top of page
ernest ellender phd portrait as bjj black belt

—  Life Coach // Trauma Coach // BJJ Coach

—  3rd degree Black Belt (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu)

—  Entrepreneur // Small Business(es) Owner

—  PhD in Clinical Psychology (2007)

—  Author (2024)

Born and raised along the bayous of South Louisiana. Attended high school at Jesuit of New Orleans. Education continued locally and abroad (California, New York, Florence [Italy]), finishing with a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (2007) from Palo Alto University. Earned Black Belt in Guerrilla Jiu-Jitsu in 2008, and started my first small business (martial arts academy) the same year. Transitioned to Coaching in 2022 from private practice as a Clinical Psychologist after 15 years of dedicated service. I draw from my personal experiences in psychology, martial arts, and entrepreneurial endeavors to offer coaching programs for clients in Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes, as well as online telecoaching.

Since 2000, I’ve helped clients break through obstacles that were holding them back. Life's too short to be unhappy, unsure, or unfulfilled. I am here to help my clients achieve a more positive outlook on life, and provide them with the tools necessary to get them there. Let me help you learn and develop better ways to handle the issues that are standing in the way of your goals.

A little about me

Experiences relevant to Coaching

Education Background

2007 - PhD in Clinical Psychology (Palo Alto University)

1999 - BA in Psychology (Nicholls State University)

1995 - BA in English (Nicholls State University)

1991 - Jesuit High School (Magna Cum Laude)

Education was heavily emphasized in my family, and I was driven to get a terminal degree, eventually earning a Doctorate of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology. I greatly value my entire education, from Jesuit High School all the way to that PhD. Considering the modern picture in education, however, I do not believe that this path is the smartest for everyone. Many occupational and entrepreneurial goals can be more efficiently achieved without the additional costs (of time, money, and efforts) of many higher education programs. I enjoy the process of fine-tuning with coaching clients the most efficient path towards their ultimate goals.

Ernest Ellender PhD crossfit houma logo

Martial arts journey

1991 - Japanese Jiu-Jitsu (one year)

2000 - Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (initiated)

2008 - Black Belt in Guerrilla Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)

2008 - Opened Evolution Training, LLC (martial arts academy)

2021 - 3rd Degree Black Belt earned

If you forced me to choose between my PhD in Clinical Psychology and my black belt in BJJ, I believe the total value of my martial arts training, instruction, and community would win the day! Book smarts are important, and very useful when jobs demand such academic skills; however, the life skills and experiences garnered through two and a half decades of martial arts life have significantly contributed to the best of who I am now. Mental and physical toughness, adaptability, strategy, community, common sense, work ethic, courage, must come to terms with all of these on a weekly basis to live the martial arts lifestyle.

ernest ellender phd nicholls professor portrait
ernest ellender phd clinical psychology phd diploma
ernest ellender phd logo

Entrepreneurial Endeavors

2007 - Evolution Training, LLC (Martial Arts & CrossFit Studio)

2010 - Ernest Ellender, PhD, LLC (Private practice)

2022 - Ernest Ellender Life Coaching

2024 - Self-Published Author

The mainstream 'rat race' of working full-time as an employee has its benefits of security, well-defined workloads and hours, and health/retirement benefits. Stepping outside of this system to become one's own boss, to start something new, or to chase personal dreams can be daunting, exhaustive, and genuinely risky in many ways. I hold great admiration for those bold, ambitious, and willing enough to get their own endeavor off the ground. I thoroughly enjoy the energy of such endeavors, and enjoy sharing with coaching clients the many lessons I learned the hard way!

Both of my Limited Liability Companies have survived numerous challenges over the past decade and a half, including hurricanes (Ida was rough), COVID lockdowns, and community economic downturns. Small business life is challenging indeed!

ernest ellender phd author scene for book about trauma

Author project

15-Years as Clinical Psychologist

Upon graduation, I first worked as Assistant Director of the Counseling Center at Nicholls University where I worked with students, staff, and faculty as both therapist and administrator. Additionally, I thoroughly enjoyed teaching graduate level psychology classes at Nicholls (which I did for 7 years). After getting licensed in 2010, I joined a small private clinic in Thibodaux where I worked with community individuals and families for over ten years before entering solo private practice as a psychotherapist.

My career in psychology has given me a solid foundation of formal education, extensive training, and over 20 years of experience in working directly with individuals struggling with various mental health issues. This foundation gave me the confidence to break away from the confinements of the psychology field (insurance, bureaucratic regulation, narrow focus) and enter the ambitious occupation of Life Coaching.

I remain forever grateful to the hundreds of amazing people that I both served and learned from throughout my academic training and 15 years as a Clinical Psychologist.

ernest ellender phd life coach on vacation

Coaching and beyond

My decision to shift to coaching from psychotherapy was not taken lightly! Insurance companies and paperwork requirements had always been an unpleasant part of psychology. As I began taking coaching clients, I found they tend to be more ambitiously motivated towards concrete goals. Perhaps this is because they are paying 'full price' instead of a $20 copay (through insurance) for each session, and therefore they want to make sure they get their money's worth!


Whatever the case, I have found the efficient pace, action-orientation, and high motivation of clients combine into an exhilarating coach-client dynamic. I spend less time doing insurance paperwork, and more time planning and cheering clients' proactive behaviors and successes in moving toward their relationship and life goals!

This Is How We Heal from Painful Childhoods:

A Practical Guide for Healing Past

Intergenerational Stress and Trauma

— Ernest Ellender, PhD

After years of assisting individual clients, I wanted to reach beyond my local communities and contribute to the broader population of trauma survivors worldwide. So I got busy writing! My goal was to present my holistic and systematic curriculum for addressing family trauma.


It is my hope that individual survivors, family members, friends, and therapists alike with benefit from the book's 20 rules that prevent family stress and trauma from automatically passing down to the next generation.

Authoring this book was a tedious process that pushed the bounds of my discipline and drive over the 7+ years that it took as a 'first-time author'. As with any worthy endeavor, the final result was worth the efforts!

bottom of page