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Finding Meaning

For clients with existential concerns.

I am a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor (LPC-S) in Austin, TX as well as a writer. I like to work with individuals who are committed to being true to themselves. This takes courage and risks disappointing others—but is important in terms of embracing one's sense of self. People-pleasing is a self-sabotaging, soul-killing behavior.

I am an Attachment-based therapist with a focus on meaning-of-life concerns.

Education:

Bachelor of Arts in English

Master of Arts in Counseling

 

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When Our Bodies—and Time—Betray Us

Recently, our daughter, Owen, 28, followed by her older brother, Jesse, 30, got married within two months of each other. While both were joyous celebrations—and a long time coming—I experienced a massive crash after the festivities. And I’m not just talking about the emotional kind. My right hip went out. Suddenly, the hip simply didn’t work right; putting any weight on it resulted in wonky instability and an excruciating, ice-pick-to-the-joint bolt of pain. The MRI was ugly.

Jesse/Wedding Speech

It is not easy to describe one’s child. As parents, our perspectives are skewed by blind love, fear, frustration, hope, tenderness, anger, forgiveness, joy, and our own narcissism. After all, aren’t our children reflections of ourselves? But here goes. When Jesse (on right in photo) was born, and the doctor placed him in my arms, I took one look at his bright blue eyes and his beautiful, squished face and had an epiphany that changed my life: I get it now, I thought. THIS IS

Why I Left New York By Elizabeth O’Brien, LPC-S

I was keen to stay home and raise our three children. Happily, in New York City, where we were living in the 80s and 90s, it made more economic sense for me to quit work. But this choice was fraught: women in New York who leave their jobs to raise their children generally vaporize into the suburbs, and the few who stay end up feeling awkward and isolated in the parks and playgrounds among paid caretakers. Such mothers become invisible. Stripped of a CAREER, a woman loses her

The Empty/Emptying Nest

The Emptying/Empty Nest: Part I By Elizabeth O’Brien, LPC-S Many of us baby boomers are in the throes of launching our young adult children into the world. Whether the launch involves going off to college, getting first jobs, beginning serious careers, relocating to another part of the country, or simply moving into their own places, our older children are striking out, now, into an economy that is more robust than during the 2008-09 recession. Back then, many young adults ha

Smart Parenting

By Elizabeth O’Brien, M.A., LPC We often have to “wing it” as parents, especially with our first child. Like many parents, there are several bits of wisdom I wish I had possessed early on. One concept I have learned as a therapist would have been especially useful: the concept of containment. Containment means (in terms of parenting) the ability to literally “contain” your own emotions so that they don’t spill over, inappropriately, onto your child. Say you have a longstandin

Mid-Life Crisis

By Elizabeth O’Brien, M.A., LPC I had my “mid-life crisis” at 30. I began questioning my journalism career, my life in New York, even my marriage. I was confused about the meaning of my life, and could not see continuing on the same self-absorbed path. What was my purpose? What sort of legacy—if any—would I leave on this earth? Was I making a contribution? Then I got pregnant. At the time, I felt this complicated the matter. I hadn’t even figured out myself! I spent the next

Failure to Launch

By Elizabeth O’Brien, M.A., LPC Last fall, I was asked by veteran therapist Mark White, LCSW/LMFT, to co-lead a parent group called “Holding On and Letting Go: A Group for Parents of Adolescents and Young Adults.” The group was so successful that we are holding it again this fall. A psycho-educational/support entity based on the latest research in Attachment Theory and developmental psychology, the group helps parents gently step back and restructure their roles as parents as