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Paula Ratter


Seeking therapy can be a difficult thing to initiate and maintain. It’s important a client feels comfortable and safe with a therapist.  People can feel vulnerable when telling another person about their struggles. We have all been on our own journey.

I have been a licensed marriage and family therapist since 2004, and it is my second career. My first career started as a Registered Nurse. I have been an RN since 1980. I’ve worked in a variety of healthcare settings, including Intensive Care Unit, Emergency Department, Outpatient Clinic, Behavioral Health Unit, and Home Health. Being a nurse has allowed me to witness the highs and lows of the human experience.

My desire to be a MFT began when I was a trauma director at a hospital. After a few years, while the trauma team focused on the patient’s physical needs, I moved towards the head of the gurney to see how they were doing mentally and emotionally. Many of our trauma patients required extensive hospital stays and physical rehab. I found they also needed someone to talk to about what had occurred in their life, and I wanted to listen.  I’ve been listening to others for a while.  Since age 12, my friends and acquaintances have told me things about themselves that they never told anyone else. Therefore, my journey of empathizing and supporting others started at a young age.

Today, I am a full time therapist at WAVE Therapy, in Oceanside, California. I see clients ages 12 and older. Because of my healthcare background, I can help my clients understand not only emotional challenges, but also their physical challenges.

My focus is to listen, educate and reflect back with my clients. I concentrate on what a person is thinking and feeling, since I primarily perform Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.  I also explore early attachment issues that may be creating current difficulties. I’ve counseled many others who have undergone past or recent trauma. I also can apply EMDR to process trauma.

For those who have never had therapy it’s important to know we don’t start talking about the hard stuff. It can take 2-3 sessions for someone to feel comfortable enough to tell another person what they are struggling with.  Therapists cannot read minds, but have studied human patterns of thoughts, feelings and actions. No one can truly know the exact consequences a person has experienced in their life. Regardless of the reason why someone is seeking therapy, there is no judgment, no criticism…just acceptance. People can heal and grow in this type of environment.