It is with mixed emotions that we announce that Annie Schuesller, the founder of the Bay Area Relationship Center, is leaving us. We’re happy for her as she moves more fully in a direction that’s been calling to her, but sad to see a valued and trusted colleague leave.
As therapists who value the importance of being in relationships, we’re trained to explore endings with ourselves and our clients. This exploration includes reflecting on where we started, acknowledging the journey since, and looking to what lies ahead.
It is in that spirit of reflection, acknowledgment, and anticipation that we posed some farewell questions to Annie as she opens a new chapter in her career.
When did you start BARC?
I started The Bay Area Relationship in April of 2013, so a little more than 4 years ago. I can’t believe it’s been 4 years! At that point I had a full private practice and realized I wanted to start working with other excellent therapists rather than just turning couples away.
Why was your focus on couples?
When I started learning from Julie and John Gottman about 12 years ago, I got bit by the couples therapy bug. I realized that couples therapy has the ability to change relationships in real time. My wife and I went to a Gottman weekend retreat and solved some issues that had been bothering us for years. I was completely hooked.
What was your vision for BARC?
I wanted couples and people struggling with any kind of relationship issues in The Bay to have a place to go for very high quality therapy. I wanted everything about the services to be really exceptional, from the customer service to the office, and especially the therapy itself.
The therapists at The Bay Area Relationship Center are trained in the most effective methods of couples therapy. They’re also culturally competent. That doesn’t mean we know everything about our clients’ cultures. It means that we have cultural humility. We’re always striving to learn. We’re anti-racist and anti-homophobic and we KNOW that we don’t know everything.
What has stood out for you working with couples?
Couples are brave. I’ve been in a relationship going on 18 years now, and I know that being truly vulnerable with your partner takes a lot of courage. I’ve had the honor of witnessing some very sacred moments for couples, and I think of those moments as some of the most meaningful in my whole life.
What’s next for you?
In the past several years I’ve been a consultant for therapists building and expanding their private practices over at Coaching With Annie. That work has been calling me and taking up much of my time. I’ve got a weekly podcast and run programs for therapists.
I will also continue to have a small private practice one day a week. I love being a therapist and predict that I’ll ALWAYS want to be a therapist. It is part of who I am at this point.
Any last words you would like to share:
I’m so thrilled to be able to hand over the management and care of The Bay Area Relationship Center to you, Mary Beth! I was so happy when you agreed to take it over, because there’s no one better to do it. You’re such an integral part of The Bay Area Relationship and your standards for the care of clients are very high. It is exciting to think about the wonderful things you and the present and future therapists at The Bay Area Relationship Center will do. The ripple effects of a healthy relationship are exponential.