Dr. Laura Darke attended the University of California, Los Angeles from 1977-1981. She graduated with the distinctions of Summa Cum Laude, and Phi Beta Kappa, with a B.A. in Psychology. For her graduate training, she entered the dual Masterís/Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology at the University of Southern California. She completed her Masterís Thesis in 1983 on the topic of Galvanic Skin Responses in Avoidance Conditioning of Sociopaths. She completed her year of Clinical Internship at the Veteranís Administration Hospital, Sepulveda in 1985. While at the VA, she specialized in Behavioral Medicine. She became very involved in the Cardiac Rehabilitation program where she taught cardiac patients many skills related to self-care. She also led many Smoking Cessation programs. She completed her Ph.D. program in 1986. Her dissertation explored the Relationship of Type A Behavior in Cardiovascular Disease.
Dr. Darke served as a psychologist and faculty member at the UCLA Pain Management Program from 1986 until 1991. At UCLA, she conducted the vast majority of psychological evaluations of patients with a wide variety of pain problems. She coordinated with a multidisciplinary team made up of physicians, psychologists, physical therapists, and acupuncturists to address chronic and cancer pain issues. She also taught in both the Medical School and the Dental School at UCLA on various topics of pain management.
In 1986, she also started a private practice under the supervision of Dr. Linda Kames. Dr. Kames was also a faculty member at the UCLA Pain Management Center and an expert in womenís health issues, especially chronic pelvic pain. Dr. Darke has continued to be involved with many collaborative health programs. She works on multidisciplinary teams to address a whole variety of health issues: acute and chronic pain conditions, cancer, gastro-intestinal conditions, and improving general health. She is trained in hypnosis and has used this modality to treat a whole variety of issues including preparation for invasive medical procedures, smoking cessation, weight management, pain and stress management, fears, sadness, and loss.
Dr. Darke received her license in Clinical Psychology in February of 1988 and has been in continuous practice ever since. She continues to specialize in Health Psychology but also has extensive experience in general psychotherapy for individuals and couples. While her early training focused primarily on behavioral and cognitive behavioral approaches, her current theoretical model is very eclectic. She feels that the work of the following masters have been most influential in her training: Aaron Beck, Albert Ellis, Carl Rogers, John Gottman, Milton H. Erickson, and Martin Selligman. Her current office is in Westwood, California.