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  susan brown, marriage counselor and emdr therapist

I help people preserve and improve their relationships, based on character, responsibility and communcation


  About Susan Brown, LCSW, BCD

I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Board Certified Diplomate in private practice in La Mesa, California since 1987. I have a reputation for a "no-nonsense, to the heart-of-the-matter" approach. This simply translates as very little psycho-babble and a long-practiced ability to get to the core of whatever is creating the problems. Being able to identify and separate the critical material from the irrelevant can save time and money.

My work as a counselor is based on the assumption that good character, especially accountability for oneself, is a basic foundation and requirement for living a satisfying life. It is the basis of true adult self-esteem and personal security. That assumption guides my work with people, helping them discover what it is inside themselves that is causing distress in their lives today. My specialties include marriage and relationship counseling, trauma (PTSD), addiction, depression and anxiety, loss and grief.

Sometimes ghosts from our past haunt our present, preventing us from being our best self. Once identified, counseling becomes a shared journey toward the resolution of those issues, to be our best self . . . based on character, responsibility and communication.

I also specialize in a treatment approach called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) developed by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D. in 1989. It is an efficient, effective, and extensively researched therapy for clearing out and resolving negative beliefs we hold about ourselves as a result of traumatic experiences, either originating in childhood or from adulthood. These negative beliefs are not really true (we know it intellectually, but they feel true at a gut level) such as "I'm not good enough", "I have no choices", "I can't succeed" and many others. Since our core beliefs run the show, they can operate in our lives whether we are consciously aware of them or not.

EMDR helps to "desensitize and reprocess" the emotional and physiological distress connected to trauma material that has not been adaptively processed and digested. It is what we often refer to as old baggage and can be treacherously difficult to rid ourselves of. EMDR helps shift maladaptive behavioral and emotional patterns in the present into a more adaptive, healthy state. Read more about EMDR.

Read the section on this website about Choosing a Counselor to help you understand why it is helpful to know your potential counselor's style and beliefs. Questions to consider are, “How flexible is the counselor in his/her attitude toward values and beliefs other than their own? Will there be room to freely explore yourself in the context of your own?” I recommend you start with Choosing a Counselor and then move on to Common Marital Problems.