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Hi, I'm Vanya

As a depth psychologist, writer, teacher, and storyteller, I am devoted to supporting folks in the work of remembering themselves as their own truest sources of permission, knowing, and blessing so that they can step into more expansive, free, and meaningful lives. 

I know what it is like to be "good" ~ to live according to all the shoulds that are constantly handed to us.  Like many of  you, I know what it is like to try so hard to do what we are supposed to do and be what we are supposed to be, until one day, we just can’t do it anymore… AND we don’t know any other way to live. 

In my early twenties I lost my way of living a meaningful, symbolic, and spiritual life, and along with it I lost my direction, orientation, and vision for my life.  I lost favor and belonging in my community.  This began years of walking through a deep dark night and sometimes I thought there was nothing left for me.   


One of the most powerful lies of any fundamentalist paradigm that tells you there is only one way to live is the lie that if you walk out of that way of living you will have nothing.  Even though part of me believed that, I also knew I had to listen to what was unleashed in my own deep knowing.  And, yes, it was very hard.  

And also, I can tell you now: that story is a lie.  It is meant to keep you small and compliant.  I can tell you that beyond the boundaries of the approved but too-small life is a deeper, more expansive, and more true life waiting for you. 

Ways we can work together


In this 9 month course we gather once a week and dive into the realms of the Wild.  Each week we gather around a story that guides us as we learn to re-wild our lives.  Within the container of a small circle we witness and encourage each other as we unlearn and shed the ways of being and knowing that have kept us too small, too tame, too obedient.  


A 10 month certificate program for therapists, healers, artists, coaches, consultants, and anyone who wants to engage in depth practices in their own daily lives and in their work. Practices include dream tending, active imagination, myth, and archetypes.  



One time or ongoing

private sessions offering you the opportunity to listen deeply to your own life.  During these sessions, we create space to look at the ways soul is speaking to you through dreams, synchronicities, symptoms, disruptions, stories, images, somatic sensing, desire, and longing.

Check out the new Ebook ~  
A Guide to Leaving the Obedient Life

Download the book for free below!

I understand that the information provided here will be used to send occasional updates and letters from Vanya and that I can opt out any time.

Kristen Dilling

"In a time that is so harried with fear and furor, Vanya offers the warmest and most nurturing of spaces. Through story, song, imagination, ritual, intuition and wisdom, Vanya is forever finding a way to invite us all back to ourselves. It is a wordless gift to be in such heart-centric community -- a true haven.  To any one that hungers, wonders or wanders, this is for you." 

Jenny Wade

"Vanya’s teachings have filled up a longing inside of me that I didn’t know I had. Through her courses I’ve learned how to make sense of the subtle realms of archetype, dream, and myth. These ways of knowing are hard to come by in our modern culture, and satiate a deep part of my soul. I feel more whole, now that I’m able to incorporate her teachings into my everyday life and in my work as a counselor." 

Rachel Morrell

“I have been deeply impacted by Vanya’s teaching and guidance in ways that have profoundly changed my life. She has helped give voice to dormant parts of my soul that have been longing to be known by me.  I’ve always felt like I spoke a weird, unknown language that no one else understood, but Vanya came alongside me and said, ‘You are speaking a foreign language, but I speak it too and here’s what I can tell you about it.’ I cannot speak highly enough about what Vanya has to offer this world.”    


Join the Community and Download the free Ebook, 
A Guide for Leaving the Obedient Life

I understand that the information provided here will be used to send occasional updates and letters from Vanya and that I can opt out any time.

Professional Bio...

Dr. Vanya Stier-Van Essen received her Ph.D. in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute, where her research focused on the archetypal Eve and the power of creative transgression.  She leads classes, workshops, and retreats as well as one-on-one work.  Vanya is also an adjunct professor at Pacifica Graduate Institute. 

She is devoted to supporting women on their own journey of remembering themselves as deep sources of knowing, permission, and blessing, and empowering them to walk out of the obedient life into more expansive, creative, and true lives.

Vanya is passionate about re-enchantment, the wild within and without, archetypal studies, and learning to live from our deepest knowing, blessing, and permission.  She was born and raised in southeastern Brazil and currently lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest where she teaches, writes, accompanies others on their soul-journeys, and tends to the land and animals (two dogs, a cat, two goats, and six chickens).

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