“It's not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.”
                                                       — Hans Selye

Welcome to the Spring 2014 issue of Westside Notes, and in this newsletter we will be focusing primarily on the ever-present issue of stress and anxiety. We live with it every day of our lives, but how do we respond to it? In graduate school I completed my research project focusing on stress management among teens, and I studied the work of Hans Selye, an Austrian-Canadian endocrinologist who is considered by many to be one of the first scientists to identify the existence of physiological stress. As a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, I've become acutely-aware of the vulnerability of our autonomic nervous system to become dysregulated (e.g. generalized anxiety and panic attacks) due to stored trauma as well as the resiliency and resourcefulness within us to regulate once again. Because every one of my clients asks me at one time or another about ways to manage anxiety, I recently compiled a list of practical reminders available to each of us.

Anxiety Relief: Tools & Strategies

  • Individual & Group Therapy
  • Physical Exercise
  • Nutritional Balance: limit caffeine and alcohol intake
  • Rest Well / Consistent Sleep Habits
  • Yoga
  • Mindfulness / Meditation

Read more of Anxiety Relief . . .

One of the most powerful tools for anxiety relief is meditation, and Maria Gray has written a personal account of her journey toward meditation which dispels the myths while at the same time illustrates ways to integrate this often-misunderstood ancient practice into everyday life.

Featured Article:
Meditation—It's Not What You Think It Is
by Maria Gray, M.A., M.Ed.

By now you might have heard about the many benefits of practicing meditation. I don't know about you, but my mind begins to snap shut as soon as someone tells me that something is good for me (especially when it comes to lima beans). So I won't tell you why meditation is good for you — instead I will share some of my own experience with meditation and some tips for starting your own meditation practice. I hope to dispel some of the myths that I had to overcome when I began practicing.

Read more of Meditation . . .

Get Mindful, Be Happy:
An afternoon workshop with Maria Gray

Maria will be offering a free afternoon workshop entitled Get Mindful, Be Happy at the Santa Monica Library (601 Santa Monica Blvd) on Saturday, May 3rd from 1-2pm. Positive Psychology is an innovative, research-based model of psychology which is founded on the belief that people want to cultivate what is best within themselves and enhance their experience in the areas of work, love and play. The workshop will explore the relationship between mindfulness and happiness and offer proven suggestions for enhancing your level of happiness by using mindfulness techniques. For more information contact Maria at 310.319.6500 or maria@mariagray.net.

Reflections on AGPA's
2014 Annual Meeting
by Schuyler Ha, M.A.

I had heard about the AGPA (American Group Psychotherapy Association) Annual Meeting for years, and this year I made the decision to attend — and I'm thankful that I did. In February I went to Boston with the belief that I would return with new knowledge and skills that would assist me in my professional work as a clinician and instructor. However, I underestimated the impact it would have on me personally, as well.

Read more of Reflections . . .

Current Group Openings

Second Stage Recovery Group
Mondays 6:15pm – 7:45pm
Maria Gray, M.A. M.Ed.

Mixed Adult Psychotherapy Group
Mondays 6pm – 7:30pm
Andrew Susskind, LCSW, SEP, CGP

Men's Psychotherapy Group
Wednesdays 7pm – 8:30pm
Andrew Susskind, LCSW, SEP, CGP

Private Practice Internships Available Soon

Currently, I have three very talented associates (aka interns) in my practice, and as they prepare to cross the threshold into licensure, I'm beginning to meet with prospective candidates interested in joining my practice.

Part-time, post-graduate associate/intern position available for BBS-registered MSW associate or MFT intern. Addictions experience required; group and bereavement experience preferred. Prefer candidates with fewer than 1000 hours accrued toward licensure. Email CV to andrew@westsidetherapist.com.

If you prefer not to receive future mailings, simply unsubscribe below. As stress naturally arises, I wish you the strength and the strategies to respond to it more effectively and productively this spring season.



Spring 2014

In This Issue:

  • Anxiety-Busters
  • Featured Article:
    It's Not What You Think It Is
  • Get Mindful, Be Happy
  • Reflections on AGPA
  • Current Group Openings
  • Private Practice Internship

About Andrew Susskind

Andrew Susskind, MSW, SEP, CGP is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, Certified Group Psychotherapist and Life Transition Coach who brings more than 22 years of experience to his work.


Annabel Raymond, M.A.

Maria Gray
Maria Gray, M.A., M.Ed.

Schuyler Ha, M.A.

Community Resources

Visit Andrew’s website for a comprehensive list of resources in the Los Angeles and Southern California area.

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Westside Notes
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2550 Overland Avenue · Suite 100 · Los Angeles, CA 90064 · 310.281.8681
andrew@andrewsusskind.com · andrew@westsidetherapist.com