives you joy. To slow down and breathe.
Pier suggests and#8220;stop running around like the world depends on you.and#8221; You may consider yourself a really passionate person, under the impression doing a million things and always running breathless is good. Not so. Sierra Agapeand#8217;s premise is to have the courage to listen to your intuition and live more in harmony with your true nature and in your community. and#8220;If I could do anything I wantedand#8230;and#8221; is a solid stepping stone. As is Sierra Agape.
The word and#8220;Agape,and#8221; (pronounced Ah-gah-pay), is often associated with Christianity, however, its etymology is rooted in ancient Greece and its meaning is all encompassing love for community. Therefore, by its meaning, Agape does not exclude any religion, spiritual belief, cultural belief or way of being in the world. Sierra Agape Center for Soul-Tending provides therapeutic and consultation services based in the Buddhist paramita or tradition of Dana (pronounced dah-nah), which means to cultivate generosity. Therapeutic services will be offered to clients on a donation basis which empowers clients to decide what they can afford and how valuable they feel the service is to them. The mission is to continually create accessible opportunities and services in response to the needs of our community in a way that does not always define the problems of life as mental illness, but considers each person in a holistic way. Telephone (530) 414-1885. E-mail: KCPier@sierraagape.org. Blog: http://firstname.lastname@example.org