Psychotherapy

psychotherapySuzannah enjoys providing psychotherapy to individuals, couples, and families of all ages, ethnicities, genders, and sexual orientations.  Specialty areas include:

  • Eating disorders/disordered eating: Heal relationships with food, body image, and exercise.
  • Pregnancy and early parenthood: Support for mood, sleep, stress, self-care, and family bonding.
  • Substance abuse: Practice harm reduction, strengthen sobriety, and/or complement 12 step work.
  • Young adulthood (teens, college students, and recent grads): Explore life goals and sense of self.
  • Trauma recovery: Cope with and heal from the past.  Respond creatively and flexibly to the present.

Suzannah’s work is rooted in evidence-based psychotherapeutic approaches and mind-body practices including yoga therapy, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), existential therapy, expressive arts therapy, and family-based therapy for eating disorders (FBT).  Suzannah treats each client as a unique individual, tailoring the therapeutic approach to the client’s needs.  Click each approach below to find out more.

Yoga Therapy/Body-Oriented Therapy

Somatic or body-oriented therapy takes the view that the mind and body are connected, and that working with, listening to, and learning from our bodies is necessary for healing.  Yoga can be thought of as an ancient body-oriented therapy.  The word “yoga” actually means “to yoke” or “bring together”–so a goal of yoga is to peacefully reconnect the body and mind.

Yoga therapy brings the yogic techniques of mindfulness, movement, breath, and meditation to support the health and healing of the whole person.  Clients practice finding balance and flexibility, both physically and mentally. They learn to accept and meet their body and mind as they are while simultaneously challenging themselves to grow, change, and build strength.  Yoga therapy also helps achieve relaxation, enjoyment in body sensations, and a sense of inner peace.

To learn more about yoga therapy in general, visit the International Association of Yoga Therapy.  Learn more about Suzannah’s yoga therapy offerings here.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behavior Therapy is an evidenced-based treatment developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan that combines standard cognitive-behavioral therapy with mindfulness practices.  DBT teaches behavioral skills to help clients cope with emotions, survive “crisis,” and deal effectively with others.  Mindfulness skills help both patient and therapist to achieve a state of “wise mind” that allows them to find a balance between accepting reality as it is and maintaining a strong commitment to change.  Originally designed to help clients with suicidal and self-harm behaviors associated with Borderline Personality Disorder, DBT has now been shown to be effective in treating other problems such as eating disorders, mood disorders, and addiction.

For more information on DBT, follow these links to Behavioral Tech and DBT Self Help. For information on how mindfulness skills can help with eating disorder recovery, visit The Center for Mindful Eating.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a third-generation empirically-based behavioral therapy that uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies to help clients live a rich and meaningful life in accordance with their values even in the presence of negative thoughts and feelings. ACT gives clients permission and support to do the things that give their lives meaning now, in this imperfect moment.

For more information on ACT, visit the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science.

Existential/Humanistic Therapy

Existential/Humanistic therapy helps clients discover the height of their human potential while remaining realistic through the recognition of human conditions such as limitation, death, isolation, and meaninglessness.  Following in the tradition of the depth psychotherapies, existential/humanistic therapy has much in common with psychodynamic, experiential/gestalt, and relational approaches to in its commitment to developing self-awareness, interpersonal relationships, life-long growth, responsibility, and a sense of meaning.  Rather than focusing solely on the past, however, existential therapy emphasizes the importance of the “here-and-now.”  Therapy sessions encourage clients to attend to current feelings, thoughts, and ideas and to create meaning in each choice made.  In addition to exploring transference and countertransference, the therapeutic relationship is treated as a real relationship between two human beings in which both client and therapist can learn, connect, and grow.

Expressive Arts Therapy

Expressive Arts Therapy incorporates the use of creative arts–drama, dance/movement, visual art, music, poetry, prose, and storytelling–into the therapeutic process.  The arts can be used in many ways, providing a rich form of self-expression as well as providing a space to experiment with problem-solving and new ways of being.  Clients learn to create their lives as if they, too, were a work of art.
For more information about Expressive Arts Therapy, visit The International Expressive Arts Therapy Association.

Family-Based (Maudsley) Therapy for Eating Disorders (FBT)

Based on the most up-to-date research, FBT takes the stance that contrary to prior psychological theories, families do not cause eating disorders; rather, families are one of the adolescent’s best chances for recovery. In FBT, we work to reduce shame and blame of both the parents and the sufferer, and we recognize that parents are an integral part of the recovery process. Parents are empowered to work together with their child to reduce the symptoms of the eating disorder. FBT has been shown in controlled studies to be the most effective front-line treatment of eating disorders for adolescents. For more on FBT, visit Maudsley Parents.

Intuitive Eating/Mindful Eating/Health at Every Size Approach

Non-diet approaches to recovery from eating and weight concerns such as Intuitive Eating, Mindful Eating, and Health at Every Size are based on research that tells us that contrary to what the media sells us, diets do not work—95% of people who go on diets will regain the weight, plus develop feelings of shame, frustration, and helplessness. Diets don’t solve emotional problems—they cause them. Therapy based on Intuitive Eating and Mindful Eating offers tools to make peace with your body and with food. When you learn to listen to and trust your body’s wisdom, health follows. For more information on these approaches, visit Intuitive Eating, Health at Every Size, and The Center for Mindful Eating.

Treatment Team Collaboration for Eating Disorders

People with eating disorders are best supported by a multitude of providers–in addition to seeing a therapist, clients are advised to work with some of the following professionals: physicians, psychiatrists, dietitians/nutritionists, exercise specialists, family therapists, and group therapists.  There is a consensus amongst eating disorder treatment professionals that eating disordered clients are best served when all providers work together as a “treatment team” (The Academy of Eating Disorders).  Suzannah values collaborating with other specialists and coordinates treatment closely with all other providers.  When other providers are not yet part of a team, Suzannah can provide referrals.  For clients coming from or going to higher levels of care, Suzannah works with the client’s treatment program to provide continuity and consistency.

Suzannah also considers the client and the family to be key members of the team.  She welcomes questions and feedback from clients and seeks to always prioritize the client’s needs and wishes in creating a treatment plan.