Carissa HodgsonLCSW

Headshot of Carissa Hodgson LCSW


In Central Time

What do you view as a key component of the therapeutic relationship?

One of my favorite quotes about relationships is from Maya Angelou: “'I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I believe the key component of the therapeutic relationship is helping people to feel safe and curiously vulnerable. When they are in this space they take risks, discovering insights and parts of themselves that were hidden. They learn to trust their unique process of exploration, using it more readily on their own to solve problems without the help of a therapist, which is ultimately the goal of therapy.

If you could pick one movie or book that influenced your approach to therapy, what would it be and why?

My wife and I joke that “What about Bob?” is our therapeutic go-to movie. We love to laugh and appreciate dark humor. “Baby-stepping” may be a silly cliche, but it truly does carry a meaningful message about moving through life when feeling overwhelmed with a situation.

Is there any research-based work you’ve done that you found particularly exciting, and how has that informed your practice today?

As a mental health clinician who works with people facing life threatening illnesses and traumatic life circumstances I have been witness to the unwavering resilience of humans. "Resilience is the psychological quality that allows some people to be knocked down by the adversities of life and come back at least as strong as before. Rather than letting difficulties, traumatic events, or failure overcome them and drain their resolve, highly resilient people find a way to change course, emotionally heal, and continue moving toward their goals." (Psychology Today) I study how resilience manifests, how to help build it, and how to sustain it through challenging times. I have conducted research with families facing cancer that involved surveys and interviews about how resilience has shaped their ability to cope with the diagnosis. I infuse my research and therapeutic experience of resilience into my teaching at UW-Madison, my professional presentations, and most certainly my therapeutic sessions.



Caregiver stress & support

LGBTQIA related issues


Cancer Support

General Expertise

Relationship Issues


Adolescent mental health

Aging related concerns

Child mental health

Chronic illness

Chronic pain

College & graduate student issues

In-Network Insurance

All Savers Insurance


Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare

Oscar Health

Oxford Health Plans


UnitedHealthCare (UHC)



First Session


Family Therapy


Couples Therapy


Individual Therapy

Types of Therapy

Family Session

Couples Session

Individual Session



Young Adults (18-24)

Adults (25-65)

Seniors (65+)

Treatment Approaches / Modalities

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Mindfulness Practices

Strength Based Therapy

Culturally Sensitive Therapy

Eclectic Therapy

Existential Therapy

Family Systems Therapy

Feminist Therapy

Training / Certifications

Oncology Social Work Certification


WI, LCSW, 7773-123


MSW, UW-Madison

BSW, UW-Eau Claire

Work History

I earned my Master of Social Work degree from UW Madison in 2007. I am a Family Therapist and Oncology Social Worker whose work includes therapy with individuals, groups and families in outpatient, day-treatment, and in-home settings. My areas of interest and practice are cancer, chronic illness, caregiving, grief and loss, child and adolescent development, family systems, and issues relating to the LGBTQIA+ community. I work from a holistic approach, empowering those I work with through elements of mindfulness, psychoeducation, skill-building, and self-acceptance. I believe we are resilient human beings with the capacity to heal, grow and change. My primary work role has been at Gilda’s Club Madison, an affiliate of the Cancer Support Community, where I have been a Program Manager since 2009. My work centers around supporting families who are navigating cancer, shaped largely by my father’s lung cancer when I was a child and my step-father’s liver cancer when I was a young adult. In my role at Gilda’s Club I am able to work directly with survivors and caregivers of all ages. I have been invited to give presentations relating to cancer, caregiving, grief and loss around the United States. I am especially drawn to the many shades of grief and loss experienced throughout life. I facilitate a weekly Living with Loss support group and teach a graduate course on Grief, Death, Loss and Life at the Sandra Rosenbaum School of Social Work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While many think of grief as the distress one feels after a death, it is truly a normal response to the many losses that occur as we grow, change, and transition to new stages in life. By acknowledging these losses and finding meaning in our grief, life unfurls new layers for us to explore.


Remote Therapy, Verona, 53593, WI