Office of the Permanent Diaconate, 

welcome to your counseling page

Rejoice Counseling Apostolate is delighted to partner with the Office of the Permanent Diaconate to offer professional counseling services to inquirers, aspirants, candidates, and permanent deacons across the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. Through individual, marriage or family counseling we can work with you in the human dimension, cultivating qualities with a view to diaconal ministry. A few examples include human virtues, becoming a bridge between people, affective maturity, and a training in freedom that leads to servant-leadership. We are also available to assist with common issues people want to work through in counseling, such as depression, burnout, anxiety and stress, grief or bereavement, marriage healing and enrichment, parenting, and more.

Placing our gifts of counsel at the service of men who are being formed into Christ the Servant is a beautiful way for us to support you, your families, and the local Church. We look forward to meeting you.

Dr. Chris Stravitsch, DMin, LPC-S, LMFT-S, President

Counselors serving the Office of the Permanent Diaconate

Liz Bencivengo, MS, LPC, LMFT

Liz Bencivengo, MS, LPC, LMFT

Parish Counselor

Meet Liz

Liz Bencivengo is an LPC and LMFT with an M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of Houston-Victoria. Liz received her bachelor’s degree in Educational Development from Anahuac University in Mexico, and has a Master’s in Religious Sciences from Universidad Regina Apostolorum in Rome, Italy.

Liz Bencivengo es LPC y LMFT y se graduó de la Universidad de Houston-Victoria con una Maestría en Consejería Clínica de Salud Mental. Liz cursó la carrera de Educación y Desarrollo en la Universidad Anáhuac en la ciudad de México y obtuvo una Maestría en Ciencias Religiosas en la Universidad Regina Apostolorum en Roma, Italia. Read full bio.

Locations Localizada en:

St. Bartholomew the Apostle, Katy
St. Faustina, Fulshear
St. John the Baptist, Alvin

Cindy Contreras, MS, LPC-A; Supervised by Dr. Chris Stravitsch, DMin, LPC-S, LMFT-S

Cindy Contreras, MS, LPC-A; Supervised by Dr. Chris Stravitsch, DMin, LPC-S, LMFT-S

Parish Counselor

Meet Cindy

Cindy is an LPC Associate with an M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of St. Thomas. She counsels adolescents, adults, couples and families.

Cindy es LPC Asociada y completó una Maestría en Consejería Clínica de Salud Mental en la Universidad de St. Thomas. Ella tiene experiencia aconsejando a niños, adolescentes, adultos, parejas y familias.  Read her bio here.

Locations Localizada en:

Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church, Cypress
St. Ambrose Catholic Church, Houston
St. Cyril of Alexandria Catholic Church, Houston
St. Theresa Catholic Church, Memorial Park, Houston

Melissa Abraham, LCSW

Melissa Abraham, LCSW

Virtual Counselor

Meet Melissa

Melissa Abraham is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who graduated from Baylor University. She provides counseling and psychoeducation on topics such as grief, anxiety, addictions, depression, coping skills, women's issues, family relationships and more. She loves integrating Catholic faith with mental health. Read full bio.

Locations 

Virtual only

Larry Freeney, Jr., PhD, LPC

Larry Freeney, Jr., PhD, LPC

Parish Counselor

Meet Dr. Larry

Dr. Larry is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision from Sam Houston State University. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a Minor in Christianity (2014) and a Master of Arts in Counseling (2016) at Houston Baptist University. Read Dr. Larry’s full bio

Locations

Christ the Good Shepherd, Spring
St. Ignatius of Loyola, Spring
St. Theresa, Memorial Park, Houston

Kathy Garza, M.Ed., LPC Associate; Supervised by Dr. Chris Stravitsch, DMin, LPC-S, LMFT-S

Kathy Garza, M.Ed., LPC Associate; Supervised by Dr. Chris Stravitsch, DMin, LPC-S, LMFT-S

Parish Counselor

Meet Kathy

Kathy is an LPC Associate with an M.Ed. in Educational Psychology from University of Texas-Austin and a B.A. in Bilingual Education from University of Houston-Clear Lake. She is also credentialed as a mediator through Travis County Dispute Resolution Center.

Kathy es LPC Asociada y obtuvó una Maestría de Educación en Sicología Educativa de la Universidad de Texas en Austin y también obtuvó una Licenciatura en la Educación Bilingüe de la Universidad de Houston en Clear Lake. Tiene la credencial de mediadora por El Centro de Resolver Disputas del Condado Travis. Read full bio

Locations / Localizada en

Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church, Cypress
St. Bartholomew the Apostle Catholic Church, Katy
St. Katharine Drexel Catholic Church, Fulshear

 

Janet Sturtz, MA, MSW, LCSW-S

Janet Sturtz, MA, MSW, LCSW-S

Virtual Counselor

Meet Janet

Janet Sturtz is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Supervisor with over 20 years of experience as a therapist. She has a Masters in Spanish Literature from Kent State University (Ohio) and a Masters is Social Work from the University of South Florida (Tampa). She counsels individuals, couples, and families in both English and Spanish.

Janet Sturtz es una trabajadora social clínica licenciada u supervisora con más de 20 años de experiencia como terapeuta. Tiene una maestría en literatura española de Kent State University (Ohio) y una maestría en trabajo social de University of South Florida (Tampa). Janet ofrece el servicio de consejería a individuos, parejas y familias en dos idiomas, Ingles y Español. 

Read Janet's full bio.

Availability

Across our many locations, we have a variety of morning, afternoon, and evening availability Monday thru Friday. We also have a limited amount of Saturday availability in a few locations. Our Client Coordinator will discuss all the options to find a location, counselor, and time that works well for you.

Locations

As part of our partnership, you are able to meet with our Catholic counselors at any of our locations or via telehealth.

Contact us for scheduling

Please contact our Client Coordinator to schedule your first appointment. Our main line is (844) 295-3167. Be sure to inform us you are with the diaconate program.