Today we’d like to introduce you to Valentina Setteducate.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Originally from the suburbs of Chicago, I always had a desire to move out west. The ocean, the mountains, the lifestyle all were attractive to me and kept me dreaming of a new chapter… and of a life without winters. After my undergraduate studies at Indiana University, I knew that I wanted to work with people face-to-face and not sit behind a desk all day.
One of my professors who had been a licensed therapist in the past started talking to me about that career as something I may like and be excited about. I started applying to graduate schools to study Clinical Psychology, with the hopes of gaining my master’s degree and becoming a therapist, and with my sights set on being out west, I made the move to Los Angeles. Moving across the country was not easy. I hardly knew anyone, and as far away from family and friends. I was learning my way around LA, as well as navigating life post-undergrad- both not as easy as I had pictured or expected.
As I started to engage more with school, I was so eager about starting work as a therapist. Between my classes, my traineeship and moving onto licensure, I worked with a variety of populations and locations from a high school, to a treatment center, to an outpatient psychiatric team, all while building up my private practice clients on the side. I was fascinated with being able to hear the intimate parts of people’s lives. I have been someone who has always been fascinated by relationships, family dynamics and what makes people who they are. Getting a chance to hear people’s stories and be a part of their lives was right up my alley.
I’m a question-asker by nature, always wanting to learn more and connect with people, so this career seemed to align perfectly with some of my own core values- connection, intention, community, and service. Meeting others and showing up for them has a way of forcing you to learn to show up for yourself. This journey that I am on and will continue to be on has allowed me to not only connect with others but connect so much more deeply with myself. This road to self-love, compassion, and peace within is a life-long journey, and I am so blessed to be walking it alongside my clients, as well as walking it myself.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
This journey to becoming a therapist has had more ups and downs than I can count.
When I reflect back on who I was when I started this journey, I sometimes can hardly recognize myself. There are so many growing pains that come when stepping so far outside of your comfort zone and into a new and intimidating career. It is a big responsibility having people come to you in pain, looking to you for help, presence, and guidance. It has forced me to look deep inside myself, and explore what keeps me stuck, what blocks come up around being successful and being good enough, and trudging through those muddy waters has come with stress, tears and moments of feeling like I want to give up, move back home and do something easier.
However along with these tough moments has been the ability for me to grow immensely, and learn that in order to show up for others, I have to first show up for myself- something I don’t think I had ever reflected on or been able to do well. I have always wanted to be a therapist that is able to practice what I preach to my own clients and doing this calls for lots of intentionality, presence, and self-compassion which can all be tough at times. I have done so much work similar to what my clients have done, and anyone who has been in therapy may know that’s not always easy work.
Learning how to have better self-care has only come from me having terrible self-care- from working 2-3 jobs at a time, going to school on top of that and commuting hours each day. I am thankful for the low times for allowing me to practice the patience, strength, and courage that I have needed to be able to serve others and myself fully.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Playa Vista Counseling – what should we know?
I am a full time Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at Playa Vista Counseling in Playa Vista. PVC is a small group practice, headed by Rachel Thomasian LMFT, with licensed therapists and associates who serve a variety of populations. I cannot say enough good things about PVC as a company. We are not a large group practice, but an intimate group of well-trained, well-supervised therapists who care about what we do, and are supported by one another, allowing for us to serve clients effectively.
When you work in a place, you are happy with, and that treats you well, I believe you are often happier and better able to show up at work, and I would say this is true of all five of us who work at Playa Vista Counseling. As an individual clinician, I serve largely adult individuals and couples struggling with anxiety, depression, life transitions, and relationship issues. I would say that my sweet spot is working with both individuals and couples on relationship conflicts and dating.
My love and fascination with couples and intimate relationships has allowed me to become good at assessing where couples and individuals are stuck in their relationships, kindly draw attention to what is coming up for them, and allowing space, kindness, and tools to create change in these relationships. We are relational beings, with our closeness to others being central to our survival and often some of the most important things in our lives, so I am very passionate about helping people have healthier and more fulfilling relationships.
I have been trained in Level 1 and 2 in Gottman Method Couples Therapy and will be receiving my third level of training in late April. I believe that aside from my training and experience, I really show up as my authentic self for my clients. I use the relationships I have with my clients to help create change and infuse my sessions with the humor and kindness that I think is helpful and necessary to help them grow and feel cared for.
Knowing myself well outside of the room has allowed me to show up in a real way in the therapy room with my clients.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
There is a long list of people that deserve much credit for all of their love, support, patience and gentle encouragement along the way. Aside from my family, my fellow grad-school cohort and colleagues along the way, my biggest supporter, advocate, and role-model has been my boss and fellow colleague Rachel Thomasian. When I met Rachel three years ago, I was just starting out in the therapist role, and still gaining a sense of what kind of therapist I wanted to be, and still feeling nervous, insecure and doubtful of my own abilities.
From the moment she met me, and hired me, she has continued to point out in me what I have not always been able to see in myself. She has given me constant encouragement, pushed me to believe in myself and the work I was doing even when I was doubtful of my own abilities and has supported my growth not just a clinician, but as a young woman in the working world.
Outside of helping support me as a therapist, she has shown me what work goes into owning and operating your own business and shown by example that being a therapist doesn’t mean working until you are burnt out and never putting yourself first. She has supported me in setting better boundaries with myself and others and allowed me to take the time I need to care for myself and be with my family when things have been hard in my own personal life.
I truly would not be the therapist and confident, strong woman I am without all of Rachel’s love, attention, and guidance. She has been not only my boss and colleague but the older sister and role model that I have not had. Words alone don’t speak to all the gratitude in my heart for her and the opportunity she has given me.
I think that having a boss that cares about your growth in the workplace and also as a person and human being overall is essential to growth in all areas, and I have been blessed to feel so seen and heard over the last three years of working under Rachel at Playa Vista Counseling.
- Individual Counseling Session- $200 per 50-minute session
- Couples Counseling Session- $250 per 60-minute session
- Couples Counseling Session- $350 per 90-minute session
- Address: 12065 Jefferson Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90230
- Website: www.playavistacounseling.com
- Phone: 847-826-4519
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: diggingdeep__
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/playa-vista-counseling-los-angeles
Kendra Delahooke, LMFT – unsplash.com