Headshot of one of our sex and intimacy therapy clinicians smiling at the camera

Meet Vanesa!

AMFT, Clinician

Hello! My name is Vanesa Akbarpour. I am an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist with a specialization in Spiritual Depth Psychology. I work from a trauma-informed, holistic, sex-positive perspective in English and Spanish but you can think of me as a nervous system whisperer, skill-builder, and guide on your path to liberating your most authentic you.

Cultural Sensitivity

Sometimes clients from diverse cultural backgrounds are nervous to go to therapy because they are afraid the therapist will not understand their culture, or worse, that they may blindly treat their cultural differences as symptoms of mental illness. That’s an understandable fear which I hope to assuage. As a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual person, I consciously practice cultural-humility and am sensitive to the importance of cultural identity, diversity, and the ways culture intersects with all aspects of our lives.

Couples & Partnerships

I guide couples in developing greater intimacy by providing a safe space where each partner can practice vulnerability with each other in order to voice the unmet needs that are really at the heart of couple disagreements. It’s so often the case that partners have trouble acknowledging each other’s hurt or fears because they are worried it will be used against them to invalidate their own emotional pain. Through the process of therapy, I help couples learn that this need not be so and that it is possible to hold the validity of both emotional realities. 

But if it sounds like therapy is a process that focuses only on the negative or areas that need improvement, that is not true either, because part of the process of becoming more conscious in the relationship is also to become aware of all the strengths in the relationship, all the things that each partner brings to the relationship and what is already going well so these strengths can be harnessed to create more positive growth.

How I Help

I draw from Jungian, mindfulness and cognitive-behavioral techniques to help individuals of all ages and couples achieve greater flexibility and freedom in their lives. I do this by guiding them in the process of healing rigid patterns and maladaptive coping mechanisms, stemming from childhood attachment wounds, traumas, shame, and fears that have held them back from deeper life-satisfaction, expansion, and authenticity.

I believe in the old adage knowledge is power, and the greatest power is the mastery that comes from knowing yourself and being able to experience yourself in intimate, transcendent relation. I work to create a non-judgemental, safe space where we can get to know you. Together, we can build the skills needed for developing a most intimate relationship with all aspects of yourself, even those that seem to contradict each other and create a healthy, compassionate, vibrant, more harmonious relationship within yourself that will transcend into how you relate to others as well.  As you heal and become more intimate with yourself on all levels (biological, sexual, emotional, mental, sensual, spiritual) you become more intimate with others and make more conscious choices about the way you relate to yourself and the world around you.

More about me

My hobbies are mainly expressions of my creativity.  Beginning during my first year in the M.A. in clinical psychology program, I began taking singing lessons and sharing my voice with family and friends through social media. Since I began what I call “my singing journey,” I have learned so much about the power of deepening my awareness of my voice as a sensual, bodily, intimate experience. It has allowed me to experience my body and energetic flow in new, liberating ways that are translated by the expanding range and capability of my voice. Singing has become an integral aspect of my journey in releasing resistance, and reclaiming my wholeness, my voice and my sense of self.

Associate Marriage Family Therapist 110378

Education

M.A., Applied Clinical Psychology, Spiritual and Depth Psychology, Antioch University

B.A., English, University of California, Berkeley 

A.A., Orange Coast College

Certification & Training

Spiritual Depth Psychology Specialization Core Curriculum: Intercultural Transpersonal and Depth Psychology

Frontiers in Integrative Depth Psychology

Mindfulness in Clinical Practice Transference and Countertransference: Eros and Psyche

TF-CBT Web: Online Trauma Focused – Cognitive
Behavioral Therapy Course

Additional Skills

  • Bilingual – Spanish
  • Farsi (Rudimentary)
  • Portuguese (Rudimentary)

GROUPS & EVENTS FACILITATED BY VANESA

Women's Sexual Health & Intimacy Group
Women's Sexual Health & Intimacy Group
Radical Self-Love Group for Women
Radical Self-Love Group for Women
Advanced Women's Sexual Health & Intimacy Group
Advanced Women's Sexual Health & Intimacy Group
"Souls tend to go back to who feels like home."
N.R. Heart