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.
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.
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!
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.
Shanette is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with over a decade of experience in the field of social services.
Shanette served as a case manager for youth and families, have worked with domestic violence and substance abuse as well as crisis management. I have experience both in an inpatient and outpatient psychiatric setting.
My goal is always to treat the individual not the symptoms. Each of us has a story that is unique and important to us – therapy is a place of restorative balance. It is through some tough dialoge and behavior activation that each of us finds our place of healing.
"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you"
My name is Amanda. I am an Associate Clinical Counselor and I have a passion for working with children. I have been working with children for the last 10 years and I believe that play is a child’s natural way of communication. In my office I use play therapy as a way for my clients to resolve their challenges and express their needs. I use a child-centered approach to help my clients navigate through challenges at school, or in day to day life. I believe my approach creates an inviting environment for children and their families that step into my office.
My background is in early childhood education. I feel this allows me to have a good understanding of some of the pressures and expectations children are facing in the classroom. Some of my focuses are concern around, challenging behaviors, school-related issues, divorce and loss, anxiety, coping skills, and attachment with caregivers.
I also have a background in creative movement. Spending many years as a music and movement instructor for preschool-age children, I was able to use different materials and music, as a way to let children express themselves freely. It was through this work I was able to realize the therapeutic effect play and movement has on children.
Though I primarily work with children, I feel that it is equally important to work with the family. By working together I will be able to help you as a parent acquire new skills and tools to help build a stronger relationship with your child that fueled on mutual respect and effective communication.
I have a Masters in Early Childhood Mental Health, a Bachelors in Child and Family Development, as well as a certification focused on Social/Emotional Development all from San Diego State University. I am currently taking courses to become a Registered Play Therapist. I am also involved in San Diego’s Association for Play Therapist as a chapter officer.
I grew up right here in sunny San Diego. In my personal life I like to spend time with friends and family. I like to move my body by going to the beach, taking hikes, and taking long strolls around Disneyland.
I’m looking forward to meeting with you and supporting your child!
I am a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I have a lifelong passion working with Adults, families and children helping them with finding balance and understanding.
I am originally from Orange County CA and have lived in San Diego for 19 years. I live in a beautiful rural part of the county that allows me to have stunning views of nature and a peaceful home.
I live with my partner of 15 years and we spend our time making art and music, playing with the chickens, reading, writing, watching Netflix, and cooking delicious foods. Additionally I adore traveling and my favorite place to visit is Costa Rica. Pura Vida!
I believe we are all born unique and perfect. Hiding within us …all the resources we need to have a balanced and peaceful life.
Throughout the course of living we may experience things that set us off course.
Often, you may not know why you feel “not right” or “out of synch”.
This is where therapy can help. Help with the pain of being disconnected from yourself, your loved ones, and the world.
Some typical goals for therapy:
The therapy process can be described as pealing off the layers of false beliefs and unhelpful coping habits. Learning to have compassion for our past and present self. To nurture the inner child who may have not felt safe, who continues to seek love and safety, sometimes in the worst ways. It is easy to get in a coping habit that is destructive. Learning to identify what does not serve us, letting it go, and replacing with healthy habits is an important part of creating a new way of managing life’s struggles.
This may be the first time you have considered seeking help from a professional. Sometimes we have to live with a problem for a long time until the discomfort becomes too great, that moment is ripe for change and transformation.
As a therapist, joining with children and families to support them in resolving issues and improving emotional and social bonds has been a life long passion. Although it was not my life path to have children, I know that being a resource and support for the children of my community is a great honor. I always thought I would become a mother, Grieving the loss of that idea is softened by the joy I receive in knowing so many amazing children and their families. Being a part of your success is my life purpose.
Children are built to connect. They are constantly learning who they are and what the world is like by watching, experiencing, and deciding. Children are born with all the potential to express emotions, relate to those around them, and to find balance when challenges come. A child’s actions can be seen as attempt to meet a need. When a child has behavior that is out of balance, extreme and cause for concern this is a sign that something is out of balance. The child is trying to meet a need. This is crazy making. The child in the most need of love and understanding is acting in the most unlovable and frustrating way! How are we supposed to be calm and supportive when they are acting so out of control? This is the parenting part of therapy with children.
I have a masters degree in Counseling from National University La Jolla. I am currently pursuing certification as a Registered Play Therapist through the Association for Play Therapy. I have extensive training in Gestalt play therapy/Oakland Model and incorporate many of the Gestalt Play techniques in my work with adults and children.
Additionally I have the following certifications:
The journey that lead me to becoming a therapist was long and winding. My mother used to say “you are like a little crusader rabbit, looking out for the little guy”. This desire to help those hurting has become my life purpose. I have always known I wanted to help people and I have helped people in many different settings. Each experience broadened my understanding of the human experience and built in my a sense of connection and caring for all of humanity. The different experiences gave me the opportunity to know all kinds of people, learning to appreciate the unique gifts of each one.
My time as a preschool teacher taught me the importance of emotional connection. Working with people with development disabilities gave me the gift of the present moment and finding perfection in simple things. Medically fragile children and their families taught me the importance of balance in body and mind. Supporting adults as they navigated their trauma healing gave me hope and a resolve to continue to fight for the rights of those marginalized by society. Working alongside LGBTQI youth and adults gave me a sense of the importance of family of choice. My many connections with children and adults on the Autism Spectrum gave me an appreciation for my senses and being attuned to those around me. Lastly, my time supporting adults who feel discomfort with their life, and a need for change has been inspirational as I am witness to transformative change. My work as a parent educator gave me compassion for the daily struggles families face.