Susan’s passion for the healing arts has been a clear directive since childhood when she announced that she wanted to be a psychologist though she didn’t know what the word meant. She never wavered from the calling, and finished her Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Oregon at the age of 23. Five years later, she stepped into the early beginning of the transpersonal movement with Stan Grof and the other extraordinary thinkers who were bringing the Eastern paradigms to the forefront. The emerging model was a perfect fit for Susan, a bridge between the humanistic models of ego development and those beyond self-actualization. In 1989, Susan returned to school and completed her doctorate at the University of Montana, writing a dissertation for a very traditional committee on a transpersonal model of group orchestration. In order to validate the model, she developed a quantitative assessment tool for the structures of consciousness as defined by Ken Wilber and elaborated in his Integral Model of Development. The project took five years and it substantiated the theoretical basis of Susan’s work.
Susan lives the journey and her life is a testament to her deep commitment towards wholeness, though she acknowledges that all she has become is not yet the one she is becoming. She marks the following as the most significant events of her long career: Her personal shatterings along the way; finding Roshi Joan Halifax’s eagle feather in the parking lot at Esalen and hearing the shaman’s drum for the first time with Michael Harner; being blown off the mountain during a vision quest; finally meeting her doctoral committee’s approval; taking the Bodhisattva Vow of Compassion with the Dalai Lama and receiving his blessing; and those many extraordinary teaching moments with Richard Moss.
Susan’s life is dedicated to service, and she is a first responder with an international relief agency, volunteering in large-scale disasters and providing emotional and psychological support in special units of recovery.
She lives in Missoula, Montana, close to nature and close to her daughter, Katherine, and her husband, Chris.