Today we’d like to introduce you to Andrew Susskind.
Andrew, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was destined to be a therapist from the time I was conceived. Born into a family that loved one another but didn’t know how to love one another, I became the mediator and peacemaker. My parents did their best raising four boys, and I was the baby of the family although at times, I felt the burden of taking care of the rest of them.
In 1988 I graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with an undergraduate degree in psychology and migrated to Los Angeles to be closer to my aunt and cousins, my family of choice. In 1991 I finished my MSW degree from UCLA with the intention of pursuing a career in psychotherapy. For ten years, I worked in hospice programs as well as Kaiser’s psychiatry and addiction departments while at the same time developing a private practice. With the guidance of several mentors along the way, I transitioned into full-time private practice in 2003.
For the past sixteen years, I’ve had the freedom to develop my practice as I chose to specialize in trauma, addictions, codependency and relationship challenges. I pursued advanced training in coaching and Positive Psychology, Somatic Experiencing, Brainspotting as well as group therapy. I’ve built a community of like-minded clinicians including many interns that I’ve trained through the years, and I feel very grateful for the mutual support and love that surrounds me in my professional community.
Recently, I released a book entitled “It’s Not About the Sex: Moving from Isolation to Intimacy after Sexual Addiction” (Central Recovery Press, 2019) which joins my previous coaching workbook “From Now On: Seven Keys to Purposeful Recovery.”
Has it been a smooth road?
As the year 2000 was approaching, I was feeling burnt out. At the time, I was working at Kaiser several days a week and also seeing private clients several days a week. I knew something had to change but I wasn’t sure what that would be. I stumbled upon a coaching workshop in Santa Monica walking distance from where I lived at the time, and the Dr. Jeff Auerbach spoke volumes to me. Everything he shared about coaching was in alignment with what I believed about healing as he shared his future-focused, goal-oriented, values-driven approach. Jeff suggested that I go to another seminar offered by his colleague, Dr. Sandra “Sam” Foster. So I drove down to Costa Mesa with an open heart but a bit of skepticism.
Sam spoke about Peak Performance and Positive Psychology and I was completely impressed with her and the material she shared. I knew something had shifted inside of me as a whole new world of psychology had presented itself beyond the healing of past wounds. Although I don’t offer formal coaching at this time, I’ve incorporated the tools and strategies into the work I do with clients as well as myself. This was a turning point based on the feelings of burnout that were setting in.
We’d love to hear more about your practice.
I offer individual, couples and group psychotherapy, and I’m best known for my specialization in trauma, addictions and relational challenges. I also have a background in hospice work and feel very comfortable working with grief and loss.
I completed two comprehensive trauma trainings: a three-year program in Somatic Experiencing and a Brainspotting certification. Because of my background in coaching and Positive Psychology, I believe that healing the past is a portal toward living more fully in the present and starting to envision a more satisfying future.
Many therapists don’t offer group therapy, but I’ve been leading therapy groups since 1992 and believe that they are the most underutilized and undervalued types of therapy. Currently, I have a weekly co-ed therapy group as well as a men’s therapy group. The growth that I witness in my groups is unparalleled as the group members help each other learn more deeply about themselves.
I have been supervising interns/associates since 1997 and my interns are able to offer a sliding scale. Training interns keeps me on my toes and offers me a fresh perspective as I learn besides those I train.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Los Angeles is a fantastic city for a psychotherapist because the opportunities to learn and grow are limitless. There are pockets of the city that are less saturated with therapists than others, but I have found that if you offer a quality service, your practice will grow. I recommend that a new therapist finds the best therapy they can afford, take high-quality trainings to specialize in an area of passion, and continue to get the finest consultation along the way.
- $240 per 50 minute individual session
- $90 per 90 minute group session
- $160 per 50 minute individual session with associate (sliding scale available)
- Address: 2550 Overland Avenue, Suite 100
Los Angeles, CA 90064
- Website: www.westsidetherapist.com
- Phone: 310 281 8681
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Other: www.purposefulrecovery.com (blog)