Susan M. Gardner, MSW
Practice & Research Interests
Individuation processes and outcomes post Emerging Adulthood
Developmental processes of Emerging Adulthood
Psychedelic Treatments and Research
Nontraditional methods for increasing awareness and functioning
Self Determination as the root of treatment
Susan Gardner began her social worker career as a New York Nightlife Performer/Producer where the ideas of self-determination and unconditional positive regard were paramount to her work. She received her MSW in 2015 from New York University and her BFA in 1998 from Virginia Commonwealth University where she is now an instructor for the Master of Social Work program. Her advocacy work spans the spectrum from formal positions such as the President of the Board of Directors for an arts nonprofit to producing down and dirty nightlife events geared towards building communities and igniting conversation around meaningful issues such as the water crisis, suicide prevention, and homelessness.
In Virginia, while working towards licensure, Ms. Gardner worked as an intensive in-home counselor using the modality of structural family therapy and as an inpatient therapist for an acute psychiatric unit working with both civilian and military patients. Post licensure, Ms. Gardner provided outpatient individual and group therapy for people returning to the community after serving extensive time in federal incarceration. Ms. Gardner has served on the Legislative Committee, the Political Action Committee, and the Conference Committee for the Virginia Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. She is currently serving her third term as a Virginia Delegate for the NASW’s Delegate Assembly, an organization which tasks its members to review legislature and current ethics in order to create Social Work Speaks, the publication of the official Code of Ethics for the NASW. Since licensure, Ms. Gardner has been in private practice working individually with adults since 2019. In 2021, Ms. Gardner entered the Doctorate in Clinical Social Work program at the University of Pennsylvania.