Elizabeth Owen O’Brien, M.A., LPC-S

I like to work with individuals who are seeking insight into why their lives and relationships aren’t working well, and who are willing to address the emotional obstacles that are keeping them stuck. I believe that the mind and body are intricately connected and that people become depressed, anxious, and physically ill when they keep their anger, fear, shame and resentment to themselves. I see depression and anxiety as “wake-up calls” and opportunities to address clients’ deeper issues. I believe that human beings do not exist in a vacuum, but as participants in various systems: families, social groups, work groups, church/spiritual groups, and the culture at large. Understanding the client’s contexts, particularly his or her role in the family, is crucial in helping him or her gain the self-knowledge necessary to move forward. Often, the defenses we create in childhood to protect ourselves not only don’t work later in life but in fact hinder our progress as productive and happier adults. Finally, research bears out that we are “wired to connect,” and that people who become too isolated “fail to thrive.” Therefore, I see my key role as supporting clients in building and maintaining healthy relationships. I am also trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) to address trauma, both primary trauma, and especially vicarious trauma experienced by health-care professionals.

I am credentialed with Seton Health Plan for Seton employees.

*I am an LPC-Supervisor at the Austin Counseling Center, where I practice. We offer office space to LPC interns who are interested in starting private practices under our umbrella. Visit: www.austincounselingcenter.com

My practice is strongly influenced by Attachment Theory; the Humanistic, “person-centered” approach of Carl Rogers;  Eric Erikson’s developmental model; Family Systems Theory; Positive Psychology; and Existential therapy, particularly the work of Viktor Frankl, in the service of helping clients discover their authentic life paths. Among the evidence-based tools I utilize are CBT, Motivational Interviewing and Mindful Self-Compassion. Developing emotional intelligence is one of the fundamental goals of my work. With appropriate clients, I utilize writing therapy as a vehicle for psychological exploration and emotional expression. I see a wide variety of clients and specialize in life transitions, relationships, parenting concerns and meaning of life issues. In addition to my private practice, I founded and manage a pro bono counseling program at the Town Lake YMCA, exclusive to Y members. Key areas of my practice include:

Parenting/Launching Young Adults Love and Relationship/Meaning of Life/Separation/Divorce/Empty Nest
Grief and Loss/Trauma/Illness/Pet Bereavement/Career Transition Retirement


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Peacocks and Poachers

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When Our Bodies—and Time—Betray Us

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