VANESSA SETTEDUCATO, LMFT
Psychodynamic Therapy in California | Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist #119184
"The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate."
I work best with curious adults seeking new insights around
Changing behaviors is a noble step toward self-improvement, but just mowing the weeds of struggle or overwhelm doesn't stop them from growing back.
Instead, we look to self-discovery; a beautiful and unpredictable process that invites your whole self to come into focus. Calling in and healing the unconscious material behind your struggle -- tending to the root of the weeds -- can lead to long-lasting change.
I can partner you in that process.
Therapy meets you where you are.
You may find that you need direct tending to your general wellbeing, morale, sense of safety, and sense of self. Overwhelmed by the reactions of your defenses, daily life has lost its joy and meaning.
Or, you may feel strongly rooted in your sense of self and instead seek to embolden your life; to uncover what lies beneath so that a more vibrant and connected you may emerge.
I do my part to meet you where you are and hold space that is unique to your needs.
The Therapeutic Relationship
The relationship between therapist and client is central in both the core principles of the psychodynamic approach, and more broad measurements of therapy outcomes.
To be deeply seen by another human being creates a field in which unpredictable energy and expressions emerge. One of my graduate school instructors called therapy a "controlled attachment experience" in which the client can move deeply inward, leave behind the weight of the daily, material world, and come into relationship with parts of self otherwise left abandoned.
Repair can happen in this realm of connection and vulnerability, as can expansion and a coming home to oneself.
Boundaries support this relationship so that it can remain safe. This includes the structure of our meeting times and that our relationship won't extend out beyond the therapy space. It may also include the utilization of more linear therapeutic approaches, such as CBT or DBT, at times when those tools would be useful.
Therapy is a bit of an adventure.
It's full of spontaneous moments of expression and wonder as much as it's guided by your therapist's training and instincts.
The process may not always feel blissful. Like many of life's riches, confrontation with discomfort ought to be expected. As Joseph Campbell said:
“It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.”
The therapeutic relationship is meant to provide care, containment, and safety throughout this journey into the abyss.
Benefitting from Therapy
What we discuss in our weekly sessions is best applied to, or inquired about, in the events of your daily life. This is how most people see benefits from therapy.
The process is more about surrendering, exploring, unlearning, and experiencing and less about trying to avoid, halt, or eradicate unpleasant feelings or aspects of self.
Reimagining yourself and the world around you can be scary. But a willingness to challenge the assumptions you hold is an integral part of this work. Compassion and acceptance will ease this, which is part of the therapeutic relationship we cultivate together.
What needs to be talked about will be talked about.
It's only in our first session or two that I take the lead. I'll want to ask some initial questions to get to know you and your hopes for our work together.
After that, it's your playground.
I rely on you to begin our sessions because you are the spontaneous spark that lays out the path before us. There's no wrong topic. You may want to revisit an event from the week, confront an event from the past, give space to a dream, complain about a partner, sigh into your overwhelm, or tune in to the state of mind or body you're in there and then. Any, all, or none of the above.
Therapy content doesn't need to be crafted. Slinging agendas is what the hustle-bustle outside world demands, but it's not what we need (or want) for therapy.
In my experience, what needs to be talked about will be talked about, even if it's not what you thought needed to be talked about. Trust the process, and we'll work to energize your mindful curiosity over your urges to succeed.
Innate Tools of Therapy
Life, by definition, is about continual change. This means no state remains forever, for better or worse. Therapy isn't a process of eradicating life's ups-and-downs or obtaining a static state of perfection.
Instead, I believe therapy can be helpful in arriving to those ups and downs with:
Curiousity and openness to deeper meaning
An interest in getting to know yourself more intimately
The capacity to understand your inner needs and meet them
Healthy strategies to self-regulate and cope through life's challenges
An eye toward play, connectivity, and community
An active imagination as a tool for growth and understanding desires
Secure and fulfilling relationships
Passion, purpose, and support
Self-inquiry, non-judgment, and meaning-making lend themselves to this process. I work well with those who are curious, thoughtful and who find value in their internal lives or emotional selves.