1855 1st Avenue, Suite 201B, San Diego, CA 92101
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Psychotherapy in San Diego For Children, Youth, Adults and Families

Paula Kettula, LCSW

My focus in therapy is the entire person from a mind-body-spirit-soul perspective. I believe that in order to get relief from psychological problems, we have to pay attention to the whole being that we are - It is absolutely vital to our wellbeing that we pay attention to our soul!


My approach to therapy is based on the deep belief and conviction that behind the pain and suffering we experience in our lives is a higher meaning or a purpose that needs to be discovered. It is a realization that our difficulties in life do not exists because of some meaningless or cruel cosmic joke or because “there is something wrong with me”, but for us to recognize that there is a part in us that is always whole, protected and can never be broken. 


"One of the most important goals of my work is to remind my clients that we are more than we think we are; we are soul-like, spiritual beings with light within us that can never be extinguished by anyone or anything!"


The journey of therapy is about finding this lost light that has the potential to transcend pain and suffering which belong to this earthly life. Viewed this way, the symptoms of despair, sadness, anger, grief and anxieties, or the acting out behavior in children don’t exist because the person is flawed, but are the soul’s way of communicating to us about what needs to be paid attention to. 


Negative or traumatic experiences in our  childhood ends up shaping the view of who we are. Our parents or others around us may send us negative messages that we unconsciously take in and start to believe them.  A negative story line begins to develop about ourselves as we may grow up thinking that “I am not good enough”, or “I am unlovable”. Feelings of worthlessness and shame develop as a result of hurtful or abusive behavior of others (often from the ones we love) that may send us ever deeper into self-hatred, anxiety, anger or depression.


Since no-one wants to suffer and live their life in pain, we begin the eternal search for that which might make us feel better or happier, or help us avoid the pain; compulsive love, medications, relationship, sex, new car, perhaps a nice dress or drugs and alcohol. 

Though we may get brief joy and satisfaction, in the end, this search leaves us feeling unfulfilled, and empty. We get stuck in samsara. We lose our freedom and the sight of who we truly are. Slowly, life becomes narrow, constricted and unenjoyable. Suffering, emotional pain and anxieties have taken over and now drive us further and further away from our true self. We may retreat from others, have issues with intimacy or feeling love towards others, we may want to isolate and think we are worthless or struggle with addictions. Common issues are also out-of-control anger or up and down moods that make us feel as we are constantly in the middle of a storm. We may also feel that the world is against us, and that things are unfair and we carry this deep-rooted hurt in our hearts. 


"In the very pain and suffering we usually try to avoid is a kernel of healing"


"I work with people to help them see their problems and emotional pain as something that can guide and restore rather than something that needs to be hated with one’s whole being or eradicated at all cost."


Each individual, be it adult or child, has the capacity to learn to see this. My role as a therapist is to provide a safe, nurturing, trusting, and accepting space for a person to explore their life experiences and inner terrain; to help them learn to trust and accept themselves once more and to help them cope with the multiple difficult demands of life.


 In the words of Lao Tzu: “If one is lost, one can also be found”, and that is the beauty of therapy!


Everything said above provides a background for all that I do in therapy no matter what the intervention or method we are using at the time, may it be EMDR, cognitive-behavioral, relaxation or guided visualization, learning to manage day-to-day life, skill building, or psychoeducation. 

More About Paula

I graduated with Master’s Degree in Social Work from San Diego State University in 2006, and got licensed as a clinical social worker 2 years after that. I am originally from Finland but I have lived and worked in the therapy field here in San Diego since 2000. 


My professional experiences range from working with sexually abused and abusive children to adults hospitalized in a psychiatric unit to helping parents struggling with their children’s challenging behaviors. Since 2009, I have had the privilege of owning and managing my own private practice that allowed me to unite my personal beliefs and style with my professional life. 


I have received adjunct training in EMDR Therapy, Play Therapy and Sandplay Therapy. I also became a certified Yoga Teacher in 2014 in order to incorporate this ancient practice of balancing the mind, the body and the spirit into my work.


FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MY WORK WITH CHILDREN 

In 2015, I felt a deep cry for help from the children I work with as well as the children of the world. Fueled by this call and frustrations with the traditional school system, my journey of helping children lead me to obtain an AMI Primary Montessori Diploma at the historic Montessori Training Center in Perugia, Italy. I returned from there with my heart full of hope for the future of children, for the future of humanity, and eager to contribute my share of creating peace in this world by nurturing the spirits of children.

As any other human being, I have experienced trauma, grief and loss, happiness and sorrow.  Along the journey of my own healing, I have delved into the study of Greek mythology, Judaism especially the mystical aspects of the Kabbalah and Hasidic Tradition, alchemy, yoga, dreams, poetry and writing, existentialism, and Jungian depth psychology. 


Through this process AND receiving special guidance, I developed a profound sense of spirituality, faith and a sense for the order of the world in which all people and things can be as they are. 


"The duty of our lives as human beings is to diligently work towards finding all encompassing love and freedom in this polar world. "


I incorporate my personal healing experiences, life lessons learned and knowledge gained with the professional and theoretical background of my education, resulting in a unique, and authentic style of therapy. 

In my personal life I try to balance family, friends, work, fun and relaxation. Besides spending time with my family, I enjoy long walks with Trinity (a 6 lbs Chihuahua!)  connecting with nature, reading and writing, and of course yoga!

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Veronica Campbell, LMFT, LPCC

After graduating in 2007 Veronica worked as a clinician in several county mental health clinics facilitating partial day treatment groups, dual diagnosis programs, and acted as a crisis clinician. She continues to work as an outpatient primary therapist at Sharp Mesa Vista since 2011 and an individual and group supervisor for pre-licensed clinicians.  She recently became an honored recipient of the 2017 Jim and Sally Haugh Spirit of Caring Award for excellence in clinical care. 


“As your therapist I practice a holistic approach and feel that a mind and body connection is the first place to start in your wellness journey. By applying traditional cognitive and dialectical behavior therapy approaches we can address more challenging acute issues that are not allowing you to live a meaningful life.”


Veronica specializes in treating children, adults and seniors, couples, and families. She treats depression, anxiety, and mood disorders and has a special focus with grief/loss, life transitions, trauma/PTSD, personality disorders, and substance abuse. 

Veronica is a native San Diegan. When she is not working she is practicing yoga, weightlifting, and spending time with her husband and playing with her very active (i.e. non stop) two boys and her very patient and understanding dog Ryder. 

Contact Veronica