I come to counseling as a second career, after nearly twenty years of experience as an award-winning high school and college teacher. In 1987 I received my B.A. from Dartmouth College and after teaching English in the Peace Corps in Africa, I went on to complete my Ph.D. in English Literature at Harvard University in 1995.
MY COUNSELING APPROACH
I have nearly fifteen years of experience counseling adults of all ages who are dealing with anxiety, depression, relationship problems, and a variety of other concerns. My counseling work varies depending on the client’s needs and style. I can be educational and skills-oriented, using cognitive and behavioral approaches. I can also center on emotions, helping clients build emotional intelligence or do depth work.
My view of people is based on a holistic sense of where they are in their lives. For example, depression at middle-age differs from depression later in life. I will get to know you, not just as someone with such-and-such problem, but as a whole person in a lifelong process of development.
My approach involves helping people change what they can, accept what they can’t, and figure out which is which. People often get hung up trying to change things they can’t. Meanwhile, things they actually could change get lost in the struggle. The result is depression, anxiety, or anger. I inform people about the latest research relevant to their situation and offer cutting-edge, practical ideas on how to move toward greater health and life satisfaction.
I assume that you, the client, are the expert on your life. I aim to offer my knowledge, experience, and skills to you to assist you in your process of growth and change–whether that growth and change is voluntarily sought or is in response to some unwanted problem or loss. My goal is to make your counseling entirely worth the investment of time, energy, and money it requires. (return to top of page)
The structure of counseling is designed to create a relationship that is safe and positive. The neutrality of the counselor and the confidentiality of the things shared encourages openness and honesty. Thus is it possible to get support and work with someone else on problems that are too personal or difficult to share in other relationships. Much of the pain that underlies the difficulties in our lives happened through negative relationships with other people; healing those wounds can often happen best in the context of a supportive, positive relationship. It is my belief that in some cases looking at the past can be extremely important, but that counseling is most effective–in some cases only effective--when it also looks closely at the present and future. (return to top of page)
In 1997 I moved to Walla Walla and began a period of six years of teaching English at Whitman College, during which time I won the award for excellence in teaching in the humanities. When a period of growth and change at midlife led me to choose a career change to counseling, I had the honor of ending my career at Whitman by speaking to graduating seniors at baccalaureate in 2003. I completed a Masters in Social Work at Walla Walla College in 2006 and began my work as a counselor in private practice.
My life experiences--teaching, traveling, and always learning about myself and the human condition--form the foundation of my counseling and other professional work today. In all that I do, I begin with a deep respect for people. My counseling work is always tailored to fit the particular style, goals, and needs of each client.
Susan L. Stough, PhD, LICSW
Susan Stough PhD LICSW
serving the walla walla area
Unfortunately I am NOT taking any new ciients at this time (as of April 2019). My apologies.