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In this short video I discuss how, for those interested, I allow the best of therapy approaches to flow together with a larger exploration of spirituality, values, or purpose.

Here are a few thoughts about choosing a good couple counselor and learning to let go of "happily ever after" for something better I call "soulfully ever after."

Welcome! I am a psychologist, marriage counselor, and life coach with thirty-five years of experience providing services to individuals, couples, and families.  I work with people who live near Toledo and by telephone or video conference with those who live farther away.


My Ph.D. is in Psychology is from Ohio State, but I began my undergraduate work at the University of Michigan. (This means that on a certain football Saturday in late November I'm a bit torn!) Before going into full-time private practice in 1995, I was the Executive Director of a large mental health center for children and families in crisis in the Toledo, Ohio area. As a consulting psychologist, I authored a manual of best practices in mental health that sold throughout the United States and in fifteen other countries. I have provided training to hundreds of clinicians on effective individual and couples therapy. 

About My Approach to Counseling, Psychotherapy, and Coaching

People are often anxious before a first session, so I hope the information below can make that first phone call or session a bit less uncertain.


The initial phone call:

I believe in giving people an opportunity to talk directly with me before deciding about scheduling an appointment. I often hear that people take the step to call someone and are only able to talk to scheduling staff about payment matters or setting up a first session. I want you to get a feel for who I am and decide if you want to take the next step. In that initial free 10-15 minute call I'll ask about the concerns that have led you to seek therapy. I will answer questions you may have for me about my experience, how I do my work, payment, or anything else. I may share a few thoughts about your situation in that first call just to give you a sense of how we might begin if you choose to be in therapy with me.


The first session:

In the first meeting (after all the fun HIPAA stuff!) I'll ask a bit about you as a whole human being before we zero in on what's brought you to therapy--basic stuff, like your work or schooling, who you live with, and what you enjoy about life when you're in your best energy. What a person is "into" can give me clues about the kinds of metaphors that might be helpful as we discuss your situation.

Perhaps the most important thing about a first meeting with a therapist is to see if you felt a click and some hopefulness that this person is going to be helpful. Despite therapists' fascination with techniques, the strongest finding in therapy research is that the quality of the relationship that develops between you and your therapist is by far the best predictor of outcome. Thousands of studies have led to this conclusion. It's important that you like and trust your therapist and feel they have expertise that can help you. A first session can give you a fair amount of information on these basic aspects of deciding whether to keep meeting with someone. 

What is therapy with me like?

If you work with me you'll be meeting with a professional with lots of training and clinical experience, but you'll also be with someone who strives to practice what he teaches. Therapists are real people too--people who know that life has its challenges for everyone.


I ground my work in seeing each person as a sacred human being. This innate sacredness (with "sacred" meaning "worthy of reverence and respect") is true of you no matter how hard your life has been, what has happened to you, or what mistakes you've made. Often people see this innate goodness in others but have great difficulty seeing it in themselves. I also ground my work in non-judgment. I haven't heard everything in 35 years, but I've heard a lot, and I greet it all with compassionate interest, curiosity, and the desire to be a healing presence.


If you work with me you won't get a canned approach. Instead, I'll get to know you and bring the best I can to your situation from many models of therapy. I want to create a unique approach to therapy with every person, couple, or family with whom I work.


People who have worked with me for a while know that I like to use metaphors, images, humor, and stories that help make the ideas we are working on stick with you. I use both "talk therapy" and creative approaches that enact or make real the ideas we are discussing. This enactment approach has been shown to help ideas stay with people for a long time. If a young client is resistant to talking but likes basketball, we might do a session while shooting hoops together. If a person wants to learn grounding skills and loves nature, we might go practice outside among the trees. If you love chess, photography, or art, we might find a way to incorporate those things into the work. Instead of just talking about mindfulness meditation, we'll try doing some of it together. (I particularly like standing in the rain as a way to practice acceptance of what's here in the moment--but its up to you whether to join me!) There's no set template for therapy. I just take you where you are and bring creative and effective ideas and practices to your life situation.


Spirituality, meaning, purpose, and practice

For those who value it, I include an ongoing exploration of spiritual dimensions of suffering and healing. "Spiritual" might mean religious faith if that's important to you. Or it might mean creating your best life based on your values and your sense of meaning and purpose. I am privileged to work with people of a variety of faiths and with many who don't identify with any religion or spiritual worldview.


My approach with most patients emphasizes daily practice. Whether it be in a sport, playing a musical instrument, or in personal growth, nothing gets results like daily practice. If you want the results of therapy to hold up over time, it's important to build some new things into your daily life.

What to expect in couple counseling with me

My learning about love and relationships personally has paralleled learning about it professionally. (I was married and started my PhD training in psychology in 1985.) From the first semester at Ohio State, I wanted to know which professors knew the most about working with couples. Over my career, I have worked with thousands of couples, including many struggling with infidelity, addiction, chronic conflict, low intimacy, sexual problems, and other issues. I use approaches from the world's top relationship experts, especially John and Julie Gottman and Susan Johnson.


I invite couples who need to heal from deep hurt or want to create their best relationship to learn about what I call "the new true love." This is a set of ideas and practices that goes far deeper into what it's actually like to create a deep and fulfilling long-term committed relationship. This includes learning about how to process conflict, how to practice being centered enough to respond rather than react to your partner, and how to develop secure attachment, emotional intimacy, affection, friendship, and sexual intimacy. It also involves learning about toxins that can destroy relationships.

Is coaching different from therapy?

When people call for counseling or therapy they are usually at a difficult point in life or in crisis. Some people call me instead for life coaching. In coaching, the focus is not on treating a problem but on creating one's best life. Coaching clients want to look at the big picture of their lives and put clear goals and processes in place to keep things moving in the direction of growth. Coaching can address anything in your life, including relationships, work, spirituality (or meaning, purpose, and values), transitioning, and much more.

If you are interested in my psychotherapy, marriage counseling, or coaching services I can be reached by calling (419) 785-8645 or emailing  I will be back in touch with you promptly!

35 Lessons
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5 Fun Marriage Images
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Here are five weird, wacky, and fun images I've used in talks and with couples to get at some important truths about marriage. Enjoy!

The Talking Cure
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Since the days of Freud therapy has been called the "talking cure." Here are ten things you might find "curative" about the talking cure.

Here are thirty-five things I've learned about therapy and about being human after thirty-five years of listening to thousands of people.

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I've worked with couples since the beginning of my training. Here are thirty-five reflections on thirty-five years of working with couples

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