My name is Clare De Tar (aka Lois A.)  I am a marriage and family therapist (LMFT) licensed to practice in California.  I retired from employment in 2012 and have kept my license active — just in case…  The active license qualifies me to provide counseling for disaster mental health and to do offsite supervision of MFT interns.

Spiritual direction is of more interest to me at this point in my life.  I am a member of Spiritual Directors International and have some training and experience in doing spiritual direction.

My interest in spiritual direction has grown out of my own spiritual journey.  In 1978 I was ready to give up on living.  Nothing made any sense.  Then a friend gave me Catherine Doherty’s book, Poustinia, and it changed my life.  Catherine’s description of the Russian tradition of poustinia gave me a reason for living and provided the flexible structure I needed.

The Russian concept of the solitary is less about physical isolation than the solitude of the heart which paradoxically means being with everyone.  I haven’t lived the poustinia exactly as it is described in the book.  My life has been an approximation of it and in a variety of settings — in active church ministry, in solitude, as a college student, and while employed in various agencies.  My poustinia has evolved to be more Taoist than Christian.  Even so, Christian values have been internalized and remain very much a part of me.

My home is in the Antelope Valley in Southern California.  I share it with two aging cats and two dogs.  We live on seven acres of desert land about thirty miles from the nearest supermarket.  My property is at the 3,500 foot level in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains with no neighbors in sight on three sides.  From my front porch I have a view of the entire Antelope Valley, and on a clear day I can see the Tehachapi Mountains on the other side of the valley more than fifty miles away.  Electricity is from a generator.  Water is trucked in and stored in above ground tanks.