I work with individuals, couples, and families, including children and adolescents, of diverse cultural, ethnic, religious, gender and sexual orientation. Our discussions can focus on life concerns such as identity, addiction, trauma, war-related, domestic and street violence, depression and anxiety, chronic illness, death and dying, relationships, aging, body image and personal change.
In addition, I’m a Certified Therapist in EMDR (Eye Movement, Desensitization and Reprocessing), trained in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, and an Advanced Clinical Hypnotherapist.
All of us, at different times in our lives, can use a person (rather than a screen) and a place to say and feel what must be said and felt—out loud and without consequence. To have a safe place and a trusted person to try things out, to get feedback, or to simply be received without judgment or expectations is hard to find in our world today. Yet, at important times in our lives, this support can be critical to help us find our way through tough decisions or scary changes. Knowing that someone who “gets it” is available to extend a hand, offer some needed advice, help sort out a painful past or manage a current crisis, can make all the difference.
My work with individuals can be short-term problem solving to settle a crisis. Or, we can focus on problem solving to get clarity regarding a particular issue. Or, we can look back at unresolved, and still painful situations in order to dismantle the leftover chaos these obstacles can create in your present day life.
Together, we define your goals for therapy, and together we create the path to make these goals your reality.
We bring all of who we are, who we have been, and who we are becoming, to our most intimate relationships. Deeply connecting with another person can easily bring up past individual issues, and present concerns, as well as future uncertainties. To complicate matters, we aren’t born knowing how to communicate clearly and openly. We have to intentionally learn to listen and really hear our partners. And, our culture doesn’t actively teach us ways to resolve conflicts in a reasonable and a sustainable manner.
It’s no wonder, that couples often have a hard time holding on to the intentionality and love that brought them together in the first place. In couple’s therapy, the “client” is the relationship which both people have worked to create. I build on the strengths of the couple while we discuss the issues and behaviors that are causing the conflict.
I work with couples during all stages of a relationship. Our conversations include dating and pre-commitment or pre-marriage agreements, as well as decisions about staying together or splitting up. Couples come to therapy to address a wide range of concerns which include: financial problems, communication snags, feeling stuck in patterns of conflict and differences, infidelity, monogamy and polyamorous involvements, as well as whether to have children.
I may work solely with the couple and at other times I may work individually with each person for a few sessions. We map out the specific plan for couple’s work that fits best with the issues and needs of the couple and so I can understand what each individual is bringing to the relationship.
I’m often the “holder of the hope” for the couple. The process of couple’s therapy, returns this hope to the couple with their relationship now fortified by new skills, new insights, and expanded confidence in their ability to live the life they have chosen together.
We inherit our families. We also create our families. These families of ours come in all shapes and sizes whether biological or chosen. Family problems can be experienced by one member of the family or by several members or by everyone. Sitting down together to talk, to listen, to understand each other, and to work to resolve conflicts is an act of courage and resilience. It’s often hard. And, usually worth it.
I also work with adult children and their parents to reframe long-standing issues and short-term problems. Helping younger children and adolescents with their parents talk over concerns related to issues such as: academic expectations, divorce and separation, bullying, limit setting and chronic illness can ease tension as well as create solutions and deeper understanding between the parent and their child.
Group therapy can be very helpful when your isolation and loneliness get in the way of understanding and working through the problems and issues facing you. In a safe, small group setting, I facilitate group members to talk about what is troubling them. As group members give and receive support from each other, they are encouraged to share their feelings, to try out new behaviors, and to learn more about the ways they interact with each other.
I facilitate short-term and long-term groups addressing a variety of issues and topics. To get information regarding the groups I’m currently facilitating please email me at susan@susanodellphd.
I provide confidential consultation as a “second opinion” for Social Workers, Psychologists, Marriage and Family Counselors, and Psychiatrists who are wanting to discuss situations and issues they are dealing with in their clinical practice. We discuss issues related to transference and countertransference, self-disclosure, projections and enactments within the clinical hour. Understanding and exploring the therapeutic relationship and the impact on both the therapist and the client can open up new possibilities for growth and healing for the client as well as the therapist.
My clinical skills are informed by psychodynamic, psychoanalytic, relational and cognitive behavioral approaches.
I provide supervision for recent Social Workers graduates who are seeking their LCSW Illinois license. I’m able to prepare the State of Illinois paperwork to document the supervisory sessions as partial requirement for licensure.