As a therapist, I believe my clients are struggling with the wounds of life. They are not broken nor in need of "fixing." The client is the expert about her/his life and core values. It is my privilege to bring the best tools of psychology and cognitive neuroscience to a collaborative exploration that gives greater vitality to those values and to a radical acceptance of self and of the past. As a very wise person once said (Søren Kierkegaard, Danish philosopher), "Life is not a problem to be solved but a reality to be experienced."
I seek to help clients be more fully present in their lives,
supporting a journey of deeper meaning and purpose.
What's been my professional journey thus far?
- Independent practice as a Clinical Psychologist HSP in Knoxville, TN since 2013
- Psychologist on the clinical PTSD treatment team at Mountain Home VAMC, Johnson City, TN 2009-2013
- Licensed Professional Counselor MHSP, independent practice in Knoxville, 2007-2009
- Independent therapist in Portland, OR 2001-2006 and Adjunct Instructor at Portland State University
- [we'll bypass the detour into the corporate world, Phoenix, AZ 1998-2001]
- Associate Professor, Psychology, Weber State University, Ogden, UT, 1993-1998
- PhD in Clinical Psychology, Florida State University, August, 1993 [and William and Mary and UNC Chapel Hill along the way]
What values are most central to my work as a therapist?
Acceptance Authenticity Compassion Encouragement
What therapy approaches are most frequently used in my practice?
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, summarized most simply as "Open Up, Be Present, and Do What Matters"
ACT is a scientifically-based psychotherapy that considers suffering to be directly connected to our relationship with our thoughts, feelings, and memories. When we are suffering, we try to rid ourselves of painful experiences such as anxiety, sadness, negative thoughts, bad memories, etc. Sometimes this effort to eliminate the pain becomes a source of pain itself. So in ACT, we work on viewing thoughts and feelings from a different stance or attitude. The ultimate goal is to help you build a better life based on your values. The main goals of ACT are to (1) help you accept what is out of your personal control (including much of your brain's default programming), (2) clarify what is truly important and meaningful to you, and (3) commit to taking action that enriches your life. Expect regular homework/practice!
Another way to think of the goals of ACT is:A – Accept your thoughts and feelings without judgment
C – Choose a valued direction
T – Take effective action
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. There is no single Cognitive Behavioral Therapy approach or protocol. CBT is an umbrella term for a wide number of therapy systems developed over the last few decades, each unified by an empirical foundation, reliance on the theory and science of behavior and cognition, and the centrality of problem-focused goals. It's a BIG toolbox for the journey.
- Cognitive Processing Therapy. A structured 12-session protocol developed to treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. From the online home of CPT: "CPT is a cognitive-behavioral treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). CPT was developed in the late 1980s and has been shown to be effective in reducing PTSD symptoms related to a variety of traumatic events including child abuse, combat, rape and natural disasters. CPT is endorsed by the U.S. Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense, as well as the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies, as a best practice for the treatment of PTSD."
Dr. Susan Fuhr ReachesKnoxville TN