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Esther Sachse, LCSW-BACS

Esther Sachse, LCSW, a graduate of LSU School of Social Work, has twenty years of experience in Medical Social Work. Her expertise is in the areas of grief, life transition, coping with illness, working with disabled children and their families,  and depression/anxiety. Her practice focuses on children starting at the age of 4, teenagers and adults who have experienced loss and/or life transitions resulting in grief. Grief can challenge people emotionally, socially, intellectually, spiritually and physically. She views walking along side a client on his/her own personal grief journey as an honor and privilege. Esther Sachse holds a Certification in Thanatology (grief work) from the Association of Death Education and Counseling and is a Certified Oncology Social Worker.

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Mary Ann Abel, LCSW-BACS

Mary Ann Abel, LCSW-BACS, is a graduate of LSU School of Social Work. Over 25 years, she has amassed a wealth of experience in hospice social work. She specializes in adoption, infertility, life transitions, divorce and loss. Mary Ann is also a former first grade and preschool teacher. She knows the effects grief has on a person and understands that not every one handles loss in the same way. Every person who shares his or her story with Mary Ann inspires her.

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Gretchen Bankston, LCSW

Gretchen specializes in the treatment of mood dysfunction, substance abuse issues (food, drug and alcohol addictions); individual, family and couples therapy, grief and other life change issues. She has personal experience with grief and loss: she lost her 8-year-old son to cancer and is widowed following a 41-year marriage. Gretchen is semi-retired, but chooses to continue counseling because she wants to pass on the hope that anyone can successfully navigate the journey of grief and change.  Watching her clients successfully live through difficult life stages inspires her every day.  To Gretchen, her clients are wonderful and heroic and she would never want to miss out on that experience with the people she serves.

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Jennifer Tewell, LMSW

Jennifer Tewell, LMSW, earned a Master of Social Work from Louisiana State University. Jennifer has experience in a variety of areas, including survivors of sexual assault, children/teens (ADHD, IEP, 504, neurodivergence), families, mild to chronic severe mental illness, trauma, crisis intervention, and prevention. She is a Certified Social Worker, certified Stewards of Children facilitator, Sexual Assault Survivors advocate, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) certified, Crisis Prevention Intervention certified, and a former Fragile Families facilitator. She works with a wide range of individuals. This includes persons of all shapes and sizes, cultures and religions, abilities and disabilities, ages and races, sexual orientations (LGBTQI+, kink, poly, asexual), gender identities, socioeconomic status and occupational status.. 

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Sharon Valencia, LCSW

Sharon Valencia, LCSW, is a graduate of the LSU School of Social Work with over 30 years of Clinical Practice. Her professional experiences include the treatment of adolescents in the Emotionally Disturbed Adolescent Unit in Greenwell Springs Hospital, Supervising LSU Social Work Interns at the LSU Student Mental Health Center, and as a therapist at both the State Mental Health and Substance Abuse Clinics of Baton Rouge. Sharon specializes in the treatment of Mood Disorders: Depression, Anxiety, and the treatment of Couples and Families in Dysfunctional Relationships. She enjoys empowering her clients to begin to organize their own lives and surroundings and to wonderfully nurture themselves. She seeks to help those who are mourning a painful loss, to understand and embrace their unique grief. She believes in walking with the bereaved as they journey through their grief into their healing.

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GRCBR is always looking for great counselors to join the team. If you're licensed and interested in joining our team, email cover letter and resume to Jennifer at

GRCBR Counselors Not accepting new clients currently:

Robyn Canady, LPC

Kathie Moise, LCSW










At GRCBR, interns are an integral part of the team. Every semester, we accommodate bachelor and master level student interns from universities around that state who are studying social work and mental health counseling. Internships give the student an opportunity to learn how a nonprofit counseling agency runs from the inside out. Interns have the opportunity to be involved in a variety of activities and programs, including: fundraising efforts, event coordination, support group facilitation, educational workshops, and clinical interventions with adults, families, children and teens. Because our interns are involved in all aspects of the agency, students leave with well-rounded and balanced experience in micro, mezzo and macro levels of practice. 

