Susan Anderson

For Life on Purpose Episode #57, my guest is author and psychotherapist Susan Anderson, who has devoted more than 30 years of clinical experience and research to working with the victims of abandonment trauma, grief, and loss and teaches people around the world how to overcome abandonment and its aftermath of self-sabotaging patterns.

Susan joined me for a powerful chat about her new book, The Abandonment Recovery Workbook: Guidance through the Five Stages of Healing from Abandonment, Heartbreak, and Loss (New World Library), as well as how her own life journey paved the way for her most powerful work, and MUCH more!

“Learning the steps to take after surviving a great loss is a hopeful process. You discover your ability to benefit from the experience rather than be diminished by it,” says Anderson. “Many of you are going through heartbreak, getting separated or divorced, or feel isolated and alone. Many of you are grieving over someone close to you who has died. Some seek recovery from childhood wounds that impinge on the quality of your current life. But our journey will take us beyond the specifics of your loss, all the way to the underlying source of the fear and despair —abandonment — the crux of the human condition.”

Abandonment Recovery WorkbookAbout Susan Anderson:

Susan Anderson is a psychotherapist who has devoted over 30 years of clinical experience and research to working with the victims of abandonment trauma, grief, and loss.

She is the author of Taming your Outer Child: Overcoming your Self Defeating Patterns; Journey from Abandonment to Healing; Black Swan: Twelve Lessons of Abandonment Recovery; and The Abandonment Recovery Workbook.

Susan is also the founder of the Abandonment Recovery movement, a worldwide program of techniques and support groups that help people heal their abandonment wounds past and present, overcome their self-defeating “Outer Child” patterns, and find greater life and love.

Through extensive clinical research, group work, and scientific study, she has developed a treatment protocol specific to overcoming the impact of abandonment trauma in adults and children.

Her five universal stages of abandonment recovery (Shattering, Withdrawal, Internalizing, Rage, and Lifting) are based upon scientific findings related to the psychobiology of separation and attachment.

Through her books and public appearances, she shares her own experiences with abandonment, grief, and recovery, speaking passionately from personal and professional experience.

Anderson has spent the past decade working with children, compiling anecdotal data on the impact of primal abandonment scenes large and small within their everyday lives – ranging from losing a pet or being “new kid on the block” to child abuse or death of a parent.

An experienced group therapist and workshop leader, she developed a parenting education program to increase community awareness about issues affecting children and to strengthen family bonds. This award winning program won an annual $300,000 Federal grant to be replicated throughout the New York State (and is ongoing).

She runs Abandonment Recovery for lay audiences and training courses for professionals, and makes appearances at universities, conferences, national radio and television to increase public awareness and provide support for the far reaching issues of abandonment.

She speaks on the related topics of overcoming Outer Child patterns of self-sabotage, relationship-repair, how to change behavior patterns, child abuse, heartbreak, divorce recovery, post traumatic stress disorder, parenting, addiction, and race – the ultimate human abandonment.

Some of the other experiences converging in her work include post graduate training in systemic family therapy, psychoanalytic psychotherapy, addictions counseling (CSAC 1997), and bereavement.

She has worked extensively in psychiatric hospitals treating the gamut of diagnostic categories associated with abandonment triggers including addiction, schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, borderline personality disorder, conduct disorder, and substance abuse.

She has been active in community group work developing clinical programs within agency and day treatment settings; conducting psycho-educational workshops within school systems; providing group supervision to Drug and Alcohol agencies; and providing social work internships for Adelphi Graduate Social Work Program.

Ms. Anderson’s journal article entitled “Peer Model of Adult Education,” published by Jossey-Bass, Spring 1999, shares her expertise as a group therapist and workshop leader.

In addition to her national tours to promote abandonment recovery, she continues in private practice in Manhattan and Long Island.

To learn more about Susan and her work, visit: