Susan Watkins, M.A., LMFT, CCTP
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Susan Watkins is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in Children and Adolescent Therapy, Individual Therapy, Couples Counseling and Family Therapy. As a graduate of University of San Diego in 2001, she was an Intern Psychiatric Social Worker at Rady's Children's Hospital and among her areas of expertise are working with Children and Adolescents with Depression, Anxiety, ADHD, OCD, and ODD, helping Couples and Families through difficult times, and working with PTSD and Trauma Survivors.
Most people, at some point in their lives, encounter periods of difficulty, change and transition, when personal issues affect their work or relationships. Families are under a great deal of stress in today’s world, more so today, than ever. Seeking out therapy can be a difficult decision. Recognizing the need for additional support is a sign of strength and courage. Finding the right therapist, one that listens to your concerns, understands your challenges, and genuinely connects with you is vitally important to successful therapy.
I provide a comfortable and supportive atmosphere, without judgement for clients to explore their difficulties. I offer a highly personalized therapeutic approach providing support and practical feedback to help clients effectively address personal life challenges, while also addressing the underlying causes of the difficulties, so that the root issues of problems can be resolved.
With compassion and understanding, I work with each individual, couple, or family to help them build on their strengths and attain the personal growth they are committed to accomplishing. I work with clients to develop a better understanding of themselves, their goals and values. My focus is on improving communication skills, learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety, changing old behavior patterns that no longer serve you and help you discover new ways to solve problems in your relationships. Learning to manage anger, grief, depression and other emotional pressures that come with being human is an important part of my work with clients.
Couples come to therapy for different reasons. Some couples are looking to improve communication and help grow a stronger connection with each other, some couples are at the beginning of their relationship, wanting to work out issues related to the differences in their families of origin and learn to develop their own rituals and traditions in the new coupling. Some couples come to couples counseling to address life crisis's such as growing apart to the point of living separate lives, infidelity, parenting conflicts, mid-life crisis's, changes in personality, that may change the course of their lives. Other couples come to therapy looking to deal with empty nest syndrome when their children have grown and left the family home. There are also couples on the brink of divorce and looking to make a last-ditch effort at saving their marriage. Other couples are coming to therapy to learn how to divorce in the healthiest way possible, as well as those couples wanting to learn to co-parent successfully. I have twenty years’ experience working with all these differing couples.
My work with children and adolescents with depression, anxiety, resulting from many pressures they face in their young lives is very rewarding. Children of divorce often struggle with adjustment disorders, depression, anxiety, OCD, ODD and often act out behaviors that interfere with their academic success as well as success within their new family dynamics. Younger children communicate their problems through the language of play therapy and I have a special play therapy office just for that purpose. Adolescent's communication with adults, including therapist's is often very difficult to elicit without developing a strong therapeutic alliance with them. This takes patience and time spent getting to know the teen for who they are, rather than who parents, teachers, and society believe they should be. It is when the therapist really knows the individual sitting across from them, that real progress can be made in helping adolescents thrive.
Families are under tremendous pressure in our fast-paced world. Family is a critical building block for our society and many feel the loss of the family unit is responsible for the decline of our culture. Both internal and external causes contribute to family dysfunction, family therapy is designed to address both causes. A non-judgmental, compassionate therapist with an understanding of family dynamics, is critical in navigating today's complex world. My work with families focuses on the strengths of the family and well as the struggles. I have been guiding families through the pressures of today's society for the past 20 years.
Working with Trauma Survivors with PTSD is one of my passions in life. This work is the most difficult for both client and therapist because of the extensive damage that is done to Trauma Survivors and the challenging work that needs to be done for healing to occur. PTSD clients are the bravest of all my clients, they choose to delve into the depths of human despair, knowing that they need to relive to some extent their traumas, in order to heal and move on with life. This work is not easy and sometimes takes a good deal of therapy to overcome the trauma that life has burdened trauma survivors with. There are a number of effective therapies today for PTSD and everyone’s path is different. The research and development of new therapies can offer Trauma Survivors several options for addressing this disorder and moving on to a happy, productive life.
Specialties & Clinical Interests
- Anger Issues
- Bipolar & Other Mood Disorders
- Chronic Pain
- Divorce & Separation
- Family Conflict
- Grief & Loss
- Law Enforcement/First Responders
- Learning Disabilities
- Life Coaching
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Oppositional/Defiant Behavior
- Parenting & Parent-Child Relationships
- Personality Disorders
- Pre-Marital & Marital Issues
- School Performance
- Sexual Abuse
- Stress/Stress Management
- Trauma & Ptsd
- Women's Issues
- Art Therapy
- Client-Centered Therapy
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
- Internal Family Systems (IFS)
- Music Therapy
- Play Therapy & Sandtray
- Trauma-Informed Therapy
- Single Parents
- Trauma Survivors