Garrett Reuscher is a licensed social worker in the state of New York with an extensive history of working with both young adults and adults. After finishing his undergraduate degree in Sociology and Social Policy at Bard College, Garrett worked in public health and drug policy reform, where he discovered his passion for direct service work and clinical engagement. He received certification as a Substance Use Counselor and began utilizing a harm reduction modality to assist people who use drugs and/or live with substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders. Garrett then went on to receive his Master of Social Work from the Silberman School of Social Work, where he graduated with honors.
Since obtaining his license, Garrett has worked as a trauma-informed therapist with both adults and young adults in clinical care and crisis shelter settings. He actively applies Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as a foundational framework for those he works with to help them better understand their feelings and responses to the world around them. In addition to individual therapy, Garrett has led DBT skills groups to help people improve mindfulness and emotion regulation, as well as build connections with others through a sense of shared experiences.
Garrett has worked with people of various ages , members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and those with trauma, mood disorders, personality disorders, drug use, and persistent mental illness. His diverse clinical background and experience have taught him that those entering therapy must be met with radical compassion and acceptance, and be given a space where they feel safe and empowered to explore their experiences without shame or judgment. Building trust is instrumental in the therapeutic alliance: Doing so allows for a level of openness and vulnerability that leads to insight and growth. These core beliefs allow for participants to achieve their goals from a place of self-determination, active participation, and curiosity.
Garrett hopes to one day live in a world so accepting and healthy that he’ll be out of a job.
1. Why did you choose to become a therapist?
This may be a pretty stereotypical answer, but I’ve always enjoyed helping others. I grew up with a group of friends who really struggled with their mental health and substance use. I witnessed firsthand how the treatment (or mistreatment) of these struggles shaped who my friends became and the quality of life they ended up having. That experience first drove me into public policy reform, through which I ultimately found my true passion and skill set in working with people directly in more intimate and clinical settings.
2. What’s your favorite thing about being a therapist?
The “aha!” moments. When someone you’re working with fits all the pieces together and experiences clarity on the challenges they experience.
3. What is your general philosophy and approach to helping?
I’m a big believer in radical compassion and acceptance. This means when helping others there is no place for judgment, shame or stigma. Meeting people where they’re at and having them forge their own goals and ideals of who they want to be. I often find that to many, “helping” means instructing or giving advice. I disagree. Helping means giving others the power and means to make their own decisions and to provide a space in which they can explore and reflect on those decisions without fear.
4. If you weren’t a therapist, what would you be doing instead, or what would your life be like?
If I could wave a wand and magically gain the skill sets to do so, I would love to be a tattoo artist. But alas, that would require an alternative universe in which I was somehow convinced it was worth paying attention when my high school art teacher was teaching us how to properly shade our still life drawings. Unfortunately for me, the class was right before lunch. I didn’t stand a chance.
5. What do you do for self-care? (Mindfulness practices, exercise, etc.)
Exercise and a healthy diet are big for me. I also believe in practicing what you preach, so mindfulness exercises and attending my own therapy is high on the priority list. I also love to read and have been getting better about picking up books for leisure rather than purely educational or professional development.
6. What’s your favorite quote or mantra?
A conversation from the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes:
Calvin: “Isn’t it strange that evolution would give us a sense of humor? When you think about it, it’s weird that we have a physiological response to absurdity. We laugh at nonsense. We like it. We think it’s funny. Don’t you think it’s odd that we appreciate absurdity? Why would we develop that way? How does it benefit us?”
Hobbes: “I suppose if we couldn’t laugh at things that don’t make sense, we couldn’t react to a lot of life.”
Calvin: (after a long pause) “I can’t tell if that’s funny or really scary.”
7. What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
Always say “yes” to new experiences. Enjoy your hairline while it lasts. And practice the piano more. I promise it’s worth it.
8. If you could invite three famous people to dinner, alive or dead, who would they be?
Oliver Sacks and R.F. Kuang because I find them brilliant and would love to discuss their work. I would also invite Patrick Rothfuss but only to tell him he’s not allowed to eat any of the delicious food until he finally finishes his trilogy. The second book was released in 2011 and the wait is getting ridiculous.
9. What’s something you are most proud of?
I feel immense pride from my work as a therapist. Thinking back on all the people I’ve had the fortune to get to know, bearing witness to their progress and getting to see how the work we did together had a positive impact on their life. There is truly nothing like it and I am so fortunate to have been part of their process.
10. What do you wish other people knew about mental health?
That it is normal to need help. That everyone experiences mental health struggles throughout their life, and we have only just recently begun to understand how necessary it is to receive mental health services. The fact that so many are still uncomfortable or even ashamed to open up about their mental health and to talk about going to therapy or take medication means we still have a hell of a long way to go.