About Susan Hansen
Thanks for visiting the School Counseling Zone! Here's a little background information about me:
My intent, when I got my bachelor's degree in 1986, was to teach high school English for 30 or 40 years, write the next great American novel, and retire to write books full time. Things haven't exactly gone according to plan, and I couldn't be happier about that! This journey has been far more rich and interesting than the one I first planned.
With declining enrollment leaving me riffed (laid off) in 1988, I did some substitute teaching, worked in a couple of jobs outside of education, then worked as a teacher/tutor for grades 7-12 at West Valley Camelback Hospital, an in-patient psychiatric hospital in Glendale, Arizona.
After a year of that, I became much more interested in the counseling aspect of the hospital, became a behavioral health therapist on the adolescent unit, and went back to school for my master's degree in health education. I worked on the unit for two more years. I loved the kids and the work, but struggled with the politics. Ultimately, I decided I wanted to be back in education, working on the prevention end of things instead of picking up the pieces.
In 1993, with my master's degree in hand, I went to work for the Peoria Unified School District as an elementary intervention specialist. It was a new program, and we had the best supervisor EVER, who walked us through the process of building a prevention/intervention program at the K-8 level. I'm not interested in being anyone's boss, but if I were, I'd do things exactly the way she did them.
In 1994, Ottawa University in Phoenix was looking for someone to teach a graduate level beginning school counseling class. My boss from Peoria gave them my name, and I started teaching at Ottawa part time. I loved it, and was surprised at how much I'd missed being in the classroom.
These many years later, I continue to enjoy teaching a rotation of several different classes in Ottawa's school counseling program, including School Counseling in a Changing Environment, Professional and Ethical Issues in School Counseling, Social and Cultural Concerns in Counseling, Group Counseling, and Counseling and the Helping Professions.
I worked as an intervention specialist in Peoria full time until 1998, then went into private practice in Phoenix, working with teens, adults, couples, and families. In 2004, I moved from counseling to life coaching -- again, I like the forward-looking, pro-active, prevention side of things -- and I love the work I get to do every day, and the people I work with!
I've also continued to write, though I've focused on counseling-related materials for the most part. My first book, Tools For Your Emotional Health Toolbox, has been around since 1995, and I published a second edition through Trafford Publishing in 2005. A companion workbook, Ten Real Tools For Real Life, was published through Trafford in 2002.
In June of 2009, I finished Is It Yours Yet?, a follow-up to Ten Real Tools, and decided that e-books are the way to go. Several of my e-books are available here on the School Counseling Zone website (or soon will be), and there are more to follow. I never seem to run out of writing ideas, which is not a complaint in any way, shape, or form!
The next great American novel has been on the back burner for quite some time, but you never know...
Enjoy the site, and let me know if you have any questions. Please do lots of self-care on a regular basis, and take care of YOU!
Susan Hansen :)
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