My name is Vanessa Souza, and I’m a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) specializing in working with older adults and the people who care for them, whether personally or professionally. I have a particular focus on people living with memory loss, Alzheimer's disease, or other dementia, and their families and friends. I’m based in Silicon Valley, but provide service via telehealth throughout California.
I am first and foremost a humanistic, person-centered therapist; I believe you are the expert and that all the answers are inside you. We will work together to bring those out. To that end, I use a multi-theoretical, eclectic approach, depending on you and your needs. I often work with people in times of life transition, and we may use motivational interviewing or solutions-based strategies together, along with narrative therapy or even reminiscence therapy if appropriate.
I have nearly 15 years of experience working with older adults, family caregivers (especially caregivers ages 20-50), and professional caregivers, and this is my specialty. However, I am equipped to counsel sandwich generation adults, individuals struggling with the aging process, those experiencing chronic illness or progressive disability, or even work-related stress and transitions. I do not serve clients under 18.
My communication style
I am direct, open-minded, and non-judgmental in my communication style. I am casual in my approach and understand that you are joining me in therapy from your home. Feel free to make yourself comfortable, while respecting our time together.
My journey to mental healthcare
I was a social worker for quite a while before ever considering becoming a therapist, working in residential and daycare and health education. I realized in my other social work roles that there was a lack of available therapists who could understand the needs of caregivers and people with chronic illness, and felt like I could help fill that gap.
My goals for you
As a person-centered therapist, I understand that you come to therapy with goals of your own and that you are the expert in uncovering what you want out of your life. However, many people struggle with articulating their real goal, the underlying “what” or “why” they are searching for. We will discuss your goals together and create a plan that is reasonable and attainable. This may or may not include strategies such as homework and multiple small, achievable goals along the way.
My first session with you
Our first session is a low-stress time to get to know one another. We will talk about what brought you to seek therapy, and what your high-level, blue-sky goal is for our time together. The first session is really about beginning to build a trusting relationship going forward and making sure we are a good fit.