Meet-our-counselors

Meet Our Team of Expert Counselors

Bob-Paul

Robert S. Paul, LPC

Vice President, Focus on the Family Marriage Institute

Robert received his Bachelor’s Degree from Evangel University, his Master’s Degree from Georgia State University, and a Diploma in Christian Counseling and an honorary doctorate from Psychological Studies Institute. He holds a license in the states of Missouri, Georgia, and Michigan as a Professional Counselor. He is an accomplished speaker who presents regularly at professional conferences and enrichment events both nationally and internationally.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television programs and has co-authored three books; The DNA of Relationships, with Drs. Gary and Greg Smalley, The DNA of Relationships for Couples, with Dr. Greg Smalley, and Finding Ever After.

He is a former professor at Evangel University where he taught in both the Biblical Studies and Psychology departments, specializing in Marriage and Family Counseling, Human Sexuality, and the integration of faith into all areas of life. Robert and his wife, Jenni, live in Springfield, Missouri, have been married for over 38 years. They have four children and five grandchildren.

Robert K. Burbee, PhD

Licensed Psychologist
Clinical Director

Robert K. Burbee, PhD

Dr. Bob Burbee has 26 years of experience as a licensed psychologist working with individuals, couples, families, and groups. Bob and his wife, Mary Jo, are active in their church contributing to children and family ministries including facilitating a Sunday school class for engaged and young married couples. Bob and Mary Jo have four children and reside in Springfield, Missouri.

Brett K. Sparks, PsyD

Licensed Psychologist
Clinical Site Supervisor, Missouri

Brett K. Sparks, PsyD

Dr. Brett Sparks is a licensed psychologist who joined the Intensive team in 2003. He currently serves as an Intensive therapist as well as contributor to the aftercare and research programs for Focus on the Family. Dr. Sparks and his wife, Jennifer, live in Branson, MO. They have experienced the challenges and joys of marriage since their journey began in 1993. They spend much of their time today trying to keep up with their three children.

Sara Lynema, PsyD

Licensed Psychologist
Clinical Site Supervisor, Michigan

Sara Lynema, PsyD

Dr. Sara Lynema earned a BA in Psychology from the University of Michigan, an MA in Clinical Psychology from the Illinois Institute of Professional Psychology, and a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology through Wheaton College. In addition to serving as an intensive therapist, she also operates as the Clinical Site Supervisor for the Michigan clinical team. Sara has been practicing in Michigan since 2010. Sara has gained specialized training in couples therapy, healing from trauma, abuse or neglect, and faith integration. She and her husband have been married since 2004 and have two children.

Jennifer Acord, MA, LPC

Marriage Intensive Therapist

Jennifer Acord, MA, LPC

Jenny received her Master of Arts Degree in Counseling with a concentration in Marriage and Family therapy. She and her husband have been youth pastors for over 20 years. Families have been the focus of her ministry and she feels privileged to be allowed to journey beside couples as they experience God’s miraculous healing powers. She has been married to her husband, Rick, since 1991 with three children, a daughter-in law, and two grandchildren. They currently live in Springfield, MO.

Stephen Bell, PhD, LMFT

Marriage Intensive Therapist

Stephen Bell, PhD, LMFT

Dr. Bell is an Associate Professor at the College of the Ozarks. In addition to Dr. Bell’s work at the College of the Ozarks, he is Co-Founder of Family Fanatics, LLC. Family Fanatics offers various services to strengthen marriages/families. Dr. Bell and his wife, Tracy, reside in Branson, Missouri with their three daughters and son. Dr. Bell feels very honored and blessed that God has opened up an opportunity for him to serve married couples at Focus on the Family.

Tracy Bell, LMSW

Marriage Intensive Therapist

Tracy Bell, LMSW

Tracy earned her Master’s in Clinical Social Work from the University of Arkansas. She earned her BA in Family Life Counseling and Psychology from Ouachita Baptist University. Tracy is a Missouri Licensed Social Worker, a Nationally Certified Life Coach, and an Assistant Professor at the College of the Ozarks. She is a certified Neurosequential therapist and serves those who have survived trauma. She is thrilled to be working along side a team at Focus on the Family. Tracy married her husband Stephen in 2004 and they have 4 children.

Verlette Berndt, LPC

Marriage Intensive Therapist

Verlette Berndt, LPC

Verlette Berndt is a licensed professional counselor in Missouri. She received her MA in Counseling from the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. For ten years, she served as a counselor and Director of Counseling at Doulos Ministries/Shelterwood. Since 2005, she has been an intensive therapist at Focus on the Family. Verlette was also a licensed minister with the Assemblies of God for 10 years, and received a Bachelor of Arts in Bible, Pastoral Ministries and Youth Ministries from Central Bible College in Missouri. Verlette and her husband Chris were married in 1999 and have two daughters.

