Meet Carolyn Sharp
An experienced PACT Therapist for Seattle Couples
For Carolyn Sharp, there is no joy greater than using advanced PACT therapy to help couples find new ways of relating which deepens their connection, allow them to feel stronger, closer and more in love.
Whether in couples counseling sessions, couples intensives, workshops or retreats, Carolyn works to empower clients to develop a greater awareness of themselves, their ways of relating, and their unique coping skills in the face of stress and change. As their awareness increases, she supports them in developing healthier ways of expressing and fulfilling their needs and desires.
Carolyn's work is experiential and strategic. Looking at the ways we were programmed to connect in childhood, she helps partners understand these processes and adopt new ways to communicate and grow as a couple. With a deeper understanding of each other, she supports couples in navigating their struggles more successfully. As a therapist, Carolyn is direct, empathic and playful.
"I marvel at the ways our brains wire together to create this incredible dance between our nervous systems. Watching couples learn to do so positively is one of the most satisfying experiences of my professional life.”
~ Carolyn Sharp
Carolyn Sharp always knew she wanted a helping career. Like many people who grew up in challenging circumstances, Carolyn decided to channel her personal pain into a career supporting others. She wanted to make things different for children who lived with addiction, bullying, and loneliness. In college, she mentored young girls, worked to end homelessness and volunteered in a soup kitchen – all in an effort to make the world a better place. In graduate school for Social Work, she worked in her school’s research institute to assist in understanding the beginnings of mental health diagnoses for children.
Her first job after graduate school at the YMCA in Seattle gave Carolyn a real opportunity to make a difference for children. She worked with the most challenging youth in the State of Washington in treatment foster care as well as with children returning home after intensive treatment. These children were profoundly emotionally disturbed with childhood trauma and severe attachment disorders. After 4 years as a Child and Family Therapist helping these children develop more positive coping skills, Carolyn became the Clinical Director of the YMCA’s Mental Health programs. Here she supervised all the mental health professionals working across the YMCA. She was also a faculty member for several years teaching graduate students at the Washington School for Professional Psychology in counseling and human development.
The birth of her daughter brought an end to this chapter of Carolyn’s professional life as she sought more flexibility and time to focus on being a parent. In 2005, she opened her private practice and quickly developed a reputation for her work with challenging children and families.
Carolyn soon expanded her practice to include couples. After attending a training program offered by Stan Tatkin, Psy.D., the father of the Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy (PACT), Carolyn was hooked on this approach. This modality offered a radical new way to practice with couples in real-time, using the lens of attachment and neurobiology to create dramatic change in real-time. Carolyn adapted this approach to her work with children, families, and individuals, but found herself seeking out more and more couples as she sought to help shape the relationship which most profoundly influences children’s development. Today, her work is almost entirely focused on couples
Thanks to invitations by Dr.Tatkin to assist at two PACT retreats, Carolyn saw firsthand the profound change that can happen for couples over a weekend. This led her to include couples retreats and personal retreats to her professional offerings and she has created incredible results in these intensive settings.
Carolyn has trained extensively with Dr. Tatkin and contributes articles the PACT Institute newsletter and serves as an Ambassador to the PACT Institute.
Who is Carolyn Sharp?
Finding the funny in serious situations at work and at home is second nature to Carolyn Sharp, and it is one of the things her clients find most refreshing. But behind this levity is a woman who cares very deeply about people and is passionate about using her creativity to help her clients build stronger and more vibrant relationships. She knows that she doesn’t have all the answers and is on a path of continuous learning to be a better therapist. Carolyn’s fierce commitment to social justice has not left since her career beginnings and she works to create a more fair, equitable and humane community in both work and personal relationships.
Personally, she knows the pain of a failed marriage and like her mentor, Dr, Tatkin, Carolyn uses this experience in helping couples succeed. Today she and her husband of 5 years (this is a second marriage for both) live in a blended household of teenage hormones thanks to 4 kids ranging from 14 to 20 plus a menagerie of dogs, cats, skis, bikes, lacrosse sticks, musical instruments, swim gear and oars. During the brief times when the children are with their other parents, Carolyn savors the joys of a temporarily empty house in alone time with her husband. When she has the time, she enjoys cooking, running, gardening, reading, hiking, skiing and spending time with friends.