Paula S. Thomson

(818) 677-7575
Office location:
RE 287


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Dr. Paula Thomson is Professor and dance coordinator in the Department of Kinesiology, California State University, Northridge. She is also a licensed Clinical Psychologist, a certified Sport Psychologist, and works in private practice in Tarzana, California.  She is affiliated faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute and is Professor Emeritus at York University’s Departments of Theatre and Graduate Studies (Canada). In 2013, she was named one of the top 20 female professors in California and received an award for this honor from Los Angeles County.

 For over thirty years Paula Thomson has been a teacher at numerous international schools, most notably Julliard School of Music, Banff School of Fine Arts, University of Cape Town - South Africa, , University of Limerick in Ireland, Opera Works,  Stratford Shakespearean Festival and the Canadian Opera Company. 

 Paula Thomson has a Master’s Degree from York University and a Bachelor of Education from University of Toronto.  She is also the recipient of a Doctorate in Psychology from the American Behavioral Studies Institute in California.  Thomson studied dance in New York and Toronto.  She has trained extensively in Grotowski Physical Theatre, voice and Alexander technique. She is a reliable coder in the Adult Attachment Interview and has over 15 years of post-doctorate studies in neurobiology, traumatic and dissociative stress disorders.

 Along with having been Artistic Director, dancer and choreographer for Northern Lights Dance Theatre, Paula Thomson has worked as a professional movement coach or choreographer for most of the premier theatre and opera companies in Canada. Since 2003, Paula has worked with the Los Angeles based Opera Works. Her choreographic works were recently featured at UCLA’s On the Edge of Chaos held at Schoenberg Hall and the Los Angeles County Psychological Association’s Mirrors of the Mind.

 In collaboration with Dr. S. Victoria Jaque, Dr. Thomson is an active researcher in the field of psychophysiology. Together they are investigating the effects of stress on performing artists, athletes and patients with functional disorders. They have extensive publications in journals and edited books, most notably Encyclopedia of Creativity, Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts, Creativity Research Journal, Attachment and Human Development, Journal of Trauma and Dissociation, Death Studies, International Journal of Sport Psychology, and Cognition, Imagination and Psychology.

 Areas of Expertise:  Dance – Modern and Ballet technique and Choreography. Psychology – Attachment Theory and Research; Dissociative Disorders and Early Trauma; Somatic and Expressive Therapies; Prenatal and Perinatal Development; Neurobiological Development; Psychodynamic Psychotherapy.