Counseling at St. John's
Susan Brumbaugh, MA, LMHC
Does pain, stress, worry, sadness, or fear have you feeling stuck? Desperate? Alone? There is nothing wrong with you, and nothing about you needs to be fixed. You have strengths to draw from and values that can motivate and guide you toward a future worth having.
My goal as a counselor is to create a space where you feel safe saying out loud all of the jumbled-up or self-critical thoughts going on in your head. Together we can change your relationship with the things that trouble you and identify strategies that help you live a rich, full, and meaningful life. Working with you to help you stop struggling and suffering would be an honor.
For most of my life, I've been that person friends go to when they need to talk something through. Nothing makes me feel more fulfilled than to be able to listen to someone with my whole heart and offer a different perspective. After much soul searching, I went back to school for a master's in counseling to fulfill a calling I have always sensed.
I'm a meditator, musician, parent, spouse, daughter, cat fosterer, book lover, and I'm known for organization at work and piles of clutter at home.
Counseling at St. John's
About My Practice
My office is located in a church, which I know may be a comfort to some people and a concern for others. Please know that you don't have to be a member of the church, a Christian, or believe anything in particular to work with me. For some people, spirituality is important and they want to include that in counseling, but it's certainly not required.
If you live in New Mexico but outside Albuquerque, distance counseling is available using a secure video platform.
A lot of the reason we struggle with anxiety is that we don't like to feel anxious. It can feel incredibly unpleasant and we just want it to go away. Ironically, that unwillingness to be anxious can make us feel even more anxious. As they say, what we resist persists. I am trained to help you identify and manage troubling thoughts, have compassion in the face of fear, and use what's important to you to motivate you to move beyond that feeling of paralysis.
I offer in-person and online counseling services to adults, ages 18 and older. I work with clients who are feeling stuck due to depression, anxiety, career transitions (including retirement), chronic health conditions, caregiving stresses, and spiritual searching.
Many of my clients have struggled to stand up or speak up for themselves and their needs. Most of the talking that goes on is internal and self-critical. I can help you deal with that negative self-talk, figure out what's important to you, and support you in taking actions even when you don't feel confident.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
This is my main approach to counseling. I have specialized training in this mode of counseling, and it's just the way I think! I tend to use ACT-focus books in conjunction with counseling sessions so that my clients have specific resources to learn from and refer to between sessions. I have found ACT to be useful for nearly every issue clients bring to counseling, and I have other tools we can add in as needed.
Mindfulness is built into the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy approach, but I like to take it even further. I am trained in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, and I lead virtual individual and group mindfulness meditation sessions. Please visit my YouTube channel, Being Mindful, to see my approach to mindfulness. I welcome you to use my guided meditations whether you end up being my client or not!
I have been trained in several approaches to trauma treatment, including trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, and I am a certified clinical trauma specialist-individual (CCTS-I), as well as trauma-focused continuing education courses. We begin by ensuring you have strategies to help your body relax quickly when past trauma intrudes into the present. Then we work to identify, explore, and modify your relationship with trauma.
I have a piece of artwork in my office that says "Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional." (attributed to many). So much of what makes us miserable is our own interpretation of what's happening around and within us. My goal as a counselor is to create a space where you feel safe saying out loud all the jumbled-up or self-critical things going on in your head, figure out what is keeping you stuck, and offer strategies that help you live a rich, full, and meaningful life. I listen for what is possible and reflect what I see. I would be hono