Susie Lang has combined her two lifelong passions, photography and counseling into two wonderful startup’s in New York. Susie has a private counseling practice, working with individuals and groups. She is also a professional Photographer and has lived in New York since 2004 with her husband.
Susie is a valued AWNY Committee member and is also hosting two group sessions in October – The Emotional Transition of Moving to New York.
Tell us about these businesses and what inspired you to begin.
SUSIE LANG COUNSELING: www.susielangcounseling.com
I have been in the Caring Profession since 1975. In Australia I was a Registered Sick Children’s and General Registered Nurse in Adelaide, and the Manager of the YWCA Child Care Center in Darwin. Throughout the 1990’s in the UK I worked in Women’s Centers offering women low cost, long term services – counseling, childcare, women’s health issues, legal support and computer training. I also worked in a center for women who experienced domestic and relational violence – here the women were offered counseling, emergency and safe re-housing, emotional, legal and financial support. I had a small private practice. When I arrived in the USA in 2004, I was employed as a Psychological Consultant with a company in Arizona which dealt with Identity Theft. In 2009 – 2011 I worked alongside the family caregivers at the NYC Chapter for the Alzheimer’s Association. Throughout my personal life and my career I have been fortunate to have women in my life whom I have felt inspired by. I have never forgotten their “way of being” – being available, supportive and present to me throughout my life. I realized that at an early age I didn’t have enough wisdom, presence, life experience, personal growth development and healing to go into the counseling/psychotherapy field as a younger woman.
My husband and I arrived in NYC in 2004. Being in NYC I found my previous work experiences in Australia and the UK didn’t cut it. It felt easy to simply give up on the notion that I could “make it” in NYC. As a requirement to become licensed as a counseling therapist, I needed to go to University to get a MA (Mental Health Counseling and Wellness), degree in order to practice. Since 2012 I have been in Private Practice as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and a National Certified Counselor (NCC).
I am passionate about my therapeutic work, gaining much experience in my intimate and professional work with clients. It is one of my life’s joys.
SUSIE LANG PHOTOGRAPHY: www.susielangphoto.com
In growing up on a farm in rural South Australia I shared a camera with my 4 brothers. Luckily for me they weren’t interested in using the camera that our father bought for us, so I began to experiment with film photography. My inspiration came from John Sprod, a well-known and much-admired South Australian portrait photographer who traveled throughout the State, to photograph families in remote areas. He “knew” how to work with us, as small children.
I traveled to the UK in the early 1980’s, where I was accepted to the four London Colleges of Photography. I chose to attend Watford College where I received a BA in Design, majoring in Photography. I was awarded the prize for Portrait Excellence from Kodak in 1986. I have continued to photograph with a passion, receiving positive feedback from many who have seen my work.
In 2005, I switched from film to digital photography. I have always referred to my photographic work as my “creative outlet”. It is in contrast to the intense and intimate work I do in my counseling field.
In 2013, I created my photographic website – this has been a massive personal step, stating that I was ready to show the world that I love what I do. Photography offers and gives me great joy. I simply come alive!
I am passionate about connecting with people in both professions.
As I like to say, it is my “art of connection”.
Do you find that the synergy of these businesses overlap?
Yes! In the Summer of 2014, I was talking to a woman, also a photographer, who said to me, “What sets you apart as a photographer?” I had never been asked this before. In considering my psychotherapy training, my passion in photographing and my ability to connect with people, and after many hours of processing, thought and conversation with close allies I began to realize that I have an “art of connection” in my two fields of work.
In counseling, I am very present with each client, listening intently to them, empathizing with their experiences and offering unconditional positive regard.
In photography, I am able to “see” and be with a person, as if there is NO camera between us. The synergy is electric to me, and in this, I trust that there is mutual connection with those whom I am working with. Counseling clients continue to return with greater self-awareness and a willingness to delve deeper into their own self-understanding and self-awareness. Photographic clients delight in images of self – I often hear their “WOW” factor being expressed!
What has been your “Aha / I’ve made it in the USA” moment?
I continue to strive towards this “aha” moment and I never take this for granted. It is a very competitive world out there, and I am up against lots of others in the same fields. “Aha” moments come with my connections I make with my clients. They are often brief moments in time, and I have learnt to really feel and acknowledge them each time this joyous experience happens.