Meet Susan Caso, MA, LPC
At fourteen my parents and I found ourselves at odds. We were trapped in a power struggle with no one winning and headed for disaster. My parents’ attempt to gain control blew up in our faces, creating more pain and frustration. As the rules and boundaries increased so did my rebellion, making life miserable for all of us. Thankfully, my mom had the insight to contact a family counselor and seek help. At first, I was skeptical and even rebellious.
I was pleasantly surprised. I remember thinking, “wow, this could really work.” For the first time I felt someone heard me, understood my feelings, and let me have a voice.
This experience changed my life. It helped to resolve the power struggles with my parents, helped me through my teenage years and gave me life skills to become who I am today.
It was such a powerful experience for me that I knew this was my life’s work – providing a safe space where others could be vulnerable and heard in working through difficult times. My personal experience, education and training has helped me become a counselor who values relationships and sees how the connection between families and other significant people in our lives is so important in how we are functioning day to day.
I have two passions in life, my family and my work. Both bring me great joy. For me, life is all about connecting with others. My work allows me to interact in a compassionate and caring way with individuals, couples, and families in need of support. And, my family, it’s number one and I treasure the relationship that connects us as a whole unit and individually.
To find a balance between the two, I have created a “formula” that allows me to be mom, wife, friend, counselor, and Susan in the midst of the day – no matter the stress or frustration. My formula includes time for work, family, physical activity and continued learning.
This helps me be the best me. Because of the balance and success I have personally experienced from my “formula,” I include this in my work with clients. I help them create their “formula” for a balanced life.
My Background and Education:
I earned an undergraduate degree in both Psychology and Human Development from the University of Kansas, along with a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology and Counselor Education from the University of Colorado. I interned at Excelsior Youth Center in Aurora, Colorado. Excelsior houses adolescent girls with serious emotional and social issues. During my internship I counseled adolescent girls both in the crisis intervention and the stabilization programs.
After my graduate work, I trained for ten months under Dr. Bruce Perry and learned the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics. In 2008, I also trained under Dr. David Grand, PhD. of Manhattan, New York, in Brainspotting – Phase I and II. Both edifications with Dr. Perry and Dr. Grand provided extensive learning and practice in innovative, instrumental therapy methods for traumatic childhood events.
My clinical experience spans over sixteen years. I began a counseling career with Catholic Charities working with Denver based families in their homes. My duties included clinical assessments, creating treatment plans and providing family and individual counseling. I worked closely with Denver public schools facilitating and insuring wrap around services were provided. I also assisted the families in locating resources for food, shelter, career assistance and parental educational services. I then moved into the Outpatient Counseling Department for Catholic Charities counseling at-risk teens and adult individuals with chronic mental illness.
In 2008 I moved to Boulder to open a private practice. I provide psychotherapy services to adolescents, college students, adults and families in the Boulder and surrounding areas. I counsel clients with both acute and chronic mental illnesses, and show great success in helping individuals overcome anxiety, depression, relationship issues, and unresolved issues affecting day-to-day lives.
I was a board member of Second Wind Fund of Boulder County (SWFBC) for five years. SWFBC provides free counseling for ages 10-19 who are at risk or currently suicidal. I was a provider for SWFBC for four years prior to being appointed to the board. I am active in counseling at-risk kids in the Boulder Valley School District. Again working with the school staff and families insuring that the teens needs are met.
I am the Mental Health director of The LIV Project as well as serving as a board member, a creative collective aimed at turning the tide of youth suicide. Our team collaborates on innovative and creative experiences, games and products aimed at sparking the kind of fearless communication that can save lives. We’re constantly imagining and building new tools and resources designed to eliminate the stigma of mental health issues and reverse the soaring rate of youth suicide. The documentary LIV, our first product. As a Technical Consultant on the film, I helped ensure the safety on such a difficult topic. LIV is a powerful film that reveals the realities of the stigma and struggles around mental health and suicide. The second product, The Game That Goes There. The game where you go to those dark unmentionable places with friends. You don’t even realize you are sharing and opening up because the game is so fun.
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT):
I have completed all course work for certification in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). EFT is an attachment-based model for couples developed by Dr. Sue Johnson and Les Greenberg. It focuses on the negative communication patterns that is common for couples to get stuck in and love as an attachment bond. There is a substantial body of research outlining the effectiveness of this treatment model. It is considered one of the most empirically validated forms of couples therapy.
I value being a lifelong learner, continuing education and have also acquired additional trainings in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, adolescent issues, crisis management (ASISST certified), suicidology, personality disorders, anxiety and bipolar disorder.
“Shame breeds secrecy causing us to be silent, hide, isolate, and disconnect with those around us and what we need most when we are struggling is connection”. -Susan Caso