Susan Pitzele conducts Bibliodrama workshops with Christian, Jewish and Interfaith groups; she has a special interest in women’s groups. In Europe Susan teaches students how to conduct Bibliologs, the name by which the Pitzeles’ work is known throughout much of Europe.
She also is developing a new communication program based on the Effectiveness Training model incorporating what she has learned in her years as a psychotherapist and Bibliodrama trainer.
When not working with groups Susan is an avid gardener and artist.
Susan has taught Bibliodrama with Peter internationally since the late 90’s. She has taught in Finland, Norway, Denmark, Israel, Switzerland, and Germany. Her ability to model effective participation and sharing is a valuable balance to the skills of directing. Susan emphasizes the importance of finding each student’s strengths when directing and building on that rather than trying to copy a more experienced director’s style. Her directing style is open and relational. Susan has an ability to participate and observe at the same time which allows her to move easily between roles within the drama or between the participant role and the trainer role. She keeps her eye on the process and the well-being of participants, often bringing into play perspectives and depths that had not so far been evident. Susan’s relaxed manner puts students at ease and encourages their creativity.
Susan Pitzele grew up in the 50s with the then typical goal of being a wife and mother. She married at 19 and while raising her three children returned to college where she studied anthropology at Vassar College. Her study of Anthropology opened her eyes to a very much wider world than small town New England had afforded her. While at Vassar she also became a teacher of PET (Parent Effectiveness Training); she had realized that the role of mother was much more difficult than she had imagined and PET really helped. Together with her psychiatrist husband Susan studied TA (Transactional Analysis) and Gestalt which lead to co-facilitating therapy groups with him. She went on to earn a Master’s degree in counseling from the University of Bridgeport.
In the following years Susan worked in an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization), in a group practice, and in private practice as a psychotherapist as well as being a trainer in Parent Effectiveness Training, Effectiveness Training for Women, communication skills and stress management. She studied NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming)and was an assistant trainer at the New York Center for NLP .
By 1982 her marriage had ended and it was increasingly clear that though she enjoyed doing psychotherapy, she especially loved training. After a few attempts to change direction she joined a consulting firm that provided trainings in communication and stress management in the business world. She was hired because she was a particularly good match for developing trainings with a new client, the Moreno Institute, and the vision of its director, Peter Pitzele. Peter and Susan never did work together for the Moreno Institute, but their marriage and Bibliodrama was the result of this meeting. (See the History of Bibliodrama/Bibliolog, especially Susan’s History.)
What people say about her Teaching and Directing
“Susan’s Bibliodramas are characterized by her warm-heartedness and her remarkable empathy. When you participate in one of her Bibliodramas you feel that you are being seen,appreciated and understood. Susan has the natural ability to make biblical texts become interwoven with people’s lives – I see myself in the text and the text lives in me.” Prof. Dr. Uta Pohl-Patalong, Professor of Practical Theology at Christian-Albrechts-Universität of Kiel, Germany
“As a teacher-director Susan is positive, calm, reassuring, and encouraging. I felt all the time that she knew what she was doing.” Tarja Hirvonen, Translator, Finland
“Susan’s gentle yet clear feedback and helpful imagination replenish the eloquence and innovation of her husband Peter. Together they make the parent couple of Bibliolog. One without the other wouldn’t have done it.” Rev. Frank Lorenz, Presbyterian Church of Basel-County, Reinach, Switzerland
Susan’s Venture into Art
In the fall of 1991, after finally giving up her private practice, Susan went on a vision quest to help her clarify her goals in life. The women’s movement and her education had moved her beyond her original goal of wife and mother/caretaker but had not helped her to identify her creative core. She came back ready to work with clay. She loved throwing clay on the wheel, but really loved altering the shapes that she had thrown into sculptural pieces. She continued with working in clay until after Peter’s father died and they moved to Fire Island. After 6 years on Fire Island Susan found she needed more community and they moved to Bay Shore where she threw herself into remodeling a house and creating a large garden. She turned to Asian brush painting, called Sumi-e in Japan, as a balance to the intense work of gardening and remodeling. After a while she began to study classical still life drawing and painting. Recently she has begun to add pastel painting to her existing skills. A sampling of her artwork can be found at her Artslant Link.