Andrea Sussel, MSS, LCSW
Andrea is a licensed clinical social worker with 20 years in clinical practice, and has been with Pacific Quest since 2015. She received her BS in Health and Physical Education from Pennsylvania State University and her Masters in 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 has earned her registered sandplay practitioner (RSP) through the Sandplay Therapists of America.
Andrea has extensive experience treating students and their families who are struggling with a range of mental health issues including drug and alcohol addiction, eating disorders, autism spectrum, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety and general difficulties with relationships, and successfully separating and individuating from their parents or caregivers. She also has extensive experience and success working with young people who struggle with self-harming, suicidal behaviors, and personality disorders.
Andrea has worked as a psychotherapist for 8 years at a liberal arts college on the Main Line of PA where she led the initiatives to impact a culture shift at the college regarding disordered attitudes about body image and our dieting obsessed culture. She did this by founding The Body Image Coalition and implementing college wide protocols to appropriately care for students with serious eating disordered behaviors. She also fostered collaborations with faculty members to further educate the entire college population surrounding these issues. Prior to that she worked in two levels of care; inpatient eating disorders and a specialized dual diagnosis unit for LGBTQ individuals, and outpatient, as that center’s eating disorders specialist where she also worked on a DBT treatment team. Previous to moving to Hawaii, Andrea maintained her own private practice 10 years.
Andrea brings her deeply held belief that each person has an innate ability to heal when given the proper “soil”, and uses her compassion, and training to help her students access that inner wisdom. She values patience and believes that the most respectful way to be of therapeutic assistance is to listen deeply and guide in accordance with her student’s inner voice. Andrea has been spending time on the Island of Hawaii for over 30 years and draws upon her connection to the land and culture to promote healing. Very relational in her approach, she uses her talents to form deep bonds that help her clients reach their potential by tapping into that inner well. Her use of humor, and 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 “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, practicing yoga, and restoring her inner resources on regular silent meditation retreats. She also teaches at the Insight Volcano Vipassana meditation group on occasional Sundays. She volunteers in the ancient forest at Niaulani Art Center in Volcano Village 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. Her 30-year-old son is currently working in the field of recovery in Kona.
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!