Ken Bryant, PhD, LPC, NCC

Marriage Intensive Therapist

Ken Bryant, PhD, LPC, NCC

Ken Bryant has his M.S. in Counseling from Pittsburg State University and his PhD in Counseling from the University of North Texas-Denton; a BA in Sacred Literature and a BA in Psychology. Ken is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Missouri and Colorado and a National Certified Counselor. Ken serves as the founder and President of Oak Tree Marriage & Family Ministries. He also served as a church pastor for over 30 years. Ken and his wife Carol have been married over 45 years. They have 4 sons, 25 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.

Lisa Butler, EdS, LPC

Marriage Intensive Therapist

Lisa Butler, EdS, LPC

Lisa has a MA degree in Educational Psychology and an Education Specialist degree in school psychology from the University of Colorado-Denver. Lisa worked as a school psychologist for 20 years. Lisa was an active member of the Crisis Response Team in CO and provided assistance to children in crisis, including those impacted by the Columbine shootings. As a Licensed Professional Counselor, Lisa provides counseling as well as teaching her parenting program, Positive & Powerful Christian Parenting, at McGuire Christian Counseling. Lisa and her husband Charlie were married in 1998 and have 2 boys.

Lyndsey Cherry, MA, LPC

Marriage Intensive Therapist

Lyndsey Cherry, MA, LPC

Lyndsey is a Licensed Professional Counselor with the State of Missouri. Lyndsey was in private practice for 6 years in Springfield, MO with McGuire Christian Counseling where she worked with a wide variety of individuals, families, and couples. She is thrilled to be part of the Focus on the Family team and loves to see the insight and healing that individuals and couples experience during an intensive. Lyndsey and her husband, Jeff, have been married since 2006 and have three children.

Rachelle Colegrove, MA, LPC

Marriage Intensive Therapist

Rachelle Colegrove, MA, LPC

Rachelle is a licensed professional counselor in Missouri, a Christian sex therapist and a licensed Assembly of God minister. Rachelle is passionate about coming alongside couples experiencing any type of relational conflict. In addition, her many years of ministry experience equip Rachelle for understanding unique pressures many ministry couples face. Rachelle and her husband, Greg, also travel and speak at weekend marriage conferences. Rachelle and Greg have been married for 30+ years.

Alana Cummings, MS, PLPC

Marriage Intensive Therapist

Alana Cummings, MS, PLPC

In addition to her work at Focus on the Family, Alana counsels individuals and couples at the Student Counseling Center at College of the Ozarks (CofO). In her work at CofO, Alana has worked with a variety of relational difficulties and clinical concerns. Many times, she utilizes the principles taught at Hope Restored within the counseling process. Alana has been married to her husband, Richard, for 21 years and they have two teenage sons.

Thom Daubenspeck, DMin, MDiv, LLMSW

Marriage Intensive Therapist

Thom Daubenspeck, DMin, MDiv, LLMSW

Thom has his BA degree in Psychology and Sociology from Hope and Westmont Colleges, his M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell, Moravian, and Western Theological Seminaries, and his D.Min. in Christian Spirituality from Fuller Theological Seminary. He received his MSW and Graduate Certificate in Alcohol and Drug Abuse from Western Michigan University. Thom is a licensed and ordained Minister. Thom has also served as a Clinical Therapist with those who struggle with substance use and mental health. Thom and his wife Susie and have been married 30 years.

Jonathan DiStaulo, MA, PLPC

Marriage Intensive Therapist

Jonathan DiStaulo, MA, PLPC

Jonathan was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec. As a young adult, serving alongside his father in an Italian/English speaking congregation, Jonathan began to observe the pressures placed on families in vocational ministry. In addition to his work at Focus on the Family, Jonathan counsels individuals and families at McGuire Christian Counseling. Jonathan is a licensed minister and served as a worship leader and pastoral care minister for many years in churches in Missouri and Massachusetts.

Pam Hazell, MS, LPC

Marriage Intensive Therapist

Pam Hazell, MS, LPC

Pam feels very blessed to be a part of the Focus on the Family team. Pam has a private practice, Cornerstone Christian Counseling, and assists clients at Woodland Hills Family Church. Pam earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from College of the Ozarks and her M.S. in Counseling at Southwest Missouri State University. She has served for many years in the Branson School district as both an elementary teacher and school counselor. Pam has been married to her husband Gary for over 30 years. They have two sons and enjoy spending time with family on Table Rock Lake.

