About Dr. Vula Baliotis

No matter what the individual’s background or difficulties are, my interest and training are in doing deep, life-changing therapeutic work.  I believe that individuals are rich and complex in nature, not easily reduced to a constellation of symptoms.  They are much more than a pathological diagnosis.  To this end, I have found that therapeutic work is most meaningful and impactful to clients when it focuses on the essence of who they are on the inside, as well as on the many personal experiences that have had a profound impact on them, leading them to where they are today.

While I respect and help clients find ways to reduce the pain that is associated with particular symptoms, I also respect the whole person behind the symptoms and believe that the most beneficial work occurs when helping individuals come into authentic contact with their complete self.  My focus is on helping clients safely grow within the context of the therapeutic relationship so that they are armed with the support and challenge that they need in order to develop self-understanding and self-forgiveness, as well as to generate ideas about how to cultivate the changes they desire to make.  In addition to helping individuals understand and work through their internal experiences, I also am interested in exploring the external factors that may be impacting clients (for example, societal expectations, stereotypes, and discrimination), as these factors can play a role in the development of low self-esteem, self-doubt, feeling stuck, and despair.

Although I work with individuals with varied backgrounds and with multiple reasons for seeking treatment, my professional and personal experiences have led me to additional focus in working with the following individuals:

  • Women – including professional women and the complex stressors and challenges they face;
  • Gifted and creative individuals – who, perhaps surprisingly, can have their own unique struggles (in relation to themselves and to others); and
  • Individuals who are struggling to understand and come to terms with their identity – including but not limited to cultural, gender, and sexual identity, or self-identity when they have been adopted or do not know one or both of their parents.

I have a long history of educating in areas of diversity, as well as of working with clients who feel challenged in forming their authentic identity—especially those who experience themselves as differing from “the norm,” who feel caught between conflicting parts of themselves, or who have to weigh the balance between self-acceptance and acceptance from others.  All of these factors can provide a rich, yet complicated, identity that clients may need therapeutic help to sort through.

In addition to treating individuals, I work with those who are seeking to understand and strengthen their relationships (such as couples and friendship therapy).  Furthermore, I provide client consultations; consultation to other mental health professionals; and presentations to the community in areas of women’s and girls’ issues, giftedness and creativity, identity formation, dealing with differences, reflective parenting, emotional regulation, and more.

 

Special Training, Certifications, and Continuing Education

  • Trauma: Continuing education course, Psychophysiology and Treatment of Trauma, June 2014
  • Psychodynamic psychotherapy:  Continuing education course, Beyond the Symptom:  Treating the Whole Person in the Era of Evidence-Based Practice, May 2014
  • Relationships:  Continuing education conference, How People Change:  Relationships and Neuroplasticity in Psychotherapy, through Lifespan Learning Institute at UCLA Extension, March 2013
  • Diversity: Certification for diversity training, through IMERIT (International and Multicultural Education, Research, Intervention, and Training) and New Media Learning, January 2012
  • Gifted: Certification for working with gifted individuals, through SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted), December 2011
  • Trauma:  Continuing education conference, Healing Moments in Trauma Treatment, through Lifespan Learning Institute at UCLA Extension, March 2011
  • Parenting: Certification for reflective parenting training, Level I, through CRI (Center for Reflective Parenting), October 2010
  • Psychoanalytic psychotherapy:  Certification in psychoanalytic psychotherapy from the Postgraduate Program at WILA (Wright Institute Los Angeles), 2005

 

