M. Gabriela Failing, EdD, LPC
Dr. Gaby was born in San Jose, Costa Rica. She immigrated to South Carolina in 2000, and is a 2003 graduate of Hilton Head Island High School. She moved to Columbia, SC, in 2005, and graduated cum laude from the University of South Carolina in December, 2006. After obtaining her Bachelor of Arts in Experimental Psychology, Gabriela pursued a Master of Arts degree in Professional Counseling from South University, graduating with high honors in June, 2008. Gabriela resumed her studies with Argosy University in March, 2009. She graduated with her Doctor of Education in Counseling Psychology degree in October, 2011.
Dr. Gaby began her career helping children with special needs and their families as an autism service coordinator for the Richland/Lexington Disabilities and Special Needs Board. This experience would lead her to what is one of her biggest passions today: working closely with children with autism and their parents as they adjust to the diagnosis. After becoming a parent in 2008, Dr. Gaby transitioned into a job as a vocational rehabilitation counselor helping adults with disabilities obtain and maintain competitive employment. In 2010, she left the Columbia area and relocated to Beaufort where she joined the Beaufort Memorial Hospital family as a member of the outpatient medical social services department.
After founding Thrive, Dr. Gaby began pursuing additional training and experience working with children and adolescents who had experienced abuse and neglect or other traumatic events. She transitioned from Beaufort Memorial Hospital to Hope Haven of the Lowcountry, as her passion for helping this population grew. As a therapist for Hope Haven, Dr. Failing provided trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy to children and adolescents. By late 2015, Dr. Gaby transitioned into private practice full time.
Dr. Gaby is avid about helping families and children access needed services and supports and loves seeing families function at their best. Her professional experience also includes career counseling, supporting women diagnosed with breast cancer, and helping individuals cope with terminal illness, as well as helping those with severe mental illness. In addition to her work, Dr. Gaby enjoys teaching future counselors and helping professionals about the field that is so dear to her. She has taught graduate, and doctoral-level students at South University as well as University of the Rockies and continues to teach undergraduate students at Park University. Today, she also supports future-helping professionals by training graduate-level interns. She has hosted students from Florida State University, University of Southern California, University of South Carolina, and South University.
She believes humans have the capacity to manage and solve their own difficulties, if provided with the right tools, support, and the empowerment to do so. Dr. Gaby hopes to become a Gottman certified therapist in the near future. She has completed Levels 1 and 2 of the Gottman Method Couples Therapy clinical training as of May, 2019, and plans to complete Level 3 in the near future.