Hope & Healing

We believe in the art and science of Biblical counseling, a practice based on counseling methods and Biblical truth. The difference between Biblical counseling and other counseling approaches is the Word of God, which has power to bring about a permanent change of heart, mind, and will. Biblical counseling teaches that relying on Christ is ultimately how we find and keep the strength to make change last.



Gary Short
Biblical Counseling Director, Counselor

Gary began serving as director of the Biblical Counseling Department in 2008. In addition to over seeing the department, Gary counsels individuals, couples, and families. Gary loves every aspect of being a counselor and daily thanks God for the privilege of helping those that seek Godly wisdom for their concerns.

– Licensed clinical social worker
– Masters in Social Work, EMDR certified (treatment for trauma)
– Clinical experience with individuals and couples, marriage/premarital, and child/teen/parent issues
– Expertise in treating abuse (verbal, mental, sexual, physical), drugs, alcohol, aging, anxiety, sexuality, communication, pornography, and depression


Barb Short
Biblical Counselor

After working for 18 years at the Steuben County Community Mental Health Center, Barb joined Family Life’s Biblical Counseling staff in September 2010. 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.

– Licensed clinical social worker
– Masters in Social Work, EMDR certified (treatment for trauma)
– Extensive clinical experience in mental health, dealing with individuals and groups
– Expertise in treating anxiety, depression, PTSD, OCD, phobias, sexual abuse, domestic violence, relationship issues, and more


Valorie Zyla

Val has worked in the Human Services field for many years. She began volunteering with Family Life in 2012 as a Healing Journey Leader and led several groups of women through the classes. She began working part time for the Counseling Department in 2022 and retired from Schuyler County in 2023. Val counsels individuals, couples, families, and groups. Val loves her work and enjoys seeing the changes The Holy Spirit brings about during the healing process.

– NCC (Nationally Certified Counselor)
– LMHC (Licensed Mental Health Counselor)
– Master’s in education (Ms’ ed) with Certificate in Advanced Studies (CAS) in Mental Health Counseling (MHC)
– Certified Grief Coach

She has extensive experience with all populations from children to older adults using strength-based skill building to help people live their best lives. She teaches mental wellness skills to help with many conditions such as anxiety, trauma, grief, abuse, relationship issues, depression, addictions, problems due to disabling conditions, and many others. In addition to working at Family Life she volunteers as a master gardener and financial coach at a local agency and helps out on the family farm.

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Healing Journey Programs

To glorify God by providing opportunities and bring healing to the heart, mind, spirit, the biblical truths. In conjunction with His Healing Light Ministries those options are offered.


A 29-week, comprehensive Bible study presenting weekly teachings from scripture on various aspects of healing. After the large group study is an hour of small group processing. Groups are facilitated by trained leaders who have applied the principles to their own lives and have watched God produce amazing results! There are men’s groups, women’s groups. These groups primarily begin in the fall of each year.

Individual Sessions

Scheduled by appointment, these personal in-depth sessions are also with Gary and Barb Short and available for men and women. These individual sessions can be for men and women as well as couples.

Boot Camps

For people who have gone through the 29-week Healing Journey Class and wish to lead their own, these 4-day camps train new leaders or refresh leaders to use the curriculum to help others and spread God’s mercy and healing to their community. Bootcamps are held in May.

4 day intense healing weekend

Are held 2 times a year for individuals and couples to go through a shorter version of the Healing Journey curriculum Even though these are a shorter version they are proven to be very effective in your Healing Journey.

Healing Journey Retreats

Each year separate men and women who have completed the 29-week healing Journey are eligible to attend a 3-day healing weekend. These retreats provide deeper healing and connection to God.

Freedom for teens

A 27-week small group Bible study for teens. These groups not only strengthen their walk with God but also heal wounds from difficult experiences.