Paula Kettula LCSW, Clinical Social Work in San Diego, California, 92103

Paula Kettula


Paula Kettula


Professions: Clinical Social Worker, Mental Health Counselor, Psychotherapist
License Status: I'm a licensed professional.
Primary Credential: LCSW - LCS25403
Billing and Insurance:
I am an in-network provider for:
  • Aetna
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS)
  • Cigna
  • Magellan
  • Tricare
  • Veterans Choice
Fees: $150 Initial Assessment (60 min.)

$120 Regular Psychotherapy Session (50 min.)

$90 Adjusted rate for students, recent graduates, single parents and individuals/families with financial difficulties

$250 90 Min. school observation without written report

$350 90 Min. school observation with written report

$950 Comprehensive education assessment (contact me for details)

FREE 30 minute face-to-face consultation for new clients without an insurance.

No hassle billing and claims
Free Initial Consultation
Accepting New Clients
Weekend Availability
Evening Availability


1855 1st Avenue
Suite 201B
San Diego, California 92103

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My Approach to Helping

My approach to therapy is based on the deep belief and conviction that behind the pain and suffering we may experience in our lives, in our being or body 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 us, but for us to recognize that there is a part in us that is always whole, protected and can never be destroyed. The journey of therapy is about finding this lost light within all of us that has the potential to transcend pain and suffering which are part of 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.

In the very pain and suffering we 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.

My approach to therapy is both practical and abstract or symbolic depending on whether we work on a more conscious (thoughts/action/behavior) or unconscious (dreams/drives/intuitions/sensations) level. I believe that successful therapy combines the two and involves both verbal and non-verbal ways of working through issues. Work in the conscious realm may involve skills building, cognitive behavioral methods or problems solving. Work in the unconscious realm may involve dream analysis, sandplay therapy, art, telling and listening of fairytales or other stories, breathing, relaxation and guided imagery. The main goal of both types of work is freedom of choice!

More Info About My Practice

And finally a little bit about me! My professional qualifications include a master's degree in social work from San Diego State University in 2006, and being a licensed clinical social worker. 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. 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. The duty of our lives as human beings is to diligently work towards finding all encompassing love and freedom in this polar world.

If you connect in your heart about what I have written here, and would like to find out more about how I work with children, adults, families and couples, please do not hesitate to contact me to schedule a FREE 30-minute face-to-face consultation. I would be honored to be able to work with you!

My Role as a Therapist

I truly consider it to be a privilege and an honor to be a therapist. I do not take this role lightly. The word "therapy" comes from the Greek word "therapeia" which means to provide "a service" or "an attendance". My role is to attend to clients in a way that creates an atmosphere where healing and personal growth can occur: An atmosphere where one has the potential to become whole as a human being. Sometimes the suffering in life makes us forget how it is to be whole, balanced and present: to live life without constricting anxieties or deep sadness and sorrow.

I believe in the inner healing powers of each individual, therefore I encourage my clients to become wanderers into their inner being and discover their true selves. My role is to show the way onto the path of discovery; your job is to walk it! The ultimate goal is freedom from anxieties and dependencies. Through this freedom, one can learn to love life and joyfully experience its natural rhythm of night and day, happiness and sorrow.

Importance of the Client-Therapist Alliance

As a therapist and as just another human being I have always wondered what is it in me that makes me think I can help another person? What is it that makes me fit to deal with another person's problems? Is it that I have dealt with my own issues or perhaps because I went to school and studied about psychology? So the ultimate question every therapist should ask themselves (and clients should ask their therapist) : What makes you believe that you can guide another human being to their own soul unless you have dwelt in the depths of your own? The therapist's ability to help is as limited as they are.

Thus, one can only lift another person to the height that they have reached, and not further because then one becomes blind and gets mingled with what is their problem and what is the other person's. This is a point when counter-transference occurs: when you no longer can detect what is your problem and what is theirs. So how do you know this boundary? Where is it?: It is an ever changing ebb and flow of waves of consciousness. It is the back and forth flow of energy, of being and not being of realizing and repressing. The line is a shadow drawn on sand. You cannot grasp it. You cannot see it or get a hold of it. It is not tangible. BUT if you know your own limits of who you are, you may have an idea of that line. If you have traveled to the furthest corners of your own soul: if you have been to the east, west, north and south and everywhere in between, you may get a glimpse

Services I Provide

  • Consultation
  • Family Therapy
  • Individual Therapy & Counseling
  • Online Counseling / Phone Therapy

Ages I Work With

  • Children
  • Teens
  • Adults


  • Finnish

Groups I Work With

    Children with emotional, behavioral or academic challenges

Client Concerns I Treat

  • Abuse / Abuse Survivor Issues
  • Adjusting to Change / Life Transitions
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Child and/or Adolescent Issues
  • Depression
  • Divorce / Divorce Adjustment
  • Family of Origin Issues
  • Family Problems
  • Grief, Loss, and Bereavement
  • Inattention, Impulsivity, and Hyperactivity (ADHD)
  • Learning Difficulties
  • Oppositional and Defiant Behavior in Children and Teen
  • Panic
  • Parenting
  • Phobias
  • Physical Abuse
  • Posttraumatic Stress / Trauma
  • Self-Harm
  • Social Anxiety / Phobia
  • Spirituality
  • Stress
  • Worry

Types of Therapy

  • Body-Mind Psychotherapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Depth Therapy
  • Dreamwork
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)
  • Guided Therapeutic Imagery
  • Holistic Psychotherapy
  • Integration of different therapy models
  • Jungian Psychotherapy
  • Mindfulness-Based Interventions
  • Other - Not Listed Here
  • Parent Work
  • Play Therapy
  • Sand Tray Therapy
  • Self Psychology
  • Sensorimotor Psychotherapy
  • Yoga Therapy
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