Todd Monroe, LMSW

Marriage Intensive Therapist

Todd Monroe, LMSW

Todd has been serving families with emotional needs since 1992. Beginning his career with foster care children, he has worked in psychiatric settings, as a Counseling pastor, and at his outpatient practice, Grand Rapids Therapy Group. Todd completed his BA in Psychology at Cornerstone University and his MSW at Grand Valley State University. He and his wife Kathleen are raising their blended family of 5 together. His passions include fatherhood, golfing, nature, music, and seeking the heart of his Savior on a daily basis.

Vicki Morgan, MA, LPC

Marriage Intensive Therapist

Vicki Morgan, MA, LPC

Vicki is a Licensed Professional Counselor with the State of Missouri and is pursuing an additional Marriage and Family Therapy license. Vicki enjoys the opportunity to come along side couples, families, and individuals as they seek personal healing and restored relationships. Before joining the team in 2014, Vicki served in a youth camping ministry with her husband, Bruce. Vicki and Bruce have been married since 1984 and live in Branson, MO. They have four grown sons and two lovely granddaughters.

Alex Muzichuk, MA, LPC, S-MFT

Marriage Intensive Therapist

Alex Muzichuk, MA, LPC, S-MFT

Alex Muzichuk received his Master’s degree in Marriage & Family Counseling from Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. He is licensed with Missouri and Michigan as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). Furthermore, as an ordained minister, Alex brings years of ministry experience and awareness of the ministry dynamics that influence family life. He speaks Russian, Ukrainian, and English. Alex’s Slavic heritage brings a new perspective to family life in American culture. Alex married Natalie in 2006; they have 4 children.

Jill Nagelkirk, LLPC

Marriage Intensive Therapist

Jill Nagelkirk, LLPC

Jill received her Bachelor's degree in Psychology & Theology from Trinity Christian College, and her Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy from Western Michigan University. She started Boundless Life Counseling, where she sees many people with trauma, using her training in EMDR. She is blessed to volunteer with the Jubilee Centre in Zambia where much training is focused on trauma education. Jill and her husband Matt enjoy spending time outside, running, kayaking, and researching new travel adventures.

Cynthia Nicholson, MA, LPC

Marriage Intensive Therapist

Cynthia Nicholson, MA, LPC

As a licensed counselor and featured speaker in churches and conferences for over thirty years throughout the United States and Latin America, Cynthia has focused on marriage and home and women’s issues. Cynthia has been working with the Focus on the Family for ten years, bringing insights from a cross-cultural perspective. Having served with her husband, Richard, fourteen years as missionaries in Argentina and Mexico, they continue to travel extensively, providing marriage seminars in Spanish-speaking venues.

Jeff Olson, LPC

Marriage Intensive Therapist

Jeff Olson, LPC

Jeff is an LPC in Michigan. He received a MA in Counseling from Colorado Christian University. Before joining the Hope Restored team, he maintained a private counseling practice for 27 years. Jeff has specialized training in Attachment Theory and training to address the long-term effects of trauma. He has worked as a writer and editor for Our Daily Bread Ministries. Jeff and his wife Diane have been married over 30 years and have two daughters. Along with bow hunting and taking walks with his English Lab, he spends his spare time trolling the waters of the Great Lakes for salmon and trout.

Ryan Pannell, MA, LMFT

Marriage Intensive Therapist

Ryan Pannell, MA, LMFT

Ryan Pannell is a Licensed Marital and Family Therapist and a licensed minister. Prior to coming to Focus on the Family, Ryan was the Director of Counseling at Doulos Ministries in Branson, Missouri, for 6 years. Previously, Ryan was the founder and director of the Woodland Hills Counseling Center in Branson. Ryan was also a baptist minister in Oklahoma for 6 years before entering the counseling profession. Ryan and his wife Brenda have been married since 1996 and have 1 daughter and 3 sons.

Nikki Pinkley, LPC

Marriage Intensive Therapist

Nikki Pinkley, LPC

Nikki is a licensed professional counselor in Missouri. Nikki has worked in the private practice setting since 2008. She is the founding director of Restoring Wellness Counseling, LLC. Nikki is thrilled to be a part of the Focus on the Family team and considers it a blessing to have the opportunity to serve as a vessel to couples who seek the full potential of their relationships. Nikki and her husband, Matt, have been married since 2008 and enjoy spending time with their daughter and son.

Geoff Reddick, PhD, LMFT

Marriage Intensive Therapist

Geoff Reddick, PhD, LMFT

Geoff and his wife Lindsey both attended John Brown University for graduate school and trained under Dr. Gary Oliver & Dr. Greg Smalley while cultivating their passion for working with couples and families. Before joining the Focus on the Family team, Geoff worked as a therapist in a primary health care clinic, university counseling centers, a victim advocacy center, adolescent group homes, and an elementary school. Geoff continues to speak in the MFT field at the international, national, and state levels.

