Meet Our Team

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Esther Sachse, LCSW-BACS

Executive Director

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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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. 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. 

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Mary Ann Abel, LCSW-BACS

Mary Ann Abel 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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Sharon Valencia, LCSW

Sharon Valencia is a graduate of the LSU School of Social Work with over 30 years of Clinical Practice. Sharon specializes in the treatment of Mood Disorders: Depression, Anxiety, and the treatment of Couples and Families in Dysfunctional Relationships. 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.


Lillian Ferguson, LMSW

Ms. Lillian Ferguson is a graduate of Louisiana State University. She believes that a healthy and effective therapeutic relationship addresses the body, mind and spirit. Her 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. Her goal is to help her clients with a foundational understanding of ineffective coping strategies and the underlying dynamics of personal difficulties. 



We're always looking for licensed clinicians to join our team. We have multiple flexible options, send your resume to Angela at and we'll get back to you!

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Allison Purser, LMSW

Allison is a recent graduate of  the LSU School of Social Work. She specializes in working with children and young adults. Her areas of interest include 

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Michele Guidry, LCSW

Michele Guidry 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. 


Angela Capell, BSW


Joanna Hynes, LMSW


Joanna (Jo) Hynes is a Licensed Master Social Worker who works with adults processing grief and loss, particularly losses associated with caregiving. She obtained her Master of Social Work from LSU in 2021 as well as a Master of Pastoral Studies with a focus in Christian Spirituality from Loyola University New Orleans in 2020. Jo worked as an attorney practicing family law and estate planning and probate work but found her calling helping people process their feelings to heal from grief and loss. Jo is certified in dementia care and trauma counseling. She uses interventions based on her individual clients’ strengths and needs, drawing from CBT, DBT, CPT, IFS, mindfulness, psychoeducation, supportive reflection, and structured problem solving.


Sara Sotile, LCSW-BACS

Hilary Tallman, LCSW

Nila Schwab, LCSW

Sara Sotile, LCSW-BACS, a graduate of the LSU School of Social Work, has over thirty years of experience in the field of social work.  Her experience has been in the area of medical social work, particularly hospice and oncology. She holds a certification in Gerontology from LSU. She also has vast experience with at-risk youth and families experiencing homlessness. Sara considers it a unique opportunity to work with people that wish to address the struggles of life’s transitions.