I know that finding a therapist can be tough. How do you pick someone that you’ll potentially invite into the most private parts of your life just from looking at their website? What if you spend all that time, money, and emotional energy, and you end up not liking them? Thoughts like these may be going through your mind as you look for a therapist. They’d certainly be going through mine. That's why I've put this page on here - so you can get to know a little bit more about me.
I received a Bachelor’s degree in Family Studies with a minor in Psychology from Brigham Young University. During my undergraduate years I gained a love for helping people through their struggles. I wanted to stay at BYU, because with a rejection rate of over 90% (i.e., they accept less than 10% of their applicants) and the most extensive faculty in the nation at the time, BYU's Masters Marriage and Family Therapy(MFT) program is widely considered one of the best in the nation. Somehow (I still don't know how...I had a really bad cold on the day of interviews!) I was accepted into the program, and graduated two years later. Two articles from my master's thesis on enactments (a technique in marital therapy) were published in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, the top family therapy journal in the world. I've since been pleased to learn that those articles are used widely in training programs throughout the nation (and even a few programs in Asia). (You can read more about this and my other studies on the research page.)
From there I moved to Blacksburg, Virginia to get a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in MFT at Virginia Tech. My family and I had a lot of fun enjoying the southern hospitality of the Appalachian mountains and Hokie football. While at VT, my dissertation proposal won the nationally competitive 2004 Graduate Student Research Award presented by the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, my field's national professional organization. A year later my completed doctoral dissertation won the nationally-competitive 2005 AAMFT Dissertation Award. That was a real honor for me, because nobody had ever won both awards before or since. I have since published several professional articles and two books based on my dissertation
From Virginia Tech my family and I moved to Lexington, Kentucky to complete my doctoral internship and post-doctoral training as a temporary faculty in the MFT program at the University of Kentucky. We loved all of the green, rolling hills and immaculate horse farms (and basketball!) in Lexington (although the camping was an eye-opener -- if you ever go camping in rural Kentucky, be sure to check whether it is the campground's "Official NASCAR Fans Weekend")!
My Current Job as a Professor
Even though the East coast is beautiful and we'd made a lot of friends out there, my family and I were excited to come back west (we're west-coasters at heart) to take a job as Assistant Professor and Clinical Coordinator in Alliant International University's Sacramento Campus. The program had only been open for one year, and there was only one other core faculty member, so there was plenty of work to do! Alliant is one of the foremost MFT training programs on the west coast, and the only COAMFTE Accredited (the highest level of MFT accreditation in the United States) MFT Training program in Northern California, so I was honored to be invited to join their faculty. A year later the program director moved and I accepted a promotion to his role. I directed the program for five years, during which time I was fortunate enough to oversee the hiring of several new faculty, the opening of our doctoral program, and substantial growth in our master's program. I was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor with tenure in the middle of all that. I also co-authored several books during that time. A year after I stepped down from the director role I was promoted to the rank of Full Professor, which is where I remain today.
Today I enjoy teaching classes, helping students with their dissertations, writing and conducting research, and serving on different university committees. My university has an international focus, so I take advantage of as many opportunities to teach study abroad courses as possible. The picture above is from a class a colleague and I recently taught in Italy. It's a far better life than I could have anticipated!
As you probably gathered, I'm a bit of a workaholic. I'm also a big believer in the "work hard, play hard" mantra, so my family and I are always off on some adventure. I've been married since 1998. My wife and I have four beautiful children that are growing up way too fast! I love traveling with them; we've been all over the United States. I also enjoy traveling around the world for various professional opportunities. I was raised in a beautiful rural corner of Utah, so I enjoy anything outdoors - hiking, camping, cycling, rafting, snowboarding, etc. The picture above is of the small farming community where I grew up. I've also been obsessed with cars since I was a little boy, so I'm always scheming ways to own fun cars (I'm very lucky in that regard to have a supportive wife!) I'm a big fan of European motorsport, in particular Audi's racing team. On my bucket list is to attend the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France before 2020. I'll let you know how it goes!