A Tribute to Dr. Rebecca Bier

It is with unspeakable sadness that we share that our beloved colleague and friend, Dr. Rebecca Bier has died. You may view Dr. Bier’s obituary and funeral information here – Shalom Memorial Funeral Home . Please know that we at Gurnee Counseling Center are here to support you and your family as you process this tremendous loss. We know just how special she was.

Phil Kirschbaum, co-founder of Gurnee Counseling Center and colleague and friend of Dr. Bier’s for over 40 years, has written a tribute below:

Rebecca Bier, PsyD, LCSW

When she entered the waiting room to welcome one of her young clients, here’s what they could count on:

  • Regardless if they arrived at the counseling center with their parents, an older brother or sister, or a neighbor, Rebecca would come to the child first. With a smile so bright it could light up the room, she would lower herself so she could be eye to eye with her young client, and warmly offer a greeting like “I’m Dr. Bier.  I am so glad you’re here!”  
  • The young client knew right away, that it was she or he that was the most important and valued one in the room at that moment. For some kids, it might have been the first time an adult related to them at their level, and made them feel welcome, special and safe.  Kids often came to see Rebecca in counseling feeling afraid and broken. They frequently expected to be judged and blamed, as often happened in their life. You could see the tightness in their face, their clenched teeth and hunched shoulders begin to melt before your eyes as Rebecca entered their world. 
  • Only after making that crucial positive initial connection with the child, would Rebecca turn to the parent or other significant adult. “I’m also very glad to meet you! Will you please join us for the start of our session. It’s so important for your son/ daughter to know they’re safe here and that you’ll be here any time they need you. It can be very scary for a young person to come for their counseling session”. 
  • Even before their session began, the child knew they were in the right place, with the right person, and that help was on the way. 

For more than 4 decades, that scene replayed time and time again, with hundreds of children and their families. Then, on Saturday January 29, 2022, suddenly and unexpectedly, Dr. Rebecca Bier had a heart attack, that took her life.  

Now, her family, friends and colleagues, as well as countless clients and their families, are all mourning the loss of one of our most treasured people. Although we will no longer be able to schedule meetings and get together with Rebecca, her love, compassion, intelligence, accepting and playful way will always live on in our hearts and minds. 

We’ve been truly blessed to have Rebecca in our lives. The greatest way we can all honor her and the many gifts we’ve received from her, would be to reach out and be kind to others, in the ways she was kind to all of us. And, of course, be kind to ourself. Nothing would make her happier.