Counseling, like all relationships, is healthy and grows stronger when it’s built on a foundation of mutual trust. I don’t take for granted that everyone coming to me for help fully trusts me. I work hard to prove and maintain my trustworthiness with my clients. To help start that, here’s a little bit about me, including my education, experiences and some of my philosophy of counseling.
My first two, and my greatest, qualifications are that I have been married 23+ years and have five children. I know lots of theories about making relationships work, but I also know what it’s like to try to build a strong marriage and family in the real world, with all its challenges. I have more than twenty five years’ experience in Christian ministry, including counseling individuals, couples, and families. I am a retired U.S. Air Force chaplain, with a combat tour of duty in Iraq. I have been featured in several newspapers, US Air Force’s website and Department of Defense’s Real Warriors program for my work in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Suicide Intervention. I have extensive training and experience as a life and relationship coach and conflict mediator and enjoy helping people resolve conflict in relationships, whether in marriage, family, communities, businesses, or churches. I hold Masters of Arts in Theological Studies, Masters of Divinity, specializing in Pastoral Counseling, and Doctor of Ministry in Marriage and Family Counseling degrees. I am Board Certified by the International Board of Christian Professional and Pastoral Counselors in both Pastoral and Christian Counseling and am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate with the State of Texas.
My ideal couple’s counseling client is one that wants to improve their relationship and is willing to take personal responsibility for their part in making it happen, even if they don’t know exactly what that looks like. They don’t come in looking for me to ‘fix’ their spouse, but come in seeking help from a wise partner to help improve themselves and then their relationship. The ideal client has a moral base through faith in a personal relationship with God to draw on when facing difficult times.
I have served in combat as a military chaplain and understand the costs of war. Although it is usually a misspelling, many couples have come to believe that marital and martial are the same thing. But it’s not supposed to be that way. Couples aren’t supposed to be enemies in war. Marriage is supposed to be a team sport. I can’t think of any team sport where one teammate wins and another loses. Can you? I bring my training and experience to bear to help couples win in marriage. My experiences in the military during years of war have given me compassion and understanding for the challenges faced by our military and first responders and their families. Making life and death decisions and facing one’s own potential injury or death, as well as others’, changes and costs a person significantly. My desire is to continue to come alongside our military and first responders and their families and help honor them by helping them not have to sacrifice their marriages or families in service to others.
I understand the struggles of relationships, especially marriage. We are supposed to learn how to be married well by watching Dad and Mom demonstrate it to us as we grow up. If they didn’t do a good job, where would you learn how to have a great marriage? That’s where I come in. I help give tools & hope to help couples build incredible relationships.
So many people who come to me for counseling are just stuck. I view one of my primary jobs in counseling is to work myself out of a job with each client. I want to get everyone to the point where they say, “Dr. John, I/We’ll take it from here.” It won’t be because everything is perfect, because none of us are. It would usually come because enough issues/concerns have been resolved, new tools have been learned and practiced, and more hope has been infused so that you can continue to work without my help. If you get stuck again, seek help early and get unstuck more quickly.