Professional Speaking and Training Engagements

  • Invited Presenter, Westside of Los Angeles Gifted
    I’m a gifted kid – But what do I do with all of my feelings?
    Upcoming May 2017; West Los Angeles, CA
  • Invited Continuing Education Trainer, Women of Resilience Annual Conference
    Involuntary childlessness:  Grief, resilience, and transformation
    February 2017; Santa Fe, NM
  • Selected Continuing Education Trainer, Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG) Annual Conference
    Understanding and addressing common defenses in gifted adults: Intellectualization, rationalization, humor, and sublimation
    July 2016; Williamsburg, VA
  • Selected Presenter, American Institute for Medical Education
    Falling apart to rise up whole:  The benefits of positive disintegration in the therapeutic process of gifted and creative patients
    May 2016; Tokyo, Japan
  • Invited Presenter, Westside of Los Angeles Gifted
    Enhancing the emotional functioning of gifted children: An emotionally attuned and reflective approach to regulating affect
    February 2016; West Los Angeles, CA
  • Invited Presenter, Mirman School
    Enhancing the emotional functioning of gifted children: An emotionally attuned and reflective approach to regulating affect
    October 2015; Bel Air, CA
  • Selected Continuing Education Trainer, Los Angeles County Psychological Association (LACPA) Annual Convention
    Working therapeutically with women who are involuntarily childless: Special treatment considerations
    October 2015; Culver City, CA
  • Selected Presenter, American Psychological Association (APA) Conference
    Working therapeutically with women who are childless-not-by-choice: Special treatment considerations
    August 2015; Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Selected Presenter, Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG) Annual Conference
    Understanding and addressing common defenses in gifted adults: Intellectualization, rationalization, and sublimation
    July 2015; Denver, CO
  • Invited Presenter, Orange County Gifted Parent Group
    Enhancing the emotional functioning of gifted children: An emotionally attuned and reflective approach to regulating affect
    February 2015 and August 2013; Newport Coast, CA
  • Invited Presenter, Chadwich School
    Creating a culture of compassion through self-knowledge, emotional attunement, and mentalization

    May 2014; Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA
  • Invited Continuing Education Trainer, Iranian American Psychological Association
    Regulating affect in patients: Using emotional attunement and reflective responding
    February 2014; Los Angeles, CA
  • Invited Presenter, Southbay Chapter of CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder)
    Enhancing the emotional functioning of children and adults with ADHD: An emotionally attuned and reflective approach to regulating affect
    May 2013; Torrance, CA
  • Invited Continuing Education Trainer, Iranian Psychological Association of America
    Sexism: Implications for working with women therapeutically
    September 2012; Los Angeles, CA
  • Invited Seminar Facilitator, Davidson Institute for Talent Development, for the Davidson Young Scholars Program
    Parents’ guide to raising gifted girls
    June 2012; Online
  • Invited Presenter, Pasadena Unified School District, GATE program
    Special considerations in raising gifted boys
    May 2012; Pasadena, CA
  • Invited Presenter, Pasadena Unified School District, GATE program
    Special considerations in raising gifted girls
    April 2012; Pasadena, CA
  • Invited Presenter, Pasadena Unified School District, GATE program
    Enhancing the emotional functioning of gifted children: An emotionally attuned and reflective approach to regulating affect
    January 2012; Pasadena, CA
  • Invited Presenter, Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)
    Finding out your child is not heterosexual: Working through the losses and welcoming the gains
    November 2011; Los Angeles, CA
  • Invited Co-Trainer, Valley Community Clinic
    Sexism: Implications for working with women
    April 2011; Van Nuys, CA
  • Invited Continuing Education Trainer, Iranian Psychological Association of America
    Working with gifted youths and adults: Common characteristics and treatment considerations
    October 2010; Los Angeles, CA

 

Professional Associations

  • Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG)
  • California Gifted Network (CGN)
  • American Psychological Association (APA)
  • Los Angeles County Psychological Association (LACPA)

 

Clinical Training and Experience

  • Wright Institute Los Angeles: Worked with adult individuals and couples; received specialized training in psychoanalytic/psychodynamic therapy
  • Julia Ann Singer Center (part of Vista del Mar): Worked with children, couples, and families; received specialized training in family, play, and art therapies
  • Santa Anita Family Service: Worked with adults and youths; facilitated substance abuse and intimate partner abuse groups

 

Assessment Training and Experience

  • Giftedness: Specialize in testing adults and youths being identified as gifted
  • Pasadena City College: Disabled Student Programs and Services
  • Harbor Community College: Disabled Student Programs and Services
  • Private Practice: Psychoeducational, emotional-behavioral, and career testing
  • Adjunct Faculty Instructor: Taught Psychodiagnostic Assessment course to doctoral level students

 

Teaching Experience

Teaching psychology students in doctoral graduate programs has allowed me to keep up with current research and theories and to pass on to the next generation of psychologists the valuable information that I have received from my mentors, my patients, and my previous students.

  • Institutions: California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University, Los Angeles; Pepperdine University; and Ryokan College
  • Courses: Human Development; Clinical Interviewing; Clinical Techniques: Working with Clients from Marginalized Groups; Psychopathology; Human Diversity; Psychodiagnostic Assessment; and Professional Writing for Dissertations and Publications