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    Ten Words That Describe Me

    For a class recently I had to go on social media and ask my friends what words they would use to describe me. I was pleasantly surprised that 68 people responded, and the ten words that surfaced the most were: authentic/real, passionate, hilarious, loving, wise, insightful, thoughtful, empathetic, intuitive, and sincere. I’d say these are pretty accurate, it’s what I’ve heard about myself all my life.

    Wanting None to Suffer

    In fifth grade I switched school districts, and endured constant bullying over the next five years. I remember one morning in middle school being on the bus, and one of the kids my age saying, “I can’t wait until we’re seniors so we can be the ones bullying everybody else.” I was too timid at the time to say it but I remember thinking, “Or we can become seniors and remember how awful it felt being bullied, and make sure that never happens to anyone else.” That’s just how I’ve always been wired, somehow knowing from the earliest age the deep truth in the words of Father Richard Rohr, “You must transform your pain, or you will surely transmit it.”

    Helping people with their pain has been my gift, my calling, and my privilege. 

    Everybody has pain. And how a person handles their pain is largely what makes them who they are. Some ignore it. Some grow really needy and want others to rescue/heal/fix them. Some become addicted. Some minimize it and blow it off by saying, “I just gave it to God, so I’m good now.” But a courageous few admit it, allow it to teach them and make them better, and get down to business and do the work. I’ve always tried to be that kind of person, and for 28 years as a pastor and counselor I have found that helping other people transform their pain, heal from it, make their mess their message, has been my gift, my calling, and my privilege.

    Hobbies

    Technology has always fascinated me and I’m into computers, smart phones, almost anything that needs to plug in and charge.

    Learning. Reading, podcasts, classes, anything I can learn about anything is good for me.

    I work a lot and really enjoy it, particularly blogging and social media.

    Favorite Foods

    I’m completely unoriginal when it comes to food. My favorites are the usual: Pizza, Movie theater popcorn, Oreos, Dark chocolate, and pretty much all pasta and carbs, I’m afraid.

     

    Most embarrassing moment

    Years ago I was interviewed on the morning show on a local TV network. I got mic’d up and sat down in my place next to the journalist who was set to do the interview. The camera rolled, she asked the first question, and I froze. Completely. Deer in the headlights. I always get nervous with media stuff but had never choked that hard and, thank God, still haven’t anytime since.

    Hardest thing I've ever been through

    You don’t get into your 50s without having a number of really hard things happen to you, but certainly one of the hardest was losing my dad.

    Dreams unfulfilled

    Publication of my book

    Dinner with my wife under the Eiffel Tower

    Being able to start a foundation to send kids to college

    Random stuff about me

    Therapy can be awkward enough sometimes, and if it helps you even slightly to have some idea about my background and who I am as a person, that’s awesome.

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    Professional

    I help struggling couples connect to each other again, and create passion, peace, and happiness together.

    There are other ways of saying it, things I hear from my clients all the time. I help people “communicate” better, to hear and understand each other, to “get on the same page.” People come to me feeling lonely, angry, frustrated, humiliated. They are often desperate. They have often tried couple counseling before but felt like the counselor had no idea how to help them. People come to me hoping it will be different this time, and I give them hope that it can and will be.

    When I do something, I’ve always had the drive to want to stand out, to be known as someone who is good at what they do. This is important to me, and it will benefit you directly if you become my client!

    So if you want your car fixed, I’m not your guy. If you want your taxes done, not my thing. But if you are sad, lonely, frustrated, tired, hurting, and desperate for a professional who knows how to help you transform your pain, to fix the most important relationship in your life, I want to meet you because I’m pretty sure I can help you. And I want you to feel you can trust me and let me do what I do best.

    What I Do Differently Than Other Therapists

    My approach is very teaching-based. Every week you will be learning. And along with the teaching will usually be specific exercises/assignments I will have you do at home.

    During session I want you to be completely dialed into what we’re doing, not busy taking notes. So after most sessions I’ll send both of you a session summary, which will summarize the teaching, remind you of the steps to do the assignment, and sometimes even provide links to books or videos that may be helpful.

    In this way you are getting not just 50 minutes of my time, but stuff you can continue to read, process through, and work on all week.