Hello! I'm Russell and I Love being a therapist! I'm also the owner of Austin Counseling and Trauma Specialists, PLLC. I am one of those rare native born Austinites and I love our City! I enjoy watching the city grow and I love the fun things brought to Austin because of it's growth!
I have had a passion for counseling since 1998 and have put myself into volunteer jobs, paying jobs, education and many trainings to lead me to where I am today, a Licensed Professional Counselor in Austin, Texas! Now, in my own private practice, I'm excited every day to go to work and LOVE what I do!
My family all lives around this area and I'm grateful to get to be near them to spend time with them. I also cherish the friends I've made here, including some I've known since kindergarten! They all help me with a healthy work/life balance.
Outside of being an counselor, I occupy my time with family and friends, but I also love cars, all kinds of them. For me it is all about driving them and just enjoying the uniqueness of each one. I also enjoy singing, and while I am to shy to sing solo, I have sung in an a men's choir and loved belting out those songs! I also love working in my yard and bike rides when it's not too hot! That's just a little about me. I'm really looking forward to learning about you!
I began my education at Texas State with a Bachelor's Degree in Family and Child Development. I followed that with a Master's of Science Degree from Walden University in Marriage, Couples, and Family Counseling. My education prepared me well and excited me about my future as I dreamed about being in private practice someday.
I am also EMDR trained. EMDR is an extremely effective truama treatment used for many different issues including PTSD, childhood trauma, single incident traumas, pain, anxiety, and much more! It is something I use daily in my practice. You can learn more on the Specialties and Information page.
Now I attend continuing education courses and trainings where I constantly learn new things in the field. I learn about new treatment modalities and developments in client care. Counseling continues to change as we learn more about people and how our brains and bodies function. This keeps me on my toes and keeps a fresh perspective on my work. I take a great deal of pride in my work and want to keep learning!
Licensed Professional Counselor - LPC
I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) through the state of Texas. My license number is 70432. I am very proud to be able to call myself a counselor and am passionate about my work.
I work diligently to maintain the proper ethics and boundaries of the profession. This leads to healthy relationships with clients and allows for good work to be done in our sessions.
In accordance with my license, I attend continuing education classes to keep up to date on new techniques, ethics and to learn about the growth and best practices of the profession.
I believe deeply in the power of a therapeutic relationship, so I work very hard to help my clients reach their unique personal goals. I look forward to working with you!
Support and Mentors
Through my career development I had several mentors to whom I owe a great deal of gratitude.
Dr. Nelwyn Moore, PhD, LMFT, in my undergraduate education, guided me to the field of psychotherapy and encouraged my education path. Dr. Moore was a wonderful inspiration and role model for me.
Karen Hutchins, LPC, at Cicada Recovers Services mentored me and taught me how to trust the process and how to assure I take care of myself. Watching Karen's unique style made it clear to me that I wanted to be a counselor and find my style!
Stephen Terrell, LPC, I work with today at the Austin Attachment and Counseling Center. He supervised my work during my education and guided me early in my career. Steve knows what it takes to be a successful therapist and truly help clients in the best way. His guiding presence in my career has been, and still is, powerful and inspiring! I feel lucky to get to continue learning so much from him, personally and professionally.
Without a doubt, these are the key people in my development as a psychotherapist but I cannot leave out my family and friends who have supported me through the ups and downs of progress through my life and career. I continue to feel their love support. I could not do this without each one of you!
Experience and Training
My career has advanced from volunteer positions while I was an undergrad to now running my own private practice and I couldn't be happier!
I began as a volunteer crisis hotline counselor talking to people who were scared, alone, and sometimes suicidal. I listened to them and tried to get them the help and support they were seeking. I also responded to the hospital to support people who had been victims of sexual assault.
I then became a sexual assault counselor at a crisis center where I worked with survivors in a peer counseling position. This type of crime is such a personal violation and I was so glad to be able to help clients release shame and guilt and find calm and return to their pre-trauma functioning. I also ran a group for male survivors, which was groundbreaking at the center at that time. It was a powerful group and I am very proud to offer a Male Survivors Group now at Austin Counseling and Trauma Specialists PLLC.
I was then an intern bereavement counselor at a Hospice Austin where I counseled those who had lost loved ones who had been in hospice care. Though grief was intense, I was able to bring some relief and peace through counseling. Together we found their new normal. I also ran a group for parents who had lost children, which was very difficult but very moving.
Later I became a crisis counselor in law enforcement working with victims of crime at the scenes of crimes. There I experienced some of the most intense levels of trauma and crisis as it happened, but I got to help people begin their healing immediately. It was very powerful.
I have also worked in general counseling centers with clients experiencing various issues including gender identity, anxiety, depression, coming out, childhood issues, dating, couples and marriage issues, and so much more. I have also run groups for those who are transgender.
I have advanced a great deal in my career and have learned so much along the way. I am so happy to bring this experience to my clients today!
What About the Elephants?
To me, elephants are majestic and peaceful creatures and they make me happy when I see them. They are gentle giants who can hold their own when they need to. They are often known for their memory but they are so much more. They have feelings and emotions, like grief and mourning, and even appear to have self-awareness, compassion and empathy according to some researchers. They fiercely protect their young, they are social beings, and they even have to deal with trauma from poaching. I'm fascinated by their size while still being gentle and delicate. It's also convenient that when addressing an issue people will often say they need to address the "elephant in the room"! For me, the elephant is the perfect symbol to incorporate into my practice! The image on my business card (also on the bottom of this page) uses lots of unique shapes and pieces to bring together a complete image of an elephant. That symbolizes to me how people are created of their many parts and experiences that make them the entire being they are today.
So, any elephants in your room that need to be addressed?