If you are a student and interested in joining our team as an intern, contact our office at or 225-924-6621. 


  • Allison Purser, LSU MSW Program

  • Jillian Dearmond, LSU MSW Program

  • Laura Fortner, LSU MSW Program

  • Jo Hynes, LSU MSW Program

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Debbie Breaux, LMSW

Ms. Debbie Breaux, LMSW, is a graduate of Louisiana State University. If you are looking for a safe non-judgmental space where your preferences and pace will be honored, then read on. I believe it is possible to heal from sexual abuse and trauma. However, I also believe healing requires more than just talk therapy. My work involves combining insight-oriented talk therapy with body focused healing methods like EFT or "Tapping". I specialize in working with women and adolescent females dealing with sexual abuse, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and PTSD.

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Carrie Davidson, NCC, LPC

Ms. Carrie S. Davidson, NCC, LPC, is a graduate of Louisiana State University, and Southern University, A&M. For the past 12 years, Ms. Davidson has been working with children, teens, and adults as it relates to various mental health issues and substance abuse issues through the Juvenile Justice System and Mental Health Rehabilitation Services. Her area of expertise are grief issues that affect children, teens, and adults at various levels of the grieving process and/or stages. She also has experience in working with children, teens, and adults that have experienced significant changes in life such as loss of a loved one, relocation, loss of a job, divorce, and trauma related issues such as PTSD, and other trauma related issues. Ms. Davidson believes she is a compassionate vessel that is motivated to educating her clients, is inspired to encourage her clients, and rooted in encouraging her clients in the healing process or the changing of behaviors by using an eclectic cognitive-behavioral approach to the counseling process.


Lillian Ferguson, LMSW

Ms. Lillian Ferguson, LMSW, is a graduate of Louisiana State University. I believe that a healthy and effective therapeutic relationship addresses the body, mind and spirit. My areas of interest include attachment theory, the mind/gut axis (what we eat affects our mood and mental/physical health), and spirituality/religion as a path to healing.

I want to help you with a foundational understanding of ineffective coping strategies and the underlying dynamics of personal difficulties. This approach to healing will assist you in functioning more effectively in all of your crucial life areas, such as family, peer, and romantic relationships.

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Michele Guidry, LCSW

Michele Guidry, LCSW, is a graduate of the Tulane School of Social Work.  Her practice is focused on mental health and substance abuse.  She also has experience in hospice social work.  Her specialty is working with clients with substance abuse as she has experience with 12 step fellowships. Through her work, she is committed to helping others overcome alcohol and drug addictions, disordered eating, depression and anxiety that affect all of us in our lives. 

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Vanessa Ladnier, PLPC

Vanessa Ladnier, M.S., PLPC is a graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University and earned a Masters in Clinical Mental Health from Walden University. As a trauma specialist and provisional licensed professional counselor for Grief Recovery Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Vanessa conducts weekly psychotherapy with both individuals and large groups. She also conducts workshops in mindfulness, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and reality discipline for parenting skills. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Vanessa served as a trauma recovery specialist for the greater New Orleans area and now manages Lipstick Jungle, a women’s community empowerment group. Vanessa believes in creating an open and safe space for you to clarify intentions, explore possibilities and clear obstacles to make “impossible” dreams a reality. Vanessa’s purpose is to help others become empowered in their lives, to see their own radiance and hear their own inner guidance

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Doug Leyda, LCSW-BACS

I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (since 2003), seasoned in counseling children, adolescents, adults, and couples. I help people find their way through difficult times regarding relationship conflicts, intimacy and sexuality issues, work/school concerns, and parenting/family issues.My goal as your therapist will be to provide an open and accepting place where you can progressively build on your strengths and overcome that which holds you back. I am experienced in working with clients of diverse backgrounds. If you have experienced recent or past trauma, I can assist you through the distressful emotions and physical responses, and provide you with enhanced coping techniques.