Vanessa is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Forensic Psychotherapist with over a decade of counseling experience. She holds a Master's of Arts in Counseling Psychology from Sofia University, a Bachelor's of Science in Criminal Justice, a Bachelor's of Arts in Interior Architecture with a focus on Therapeutic Design and a Master's of Science in Forensic Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She is also a State Certified Medical Advocate, Crisis Intervention Counselor and a Certified Nursing Assistant, as well as an active member of The AAMFT, CAMFT, IACFP and APA.
Vanessa maintains an independent private practice in Santa Cruz, CA. Her work currently focuses on Individuals facing Relationship Issues, Trauma & Stress, Anxiety, Depression, Disordered Eating, Personal Growth and Self Exploration, Severe Mental Illness, Dual Diagnosis, Addiction and Recovery and Police Psychology. Vanessa's work is strongly guided by the principal that in addition to trauma; social and cultural stigma and expectations create most of our individual suffering. She is firmly rooted in several key therapeutic models including Trauma Informed Care, HAES, EMDR, CBT, DBT and Client Centered Psychotherapy. While she uses pieces from the above mentioned models and theories each individual client will require a different mix of psychotherapy approaches. Individual treatment plans and various interventions will be used for every individual client.
Vanessa's primarily specialty is working with active and retired first responders/law enforcement. She has extensive private & public experience targeting and treating the unique & specific issues these individuals face, including trauma, substance use, relational issues. Her time working with the Chicago Police Department as a clinician has helped to inform these practice and skills.
Additional services include Therapeutic Design which integrates therapy & design to create cohesive spaces that directly affect our mood, productivity, happiness and wellbeing in order to help transform one's thoughts, feelings and intentions into positive and productive actions through residential and corporate therapeutic interior design planning services.
Vanessa spends a great deal of time training in different approaches and methods of psychology and is happy to provide referrals for anything that she is not skilled in. When Vanessa is not working she enjoys cooking, baking, painting, photography, traveling, music and is always up for an adventure.