Susan Miller Takes a Whole-Person Approach to Emotional Health
Susie Miller, a licensed professional counselor and owner of Blue Stone Counseling, in Mequon, has always called the North Shore home, yet she was intrigued by other cultures and has studied Hispanic language and customs since her youth. She majored in Spanish and economics at UW-Madison, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1988 and went on to teach the language for seven years at Brookfield East High School. There, she advised a teen group, Peers Resisting Others’ Use of Drugs (PROUD), teaching leadership skills and providing kids with the confidence to resist peer pressure when offered drugs. “That was the beginning of my interest in counseling,” she reflects.
Miller left the teaching profession in 1998 to be a stay-at-home mom to her four children. In 2010, she returned to school, but not as a teacher. She enrolled at Mount Mary University and earned a master’s degree in mental health counseling in 2012. Although it was challenging to juggle motherhood and school, Miller found the experience enriching. “Parenting teaches you how to understand the development process and how we sometimes become imbalanced through emotional or mental difficulties,” she says.
The Ozaukee Counseling Center provided a stepping-stone for Miller’s new professional life, and she worked there until June 2014. In October of that year, she opened her own practice, Blue Stone Counseling, inside the Well Body center, along with holistic practitioners of massage, reiki, acupuncture, nutrition and aesthetic services.
Miller specializes in treating anxiety and depression in adolescents and adults. “We know that emotional experiences are stored in a particular way in the body, which can ultimately become sources of anxiety and depression,” she explains. “I really advocate that my clients get bodywork and approach emotional and mental wellness from a whole body perspective.”
Miller incorporates essential oils into her therapy, which she says can help re-pattern the brain by waking up the sensory system. Reiki and massage also assist in re-patterning old experiences while calming the body. “Essential oils help you turn inward and bring focus into the body,” she says, adding that our culture of smartphones and social media often pull awareness away from what’s happening within the body’s natural response mechanism. Because the brain is an organ, Miller also emphasizes the importance of nourishing the brain with wholesome foods for optimal function.
At Blue Stone Counseling, clients may notice the butterfly and rock logo. “The rock represents a safe place to explore the self,” Miller says. “Sometimes what we need is a safe, confidential place to talk openly and not be afraid. The butterfly represents a pathway to transformation through talking and self-exploration.”
Knowing that some people need counseling on a weekly basis to instill good, solid change that may be prohibited by cost, Miller keeps her fees reasonable—$50 per hour and $75 for an intake and consult—in an effort to keep quality mental health services within reach for everyone.
Miller volunteers counseling for Friendship Bridge, a microcredit organization that helps indigenous women in Guatemala. She serves on the advisory board for Ozaukee Family Services and does developmental work in Kenya with a missionary group. Despite tumultuous political and civil conflicts in the African nation, Miller has witnessed the human resilience that motivates every person be his or her best self. “The people are so beautiful, and I’ve had many good experiences,” Miller says of her time in Kenya. “The people are living joyfully and are grateful, even in the face of fear.”
Whether at home or abroad, Miller stays inspired by the people she meets, their stories and every part of the human experience.
Blue Stone Counseling is located at 10040 N. Port Washington Rd. (inside Well Body), in Mequon. For more information, call 262-241-5604 or visit BlueStoneCounselingLLC.com.
Sheila Julson is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine.Edit ModuleShow Tags