After earning a BA in psychology at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, Louis finished his PhD in clinical psychology at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas in 1980. His clinical internship year was completed at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.
Louis then joined the professional staff of Baylor Scott & White Health (then Scott & White Clinic) in Temple, Texas. He is licensed to practice psychology by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists. Louis became a Diplomate in Clinical Psychology through the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) in 1995, a designation signifying the profession’s highest standards in clinical practice.
Early in his career as a psychologist, Louis decided to specialize in counseling patients who are dying or bereaved. In 2008, the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) recognized Louis’s professional endeavors with its Clinical Practice Award for excellence in care of people who are bereaved or nearing death. His textbook, Ethical Practice in Grief Counseling (Springer Publishing Company, 2009) co-authored with R. Hal Ritter, PhD is the only one of its kind in the field explaining how clinicians can maintain their ethical compass throughout the everyday rigors of grief counseling.
In addition to work in end-of-life care, grief, and bereavement, Louis has an interest in evaluating and treating clergy. Since 1998, Louis has performed psychological screening of applicants seeking to be ordained as permanent deacons in the Catholic Church for several dioceses in Texas. Louis is considered a national expert on clergy evaluation and addressed the National Association of Deacon Directors (NADD) in 2016 in Houston, Texas.
As a professional educator, Louis is program director for the Postdoctoral Fellowship Program in Clinical Health Psychology at Baylor Scott & White Health. Louis is founder and program director for the Baylor Scott & White Biennial Bereavement Conferences begun in 1997. The conferences were permanently endowed in Louis’s honor in 2000 by the Texas-based Volney A. Acheson Endowment Fund. The 12th conference in the series will be held on the Temple campus of Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in September, 2021.
In 2018-2019, Louis served as President of the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC), an international, multidisciplinary professional society promoting excellence in end-of-life care, grief counseling, and death education.
Louis and his wife, Marla, an elementary educator, are parents to four children. Their third child, Anthony Francis, died shortly after birth from complications of trisomy 18, a genetic disorder associated with several birth anomalies, including a fatal heart condition. Louis’s personal experiences with losing a child inspired him to write his first book for bereaved parents and grandparents, When Your Baby Dies Through Miscarriage or Stillbirth (Augsburg Fortress, 2002). This widely read self-help book has been translated into Italian (Quando Si Perde Un Bimbo) and Mandarin.
Louis’s scripture reflections grow out of his lifelong practice of the Catholic faith and immersion in sacred texts. He strives for clear expression of ideas that appeal to the “person in the pew” actively pursuing a spiritual journey. Louis believes that the Bible contains an endless supply of inspiration, encouragement, and personal meaning just waiting to be discovered.