The Scoop: Rachel Sussman is a licensed social worker and psychotherapist based in New York City. Her private practice, Sussman Counseling, takes on clients of all ages and backgrounds, and she has recently expanded her services to reach other parts of the world. Rachel said that by conducting convenient video therapy sessions via FaceTime or Skype, she hopes to make therapy more accessible and convenient, so anyone with a personal issue can take advantage of her broad knowledge base. Whether she’s counseling an individual through a breakup, a family through conflict, or a couple through relationship challenges, Rachel offers measured advice and intuitive insights to help her clients overcome personal obstacles and reach a happier, healthier state of mind.
According to a poll conducted by the American Psychological Association, 75% of adults in the US say they experience moderate to high levels of stress. Nearly a quarter of respondents characterized their stress as “extreme.” And yet it’s unlikely that even half of these individuals have sought professional assistance or treatment to help them cope.
Studies indicate that 40% of individuals with a serious mental illness do not receive proper care. Tens of millions of people deal with major and minor mental health issues every day without seeking counseling or therapy. Some people don’t even know where to go to get help or how to pay for it. A 2008 study showed that 44% of Americans either don’t have mental health coverage or aren’t sure if they do.
“Unfortunately, to this day, the realm of therapy or counseling still remains quite mysterious to most people, somewhat like a magic trick,” said psychologist Dana Gionta in a Psychology Today article. “As a result, many people decide not to pursue counseling despite experiencing significant emotional, physical, or mental distress.”
However, Rachel Sussman, a licensed psychotherapist in NYC, sees some light at the end of the tunnel. She told us that the stigma of seeking private therapy is gradually diminishing as more people raise awareness about the importance of maintaining good mental health.
Rachel has seen hundreds of clients with a range of personal issues, including low self-esteem, fear of commitment, anxiety, depression, and relationship troubles. The private therapist said a growing number of clients make appointments with her office to deal with small issues before they become big issues. Couples seem particularly eager to nip their relationship issues in the bud and cultivate healthy communication and conflict-resolution skills.
Over the years, Rachel has counseled many couples through the challenges of marriage, and she has witnessed the transformation that relationships can undergo during therapy sessions.
“The world is changing, and people are starting to understand the benefits of a therapist,” she said. “Especially if the alternative is divorce.”
Using Technology to Broaden Her Scope & Reach
Rachel’s private therapy practice attracts individuals and couples who want to improve themselves, pursue healthy relationships, and cultivate happy lives. These people aren’t afraid of doing the work and examining their thoughts and behaviors.
At first, the majority of Rachel’s clients lived in New York City, as she did, but her network gradually grew through referrals. Over time, Rachel saw a need to go beyond in-person appointments and help more people throughout the country and around the world. Today, Rachel can conduct virtual therapy sessions with anyone with an internet connection. She uses Skype and FaceTime to counsel clients who can’t make it to her physical office yet still rely on her guidance.
Rachel said she believes virtual counseling has the potential to transform how therapists connect with patients. She has used video chat technology to broaden her business and reach out to people who wouldn’t ordinarily have access to therapy because of where they live.
Now the New York therapist can talk to clients who live and work around the world. She has Skyped with foreign students who studied in the US and wanted to continue seeing Rachel after they returned home. She has also hosted Google Hangouts with long-distance couples and families who don’t live in the same area but need to hash out issues with one another. Overall, video counseling has helped her to positively influence people from a variety of backgrounds.
“Technology has enabled more people in different locations to go to counseling,” she said. “It’s been a very good thing.”
Rachel is an Influencer on Social Media & in Real Life
Another way Rachel endeavors to reach out to singles and couples in different parts of the world is through social media. She posts articles and interviews on her Facebook page every few weeks, and she said she enjoys engaging with clients and potential clients online. Scrolling through Rachel’s Facebook page gives people food for thought in terms of relationships, and her content introduces them to her counseling style and perspective.
Rachel said she intends to become more active on social media as a way to drive the national conversation about dating, love, and relationships in a positive direction.
In the coming weeks, Rachel will also participate on a panel on relationships and health at a conference for today’s noteworthy influencers. The conference will invite professionals with large social media followings and high profiles to lend their expertise in constructive discussions about the American public’s mental and physical health.
Rachel will be among these influencers looking for opportunities to collaborate, learn, and grow together. As she says on her website, “Though I love to talk, I find listening to be just as powerful.”
Whether she’s sharing her thoughts at a conference or in an interview with Time magazine, Rachel discusses common psychological issues in a conversational and approachable way.
Kind Letters From the Men & Women She’s Helped
Rachel told us what gets her excited to get up and go to work every day is the thought that she’s helping people make positive changes in their lives. Most of her patients come to her because they’re at a low point in their lives and feel anxious, frustrated, or hopeless about the future. Rachel’s calm and incisive counseling can give them the insight they need to move forward.
One woman went to Rachel after a bad breakup and found a pathway to healing. They worked together two years ago, and now the woman says she’s doing just fine in the romance department. “I actually owe you a well overdue thank you,” she said. “You gave me the confidence and encouragement I needed during my breakup, and I think back on your words quite often.”
“Thanks to you, I’m convinced my judgment is generally sound and the best of my life is still in front of me.” — One of Rachel’s former clients
Another man spent several years seeing Rachel and working through personal issues. He is no longer a client, but he said he still uses her counseling as a barometer to measure his decisions in all aspects of his life.
“With our time together, I think you taught me how to better manage the complications thrown at me. You’ve trained me to consider what’s the upside,” he said. “Thanks to you, I’m convinced my judgment is generally sound and the best of my life is still in front of me.”
Rachel said she regularly receives letters from former clients who write to tell her that they’re doing well and feel grateful for her help. The therapist always keeps these letters as a reminder of the good she has done in her career. “It means a lot to me when I get letters from my clients,” Rachel said. “I save them because they’re really meaningful to me.”
This New-York Based Therapist is Making a Global Impact
The stigma of therapy can keep some people from getting the help they need. Because they don’t want others to think they’re weak or crazy, or because they don’t believe a therapist can actually help them solve their problems. Professional therapists like Rachel Sussman run into these negative biases all the time.
In recent years, Rachel has sought to raise awareness about the positive influence therapy can have on everyday people. She has shared her expertise on social media, at conferences, and in media interviews as a way of changing the perception people have of therapy. She encourages people from all walks of life to consider going to a therapist and talking out their personal problems.
Rachel has made therapy accessible to singles and couples across the globe by offering video sessions to her clients. Her solution-focused approach to therapy has empowered hundreds of people to improve themselves and make progress in every aspect of life.
“I see people who are in a bad place in life. They’re frustrated and hurting, and it can be hard,” she said. “But when I see them turn things around, it helps me remember that I do make an impact, and that makes me feel good, obviously.”