Introducing your guide, Polla Pratt

Polla Pratt, MA, SEP, RSMT, PDC

  • Masters in Whole Systems Process Design
  • Somatic Experiencing Trauma Resolution Practitioner
  • Registered Somatic Movement Therapist
  • Permaculture Design Consultant

Somatic Specialist

Polla is a Somatic Specialist who has more than 15 years of somatic training and practice focused on trauma resolution and accelerated whole-person change. She is a registered Somatic Movement Therapist with ISMETA (International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association), and a certified Somatic Experiencing® Trauma Resolution Practitioner since 2001. After completing the 3-year Somatic Experiencing® training, including direct work with trauma pioneer Peter Levine, she assisted in the training of and provided sessions for other psychotherapists, doctors and body workers for another 3 years.

Polla also has more than 800 hours of direct Continuum® training with somatic pioneers Susan Harper and Emilie Conrad. She holds a Master’s degree in Whole System Design (designing sustainable human activity systems from the inside out) from Antioch University. In her private practice, Polla has been working with individuals, couples and groups for 11 years. She has offices in Bolinas and Mill Valley, and gives sessions and consults on telephone and Video Skype.

Whole Systems Process Designer

Polla received her Masters degree in, Whole Systems Design, from Antioch University in 1999. As a Masters level Whole Systems Designer, Polla is essentially a process designer and an interdisciplinary development practitioner. She approaches individual and organizational development from the inside out. She begins each development process by first listening, inquiring and learning. Then, by gaining an understanding of the context and inter-relationships involved, she begins to see and sense the patterns that connect, disconnect and drive the system.

Polla is a very collaborative designer who is experienced in emergent, self-organizing, participatory, democratic development processes. She is skilled at setting context, conditions and environments which support somatic based trust, collaboration, risk-taking and innovation—process systems for embodied success. She believes that inspiring individual passion-into-action is at the heart of sustainable commitments and contributes the most to our common good.

Polla has collaboratively designed and implemented process methodologies for large-scale cluster-based economic development projects in the United States, Latin America and South Africa. She has also contributed to the design and development of the training of trainers for one of Boeing Center for Leadership and Learning’s largest global trainings to date. In addition to large-scale design, Polla also has several years experience designing and developing women’s rural micro-credit economic development in Latin America and Africa.

Academic Background

Polla earned her Masters in Whole Systems Design and “Innate Intelligence”. Her Masters thesis in Whole Systems Design integrated concepts and practices from living systems theories, new sciences (quantum physics, chaos etc.), organizational and economic development, and inquiry based somatics related to our Innate Intelligence, which refers to the over four billion years of evolutionary intelligence that resides inside of each human being.

Scientific Research & Innovation

Her Masters project, Research and Experimentation on Innovation and Accelerated Human Change, was completed at XEROX Palo Alto Research Center (1999). Through this work, she proved that by using a body-based inquiry approach, it is possible to access and draw from our Innate Intelligence. She further discovered that, by doing so, every participant in the study was able to innovate new solutions to pressing challenges in their workplace, establishing substantial application and value for this work.

Professional Experience

  • Creating Accelerated Whole Systems Change
  • Innovating Development Process Methodologies
  • Catalyzing & Growing Regional Leadership Networks
  • Launching & Growing Regional Economic Clusters
  • Developing Local Living Economies
  • Organizational Trust, Innovation & Development
  • Meeting, Conference, Leadership Retreat Design/Facilitation
  • Public Relations & Outreach
  • Transformational Somatic Strategies

 Somatic Services Offered

  • Education & Training
  • Process Design & Facilitation
  • Organizational Development
  • Leadership Development
  • Collaborative Strategy Design & Implementation

Industries worked with

  • Agriculture
  • Aerospace
  • Aquaculture
  • Dairy
  • Eco-Tourism
  • Fisheries
  • Information Technology
  • Manufacturing
  • Petroleum
  • Renewable Energy
  • Rural Cottage
  • Sustainable Forestry

Major Clients Served (1999-Present)

  • Boeing Center for Leadership and Learning
  • XEROX Palo Alto Research Center
  • Greater North Dakota Chamber of Commerce*
  • Campeche Chamber of Commerce & Governor of State of Campeche, Mexico*
  • Governor of State of Tabasco, Tabasco, Mexcio*
  • South Africa Tourism Department*
  • President Fox’s Economic Development Transition Team*
  • 1999 International Somatics Congress
  • Clients with * are clients subcontracted through partnership with the Economic Transformations Group, Inc. 

