What made you decide to become a psychologist?
When I was in college, I worked at a youth home as a tutor. Children were placed at the facility after experiencing some abuse or neglect in their home life. Many of the situations were very sad. However, that experience taught me some very important life lessons.
#1. People CAN change. Certainly there are biological limits placed on all of us (I’ll never be a professional basketball player for example), however, people can change! It may not always look the way we expect it to (and is often much slower), but I’ve seen it hundreds of times. I’ve seen it in children, teenagers, couples, families, and seniors. Trust me, when you have motivated individuals, God’s guidance, and a decent tour guide (counselor/psychologist) – great things are possible.
#2. Never, never give up on people. Many of the children at the youth home had experienced unspeakable pain and loss, yet, with love and nurturance and (lots of) patience came incredible growth. Eighteen years later, I still hear from these “kids” occasionally. I am amazed at what they have accomplished.
It is the hope that with God’s help, we can all change for the better. That is what made me want to become a psychologist. Even now, when doubt creeps in, I am thankful for my patients that provide compelling reminders that our futures are not determined by our circumstances or genetics.
How would you describe what therapy looks like in your office?
Truthfully, my therapy probably looks a little different with everyone. That said, I tend to be fairly active and practical in session. I do my best to create an environment where individuals can come and be honest with themselves, me, or someone else. I want people to feel safe talking about topics that are difficult or embarrassing to discuss. This is important as I have found power of a problem is often directly correlated to how secretive it is. I try to bring light to those areas by listening and providing honest feedback.
Do you have a particular theory or type of treatment you use?
I feel it is a little irresponsible to attempt to treat many different problems using the same solution. Therefore, I tend to utilize different treatments for different problems. The most common therapies I utilize are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Systems, Behavioral, and Experiential. Usually I am using some combination of these techniques but often I will focus on one if it is best suited for a particular problem.
Tell us a little about your life away from work.
I have 4 girls, one boy, and another daughter that went to be with Jesus in 2013. We love to spend time outdoors working in the garden and building things. I also enjoy movies, technology, business, and friends.
If they made a movie about your life who would play you?
Let’s get something straight- no one would ever make a movie about me. However, I have had patients tell me I look like George Lopez, Jack Black, Taylor Lautner (stop laughing) and Mark Ruffalo. I can’t make this stuff up!