Catherine Anne Held, PhD
Photo by Lindsey Ptucha

“I know this: You are loved, you are not alone, and you have never been alone.”

— Catherine Anne Held, PhD

Catherine's Biography

Catherine is a mother, grandmother, healer, writer, teacher and community leader with a diverse background based in Cotati, California. In 1994 she received a spontaneous chant while on retreat. She recognized the chant as Native American, and it led her on a search for its meaning and its use. An art therapist at the time, Catherine studied the lives of other healers, interviewed healers and looked for a teacher. She found a powerful teacher in shamanic journey sessions who guided her to place her hands on others for healing. Her search led to her training in Therapeutic Touch, which appeased her western skepticism with its strong research-base. She then studied with the Kashaya Pomo elder Lorin Smith briefly who identified the chant she had received as a Pomo healing song.

Catherine grew up throughout the United States and has been a lifelong traveler. Her undergraduate degrees in Spanish Literature and Latin American Studies included work with the United Farm Workers and field study in Chiapas, Mexico. She received her Master’s in Art Therapy/Psychology from Sonoma State University and her doctorate in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. Her graduate work has focused on healing of trauma through image, myth and story, and she is herself a survivor of multiple traumas. Her dissertation is titled, “Horse Girl: An Archetypal Study of Women, Horses and Trauma Healing.”

Catherine has an interesting background. She has been a waitress, a travel agent, an accountant, a banker, an art therapist and the executive director of several non-profits. She is the co-founder of Ya Zhinka Women’s Center in Cherkasy, Ukraine where she trains psychologists, and the Ukrainian-American Women’s Action Project, a non-profit that supports the Center. In recent years, Catherine started and coordinated Sonoma County’s largest multicultural preschool literacy program, and was the development director for California Parenting Institute. As an art therapist, Dr. Held specialized in working with trauma survivors including combat veterans, incest survivors, incarcerated adolescents and children from abusive homes.