NEW CANAAN — Social work and therapy were two of Jennifer Iannuzzi’s foremost passions.

“I was a psychotherapist for about six or seven years before I walked away to start a family,” the New York City native said. Her third child, born with special needs, became her most important concern, an experience she treasures and has learned from.

After a hiatus, the 47-year-old is returning to her private practice with a new office at 49 Locust Ave. in New Canaan.

Q: For those that don’t know, what is psychotherapy?

A: Psychotherapy is classic traditional therapy like being one-on-one with a client and working with whatever struggles they have in their life, like anxiety and depression and helping them realize what they want to do with their life, their family their kids, their relationships.

Q: What is self-empowerment and how do you help others achieve that?

A: One of the things I’ve learned particularly with dealing with special needs and being an advocate for that is that the ability to navigate a situation on your own; it fills you with a lot of hope and strength when you don’t have to rely so much on someone else to help you get through it.

It’s nice when you’re faced with a problem, you can look inward and pull on those resources that you have and “empower” yourself to navigate through that situation. I want to work with these families to help them find that — and that can be applied to any struggle. Knowing how to be your own advocate, your own driver to your situation is very important.

Q: What made you want to pursue this?

A: My training, before kids, was as a psychotherapist and I did that for about six or seven years and then walked away to start a family. My third child was born with profound special needs and I knew that returning to a full-time job wasn’t going to happen for me at that point in my life.

I pretty much spent the next decade focusing on her special need, I started a research foundation and raised money for her syndrome. I got involved in outreach and with other parents in the community and as a resource.

Q: What made you want to return?

A: Life changes, people grow and you get accustomed to changes. I knew I wanted to return to what I loved which is psychotherapy and so I got my license in Connecticut. I wanted originally to focus on families who had kids had special needs but also wanted to branch out a bit more.

I decided the best way to do that was to put an office in New Canaan. My specialty will be families struggles dealing with special needs in their lives but I’m also trained to work with all sorts of people and situations.

Q: What is one thing you want people to know about your line of work?

A: I want them to know that I work in collaboration w my client to figure out what they want to accomplish. I want it to be a process that we go through together so that they can walk away w some tangible things they can apply to their real lives.

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