Introducing Susanna Guarino, LMHC

Susanna is a mental health counselor with advanced training in the Gottman Method and a Certified Discernment Counselor.

 Offering Intensive in couples therapy retreats for the following US states:

New York
Florida
Rhode Island

Want to attend a couples therapy retreat? Contact us. 

Education

Credentials

Education

M.A. St. John Fisher College,  (Mental Health Counseling) Magna Cum Laude, 2019.

B.A. State University of New York at Geneseo (English Literature) Summa Cum Laude, 2009.


Licenses

Licensed Mental Health Counselor

State of New York
State of Florida
State of Rhode Island

Evidence-based Models

Advanced Training in the Gottman Method

Treating Affairs and Trauma - Gottman Institute

4 day externship

Additional Certifications & Trainings

Susanna Guarino

Practice Values

Healthy relationships make the world healthier! Things aren’t going so well in terms of everyone getting along in the wider world. But getting along with others can start in our own homes and most intimate relationships. Helping couples is so important because when couples heal their relationships, that often has a ripple effect on loved ones around them, including kids.

Conflict can feel scary for some couples. And confusing. They can start to feel stuck and hopeless.. Therapy offers couples safe space to explore their conflicts and learn new tools for managing it without escalating, shutting down or hurting each other. Doing trauma work with the couple can also be so meaningful and make a big difference in terms of how they are able to connect.

I love conflict. Messy, emotional, complicated conflict. Exploring the dynamics of conflict, helping couples talk to each other more effectively and understand themselves and each other in a deeper way is very fun. Conflict is how we get to know each other better. I don’t think real intimacy is possible without it.

Some couples also have conflicts that get heated up due to triggers from past trauma, either within the relationship or prior to the relationship. Although this can be difficult work, it’s incredibly rewarding to help couples dealing with trauma to heal from that together.

 I love helping couples who are stuck and feeling unheard to go from being “at odds” to close and connected again. I’ve been eating, breathing, and sleeping learning about relationships for a long time! I bring all of that to my work with couples.

The clients I work with are thoughtful, creative, and motivated but stuck in negative dynamics or having the same fight over and over. Sometimes they’re also young professionals with full-time jobs and toddlers. Life can get in the way of connecting when you’re busy, stressed and/or caring for little ones. I also have a special interest in working with creatives- artists, musicians, actors, writers. And I enjoy working with clients from diverse backgrounds, including multiracial couples and LGBTQI couples.

Work Summary

I've worked as a Case Manager and Therapist at a number of agencies including Catholic Charities in Newark, NY and Hillside Family Agencies in Penn Yan, NY. There I facilitated groups on healthy relationship skills for teens in high school and adults both in community centers and those incarcerated. As a therapist I provided both youth and adults psychotherapy.

Other positions includes performing assessments and therapy to college students and as a behavioral specialist creating plans for students with behavioral and emotional difficulties. I've also worked as an English as a second language teacher in South Korea and participated in an intensive Spanish and Cultural studies program in Guatemala.

Personally Speaking

I try to cultivate being present and grounded by spending time outdoors and time being quiet. Then I can bring this quality of focused, grounded attention to my work with clients. I also strive to be open-minded, non-judgmental and compassionate.

But I can be stubborn. My mom was frustrated with me at some point in adolescence, and she said, “Well Susanna, I accept that you’re stubborn, so just be stubborn for good things, ok?” These days, I stubbornly persist in working on building deeper relationships with others in my own life, even though it’s sometimes hard and frustrating. And I stubbornly believe that most conflict can be worked through and most relational injuries can be healed. I hold a lot of hope for the couples I work with and for the world.

I’m a zen practicing musician who loves meditating outside, books, trees and stringed instruments. Mindfulness can help with so many things, from chronic pain to anxiety. I started meditating during graduate school, but then found a zen group in my city. Even though it could be challenging, I loved sitting still for an hour with a group of people. This practice helps me to be more present for my clients, and to be more in touch with what I’m feeling and thinking, too.

I’m obsessive about reading books. I have so many books, including about a dozen I haven’t had time to read yet. I’m currently reading The Will to Change by bell hooks.

Inspirations

My great-aunt Helen and great-uncle Don inspire me. They’ve been married more than 50 years and they’re so kind, hospitable and loving. Don came from an immigrant Italian family and has great stories. For example, he put himself through college by working at Kodak in the summers. That first summer, he thought his job was general cleaning. But when he arrived on his first day, the management told him and another guy they had hired that they would be cleaning toilets full-time. Their only job would be going from building to building (Kodak had 60,000 employees at the time) and cleaning toilets for all 60,000 of those people. Don explains that “the other guy’s parents were doctors so he quit.” Cleaning toilets full time was beneath him- and also he probably didn’t need the money that badly. But my great-uncle kept at it and paid his way through college thanks to those toilets. I love this story because it reminds me to stay humble and not be afraid to do any work that needs to be done. (I worked in food service during grad school, so I’ve cleaned my own fair share of public toilets!)

At Lake Ontario with dog Lilly

"I walk my dog at least two hours a day. I love getting to know every corner of my neighborhood and so many of my neighbors. Lilly (my dog) and I have had many adventures, including getting chased by stray pit bulls and stung by a bee two miles from home."

Clinical Office

I meet with folks in a warm, cozy office in Brighton, NY just outside the city of Rochester.  

Rochester is  built on the ancestral territory of the Haudensaunee. Some of the main roads in the city are built over their ancient trails. There’s so much history here. This is also the city where Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass once lived. And there continues to be a strong tradition of activism and social justice in the city. 

Rochester is a rust-belt, Great Lakes city that’s gritty but also full of nature, wonderful people, art and creativity. It has almost as many cloudy days as Seattle and winter lasts about six months. But spring, summer and fall make it all worth it.

I’m trained in somatic wilderness therapy; so sometimes, nature is the office too. The office  is cozy and inviting. But what’s really unique is that I’m open to working with clients outdoors as I’m trained in somatic wilderness therapy. If you love the outdoors, let’s talk about how to incorporate it in your intensive (weather dependent).