Biblical Counseling Staff

Gary Short / Biblical Counseling Director, Counselor (LCSW-R) | email

In addition to overseeing the Biblical Counseling department, Gary counsels individual, couples, and families in the Bath, Corning, and Elmira areas of Upstate New York.  Gary loves every aspect of being a counselor and daily thanks God for the great privilege of helping those that seek Godly wisdom for their concerns.

Gary was led to Family Life in 1976, back when the ministry was operating as Area Youth for Christ.  He worked as a caseworker for a boy’s home called New Life Homes-Snell Farms, a former division of Family Life.  In 1982, Gary sensed God calling him to develop a new counseling department!  Although excited about the opportunity, Gary had a feeling that once the department was underway, he would leave it in the good hands of another counselor to follow another God-led path.

Sure enough, Gary spent the next 20 years as a school social worker at the Greater Southern Tier BOCES.  Gary was called back to Family Life part-time in 2003, and after five years, was asked to serve as a director and counselor of the very department he helped to establish over two decades ago.  God moves in beautiful circles! 

Gary and his wife, Barb, have three sons: Jason, Dean, and Darin. Gary also has a Master’s degree in Social Work from Syracuse University and is a doctoral candidate at Trinity College.  On a more personal note, Gary has a passion for classic cars and trucks.  His yearly trips to the Carlisle Show – a major auto event in PA – make him a pretty serious enthusiast!

Barb Short / Biblical Counselor (LCSW-R, RN) | email

Barb counsels individuals, couples, families and small groups with difficult life issues such as anxiety, depression, domestic violence, and sexual abuse. She is blessed by the Lord to help hurting people in any way she can.

After working for 18 years at Steuben County Community Mental Health Center, Barb joined the Biblical counseling staff in September 2010.  Her husband, Gary, is the director, and is happy to add his wife’s skills to the team! Along with her counseling career, Barb also is a registered nurse and has worked in number of different nursing specialties of over 20 years.

Barb and Gary have three sons: Jason, Dean, and Darin, and two grandsons: Hudson and Levi. She has a Master’s Degree in social work from Syracuse University and has advanced training and certification in EMDR, a treatment technique for handling and processing trauma. As a registered nurse, Barb finds her medical background to be a valuable asset in the counseling field.

In her spare time Barb enjoys “playing in the dirt” - a euphemism for tending her large perennial garden!  She and Gary also have had the privilege of traveling overseas to provide missionaries with encouragement and counseling services as they serve the Lord. The work is strenuous but very rewarding, and they look forward to more opportunities like these.

Doreen Ross / Biblical Counseling Administrative Assistant | email

Doreen grew up in Doylestown, Pa and has great memories of her childhood. She was raised in a semi-conservative Mennonite family and came to know Christ at age 6 at a black light children's evangelism meeting. After meeting her husband, Scott, through extended family, Doreen spent the first 14 years of her marriage as a mother to her family of six children: Amanda, Aaron, Ashton, Avery, Abagail and Alyssa. Despite its challenges, she loved being a stay-at-home mom!

After over a dozen years of raising a family, Doreen courageously ventured back to the workforce, finding a job as a manager at Chick Fil A. There she learned the importance of being a servant first – and their corporate phrase “my pleasure” – as she encountered a wide range of pleasant to difficult customers! She also attended training at corporate headquarters and had the pleasure of meeting founder, Truett Cathy.

Having a heart for the poor and underserved, Doreen worked as a community service rep for a senior care facility in Harrisburg, Pa. After that, she worked as a service coordinator at a low-income apartment complex, helping residents maintain their independence as much as possible. She helped them gain food stamps, Medicare, and assisted in finding residents health aids, Meals on Wheels, and transportation set up to and from appointments.

Like many Christians, Doreen will tell you she struggled for many years to believe she was worthy of God’s love. However, later into her adult years, the Holy Spirit did a healing work in her life - through Biblical Counseling! - to change those false beliefs. For six years, Doreen participated in “The Healing Journey” program at Family Life. She grew personally, spiritually, and eventually became a facilitator of the program. Doreen has found great joy in watching the Lord work in the lives of many broken people which ignited her passion to be a part of God’s ministry at Family Life!

Doreen has been married almost 30 years to her husband, Scott, who works as a Registered Nurse. She enjoys gardening, cooking, and playing with her grand kids as often as possible. She’s also working toward her Life Coaching certification through the American Association of Christian Counselors.