FULLERTON GRIEF COUNSELOR NAMED FIRST RECIPIENT OF OLIVER HALSELL CAREGIVER AWARD
Dr. Debra Holland recognized for trauma, grief and crisis counseling, helping others in time of greatest need
Dr. Debra Holland, a noted author, psychotherapist and grief counselor, has volunteered time and again to help people find comfort in the wake of extreme chaos. For her dedication to helping others in their greatest time of need, Dr. Holland has been announced as the first recipient of Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Caregiver Award.
Fairhaven announced the recognition program last month, which pays tribute to local caregivers who have had an indelible impact on both their community and the individuals they serve.
“When a tragedy occurs, the presence of a compassionate and knowledgeable counselor is imperative to the healing process for those affected,” said Marla Noel, President of Fairhaven. “Dr. Holland has been a support system, sounding board and resource, courageously helping individuals recover from traumatic events.”
Author of The Essential Guide to Grief and Grieving, Dr. Holland counsels people who are traumatized and grieving after having experienced some kind of critical incident, such as experiencing the death of a colleague, being witness to an accident, or being the victim of a robbery.
Dr. Holland has counseled the American Airlines flight crews and other personnel at LAX in the weeks following the attacks of 9/11. In 2005, she spent two weeks in Louisiana, volunteering as a mental health relief worker for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. She also volunteered as a counselor for victims of the Southern California wildfires. Most recently, she was one of several counselors who provided trauma and grief counseling for the staff and victims of the Edison shooting in Irwindale.
The Fullerton resident holds a master’s degree in Marriage, Family, and Child Therapy, and a PhD in Counseling Psychology from the University of Southern California and is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.
“Grief is a unique, complex and often misunderstood experience. By providing a safe place to talk and by helping people understand how the trauma is impacting them, people start to feel better and begin healing. That makes all the difference to me,” said Dr. Holland of her work. “I’ve counseled many people in dramatic and painful situations, which is important work, yet I’ve also received just as much satisfaction in quietly reaching out to grieving individuals who are in need of comfort.”
Dr. Holland will be honored at Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Caregiver Awards banquet on November 1 at Fairhaven’s Mission Viejo location. The banquet will coincide with National Hospice and Palliative Care Month and will honor a year’s worth of achievements among the local caregiver community. Additionally, Fairhaven will make a donation to CurePSP on behalf of Dr. Holland to support the fund her family established in the name of her father, who died of the disease.
About the Oliver Halsell Caregiver Award
Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Caregiver Award pays tribute to Orange County caregivers whose kindness and dedication to serving others is inspirational. These courageous individuals go above and beyond their job description to serve with the utmost care and compassion. Fairhaven’s Oliver Halsell Caregiver Award winners come from many fields including private care, hospice, social work, counseling, assisted living, nursing, therapy and volunteer work.