Already as a teacher, I put unusual emphasis on listening to my students, fostering their voices being heard. Yet it is as a therapist that the fascination I have with listening is most fully realized – absorbing clients' stories and their underlying emotions, exploring possible connections and meanings in what I hear between the lines, often leading me to questions that I am frequently told with some wide-eyed amazement are questions the clients had never thought to ask themselves. It is beyond moving to see and hear just how rare it often is in a client's life experience to feel fully heard, with genuine curiosity and compassion and without judgment. That's a precept in therapy but it seems it's still a rarity.
From a very Southern Californian start to life, born in Glendale and raised in Palms and then Santa Ana, followed by undergraduate years at Oxy (Occidental College) in Eagle Rock, I began my adult years in the San Francisco Bay Area as a high school teacher while getting my first M.A. – in education at Stanford. From my 20s into my 50s, most of my work life was in the realm of education (4 years teaching high school English and American Studies, 2 years teaching and writing books for teaching English in Brazil, 3 years teaching ESL and linguistics at USC, 6 years teaching family communication studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign) or research (6 years doing field work in Southern California families as part of a team of researchers at USC and UCLA on communication patterns in both upper and lower income Southern California families). In my 20s and 30s, I had some intermittent employment digressions into everything from political campaigning and working for Common Cause to try to get money and corruption out of politics, to waitressing in Woodstock, NY and Camden, Maine, to one year in the business world of financial investment, to a year of traveling over Europe and into Morocco and Turkey with a French camping club, becoming overnight a Danish youth hostel assistant director, which mostly entailed feeding a conference of visiting German and Greek Buddhists. So many rich immersions and perspective-broadening adventures along the way, and interlaced throughout were passions and energies invested in photography and writing and editing. These earlier threads of my life are still alive in the lens they provide me for appreciating a broad range of family and education dynamics that invariably come to bear in the process of therapy.
Overlaying my life experiences in marriage, divorce, and godparenting from which I draw much inspiration about family life for my role as therapist, those years also found me navigating independently in a multiplicity of geographies and cultures, learning not just other languages but other ways of being and doing life -- particularly in Brazil and France, as well as Copenhagen, Morocco, Greece, Spain, and Portugal, and in far reaches of the U.S. from Kaua`i to Maine, and Woodstock, New York City, D.C., and Urbana, Illinois in between. Eventually a second and true marriage has meant that, by the time I became therapist, I had experienced both the kind of marriage that didn't work and now one that does. This immersion in singlehood as well as both sides of marriage significantly contributes to my frame of reference and antenna not only in couples therapy but also in individual therapy where intimate family relationships, or the lack thereof, are often a key focus of attention.
My research into the processes of formation of self-esteem in early childhood and the roles family members play in that co-constructed dynamic led me to a dissertation examining whether and how children become narrators of their own life stories and what kind of protagonist they come to see themselves as in the course of recounting everyday experience with parents and siblings, what degree of self-determination they achieve in that crucible, as opposed to how shamed or dismissed or prone to censure they might learn to become. That work was already a reflection of where my highest committed interest lies and also a resource now as a therapist because of all I observed and perceived in the course of that extensive family-based research.
Three specific influences led me to build on those earlier paths by choosing to become a therapist: first, over the years, numerous dear friends would say such things as "In your next life, you should be a therapist" (and I loved hearing that although it took a while to decide that it wasn't already too late for this life); second, as a university professor of family communication, students would come to my office hours to talk through specific individual crisis and/or family situations they were dealing with and before long I found those one-on-one immersions to be the most rewarding part of my academic life; and third, my own experiences in therapy as a client receiving vital support through a bereavement group after my mother died over a decade ago, making me the last survivor of my family of origin, confirmed for me how much I believe in the role therapy can play in our lives and my own will to give back while channeling my more innate inclinations in this professional privilege - the privilege of being invited ear, witness, supporter, and collaborative trouble-shooter on others' unique journeys.
and self-esteem amid the narrative politics of family dinner.
M.A., Applied Linguistics, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 1985
Master's Thesis: Listening comprehension materials and procedures: Schema
theory, expectations, predictions, and authenticity
(STEP -- Secondary Teacher Education Program), 1969
Marriage and Family Therapist, California Board of Behavioral Sciences License # MFC 53963, September 10, 2013 - present
Trauma Training Program, Certificate of Completion, Southern California Counseling Center, September 2013 - June 2014
Trauma Resource Institute, Trauma Resiliency Model Training, Level 1 Certificate of Completion, May, 2014
EMDRA-approved EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing) Training, Certificate of Completion Parts 1 & 2, March 2014
Families and Criminal Justice Training Institute Certificate of Achievement, 2013
Programme du Certificat d'études politiques (CEP), Institut d'études politiques de Paris (Sciences Po), Paris, France, 1983
Certificat du cours universitaire d'été, Département experimental d'étude de la civilisation française: Université de Paris - Sorbonne, Paris, France, 1981
Trauma & Recovery Training, including EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing), TRM (Trauma Resiliency Model), SE (Somatic Experiencing), and Veterans PTSD therapy – Nine-month training program at the Southern California Counseling Center, 2013-14
Batterers' Intervention Training (and 4 years co-facilitating men's group in TAPP, The Abuse Prevention Program at Southern California Counseling Center, Los Angeles, 2010-12, 2016-17)
School-based Counseling (and 3 years of student counseling through the California Healthy Start Program at Fairfax High School, Los Angeles, 2009-2012)
Portuguese (fluent, 2-1/2 years living in Brazil)
French (fluent, 1-1/2 years living in France)
Spanish (limited fluency)
California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT), 2009-2018
Association of Batterers' Intervention Programs (ABIP), 2010-2014
Ochs, Elinor, & Carolyn Taylor. (2001). The "Father knows best" dynamic in dinnertime narratives. In Alessandro Duranti (Ed.), Linguistic Anthropology (pp. 431-449). Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers. Original publication, 1995, in: Gender articulated: Language and the socially constructed self (pp. 97-120). New York: Routledge.