Women’s Micro Credit

Polla’s rural development work started in the early 1990’s in East Africa. After working as a private business operator for nearly a year, Fatimah Maghimbi, the first woman in the Zanzibar Parliament, asked Polla to work with her to support local women’s empowerment through economic development. After returning to the states, Polla founded the Pemba Women’s Fund. The Pemba Women’s Fund acted as one of the seed organizations out of which grew, AWEZI, a locally based micro-financing collective program. This program currently supports 100’s of women in Zanzibar and Pemba. Polla has also worked for several years supporting women’s micro-financing collectives in Tabasco, Mexico. 

Cultural Background

Any successful development effort requires an understanding of the culture in which it is taking place. Having travelled to over 20 countries, worked in 10, lived in 7 and studied in 4, Polla has cultivated an awareness and understanding of how cultures influence and shape how we think, relate and do business.

When we engage in the practice of Innate Intelligence we shift context from cultural to biological. This can be a very challenging shift to make and requires a high degree of cultural sensitivity and experience to pull off successfully.  However, by shifting to a biological context we set conditions for truly organic feedback loops to emerge and we begin to engage as equals, building trust and collaboration, and freeing ourselves and organizations to experience unprecedented biologically sound growth that is good for the whole. 

Environmental Education and Advocacy

Polla began her formal environmental education and advocacy work in 2003 after completing a two-week Permaculture Intensive with Penny Livingston Stark and Brock Dolman in Northern California.  After becoming a Certified Permaculture Designer (CPD), Polla immediately began bringing Permaculture into the world by: researching global markets and best practices; making informative, strategic presentations and recommendations to key public and private leaders; and helping to launch new Organic Cacao and Sustainable Forestry Industries in Tabasco, Mexico.

Polla was later invited back to Tabasco to work on building the Women’s Micro Credit Movement. Here she presented a thorough slide presentation on sustainable rural development called Using Nature’s Technology for Regenerative Development & Rural Job Creation to the Departments of Agriculture and Economic Development. Her presentation outlined a whole-systems menu of sustainable and regenerative development technologies and offered development contacts, possible funding sources and strategies for implementation.

Back at home, Polla continues her environmental education and advocacy work. She has attended many local educational events and trainings including Brock Dolmans’s Basins of Relations: Organizing Community Watershed Groups and SPAWN’s Creek Naturalist Program.

Most recently, Polla has been awarded a matching scholarship from the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin and the Environmental Forum of Marin to take the Environmental Forums' Master Class in Sustainability training which started in August 2010.

Polla is currently serving on the FairBuck Steering Committee working to design, develop and launch a new economic currency in the Town of Fairfax, California. She is an active supporter of Marin Clean Energy; the Bolinas Community Center and Transition West Marin.

Commitment to Caring

Caring is a way of healing through our hearts. Authentic, heart-full caring is part of our Innate Intelligence and is hardwired into us. Since all relational injuries are a result of not feeling cared for, caring is essential to our individual and collective healing. Learning to really care for each other and ourselves is one of the most important things we have to learn as a species, and it is essential for the survival of our species.

By nature, caring establishes connections and opens communication in a trusting way. When we feel truly cared for, we feel a sense of safety and belonging which deeply nourishes us. Authentic caring touches us deeply on the inside and goes far beyond any conscious benefits. Where there is authentic caring, there is heightened trust and capacity for risk and innovation. Caring breeds creativity, spontaneous healing and transformational collaborations. It is like a magical wand that has powers to heal like nothing else! When we truly care for another, we create a field resonance that unites us and brings connection to where we need to heal the most.

"My commitment to caring is to authentically support and listen with compassion, non-judgment and an open heart to each and every client. I understand that by deeply caring, I can help others to heal themselves. I am not out to make a million, I am out to reach a million."
~ Polla Pratt, Somatic-based Whole Systems Process Designer ~

(C)2016 Polla Pratt - all rights reserved