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BH blogger buzz: Meet Terry Stawar

December 16, 2013
by Shannon Brys, Associate Editor
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Terry Stawar

Among the researched and reported articles and news items throughout the pages of Behavioral Healthcare magazine and, behavioral health professionals have an opportunity to share their thoughts, opinions and expert advice through blogs. Each of our bloggers has a niche of the field that they tend to center their topics around – fundraising, facility design, leadership, technology, etc.

One of Behavioral Healthcare’s bloggers is Terry L. Stawar, EdD, President and CEO of LifeSpring, Inc., a community behavioral health center serving six counties in south central Indiana.

To get to know each of our bloggers a little better, we asked them to reflect on the following question:

“What was the most important/toughest personal or professional lesson you ever learned?  When and how, or from whom, did you learn it? And, how did that lesson change you or the way that you work or lead life?”  


Terry: This year marks my 40th year working in community mental health. I believe that the most important lesson I’ve learned over this time is to accept the pervasive lack of permanence and closure in what we do. Our field is very messy and constantly evolving, even when it appears to be standing still. As a person who seeks out security and stability, this has been a tough lesson. Being able to embrace change and accept the realization that your career will be unfinished business, isn’t easy for many of us to admit. Fortunately our failures, as well as our successes, (Kipling’s two imposters) are in the rearview mirror before we even know it.    

Over time I have seen colleagues make graceful and not so graceful exits from organizations to which they had dedicated their professional lives. Those who were most resilient seemed to be those who were best able to appreciate the transient nature of things. They were able to work hard to accomplish things that they knew wouldn’t last and accept the fact that even the best things in this life are time-limited.


Besides being President and CEO of LifeSpring, Inc., Terry has been active in community mental health for more than 35 years and has worked at five different CMHCs over the years. He is a licensed school psychologist, mental health counselor, clinical addictions counselor, and a certified psychiatric rehabilitation practitioner.

Terry is the author of How to Be a Responsible Father: A Workbook for Offenders, and co-author with his wife Diane E. Stawar, LCC, LMHC, of How to Be a Responsible Mother: A Workbook for Offenders, both published by the American Correctional Association. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Florida Council for Community Mental Health and the Board of Directors of the Indiana Council of Community Mental Health Centers. He also consults on strategic planning for  not-for-profit organizations, writes two blogs and a weekly newspaper column for the Southern Indiana Evening News and Tribune.


Stay tuned for more “BH Blogger Buzz” pieces, and be sure to check out Terry Stawar’s blog posts.