Ira Rechtshaffer, Ph.D
Teacher, Psychotherapist, and Author
My practice as a teacher and psychotherapist began with my own struggle to make sense of my life. This led to a spiritual journey in my early twenties which involved study and practice of various Asian spiritual traditions, beginning with Swami Satchidananda with whom I practiced yoga and studied the Upanishads, then to San Francisco Zen center for several years, which culminated in a four year stay in Japan where I practiced zen at various monasteries. Wanting to balance my meditation practice with scholastic discipline, I earned a Ph.D. in Buddhist studies.
During my graduate studies I met Tibetan Buddhist lama, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, and have been a practitioner of Vajrayana Buddhism since 1976, and have received teachings from numerous reknown Tibetan lamas through the years, including Dzongzar Khyentse Rinpoche, Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, and Lama Tarchin Rinpoche. I've taught Buddhism in graduate programs, in Buddhist seminary, and was the head of meditation and study at Karme Choling, a Buddhist contemplative center in Vermont.
I was thrown by the challenges of my own midlife transition, which led me back to graduate school to earn a clinical degree and to engage in my own psychotherapeutic process. I received licensure as a clinical social worker (LCSW) and have practiced as a psychotherapist for approximately 25 years. Most recently I worked as a psychotherapist in the psychiatry department of Kaiser Permanente, serving individual clients and couples, and facilitating groups in mindfulness meditation and midlife process groups.
My current offerings include: meditation groups and meditation retreats, inner growth workshops in the 5 elements or wisdom energies, and seminars in mindful aging.