Lift Your Spirits

Steve Sweatt, LPC/LMFT - Clinical Director
Steve is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with more than 35 years of experience. He directs CGS programs and services, counsels clients and supervises contract counselors.

Steve’s expertise encompasses grief counseling for individuals, couples, and families, as well as crisis intervention. He has a Masters of Education, Agency Counseling, from The University of Montevallo and trained in bereavement counseling with Dr. Alan Wolfelt at the Center for Loss and Life Transition in Fort Collins, CO.

He has a Master of Divinity Degree in Psychology of Religion from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. Steve Completed a three-year residency in healthcare with Emory Healthcare, Atlanta, and a three-year residency in family therapy with Birmingham's United Counseling.
Steve serves on the Professional Advisory Committee for the Department of Counseling and Leadership, University of Montevallo. He was Founding Director and Clinical Staff Chaplain, Pastoral Services, at St. Vincent’s East (formerly Medical Center East), a post he held for 17 years. He is an ordained Baptist minister.

A family man who has experienced the loss of his father and grandfather, Steve has two adult children. He loves music from the 50's and 60’s and is a physical fitness enthusiast.

Lisa Sims Harrison , Administrative Director

Lisa joined CGS in January 2014 after a 17-year career as Director of Alumni Affairs at Birmingham-Southern College.  She brings more than thirty years of experience in public relations, marketing, fund raising, and volunteer management to the job. 

Lisa has a heart for the work of CGS.  She was caregiver for her mother, who died of ovarian cancer. Her father died several years later after a series of debilitating strokes left him almost completely paralyzed.  His caregiver, her stepmother, came to a CGS support group, joined a friendship group and later became a volunteer.

Using her considerable experience in fund raising, Lisa works to develop the support needed to bring help to more of the thousands of bereaved adults in our community.  She also works with staff and the Board of Directors in developing long-term strategies for helping those we serve.

Lisa, her husband, Steve and cat, Maddie live around the corner from the CGS office.  She likes to garden and paint and is writing a screenplay for a romantic comedy. 

Erin Slaughter, Administrative Assistant/Junior Board Chair
Erin joined CGS in August 2013 and assists in the agency’s day-to-day activities while also managing the CGS website. After graduating from the University of Alabama in 2012 with a Bachelor of Human Environmental Sciences in Human and Adolescent Development, Erin interned at several non-profit organizations, including Jessie's Place of the Jimmie Hale Mission. She was a member of the University of Alabama Literary Arts Magazine as well as a volunteer at the Child Development Research Center in Tuscaloosa. Erin also serves as chair of the CGS Junior Board, which she helped found in Fall 2014.

She is an Alabama native who is most fulfilled when she is helping others. Over the years, she has helped with many non-profit organizations, including the two both her parents run. Erin is also an avid church goer and attends South Highland Presbyterian Church where she often helps out with the youth programs.

Erin has a passion for being in the outdoors and traveling to new places. She has an identical twin sister and two older brothers. She frequently enjoys playing her guitar and spending time with her family and friends.

Jacques Austin, LPC/NCC

Jacques is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Nationally Certified Counselor. He completed his graduate work at The University of Alabama ar Birmingham, receiving honors as Most Outstanding Student in Rehabilitation. He has trained and worked with addiction, domestic violence and felony drug offenders. Jacques is a counselor for Alabama Psychiatric Services. He formerly counseled at The D.A.Y. Program in Alabaster, where he developed the Anger Management program. He also facilitated groups for the Shelby County Juvenile Detention Center.

He is Past-President of the Alabama Association for Specialists in Group Work, and Tresurer for the Alabama Counseling Association. Jacques also maintains a private practice, is a volunteer with the American Red Cross Disaster Mental Health, and a Board member of the Shelby County Branch American Red Cross.

John Harris, CPE/M.Div.

John has been a CGS counselor and support group facilitator since 2003, working with Young and Retired Widowed groups.  A retired minister and former hospital chaplain, John trained in bereavement care and counseling at The Center for Loss and Life Transition in Ft. Collins, Colorado.  He completed his post-graduate residency training in healthcare chaplaincy (CPE) with Baton Rouge General Hospital, East Louisiana State Hospital and the VA Medical Center in Alexandria, Louisiana. 

John is an ordained Baptist minister, a graduate of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and a Pastoral Care Specialist with The American Association of Pastoral Counselors.  He has pastored churches in Georgia, Kentucky and Louisiana, led marriage enrichment workshops, provided ministerial career consultation for Baptist clergy, intentional interim ministry for Baptist congregations and serves with Habitat for Humanity.

Cheryl Lewallen, M.Ed./LPC/LMFTA/NCC
cheryl lewallen

Cheryl is a counselor and support group facilitator for CGS. She has facilitated the Loss of Parent, Grandparent and Sibling group and the Loss of Adult Child groups. She holds a master's degree in Marriage and Family Counseling from the University of Montevallo. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor, a Marriage and Family Therapy Associate, and a National Certified Counselor. Cheryl is also trained in EMDR.

She works full-time at Oasis Counseling for Women and Children where she counsels women, couples and families. She has worked as a therapist at Magnolia Creek a Center for Eating Disorders, and as a substance abuse counselor at the Alethia House in the Women's Hope program where she assisted mothers struggling with addiction.  Cheryl has a particular focus on adult survivors of childhood trauma and issues related to grief.

Dr. Larry Michael

Dr. Larry Michael currently serves as the Pastor for Adult Ministries and Parish Associate at South Highland Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Prior to this, he served as Executive Director of Alabama Grief Support Services, Inc. Before that, Larry served over thirty years in pastoral ministry, leading congregations in five different states and in England. He taught as an adjunct professor at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, has written educational curricula, sermonic series and articles for various periodicals, and authored a book on leadership (Spurgeon on Leadership, Kregel Publications, 2003, 2010). He has just completed a book titled A Necessary Grief: Essential Tools for Leaders in Bereavement Ministry, to be released by Kregel Publications in February, 2015.

Dr. Michael is a leader with a wide berth of grief-related experience, having walked alongside many individuals and families who journeyed that path in his various ministries. He is a recognized public speaker and educator in many areas, and noted for his inspirational presentations. He is an ordained minister, holds a Bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland (College Park, MD), Master's and Ph.D. degrees from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Louisville, Kentucky).

Margie Slaughter, LMFTA

Margie is a CGS counselor and facilitator for Loss of Adult Child support group.  She holds a master's degree in Marriage and Family Counseling from the University of Montevallo.  She also graduated from The University of Alabama School of Law with honors in 1998 and was a practicing attorney for six years until her heart led her to the counseling field.
Margie worked as volunteer chaplain for the Shelby Baptist Medical Center. She is an Associate Licensed Counselor in Marriage and Family Therapy and works under the supervision of Charles Alexander, M.Div., LMFT, and joined CGS in the spring of 2011.


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1119 Oxmoor Road | Homewood, AL 35209 | Phone 205-870-8667 | Fax 205-870-4652