Meet the Therapists

DONNA LEDBETTER

Donna's entire vocational life has been devoted to professionally helping others as an educator, a therapist, a professor, a trainer/facilitator, and a volunteer. Prior to becoming a therapist Donna worked with children and youth who had multiple developmental disabilities and counseled with their families. This work, life experiences, and personal therapy all led to becoming a pastoral psychotherapist--one who tends not only to the person's emotions, thoughts, and behaviors, but also one's spirit. Donna has been a pastoral psychotherapist for nearly 25 years and is a National Certified Counselor (NCC) and a Licensed Professional Counselor of Mental Health in Delaware (LPCMH). She considers her vocational work as a therapist to be a true calling and has felt honored to be a companion on the journey with so many people who want to heal, grow, change, and create a meaningful life. Donna's desire is to be a "purveyor of hope" for her clients. When her clients feel hopeless, she has been known to empathize and say, "If you're not feeling any hope, well I have hope for you. You can borrow some from me in the meantime." Counseling and psychotherapy are provided for individuals, couples, and families with adolescent or adult children. Donna's relationship with her life partner and professional partner, Tom, her beloved husband, has been an asset to her work. They have been committed to learning and growing, as a couple and as therapists, throughout their years together. Occasionally they've worked jointly with a couple in therapy providing a unique therapeutic experience for the couple and have also designed and led workshops or retreats together. For over 15 years Donna also taught at the college level in two universities--mostly preparing graduate students to become practicing counselors in a wide variety of clinical settings. Donna continues to lead workshops, retreats, and continuing ed events in the local community as well as faith communities. She has been a volunteer in a variety of settings, but her current focus is primarily in organizations that support those living with cancer and their families. Personally, Donna loves the sea as a source of rejuvenation and peace, enjoying walks on the beach, swimming, beachcombing, kayaking, and playing with grandchildren. Other forms of self-care include yoga, reading, bicycling, walking, Pilates, family and friends, creating a home as sanctuary, and just "putzing."

TOM LEDBETTER

Tom has been a certified pastoral psychotherapist for most of his professional life. His vocation, a true ministry, has always been in service to other people and his focus has been on the professional integration of psychotherapy and spirituality. As a pastoral psychotherapist, Tom affirms the value and recognizes the importance of spirituality in the process of psychological healing and finding meaning as one journeys through the challenges of life. Tom utilizes both his theological training and experience as a minister and his psychological training as a therapist to help people seek health and wholeness. His training and development have encouraged progressive thinking and an openness to all wherever they are on their path. As a seeker himself, Tom understands the value of seeking answers to the problems of life through honest self-confrontation and struggling with meaning--he is willing to ask the hard questions and encourages his clients, companions on the journey, to do the same. For over 35 years as a therapist, Tom has worked with individuals, couples, and groups with his specialty focusing on long-term depth psychotherapy in combination with group psychotherapy. He is a Fellow with the American Association of Pastoral Counselors. A notable achievement and a dream fulfilled was the founding of Brandywine Pastoral Institute (BPI) with a former colleague in 1987. The Institute has enjoyed a solid reputation ever since, offering therapeutic, educational, and consultative services with an emphasis on availability to people of all income levels and therefore a sliding fee scale was a core objective. Tom works closely with his wife, Donna, in continuing to grow and develop BPI and they continue to facilitate groups together and occasionally do couples sessions together. Tom has spent much of his professional life teaching in a variety of faith communities on topics that have a psycho-spiritual focus. He has volunteered on several Boards such as the Delaware Lesbian and Gay Health Advocates, Columcille (a Celtic spirituality Center) and the Wilmington Interfaith Network. Currently he serves on a committee of the Rehoboth Beach Film Society for a film series entitled, "What Makes Us Tick?" The committee chooses films for the community that deal with human nature and relationships and Tom also helps to lead these discussions As an avid surf fisherman for decades, Tom enjoys the ocean immensely, whether fishing, walking, just being, or hanging out with grandchildren. He also relaxes with books, watching osprey, and bicycling through the rural areas of Sussex County.