Elizabeth O'Brien

Elizabeth O'Brien

I am a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor (LPC-S) in private practice in Westlake, Austin, TX and I also run a pro bono counseling program at the Town Lake YMCA downtown. I am trained in EMDR for treating trauma.

Author's posts

Hope on the Horizon

Hope on the Horizon By Elizabeth O’Brien, LPC-S Last Monday evening, June 15th, restored my faith in our country. No sooner did the Supreme Court rule against discrimination of LGBTQ individuals in the workplace than we were regaled, near sunset, with the most spectacular rainbow fanning across the big Texas sky. From my back deck, …

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I Can’t Breathe

“I Can’t Breathe” By Elizabeth O’Brien, LPC-S (Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor) I’ve been thinking a lot about George Floyd. His plaintive cry of “I can’t breathe”—when Minnesota policeman Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes, with two colleagues restraining his back, resulting in his murder—speaks volumes. It has become emblematic of the …

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COVID Journal 4/8/20

COVID Journal 4/8/20 I never know how I’m going to feel when I wake up in the morning. Some days are dark, ominous—even when the sun is out—and others, like today, are more promising. We dodged a bullet in our family when our daughter and her husband, who came down with the virus in March, …

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COVID Journal 4/3/20

My husband Michael and I begin the days normally: coffee, smoothie, 3-mile dog walk. Only the  walk is different than in pre-pandemic days, in that it’s the morning’s main event and one of 2-3 long walks we take in the ‘hood to keep from going mad. Mind you, we’ve had to “borrow” Jamie, the chocolate …

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The Spiritual Power of Depression

The Spiritual Power of Depression By Elizabeth O’Brien, LPC-S “Depression Hurts.” This clever tagline was used for years by a pharmaceutical company hawking a particular anti-depressant, or SSRI, and the medication in question allegedly ameliorated not only the despair and fatigue of depression but also the actual physical aches and pains that often accompany it. …

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The Interestings

By Elizabeth O’Brien, LPC-S I see a lot of clients who suffer from social anxiety. Many of them begin to isolate because of their discomfort. When we deconstruct their social experiences, more often than not many clients report that they strive to appear interesting to others and hence spend the bulk of their social exchanges …

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The Zen of Remote Coaching

By Elizabeth O’Brien, LPC-S A year ago, my right hip had become so painful that I was reduced to walking with a cane. This was after months of limping, hoping the condition would resolve. I am an avid dog-walker, and log 2-4 miles in my neighborhood daily. I was desperate to avoid surgery, but determined …

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The 3 Simple Hallmarks of Well-Being

What do we mean by “well-being?” Dr. Martin Seligman, the positive psychology guru at the University of Pennsylvania, uses this term instead of “happiness,” as it’s a more accurate and less charged term describing the human state of relative peace and contentment to which most of us aspire. Imbedded in the term is self-compassion as …

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What IS Therapy, Anyway? Part 2

Once clients have addressed their original, presenting issues, it’s time to move into deeper waters. Inevitably, new challenges will continue to emerge and it’s important to explore the unconscious processes that are fueling self-defeating thoughts and behaviors—and causing depression and anxiety. Although few clients pursue long-term analysis anymore, therapists generally spend some valuable time exploring …

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What IS Therapy, Anyway? Part 1

What goes on in a therapist’s office is a mystery to many who have never pursued psychotherapy. First-timers are often nervous and uncertain, not knowing what to expect. A common misconception is that therapy is some sort of cathartic, secular confessional, or that the therapist will magically “fix” the client—cure depression, anxiety, grief, social isolation, …

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