Ochs, Elinor, Ruth C. Smith, & Carolyn E. Taylor. (1996). Detective stories at dinnertime: Problem-solving through co-narration. In Charles L. Briggs (Ed.), Disorderly discourse: Narrative, conflict, and inequality (pp. 95-113). New York: Oxford University Press. (Original publication, 1989, in: Cultural Dynamics, 2, 238-257.)
Ochs, Elinor, Carolyn Taylor, Dina Rudolph, & Ruth Smith. (1996). Raccontare storie come pratica scientifica. (translated version of Storytelling as a theory-building activity) Età evolutiva: Rivista di Scienze dello sviluppo, 55 (Special issue, Bambini e genitori in famiglia: Conversazione e socializzazione), 72-90.
Ochs, Elinor, & Carolyn Taylor. (1992). Mothers' role in the everyday reconstruction of "Father knows best". In Hall, Kira, Mary Bucholtz, & Birch Moonwomon (Eds.), Locating power: Proceedings of the Second Berkeley Women and Language Conference, Vol. 2 (pp. 447-462). Berkeley: University of California.
Ochs, Elinor, Carolyn Taylor, Dina Rudolph, & Ruth Smith. (1992). Storytelling as a theory-building activity. Discourse Processes, 15, 37-72.
Ochs, Elinor, & Carolyn Taylor. (1992). Science at dinner. In C. Kramsch & S. McConnell-Ginet (Eds.), Text and context: Cross-disciplinary perspectives on language study (pp. 29-45). Lexington, MA: D. C. Heath.
Connor-Linton, Jeff, Carolyn Taylor, Liliana Landolfi, & Minako Seki. Soviet and American expression of personal involvement: Some implications for cross-cultural and cross-gender communication. Multilingua, 6, 257-286.
English as it is in the U.S.A.: Textbook, Workbook, and Teacher Lesson Plan Manual for Books Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen (1979 - 1981) (managing editor and principal author, with W. Lima, L. Neves, W. Mazorche & K. Rey). Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Waldyr Lima Editora.
"Third-personizing the protagonist: Socializing children as overhearers of their own experience, " ICA (International Communication Association) Conference, Montreal, May, 1997 (awarded "Top Paper" in the Language and Social Interaction Division)
"'They were talking mea::n to each other': Accessing the metamessages of parent-child narrative activity," SCA (Speech Communication Association) Conference, San Antonio, TX, 1995
"Doing family and negotiating narrative identities at the dinner table" (Organizer of Session), Narrative Conference: Texts and Identities, University of Kentucky, 1994
"Family lessons: Tuning in to pragmatic messages across the dinner table" (Symposium Organizer), Eighth Annual International Conference on Pragmatics and Language Learning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1994
"'You think it was a fight?': Co-constructing affect, cognition, face, and family," AAAL (American Association for Applied Linguistics), Baltimore, 1994
"The voice and face of the child as apprentice-narrator of personal experience, " American Anthropological Association annual meetings, San Francisco, 1992
"Problems, paradigms, and politics in everyday narrative activity" (Invited Plenary), PALA (Poetics and Linguistics Association) Conference, Gent, Belgium, 1992
"Narrative politics and the family," University of Linköping, Linköping, Sweden (with Elinor Ochs), 1992
"Mothers' role in the everyday reconstruction of 'Father knows best'" (Invited Plenary with Elinor Ochs), UC Berkeley Women and Language Conference: 'Locating Power' 1992
"Child as protagonist, child as narrator, " AAAL (American Association for Applied Linguistics), Seattle, 1992
"Family narrative as a medium for problem-solving," Lahti, Finland, and Invited Paper at University of Linköping, Linköping, Sweden (with Elinor Ochs), 1990
"Science at dinner" (with Elinor Ochs), Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, Consortium for Language Teaching and Learning Conference (Session on 'Text and Context: Cross-Disciplinary and Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Language Study'), 1990
"Putting problems on the table: Dinner and literacy" (Invited Paper, with Elinor Ochs and Ruth Smith), Boston University Conference on Language Development, 1988
"Creating order through dinner narratives" (with Elinor Ochs & Ruth Smith), American Ethnological Society annual meeting, St. Louis (Symposium on 'Narrative resources for the creation of order and disorder'), 1988
"Detective stories at dinnertime: Problem-solving through co-narration" (with Elinor Ochs & Ruth Smith), Anthropological Society of Washington, Washington, D.C., 1988
"Inside 'A Citizens' Summit': Frame and reference in a Soviet/American spacebridge" (with Jeff Connor-Linton, Liliana Landolfi, & Minako Seki), International Pragmatics Association Conference, Antwerp, Belgium, 1987
"Listening: With the mind, through the eyes," Opening Plenary at WAESOL Annual Conference, Spokane, 1987; also at TEAL Conference, Vancouver, B.C., 1986, and at the TRI-TESOL I Conference, Seattle, 1985
"Teaching listening skills" (Organizer/Moderator of Session), USC American Language Institute 25th Anniversary Conference, 1987
"Listening comprehension materials and procedures that build schemata, prediction strategies, and authenticity, " TESOL '85, New York; also as Invited Workshop at the Montana Association for Bilingual Education Annual Conference,