Dr. Cheryl Pence
Dr. Cheryl Pence
Dr. Cheryl Pence is the MISS Foundation Clinical Director at the Selah Carefarm. She provides counseling sessions, therapeutic walks, time with the animals, guided meditations, yoga, and works with bereaved families and providers from around the world. She manages the carefarm’s family house where bereaved clients stay during their visits. She also supervises the interns and volunteers and assists in the development of new programs, group retreats, clinical training, grant-writing, and research.
Dr. Cheryl is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), National Certified Counselor (NCC), certified Compassionate Bereavement Care (CBC) provider, and maintains several other professional licenses and certifications. She left a full-time tenured associate professor position at Western Kentucky University to join the MISS Foundation. At WKU, she taught, advised, and supervised graduate counseling students and coordinated their clinical internship placements. She currently maintains a part-time faculty appointment as Project Director for a $1.92 million federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration for the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training Program-American Rescue Plan providing professional training and continuing education to counselors and counselors-in-training. She served on regional and national counseling association boards and committees which included developing and publishing the nationally endorsed counselor wellness competencies. Her previous professional counseling experiences included working with terminally-ill patients and families in hospice; counseling clients and survivors at accident scenes, hospitals, or their homes through the Alachua County Crisis Center; and supervising counseling interns as the Co-Director of the Talley Family Counseling Center. In addition, Dr. Cheryl is a U.S. Navy veteran with 11 years of military service. She graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and served as a naval officer onboard two ships (USS Yorktown and USS Essex) and a joint-military command. She received her master’s, specialist, and doctorate degrees in counseling from the University of Florida. She also completed her master’s in human resource management from Troy University and her bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
On a personal note, Dr. Cheryl lost her sister in 2014 after a long battle with substance abuse. She also struggled for many years with infertility and two pregnancy losses. Never able to have children, she expanded her family by opening her home to teenage exchange students from Norway and Germany and her fur babies. She loves animals, nature, hiking, and has been vegan since 2011 for health, compassion, and environmental reasons. She maintains her own contemplative practice, completed a 10-day Vipassana silent meditation retreat, and is an ordained minister in an interfaith ministry where she is open to helping clients and families work from their own unique perspectives.