Dr. Sutha Johnson (PSY 33108) is a clinical psychologist who provides individual psychotherapy to adults. She specializes in cognitive-behavioral (including exposure treatments), psychodynamic, and other evidence-based treatments for acute and chronic trauma (e.g., sexual assault, adults with a history of childhood trauma, traumatic grief, and others), generalized and social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, perfectionism, and stress.
Dr. Johnson obtained a PhD in counseling psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she received extensive training in the science and art of providing psychotherapy. During this time, she also trained in several clinical placements, taught psychotherapy skills to beginner graduate students, in addition to conducting research examining the role of career and work in psychological wellbeing for adults. Dr. Johnson’s other educational degrees are an MA from University of Connecticut-Storrs and BA from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
Through training in predoctoral internship in psychology at West Virginia University, Dr. Johnson developed an interest and expertise in the treatment of trauma using multiple modalities including prolonged exposure, shame resilience, sensorimotor, and cognitive and emotional processing.
Prior to joining CPC, Dr. Johnson was a psychologist at the University of Michigan’s Counseling and Psychological Services and MARI Rackham Psychological Clinic. In those positions, she provided insight and solution-oriented therapy to adults from diverse backgrounds with multiple competing demands and a strong desire to succeed in academic and career settings.
“Being a psychotherapist humbly reminds me every day that human connection and compassion are healing. I’m also reminded we are all connected somehow and our innate humanity is worth capitalizing on. The importance I place on connecting with you and the stillness of the therapy space (without the hubbub of our otherwise restless, loud world) allow me to listen to you closely, curiously, and compassionately. I don’t make assumptions based on what I think I know and I don’t question your values and goals. As I listen and understand, I will also strive to hear if/how the intersection of socio-cultural elements may be relevant in life.
One might wonder…Why are compassion and connection central to psychotherapy? Through experience and training, I have learned that approaching and allowing thoughts, emotions and sensations to exist even if those are deemed “scary,” “unacceptable” or “too much” are central to healing from most psychological distress. To approach these, however, there needs to be a foundation of trust and connection. I strive to build this from the start with you. You can expect to be your whole, authentic self in our sessions and know that I am not fazed by scary, unacceptable, or too much. Those experiences are invited into our appointments at the pace that makes sense for your treatment. Patients and colleagues have described my approach as soft, unassuming, confident, and transparent. They shared these traits make them feel they are talking to an authentic professional (i.e., “you seem like a real person!”) who will join, support, cheer on, challenge, and provide feedback or psychoeducation.
Our work will likely entail 1) getting to know you and staying in the present, 2) revisiting your past or relevant life experiences, and 3) practicing tools as well as making behavioral changes for your future. I am an interactive therapist and I will be “in it” with you every step of the way. I also love demystifying human psychology/neurobiology for you, so you can continue to use knowledge from our work, long after we are done. A lot of my non-appointment work hours are spent learning about psychology and neurobiology, as I attempt to stay current with research that may be applicable to our work together.
The collaboration between you and me is my favorite part of therapy. I have your back and we’ll figure it out together are my guiding philosophies. When we collaborate, the focus will be on identifying, understanding, and accepting thoughts, emotions or sensations that keep you feeling unsettled, lonely, down or on-edge. Exposure and mindfulness are keys for this process. Some common topics we may address are: worry, doubt, confusion, hurt, fear, anger, sadness, and shame. What we will work to achieve is tolerance for these experiences through practices that we will try in-session and you may practice outside of session. Your motivation and willingness to practice are also important keys to effective therapy. Using your strengths and supports to keep you going on your therapy journey is paramount, as we uncover what will bring contentment, compassion, and connection to your life. And finally, if any moment calls for it, we may laugh at something funny or celebrate something you achieved because those moments are real too. I look forward to connecting with you.”