SOW #32 Throwing Love at Challenges with Special Guest Susan Powers, PhD

Who is Susan Powers, PhD?

Susan Carroll Powers, PhD, grew up in Queens in the fifties.  Her family life revolved around their Catholic Church where many of the ceremonial rituals and ancient beliefs in mortal sin and purgatory filled her with terror as a child. The fear of God was offset by the family’s annual visit to the Hamptons every summer where Susan’s love of the beach took root.  

She dreamed of being a writer and kept a personal journal through her adolescence and twenties. In her early thirties journaling helped Susan to overcome many of her childhood fears and offered a higher awareness and the beginning of a spiritual life based on growth and transformation. She became a spiritual seeker and has studied many different spiritual and humanistic traditions.

Attending graduate school at Fordham University in the sixties, Susan met and married her first husband who was training to be a doctor.  Soon after, they had two children.  While the children were young, she taught college courses at the University of San Francisco, then at Hunter College and Concordia College in New York.  Through teaching, her interest in psychotherapy developed, and when the children started school, she began her work as a psychologist in clinics. 

The stress of two busy careers and children took its toll.  By 1979 her marriage was over. Susan divorced and moved to the east end of Long Island where she began a back-and-forth lifestyle of traveling from New York City during the week and long weekends in the Hamptons.  The combination of city life with the comfort and beauty of the country inspired her work.  She started a private practice in both locations and began an intensive period of training in Gestalt psychotherapy on a post-doctoral level with Ilana Rubenfeld.  

In 1991, Susan married Bob.   He was an actor who decided to become a clinical social worker in his mid-fifties.  He thrived on the city/country lifestyle and the practice of psychotherapy. They thoroughly enjoyed being grandparents together when Susan’s daughter Chris had two children in her early twenties.  After eleven happy years together, Bob became ill with cancer and died. Tragically, two and a half months later Chris died of a heroin addiction. Susan’s whole world was rocked, and she began a journey of learning to grieve and accept her traumatic loss. 

That process culminated in Susan’s first book, Ruthless Grieving: The Journey to Acceptance and Beyond, contains emotional wisdom and practical suggestions to guide anyone through deep loss and grief.  Her second book, Walking on Air: Embracing the Uncertainties of Life takes readers beyond acceptance to the methods she has found for living a full, rich life.  Walking on air is living by discovery and spontaneity and embracing the transformative potential of life’s dark side. 

Susan’s life as a widow transformed when she found a new partner, Bill. At eighty-years-old, her life is full, with a fun and nurturing relationship and family. Her granddaughters and her son, Bill, are thriving and an important part of her life. She continues to have an active psychotherapy practice and is beginning work on her third book, Becoming an Elder.     

Susan Powers has been a mentee of Dr. Tian Dayton for over thirty years, learning the methods of psychodrama and experiential therapy. She specializes in grieving and recovery from codependency and has given workshops for couples and individuals at Onsite Recovery Center in Tennessee and at the Caron Foundation in Pennsylvania, two major codependency treatment centers. 

Throwing Love at Challenges

Watch the extended version on YouTube:

If you don’t have the time to dive that deep, listen to the shorter version on your favorite podcast platform (see menu on home page for podcast links). You can also watch the shorter version on Facebook or Spotify. Enjoy the episode!

Susan Power’s Books

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Up Next…

Click Image for a sneak peek.

I hope you come back for this season’s last episode. You can check out all the episodes HERE.

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff, author of Letters from a Better Me and host of the From A Loving Place with Author Rachael Wolff

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