Suzanne Millican, LMFT

Licensed Psychologist Hermosa Beach

Adult, Child and Family Psychotherapy

I utilize an integrative approach to treatment when working with individuals, children and families.  My therapeutic orientation is grounded in Cognitive-Behavioral theory and focuses on enhancing insight and understanding and replacing negative thoughts, feelings and behaviors with healthier ones.  I work with clients to reduce the stressors in their lives and build on strengths and positive connections.  I believe in working collaboratively with my clients and that creating a strong, positive, therapeutic alliance can be a vehicle for change.  I approach my work as a psychotherapist with compassion, respect and patience, while actively, yet gently guiding clients to progress toward awareness, growth and healing.  My career as a crisis counselor and psychotherapist spans more than 20 years and includes work with clients of all ages and demographics on a wide range of issues including depression, anxiety, trauma, ADHD, child and adolescent adjustment issues, suicide prevention, parenting and maternal health and wellness.

Parenting

As a parent myself, I understand and empathize with the fact that it’s the hardest job any of us will likely ever do.   I’ve worked with hundreds of parents and their children throughout my career and have always started these relationships from a place of hope.  It’s important for parents to feel hopeful that things can improve when they are facing the many challenges parenthood presents and to understand that they are not helpless.  There are many simple tools I work to equip parents with to promote improved competence and confidence, including what I refer to as The Three C’s of parenting:  Connection, Consistency and Comic Relief.   I work collaboratively with parents to enhance their “toolbox” of skills and empower them to improve their emotional connection to their children, to promote consistent boundaries, rules and expectations and to use humor, play and fun to restore a sense of joy and harmony to home and family life.

Children

The human brain is under construction well into the early 20’s.  What this means is that all kids are a work in progress and require patience, nurturing and guidance.  Childhood, adolescence and the teen years are distinct developmental stages that children go through, each with very different tasks for the child to achieve to successfully transition to the next stage.  My work with children is informed by my specialized understanding of these stages and focuses on what the child’s needs are based on their developmental stage, as well as their uniqueness as individuals.  Therapy with younger children is often non-verbal and will involve play, art and storytelling.   With pre-teens and teens, listening, genuine interest and gentle guidance are the cornerstones of a successful, growth-oriented therapeutic relationship.     I truly enjoy being in the company of children and consider it a privilege to earn their trust.

Professional Experience:

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist:  In private practice provide assessment, diagnosis and treatment/therapy to individuals, children and families.  Provide parenting skills workshops and support groups.

Community Therapist:  Masada Outpatient Program.  Responsibilities included completing assessment, diagnosis and treatment plans for children in protective custody and probations system.  Provided individual and family psychotherapy in both clinic and in-home settings.  Interfaced with external agency personnel, including county social workers, probation officers, school personnel and medical doctors in collaborative case management and treatment plan integration.  Provided support, resources and parenting skills training to foster parents.

Mental Health Specialist:  Star View Community Services.  Provided wrap-around services to adolescents and their families, including mental health assessment, diagnosis and treatment.  Provided case management, including acting as liaison with external agencies such as Department of Child and Family Services, school personnel, foster family agency personal and medical doctors, as coordinator of care provided to clients.  Functioned on teams with other clinical and support staff.  Provided training and staff development and supervised support counselors.

Children’s Counselor:  Santa Clara County Children’s Shelter.  Provided behavior management, therapeutic and crisis intervention to children ages 2-17 years old in a 24-hour, residential/emergency shelter facility.  Supervised and managed daily living arrangements for children in the shelter.  Facilitated group and individual counseling sessions dealing with issues such as substance abuse, sexuality, conflict management/resolution, suicide ideation, social skills training and familial relations.  Developed and implemented behavior, therapeutic and placement plans for children as part of multidisciplinary teams including supervisor, social workers, clinical and medical staff.

Education

Santa Clara University

Master of Arts Degree in Counseling Psychology

Emphasis in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling

 

San Jose State University

Bachelor of Arts Degree in Clinical Counseling Psychology

Minor Degree in Child Development

Licenses & Professionals Affiliations:

Board of Behavioral Sciences:  California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Lic#44215

CAMFT:  Clinical Member, California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

CAMFT Long Beach/South Bay:  Chapter member

 

My goal as a therapist is to connect with, support and guide my clients toward awareness, growth and healing.”

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