Most people know that psychotherapy provides emotional support and understranding. But most people can get at least some of this from friends or family, so what makes psychotherapy different?

Susan Tesch, M.S., L.M.F.T., Psychotherapy, Counseling, Edmonds, WA

Pond at Magnuson Park

I believe the difference is that my professional instincts and emotional capacity allow me to target my interventions specifically for the purpose of helping you develop as a person and in relationships with others. My job as your therapist is to do my best to put my biases and self-interest aside (which–if you think about it–you’re paying me to do!) and help you work towards a better quality of life.

In order to do this, I will tell you what you need to hear, even if it’s painful at times. What it takes to help a person grow will vary from client-to-client and from moment-to-moment, but generally speaking, we all defend against things we don’t want to know. Eventually defenses get in the way of growth. Therapy is a great opportunity to dismantle defenses that don’t work well. As you loosen your grip on your defenses, you’ll gain greater freedom from their constraints and be able to live more fully. You’ll become more resilient and comfortable as an individual and in relationships with others. It can be hard work, but–remember–I’ll be there with you, and the rewards are considerable. It’s worth it!

It is undeniable to me and others studying neuropsychology or psychoanalytic theory, that the formative years of life have enormous influence in shaping each of us. I draw from my psychoanalytic background in understanding my clients, but I will always try to intervene actively and in ways that feel practical and aren’t “flowery” or merely theoretical. I want what I say to you to feel useful.

You can count on me to show up and end each session on time and to devote myself to attending to your needs, rather than my own. I’m often surprised to learn from a client that his previous therapist spent a good deal of session talking about herself. I won’t do this.

Except for the rare emergency, I don’t cancel sessions. I feel reliability is crucial to developing trust in the therapeutic relationship and for fostering growth.

Though I take a very serious approach to the work of psychotherapy, I’ll use a sense of humor where needed. Humor can sometimes provide balance and perspective like nothing else.  A good laugh is as healing as a good cry!

Over the past 29 years, I’ve had extensive experience helping individuals who are depressed or anxious (with or without panic attacks). But I work with many other issues as well, including relationship challenges, grief, coping with chronic illness, career struggles, abuse suffered in childhood, life transitions, autistic spectrum disorders, and more. I also work with couples and families.  I especially enjoy working with mothers and fathers and issues related to parenting, as well as mid-life transitions, and men’s issues.

As mentioned on my home page, I’ve found myself moved by the time I’ve spent at Magnuson Park’s Wetlands Redevelopment. I’ve watched plants and animals thrive in an area where the previous terrain was bleak, barren and paved over. I’m similarly moved by helping individuals gradually break up the “pavement” of their defenses to allow for a richer emotional and psychological life to take root and thrive. It’s what I do.