Staff Therapist Q&A: Sausha Gruca, AMFT

Pinnacle Counseling enjoys providing our different therapists with the opportunity to introduce themselves, highlighting their unique clinical and personal interests.

What led you to become an MFT?

At a very young age, my parents not only instilled in me the importance of helping others in need, but the idea of taking the time to recognize when others might need encouragement or someone to lean on. Time and time again I found myself in this particular role, which I grew to realize is my life’s purpose. Another piece of my story includes my experiences with various special needs communities and their families during different chapters in my life. Through this work, I realized that in order for these individuals with special/differing needs to thrive and know their worth, their parents, caregivers and guardians also need support and a place to unload, thus my clinical interest in working with these communities as a MFT.

How would you describe your therapeutic approach/style?

I would like my clients to sense that I am a warm and genuine person, who cares deeply about helping them get unstuck. I am very transparent about the way that I work, especially when I am compassionately challenging clients, so that they know what I am doing and where we are headed. I use a combination of deeper processing work within session, along with behavioral interventions that clients can implement outside of session. I enjoy using humor within sessions if it feels appropriate because it just feels good to laugh every once in a while!

Are there any client systems or presenting problems you especially enjoy working with?

I really enjoy working to treat communication difficulties and premarital concerns within couples, emerging adulthood issues, anxiety and depression. I also have a heart for working with children and adolescents with Autism, Down Syndrome and any other Developmental or Intellectual Disabilities. So if you are a couple who is struggling to communicate, a young adult trying to figure out your next step in life, a person looking to cope with anxious or depressed feelings or a parent looking for a space for your child to learn about themselves and work on social skills, I would love to work with you.

What do you like to do for fun and/or relaxation outside of work?

I am on a running kick currently as I am training for the Chicago Marathon, so long runs by the lake with some good music playing in my ear buds has been my life. Something I love, but have not done in a while is Latin style dancing, especially Salsa and Bachata. I have also recently gotten into baking homemade bread every weekend with my fiancé and taking long walks with my Chihuahua-Terrier pup now that it is finally warming up!

What do you believe are some of the key factors leading to positive change?

In graduate school, I read many different articles that explicitly stated that the therapeutic relationship is one of the most important factors that leads to positive change. It was not until I began seeing clients of my own that I realized how true this is. I have come to find that if there is a good relationship established between my clients and I, they will feel comfortable enough to open up and allow me to be curious about their lives. I can then compassionately challenge them on their thoughts and actions and they can trust that I am doing so to support them in their growth and change.

What do you enjoy most about being a therapist?

The fact that my job is to be a witness to people’s lives and stories is powerful beyond belief. I always feel so honored to witness clients’ vulnerabilities and resiliency as it is so incredibly encouraging to me. Yes, I love using theories and interventions to help clients through the issues that they present with, however, at the end of the day I enjoy just sitting back and taking in the fact that everyone is doing the best that they can with what they have been given in life and recognizing that on a daily basis is humbling. I also love how much I learn from each and every one of my clients; they teach me something new every day and for that I am forever grateful!

Sausha sees clients in both the Andersonville and Loop offices. For more information or to set up an appointment, contact today!

Natalie Underway