Andrea Sussel, MSS, LCSW
Andrea is a licensed clinical social worker with a wealth of experience; she has been a therapist at Pacific Quest since 2015. Andrea received her BS in Health and Physical Education from the Pennsylvania State University and her Masters of Social Services from Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. She is a certified Gestalt Therapist from the PA Gestalt Center and has co-facilitated workshops at The Esalen Institute in Big Sur, CA. Andrea has completed Level I and II EMDR training and is currently working toward her certification in Sandplay Therapy.
Andrea has extensive experience treating students and their families who are struggling with a range of mental health issues including depression and anxiety, gender dysphoria, sexual orientation, drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, autism spectrum, and bipolar disorder. Additionally, she enjoys working with general difficulties within relationships, including those within the complexity of the family system. She also has experience and success working with young people who struggle with self-harming, suicidal behaviors, and personality disorders.
Andrea worked as a psychotherapist for 8 years at a liberal arts college on the Main Line of Philadelphia where she founded The Body Image Coalition and led the initiatives to impact a culture shift at the college regarding disordered attitudes about body image and our dieting obsessed culture. Prior to that she worked as the eating disorder specialist on a DBT team and in inpatient and outpatient settings treating individuals with eating disorders, including those on a specialized dual diagnosis unit for LGBTQ people. Just prior to moving to Hawai’i, Andrea maintained a private practice for 10 years.
Andrea has been spending time on the Island of Hawai’i for the last three decades and draws upon her connection to the land and culture to promote healing. She brings a compassionate and relational approach to her work, along with her strong belief that each person has an innate ability to heal when given the proper “soil.” She values patience and listens deeply to others as they access their inner wisdom and voice. Andrea’s use of bibliotherapy, poetry, music, humor and the life force of creativity to meet her students where they are, while creating a safe space for them to open at their own pace is what makes her approach gentle, effective and ultimately sustainable. Andrea was drawn to Pacific Quest because, as she expressed, “I feel incredibly synchronistic with all the essential practices that are promoted and I believe PQ has illuminated the core elements of a healthy life for all people.”
In her spare time Andrea enjoys hiking, swimming, paddle boarding, yoga, and silent meditation retreats. She also teaches at the Insight Volcano Vipassana meditation group, volunteers in the ancient forest at Niaulani Art Center, and worked as a Red Cross volunteer in the recent Volcano relief efforts. She was featured in the recent documentary, Fire and Sand, winner of the 2019 Santa Fe Humanitarian Award. She experiences great joy in her 28 year old son who is currently working in the field of recovery in Kona and is teaching English online to Chinese students.
Our therapist, Andrea, was outstanding and had a wonderful connection with our daughter.
Every part of our work with Andrea was super. She did so much for our son and our family.
Incredibly pleased with Andrea. She is absolutely amazing, beyond amazing!