Featured Speaker: Susan Hickman

About Susan Hickman

I am a native Chattanoogan, though I've spent years in other locations such as in Nashville and Memphis, TN; Minneapolis, MN; Anchorage, AK; and Washington State. I completed my undergraduate education at UT Chattanooga and a Master's at Vanderbilt University. I earned a Ph.D. in child development from the University of Minnesota and a Psy.D. in clinical psychology from MN School of Professional Psychology. I have been a licensed Clinical Psychologist since 2007. My work has not only taken me across our nation but in various settings such as private practice, intensive outpatient clinics, inpatient psychiatric wards, and in correctional facilities. Patients have included Veterans, active-duty military personnel, families and children, those who are severely and persistently mentally ill, and general outpatient patients with a wide range of concerns such as depression, anxiety, survivors of sexual abuse, trauma of all types (including PTSD), eating disorders, dissociative disorders and more. There is little I haven't dealt with from easing the minds of the worried well to conversations with serial killers. My biggest takeaway from it all may surprise you: I am blown away at the ability of humans to endure, survive, and recover from just about anything. Our spirit is truly indefatigable. We sometimes simply need a helping hand to get back up on our feet and push through the mire to discover just who we are and who we were meant to be. Over the last decade, my work has moved to solidly focus on what I call mental fitness. I believe over-pathologizing people with illness is an injustice. Just like physical fitness, we mostly need to learn how to be mentally fit and these skills are not systematically taught. I have the boldest of missions: I aim to change the face of mental health into a focus on mental fitness, moving away from the plight of "mental disease" and into the identity of a nation comprised of mentally fit, healthy, and strong minds. In a concept, this is mental fitness.

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Susan's Gift

About Susan Hickman

I am a native Chattanoogan, though I've spent years in other locations such as in Nashville and Memphis, TN; Minneapolis, MN; Anchorage, AK; and Washington State. I completed my undergraduate education at UT Chattanooga and a Master's at Vanderbilt University. I earned a Ph.D. in child development from the University of Minnesota and a Psy.D. in clinical psychology from MN School of Professional Psychology. I have been a licensed Clinical Psychologist since 2007. My work has not only taken me across our nation but in various settings such as private practice, intensive outpatient clinics, inpatient psychiatric wards, and in correctional facilities. Patients have included Veterans, active-duty military personnel, families and children, those who are severely and persistently mentally ill, and general outpatient patients with a wide range of concerns such as depression, anxiety, survivors of sexual abuse, trauma of all types (including PTSD), eating disorders, dissociative disorders and more. There is little I haven't dealt with from easing the minds of the worried well to conversations with serial killers. My biggest takeaway from it all may surprise you: I am blown away at the ability of humans to endure, survive, and recover from just about anything. Our spirit is truly indefatigable. We sometimes simply need a helping hand to get back up on our feet and push through the mire to discover just who we are and who we were meant to be. Over the last decade, my work has moved to solidly focus on what I call mental fitness. I believe over-pathologizing people with illness is an injustice. Just like physical fitness, we mostly need to learn how to be mentally fit and these skills are not systematically taught. I have the boldest of missions: I aim to change the face of mental health into a focus on mental fitness, moving away from the plight of "mental disease" and into the identity of a nation comprised of mentally fit, healthy, and strong minds. In a concept, this is mental fitness.

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