Susan Rizzato is a licensed clinical social worker who brings nearly 20 years of counseling experience to those that have experienced pregnancy loss, perinatal loss and the challenges of neonatal intensive care. Her professional experiences in working with extreme grief and loss combined with her personal experiences with infertility allow her a unique understanding of patient needs as they navigate the fertility treatment process.
With a focus on empathetic and collaborative patient care, Susan works with couples and individuals during all stages of their infertility journey as well as counsels those entering third party reproduction. She considers helping patients an honor and privilege and has a genuine passion for her work.
Susan is a licensed clinical social worker and received a Master’s of Social Work with a concentration in health care from Loyola University in 1989. She has dedicated her life to helping others both professionally and as a volunteer, and has donated her time to countless local, national, and international causes to help abused and neglected children, the homeless, the elderly, and victims of domestic violence.
Q&A with Susan
What do you like most about what you do?
Patients and couples who come to meet with us are going through an all-encompassing experience that touches on all aspects of life and triggers many understandable reactions and feelings. Having been an infertility patient myself, I am able to personally relate with much of what our patients are going through. It is truly my privilege to assist patients by offering them time to process these experiences and provide empathetic emotional support. To actively listen, collaboratively reflect back upon life stories, support through grief, and embrace patients’ hopes is a tremendous honor. Helping others as they go through this process is something I am passionate about and grateful to do.
How can talking to a professional help during infertility treatment?
While going through infertility treatment, patients and couples may feel that all aspects of their lives are being exposed, leaving a sense of vulnerability and discomfort. Relationships, intimacy, family responsibilities, work, time with friends, travel, hobbies, finances, and daily routines can all be affected. Processing these life stressors and emotions along with one’s personal goals of infertility care with a reproductive counseling professional can help patients and couples feel less alone and isolated. Working together to form positive coping strategies can also help in moving forward in an emotionally healthy way.
What type of counseling services do you offer?
We are here to emotionally support any of our patients and couples with therapy through their infertility care experience. We also provide patient programs dedicated to stress reduction techniques and mindfulness throughout the year. Lastly, in the counseling role we provide assessments and counseling services for patients and couples going through third party reproduction.
What is your approach to counseling?
When processing a patient’s life stories with them, I am able to offer and provide support by assessing and reflecting upon the history of what they have been through. As we navigate this process, we also explore prior positive coping experiences that can be utilized to assist during the challenge of infertility care. I offer supportive and solution-oriented counseling to help infertility patients and couples as they process their grief and loss experiences, and guide them towards the transition of hope and growing a family.
Share something unique that most people don’t know about you.
Volunteering and giving back is an extremely important value to me and one of the reasons why I chose a helping profession. I served in a volunteer corps in Los Angeles for a year between college and graduate school. Additionally, I have been able to take part in three medical service missions to St. Lucia, West Indies with my father who is a physician. I am currently a regular volunteer at a Chicago soup kitchen.
What do you do for fun in your spare time? What are your hobbies?
I am a runner and love being outside in sunny weather enjoying anything that has to do with beautiful scenery, water, and beaches. When I’m not outside, I enjoy baking, listening to music, following college football and basketball and attending concerts.
Master’s of Social Work, Loyola University, 1989