Ditta M. Oliker, Ph.D., began her career in theater at the University of California, Los Angeles. UCLA had recently formed a partnership with members of the film industry to establish a professional theater on campus known as The Theater Group. The organization evolved into the Mark Taper Forum at the Los Angeles Music Center, with Oliker as a member of the core producing staff.
After a personal tragedy, she went back to school and graduated with a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. She began to develop her ideas about psychological survival and the lasting effects of the experiences and hidden messages of childhood while in graduate school. She continued to develop these themes after beginning her practice and incorporated them into her concept of survival systems. Dr. Oliker has lectured on the subject at various universities and mental health facilities, including UCLA and Alliant University, among others. She is the author of The Light Side of the Moon: Reclaiming Your Lost Potential.
Her innovative approach to the field of psychotherapy is based on her knowledge of psychodynamic theory interwoven with her theater background. Her concept of survival systems is based not only on theory, but also on her understanding of the struggles of her patients; on her own life history; and on her work in the theater which showed her the power of creative communication.