General Approach to Counseling

The first thing I do is listen carefully to everything that you tell me about yourself – your background, your current situation, and what it is that you’d like to see change in your life. 

Once I have a sense of your personality and circumstances, I choose an approach that’s specifically tailored to your situation. I will help you to identify the patterns in your life that are causing you pain and unhappiness. We will figure out how to eliminate those patterns and create new ones that bring you increased levels of joy and satisfaction. 

While my goal is to find the approach that works well for each individual with whom I work, I do “lean” in certain general directions, some of which are described below.

Grief and Loss
As a society, we don’t deal well with grief and loss. We have lost many of the formal rituals and observances that helped people cope with loss in the past. Today the tendency is to squelch our feelings and get on with life. I encourage clients who are dealing with issues of grief and loss to be patient with themselves, allow the grieving process to run its course, and to feel their feelings of sadness, anger, and despair fully. Paradoxically, when you allow the feelings that you’ve been fighting to fully emerge, they quickly dissipate and lose their powerful hold on you.The only way out is through the pain, and my goal is to see you through that pain so that you don’t have to endure it alone.

Infertility
Clients who are dealing with infertility can benefit from counseling on many different levels. While our western medical system strives to treat physical causes, other aspects are often overlooked: anger, despair, feelings of inadequacy, frustration, lowered self esteem, and marital conflict. 

Your family history, past experiences, emotions, and beliefs about your body and its ability to create and give birth to new life are important areas to examine. Exploring those aspects of yourself provides you with an opportunity to grow on an emotional level and may also be the key to becoming fertile. Exploring the mind-body relationship, teaching relaxation techniques, and using visualization skills are important components of the approach I use with people struggling with infertility. I am also knowledgeable about vitamins and herbs and their use in promoting fertility.

Adoption Issues
I have worked in a number of different adoption agencies doing both domestic and international adoption counseling. I have counseled hundreds of birth mothers during pregnancy, the time immediately after the birth, and the years after the adoption in which feelings and issues are continually surfacing. I have conducted more than 85 home studies for families adopting newborns and toddlers as well as older children who have been in the foster care system. I am experienced with adoptions that fall on every possible point of the continuum between “open” and “closed.” I can help birthmothers, adoptive parents, and adoptees navigate the sometimes bumpy road of adoption.

Parenting
There are already an abundance of parenting books and experts, all proclaiming to have the only effective answer to your dilemmas. Everyone from your pediatrician to your Aunt Martha has an opinion. Despite this plethora of information, (or perhaps more accurately, because of it) parents are confused and uncertain. 

My goal is to help you find your own unique answers – which may or may not be what the experts are recommending – and encourage you to have confidence in your decision making abilities as a parent. Despite all the parenting experts, Aunt Marthas, and friendly neighbors, it is you who is the expert on your child.

See Examples of Susan’s Work
One of the best ways to get a “feel” for my style is by reading actual samples of my work

Samples are actual e-mails sent to http://www.queendom.com/chaiselongue/index.html and answered by Susan, who was a counselor in QueenDom’s referral network.