Therapist Spotlight: Susan Lloyd, LCSW

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Susan Lloyd is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over a decade of experience helping individuals on a variety of issues including addiction, anxiety, depression, self-esteem, LGB identity/coming out, career transitions, grief/loss and health concerns.  She received her Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration and has worked in corporate, higher education and hospital settings. Read her full bio here.

Susan works from our Ravenswood and North Michigan Avenue offices.

What self care techniques or activities do you do?

I always take three fundamentals with me wherever I am:

  1. Meditation and yoga help me to recalibrate my body and spirit.
  2. Mindfulness helps me to be conscious, aware and in the moment.  I sometimes view this as “meditating with my eyes open.”  This enables me to make the best choices for myself and, hopefully, the world around me in real-time and have less to figure out later.
  3. Slogans have become my mantras and truths:  “Gratitude is the attitude,” “keep it simple,” “first things first,” “seek first to understand then to be understood,” and “this day is truly a gift” all provide me with solutions on a daily basis.

Other self-care:  I have recently become interested in aromatic essential oils which I use (either a drop on my wrist or incorporate into a full-body massage).  Lavender, clary sage and eucalyptus are resonating with me right now.  I also discovered that some essential oils (wild orange) are made in a way that you can put a few drops in your water and drink it (note:  make sure it says it is safe to digest on the bottle before).  Last but not least, I have a gravitational pull to the ocean; growing up in Ohio, my parents travelled annually to warm weather destinations and, luckily, took my sister and me.  I have been to Maui fifteen times, consider it a home away from home and still travel there as an adult.  Only in the last two decades, self-care for me has meant being safe in the sun:  I wear sunscreen, have found some great SPF-quality shirts and hats and spend time in the shade.  Getting burnt is so 70’s!

What made you become a therapist?

Members of my family of origin would never think of going to see a therapist… and for some reason I was different.  I saw answers and an ability to change one’s course by choosing to live an examined life.  Why would we have this mind, body and earthly experience and not want to look deeper?  This lifelong passion organically connected me with a desire to align with and coach others as they move through their journey.  At first, this looked like taking abnormal psych classes then majoring in psychology, then counseling student peers as a paraprofessional.  When I completed my Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work, I was afforded a deeper level of learning and taught to consider both the individual and their environment along with diversity, strengths, opportunities and challenges.  After school, my commitment to working with diverse populations provided further insight into ways to learn and grow.

What are your specialties? 

I work with individuals and couples of diverse cultural, religious, gender and sexual orientations. I am particularly experienced in areas of concerns such as depression, anxiety, identity, addiction, career transitions, chronic illness and grief.

Did you have a career before becoming a therapist?

Yes.  I managed the Investor Relations for a publicly-held company for seven years before becoming a therapist.  Along with my therapy practice at Urban Balance, I also serve as an administrator for a healthcare provider and higher education institution.  I see organizations as comparable to individuals:  there are aspects that are working fine, other aspects you know you need to work on but there is resistance and yet other issues will rise to the surface later.  More is always revealed and everything is truly connected.

Why do you believe that counseling can help?

I care deeply about the power of choice, change and finding your voice.  I have seen therapy work personally and in the lives of my clients.  As an example, effective techniques to reframe assumptions, uncover underlying self-truths and relinquish self-sabotaging can free us to continue our journey to become the people we were meant to be.  I also believe counseling can help because within the therapeutic relationship is trust, nurturing and compassion; this can provide necessary corrective experiences in order for us to heal and grow in our journey.

Why is it important to seek counseling?

You are not alone!  I believe there is a stigma in our society that accessing mental health services shows you are “less than.”  Actually, the opposite is true.  When you begin to seek help for issues in your life, you soon learn that some feelings, thoughts and belief systems that we have been fed growing up in our families/society/world are not actually true.  This provides a chance to change the story — and trajectory — of your life.  Destigmatizing receiving therapy and normalizing it as part of a balanced healthcare plan (like regular doctor and dental check-ups) is my personal passion, the passion of Urban Balance and all of the UB practitioners.