My name is Tony. I have been meeting with couples for over 20 years and been married for 17.
At the outset, I want to recognize that relationships are not easy. Communication can break down. Infidelity can destroy trust. Even happy life transitions can upset the good patterns we work hard to form. While relationships can be a profound source of companionship, during rough patches, we can feel unseen, unheard, and lonely; even our partner’s presence can become a source of irritation. Even been there?
The good news is that you do not need to walk this road by yourself. There is hope. The truth is no one steps into a relationship or marriage with all the tools one needs to thrive. Most of us need help along the way.
And this is where I come in. With me, you will grow both personally and relationally. Personally, you will live more fully out of your authentic self, cultivate habits to help you flourish and identify barriers getting in the way. You will learn to say “yes” to the things that bring you life.
Relationally, you will improve your communication and build intimacy so fights become conversations which lead to knowing one another more deeply. You will identify the destructive dances in your relationship and learn new ways of being together—so that you laugh and play together again. Don’t assume your current experience is all there is.
Education & Relevant Experience
I grew up in a divorced home and a blended family. My parents and stepparents did not know how to communicate well. There was infidelity and lots of conflict. If I am honest, a lot of my childhood was a mess. My parents needed help but never got it. They did not know God and just tried to do it all on their own.
I encountered the person of Jesus in college, and it changed my life. I had never read the bible or known a Christian my age. It was quite a transition for me—as God began to not only rescue me but transform my life.
After college, God called me to work with youth and their families as a counselor in Santa Clara County at a Christian group home. I worked there for four years before earning a Masters in Biblical Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary and joining a church staff in San Jose, Ca. I have served as a pastor at three different churches on the West Coast, earned a Doctorate in Ministry from Fuller, and most recently planted a church (in 2017) in Pacific Grove, Ca where I currently serve as Lead Pastor.
Along the way, the mental health challenges affecting couples, families, and individuals in the broader community led me to also earn a Masters in Psychology from California Southern University. I feel called to serve as both as pastor and a therapist and offer both my theological and phycological training in service of the broader Christian community.
I currently meet with couples on-line and in-person in Pacific Grove, California.
What is Christian Counseling?
Whether it is anxiety at work or school, grief, a life transition, or conflict in your marriage — you want guidance that takes your faith into consideration. You are looking for someone who is going to respect and understand where you are coming from. Ultimately, you want someone who is going to “get” you and is comfortable with your convictions. Maybe you have even sought out advice from friends and family members. Perhaps, you have even gone and spoken with your pastor. Or even small group members. Still, you remain overwhelmed and looking for answers and help, wondering, “I’m a Christian. I’m not supposed to feel this way.”
The truth is we all have burdens and need a community to help us carry them. As a pastor for the last twenty years, meeting with hundreds of individuals and couples, I get it.
Life is complex and integrating one's faith into the mix can be daunting. But faith can also be a pivotal key to the healing process and cultivating resilience. You can trust that I will encourage (not deconstruct) your faith while also accompanying you on your healing journey.
But what really is Christian counseling? Is it just secular counseling with a few bible verses sprinkled in? Big picture, Christian counseling focuses on the care of the whole person, body, soul, and spirit and upholds the perspectives, convictions, and values taught in the bible.
The goal of Christian counseling is to help people heal and grow while simultaneously grounding their hope and life in Jesus Christ.
Christian counseling utilizes the best of psychosocial theory and interventions but within a biblical and theological (rather than secular) frame. Christian counseling helps clients achieve a better self-understanding and relationship with God while using biblical and therapeutic concepts to work through trauma, anxiety, depression, grief, and relational struggles. Christian counseling enables clients to connect their mental health treatment with their faith creating a more holistic approach to therapy. And as a result, clients often experience not only deep psychological healing but profound spiritual growth.
Infidelity can be a stunning shock to any marriage or committed relationship. Intense and confusing emotions surface. The pain and betrayal can be so overwhelming that you might wonder whether the relationship can ever recover. You may wonder whether you want it to continue. Learning to trust a partner after infidelity is incredibly difficult. Whether the affair was emotional or physical, on-line or in person, affair recovery is a process that does not happen quickly. Safety and boundaries need to be established. Trust needs to be slowly rebuilt. I have walked with many couples through this process. While it is not an easy journey, I have found that some relationships grow stronger and more initiate through the affair recovery process. I believe that I can help.
The author of Ecclesiastes writes,
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (Ecc 3:1).
He is talking about life transitions. Life transitions can be planned or unplanned, exciting, or scary. It can be a new job, marriage, or child. Or it can be prompted by the death of a loved one or other negative life events. Whether the life transition is planned or unplanned, fun, or hard, I have found that life transitions can be times of profound growth. My role is to help you navigate these life transitions so that you do not get struck, by helping you identify what is going on inside of you so that you can live with a deep sense of joy and integrity. How we navigate these transitions often has large impacts on the rest of our life.
Counseling for Pastors / Ministers
Having been a pastor for nearly 20 years, I understand the demands of ministry. I get the obligations and struggles of ministry. I understand the isolation it can create as well as the ways it can affect the family and one’s marriage. One gets into ministry because God has called, and one wants to be faithful. But as the task list grows longer and your responsibilities mount, the burden can affect you. The purpose, joy, and excitement you once felt can feel like a distant memory. You still feel called to the work but wonder to yourself as you sit at home at night, "Am I cut out for this? Am I failure for feeling this way?" Can you relate? Being in ministry is not easy and sometimes we need someone to walk with us who gets it. Let me help.
· Premarital Counseling
· Cultural Issues
· Couples Counseling
· Family Conflict
· Separation Therapy
· Life Transitions
· Solution Focused Therapy
· Existential Therapy
· Emotion Focused Therapy
· Person Centered