I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Texas and certified as a Fellow in Thanatology: Death, Dying, and Bereavement by the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC). I am dedicated to counseling those who are suffering mental, emotional, social, moral, and spiritual pain related to death, dying, and bereavement. I provide bereavement/trauma counseling/therapy to adults who have lost a part of themselves because of a chronic or acute traumatic experience, or lost a parent, spouse/partner, sibling, child, or unborn baby because of death or separation; those who are facing the end of their life journey; and those who are their caregivers. I have also led bereavement groups for Hospice Austin, the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Austin and Central Texas, The ALS Association Texas Chapter, and United Tissue Resources (formerly The Blood and Tissue Center of Central Texas). Having counseled and comforted many caregivers and their dying loved ones, I am thoroughly familiar with the dying process and the stresses of being a caregiver.
Besides counseling, I have made numerous presentations on death, dying, and bereavement to various organizations and churches; have appeared on radio and television programs including Austin Now, Austin Faith Dialogue, and Law Talk with Brad and am the co-producer and interviewer for the documentary video This Place. In addition, I have been an adjunct faculty member at St. Edward's University where I taught a graduate-level course on thanatology (death, dying, and bereavement).
Prior to beginning my career as an end-of-life and bereavement counselor, I spent 25 years as a business executive, mostly in finance. When I left the corporate world, I had been the chief financial officer and corporate secretary for two high technology companies and one private investment firm.
I have received a B.S. and M.A. in Chemistry and an M.B.A. from The University of Texas at Austin, and an M.A. in Counseling from St. Edward’s University.
The foundation of my approach to counseling is existential therapy. This theoretical approach has evolved from existential philosophy and is based on the belief that a person's inner turmoil is the result of having to confront the uncertainties and paradoxes of existence: life/death, meaning/meaninglessness, isolation/connectedness, and freedom/responsibility. For many, questions related to existence on this planet are no more prominent than when they are faced with their own death—whether it is physical or an aspect of their inner being—or the death of a loved one. Built upon with an existential orientation, my trauma work is influenced by The Assumptive World Theory, and by the approaches to therapy developed by Peter Levine (Somatic Experiencing) and Ted Rynearson (Restorative Retelling).
When someone losses a loved one because of death or divorce, or is subjected to any other traumatic event, it can be as if that person is suddenly dropped into a foreign territory. There are no signposts indicating what to do, there is no path to follow to get back on familiar ground. It is as if the world as it was known is suddenly shattered and nothing makes sense any more. As an experienced companion, I am not present to tell someone how to live her/his life. I accompany them in their exploration to find stable ground once more, helping them over the barriers and around the craters along the way. I give each person the time, space, and experienced mentoring s/he needs to put his/her world back together. The new world won't be the same one as before, but it can be richer and fuller than might have been ever imagined.
I believe that the principal means that people explore their lives is through verbal expression. Many times when we say what we're thinking, the words can sound different, the emotions that arise are different, and the meaning of what we're saying is different than when those thoughts were swimming around in our heads. As humans we have the unique ability to verbally communicate what we are thinking and feeling. Talking, therefore, is the principal way my clients and I explore what is happening within them and to them.
On the other hand, there are also times when words are just not adequate to express what is going on inside of us. We humans are also creative creatures and sometimes we can express in writing, painting, drawing, music, drama, etc. things that words alone cannot. There are times, then, when my clients conduct their exploration using various creative forms of expression involving action, doing, and participating, as well as talking.