Susan Gentz Gillepsie, LMFT
Susan Gillespie attended the University of California at Santa Cruz for her BA, and followed with a Masters in Counseling Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. After interning in a variety of settings from working with pre-schoolers at an international school to running groups at an elder care facility, she became licensed and began a private practice as a marriage and family therapist in 2003. From 2005 to 2010, she facilitated groups for professionals in recovery from substance addiction and/or mental illness in San Francisco and Oakland, California. In addition, she had a thriving private practice serving couples, individual adults, children and families with a wide variety of presenting problems and diverse backgrounds. She moved to Maryland in 2010 and moved her practice to the District of Columbia. She began co-facilitating the Young Adult Group and a group for professionals at EADP in April of 2011.
While her clinical passion is development throughout the lifespan of an individual—early childhood, adolescent, young adult, maturing adult, middle-age and onward--her education and ongoing study are focused on the issues that interrupt development. Substance addiction and major life changes, as well as issues of self-care and lifestyle, play a significant role in human emotional growth. Having gotten her professional degree from a transpersonal program, Susan has been trained to maintain a sense of an individual’s spiritual beliefs and practices as a critical aspect of individuation. Through each stage of life, there are some developmental milestones and they are almost always triggered by external events. How each person navigates these is a complex blend of what tools and obstacles that individual is equipped/burdened with. Susan considers it her work to help unpack and lay out these items and work toward integrating recovery from diseases of substance addiction or mental illness and to put clients in touch with their tools and communities in order to resume growing, learning and experiencing fulfillment again.
It has been Susan’s experience that groups can offer transformative support in some ways that individual work can’t. When healing moments arrive for each individual, she considers it her role to help the client recognize opportunities for new beginnings to make positive changes after periods of stagnation or catastrophe. Encouraging clients to make use of other resources in the community such as 12-step programs, meditation groups, educational settings or pursuit of other organizations which might support the work they are doing at EADP is also part of her work. Often clients’ goals involve setting appropriate boundaries to limit contact with triggering influences and individuals, and offering education and ideas around this aspect of lifestyle change is a significant part of Susan’s family therapy background and training.
Susan loves the work she does and admires the courage and tenacity of the clients she has worked with.