Comforting a trauma patient

To make it through the chaos, you need a strong shoulder.

You can lean on The Shepherd’s Shoulder. Whether it’s because of the environment in which you work, or a sudden chaotic situation, you need the proven compassionate strength of a skilled and experienced team to help get you through so you can stay healthy.

We are the team that watches out for the health of first responders, hospital ER and ICU staff, and workers in other traumatic work environments.

It’s simple. You are there for others, the necessary stronghold when violence and disaster occur.

And we are here for you.

Spiritual and emotional care for emergency incidents and disasters

One-on-one and small-group counseling

Consulting services for staff support 

Educational programs and workshops

Speaking engagements

Mass Casualty and Disaster Response: Primary Trauma

The Shepherd’s Shoulder team is fully credentialed and deployment-ready to help those exposed to primary and secondary trauma, namely first responders, hospital ER and ICU staff, as well as those on-site of the trauma. We are available within 36 hours, 24/7.

Not only does our expert team offer Psychological First Aid (PFA), we offer spiritual and emotional support services for first-responders, hospital clinicians and community staff who are suffering from the compounding effect of trauma; we do it with multi-cultural competency and years of experience. Working with federal, state and local governments and organizations, The Shepherd’s Shoulder builds multi-level support strategies with our team of crisis health providers, and offers the missing capability links within the PFA model – all to combat PTSD.

One-On-One and Small Group Spiritual Counseling

Our team is available for one-on-one and group support for those interested in a deeper level of counseling. We will accommodate your schedule either in-person or virtually.

Consulting Services

The Shepherd’s Shoulder team has designed and developed innovative staff enrichment programs that support frontline workers. These initiatives are designed for resiliency and retention. From Code Lavender programs to therapeutic initiatives, our strengths include creative expansive thinking and systemic analysis.

Educational Programs to Foster Secondary Trauma Resiliency

Hospital ER staff, teachers and social workers are routinely exposed to trauma. Over time, this secondary trauma can take its toll. The Shepherd’s Shoulder’s training programs provide tools to foster secondary trauma resiliency and are customized to fit your team’s needs. Our approach is an experiential, hands-on program that incorporates instruction, small-group discussion, psycho-spiritual-social assessment and analysis, and self-care planning.

Research studies demonstrate that secondary trauma in clinical care providers routinely exposed to traumatic experiences manifests in reduced service quality and lower levels of efficiency, at a minimum. Further, 54% of ER residents were at risk of secondary trauma syndrome.

Who can you
lean on?

The Shepherd’s Shoulder team members include trauma chaplains, crisis counselors and mental health therapists, who are not just highly trained, but highly compassionate professionals.

Our spiritual care team members are all ordained ministers, board certified, and educated. We have the knowledge and experience in caring for those who practice Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism, or who are simply spiritual in nature.

Our crisis counselors hold master’s degrees and have years of experience in trauma therapy for both adults and children.

Smal Business Administration EDWOSB CertifiedWe are certified – both federally and in Virginia – as an Economically Disadvantaged Woman-Owned Small Business.


Chaplain Deb Wacker, M.Div, MBA, BCCC, FHPC

Deb is the Founder and Director of The Shepherd’s Shoulder. She has expertise in ER/ICU trauma chaplaincy, palliative care and spiritual counseling. Chaplain Deb has provided spiritual care and counseling for the primary and secondary trauma victims, families and staff for two mass casualty incidents in Virginia.


Tony Dice, PhD

Tony’s experience as a therapist, paramedic, firefighter, and Navy SEAL has allowed for a unique understanding of the human condition. Dr. Dice has been recognized at both the regional and national levels for his contributions to his profession and his service to the community. He authored/co-authored articles and presented numerous workshops. He holds degrees in social sciences, human services, counseling education and supervision. Dr. Dice is currently running substance abuse groups for veterans, law enforcement, and first responders.

Venesa Walker

Venesa Walker, NREMT, CIT, CFR-D, VFLO

Venesa is a front-line EMT for Virginia Beach Rescue. She brings years of leadership experience to the team.

  • Crisis Intervention Team member for Virginia Beach Rescue
  • Mental Health Resilience Officer
  • Certified First Responder – Dementia
  • Virginia Fusion Liaison Officer
  • National and state certified EMT
  • National Registered EMT Mental Health Resilience Officer
Rob Buchanan

Chaplain Rob Buchanan, D.Min, BCCC

Rob has provided spiritual counseling and support for over 35 years. His expertise is in ER trauma and disaster chaplaincy, and community counseling.

J Lindsay

Chaplain Juliette “J” Lindsey, M.A.,APC

J’s expertise includes ER/ICU trauma chaplaincy with a focus on women’s trauma.


Krystal Giordano, M.S., QMHP-A

A crisis counselor, Krystal specializes in traumatic behavioral analysis and support. Krystal brings expertise in emotional health for individual and group counseling.

Kayla Lennon

Chaplain Kayla Lennon, M.Div, BSW

Kayla has expertise in ER/ICU trauma chaplaincy as well as hospice care. Kayla was the chaplain first responder for a large mass casualty situation in Chesapeake, Virginia.

Rob Buchanan

Chaplain Nicole Farrar, MDiv, ThM, Mental Health Fellow at Hampton VA Medical Center

Nicole provides spiritual counseling on the topics of Mental Health, Spirituality and Grief and Loss. She specializes in behavioral health and trauma in the pediatric population.

J Lindsay

Jessica Harris, M.Div

Jessica has served as a Health Care Chaplain in the Hampton Roads community for the past four years, primarily in the emergency and hospice sectors.