Dr. Barker is a dynamic keynote speaker, master storyteller, talk show guest, author, artist, and Jungian Analyst. Each of her many facets concern themselves with assisting the individual to live authentically, discovering hidden treasures within themselves to share. Her post-doctoral training was done in Zurich at the C.G. Jung Institute, and it was there, in Switzerland, where Dr. Jung referred to his trained analysts as “physicians of the soul,” and Barker’s professional path could not be more congruent with this Calling to find, trust, and live the individual’s deepest Wisdom. Her focus has always concerned itself with learning to find and trust the individual’s deepest wisdom, as revealed through dreams, body symptoms, meaningful coincidence, attractions, and creative expressions. Through her participation in a Viet Nam era army nursing program, she realized that human suffering offers the compost through which our lives may grow and transform. For those who choose to embrace their own wake-up calls, their own particular form of suffering, the outcome produces greater aliveness, freedom, joy, and creative living. As Jung put it: “We have one foot in the everyday world, but the other must be a spear carrier for the transcendent.”
Dr. Barker served as an adjunct professor at Seattle University Psychology department, and has lectured professionally on numerous topics, all of which have to do with realigning our lives with that which is deepest and most fulfilling. Generally, her audience includes those who know the experience of navigating life’s passages, and wish to develop mastery for the journey. As the Buddha has said: “life is impermanence,” yet nowhere are we shown how to deal best with being bombarded with the unexpected. Living in the gap between what was, the present, and what has not yet formed, is a source of secret anxiety and suffering. Learning how to address these times creatively and mindfully, brings transformation and healing.
Keynote speeches include: Universities of Washington, Oregon, California, Maryland, Colorado, Arizona, as well as Johns Hopkins University, George Washington University, the C.G. Jung Institute, the New York Training Institute, and American University, as well as public and private forums such as the Institute for Noetic Sciences. Barker has been not only a popular keynote speaker, but has also coached more than 100,000 individuals and leaders through her private practice, international retreats, seminars, workshops, and in-service programs. She is the originator of the ‘Way of the Soul”, which she teaches here and abroad, and has lead retreats for the World Weary.
Dr. Cara Barker holds academic degrees from the University of California, San Francisco, and Union, in the areas of Health Education and Speech, Nursing, (including Advanced Practice as Nurse Practitioner), Clinical Psychology, and the Expressive Arts. She has studied and practiced extensively in Body-Centered Psychotherapy with Ron Kurtz/Hakomi, as well as expressive arts interpretation through a Jungian frame.
As a child, Cara was very curious and aware of her surroundings. Her mother always said that she had a joy about her. This was a joy that she, like so many of us, struggled to hold on to as life’s painful realities began to surface. The world seemed both a precious and precarious place. Cara's father had a series of near fatal heart attacks, and with her mother and sister also coming close to death from various health crises, the stress and strain began to leave its mark.
Years later, as a young Army nurse in training, well before she became a Nurse Practitioner, Cara was reminded by seriously injured, returning soldiers, of the many curve balls life can throw us. We are left so ill-prepared. It became clear to her that she needed to explore how to be most useful. Cara began to carry a little sketchpad in her uniform pocket. During long periods of sitting with patients, when they had few words to describe their trauma, she began to sketch the imagery they described. They discovered that the images that arose from their depths carried a healing power. Although she knew nothing of Carl Jung at the time, she was impressed at the healing ‘medicine’ that arises from our own psyche. Some years later, while working in the E.R., Cara went to a class on meditation. That practice, back in 1973, turned out to be the perfect accompaniment for healing imagery. Through the integration of East and West, she discovered that we can use the emergent creative power that arrives from explored suffering in ways that promote healing contribution. The choice is ours to use it in the right direction. (At the time, little did she realize that this would be ground she would need when her own son in college was killed. You never know the importance of the seeds you are planting until it is time for harvest.)
Dr. Barker has come to learn that regardless where the path has led, nothing is wasted. Every single footstep is necessary to where you stand right now. Every thread is necessary for leaving beautifully the unknown future experiences into our life story with deeper Mindfulness. Every doorway is important if we are to honor the calling of our own heart, it’s what makes us who we are. Turmoil examined is the very compost from which gratitude and peace flower. Thich Nhat Hahn puts it this way: “In the garden of my heart, may the flowers of peace bloom beautifully.”
Cara's focus has always been on cultivating the inner life’s vitality, so that it might be translated beautifully into full-hearted expressions, which help our relationship to the world, beginning with those most dear.