Los Angeles Chapter — California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
Los Angeles Chapter — CAMFT
Andrew Susskind,LCSW, SEP, CGP
Member Spotlight — Andrew Susskind
A colleague once asked me when I first knew I wanted to be a therapist. I answered “in utero”—half joking, but actually quite serious. You see—I grew up in a good family with a lot of problems. We tried to love one another but had no clue how to really love one another. From a very young age I assumed the role of mediator and surrogate parent, and without fully understanding it at the time, my calling as a psychotherapist was given to me at birth.
Back in the 70s and 80s when I was a child growing up on the East Coast, I visited my Aunt Ruth who was a practicing psychologist in Encino, and I looked up to her not only as the sister of my father, but also as a friend and eventually a trusted colleague. Then in 1988 I decided to make the cross-country trek from South Jersey to Sherman Oaks to follow in her footsteps, and I never looked back.
In 1989 I entered the MSW program at UCLA and was challenged and enamored with a new cohort of like-minded people, some of whom I call my closest colleagues and friends thirty years later. In 1992 I was taken under the wings of two loving and talented clinical supervisors who mentored me into their private practice group, and there my clinical journey began to take shape. In addition to private practice, I worked part-time as a hospice social worker for six years and then six more years with Kaiser’s psychiatry and addiction programs. In 2003 I took a leap of faith and entered full-time private practice at last.
After all these years, what stands out for me the most is giving back what I’ve been given. Being mentored and mentoring others is truly a rare gift. In order to stay on my growing edge, I’ve also immersed myself in the clinical communities of Brainspotting, Somatic Experiencing and Advanced Group Therapy studies, which have all enriched my life in ways unimaginable thirty years ago.
Today I enjoy teaching others through writing and speaking opportunities. I’ve given numerous presentations and workshops both locally and nationally, and recently, I’ve chosen to focus more closely on addictions and trauma, based on my personal and professional experiences. Last June my second book It’s Not About the Sex: Moving from Isolation to Intimacy was published by Central Recovery Press. This has been a passion project that was held respectfully by my editor and publisher, and it has allowed me to spread the word about a topic very close to my heart.
I look back on this three-decade adventure with awe and wonder as I feel more grateful than ever to be a part of our healing community. As I enter my fourth decade of clinical work, I find myself more stimulated than ever as I continue to learn and grow beside my clients and colleagues. Because I’ve never seen myself as a lone ranger in private practice, I thoroughly enjoy the camaraderie of being a part of an organization like CAMFT. Although I’m fairly new to the Los Angeles chapter, I hope to get to know many of you along the way.
Andrew Susskind is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Somatic Experiencing and Brainspotting Practitioner and Certified Group Psychotherapist based in West Los Angeles since 1992 specializing in trauma and addictions. He serves on the faculty for the Principles of Group Psychotherapy Course and has mentored associates in his private practice since 1997. Visit www.westsidetherapist.com for more information about Andrew’s practice, blog and podcast.
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California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists
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