Scott Schmidt, MS, LPC

Marriage Intensive Therapist

Scott Schmidt, MS, LPC

Scott received his Bachelor of Science in Psychology and his Master of Science in Counseling Psychology from Evangel University. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Missouri. Scott also works in private practice at McGuire Christian Counseling. Scott and his wife Penny married in 1998 and are blessed with three wonderful children, two daughters and one son. Their family makes regular trips to visit Michigan where the grandparents and extended family reside. Scott and Penny are very active in serving together at their church. Scott’s other interest include reading, woodworking, and spending time outdoors.

Eric Joseph (Joey) Staples, MS, LPC

Marriage Intensive Therapist

Eric Joseph (Joey) Staples, MS, LPC

Eric Joseph (Joey) Staples is a Licensed Professional Counselor and the Family Life Pastor at First Baptist Church in Branson, Missouri. Joey is an ordained minister, is licensed as a Professional Counselor in Louisiana and Missouri. In his role, Joey oversees family growth in the church and counsels with individuals, marriages and families from all over southern Missouri. Joey says his greatest joy in life is his family. Jeanie and Joey have been married for 35 years and have two adult children.

Dana Sutton, LPC

Marriage Intensive Therapist

Dana Sutton, LPC

Dana Sutton joined the Focus on the Family team in 2013. Dana is thrilled to be working with the Intensives. Her desire is to see marriages find healing through Christ and to restore their hearts and relationships. Along with her husband, Jonathan, Dana has worked in ministry for the past 14 years, including church planting and a ministry to the public schools. They have travelled internationally for the past three years working with missionaries and their marriages. Jonathan and Dana met at Auburn University and married in 2000, and have four wonderful children.

Laura Tate, MS, LPC

Marriage Intensive Therapist

Laura Tate, MS, LPC

Laura received her Bachelor's degree in Counseling Psychology from Central Bible College and her Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Evangel University. Laura is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Missouri. Laura also works in private practice at McGuire Christian Counseling and serves as a care pastor alongside her husband, Andy. Laura and Andy married in 1992 and have three grown sons and one daughter-in-law.

Rev Dr Dawn E Vagle, LCSW, LPC, LMFT

Marriage Intensive Therapist

Rev Dr Dawn E Vagle, LCSW, LPC, LMFT

Rev Dr Dawn has been a practicing Marriage and Family Therapist since 1980. She was the director of the Christian Counseling Center of Hillsdale for 18 years and is not the sole proprietor of Holland Christian Counseling. Dawn has worked for many decades as an ordained minister. Her Master's degree is from Fuller Theological Seminary and her DMin is from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary. She has been married to her husband Tim for 40 years; they have 2 sons and 5 grandchildren. They enjoy the outdoors and visits with family.

Monique Wells, MA, LPC

Marriage Intensive Therapist

Monique Wells, MA, LPC

Monique (a Canadian) and Grant (a New Zealander) were married in 1993 and have two beautiful daughters, Emma Clare and Phoebe. They moved to Rome, GA in 2006 to join the adjunct faculty of WinShape Marriage and for Monique to partner with Battlefield Ministries, a ministry that focuses on Christian marriages and couples. Along with a private practice Monique partners with Grant to lead marriage retreats and Bible studies.

Tim Williams, PhD, LPC

Marriage Intensive Therapist

Tim Williams, Ph.D., LPC

Tim received his Master’s Degree in Education from Missouri Baptist University and a PhD in Counseling from Liberty University. He is a licensed professional counselor in Missouri. In addition to his work as a therapist, Tim contributes to the therapist training program and is involved in new product development. Tim and his wife Carol live in the Branson area and have been married over 35 years.

Kathy Wingo, EdD, LPC, LMFT

Marriage Intensive Therapist

Kathy Wingo, EdD, LPC, LMFT

Kathy earned her Masters and Doctorate degrees in Counselor Education from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. She is licensed as both a Marriage and Family Therapist as well as a Licensed Professional Counselor. Her counseling work began as an elementary school counselor, later transitioning to private practice. After 30+ years in the field, she joined the Focus team in 2015 and considers it an honor to come alongside couples in their time of need. Kathy and her husband Richard have been married since 1994 and have one grown son.

Sarah Young, MA, LPC

Marriage Intensive Therapist

Sarah Young, MA, LPC

Sarah holds a Master’s in Counseling from Spring Arbor University, and has counseled individuals and couples for over a decade. She enjoys engaging people in the reality of the richness of God’s plan, and how He flips brokenness for His glory. Sarah has a specific heart for intimacy issues, and holds specialized training in sex therapy from the Institute for Sexual Wholeness. Prior to joining the Focus team, she was in private practice at the Winning at Home Wellness Center. She and her husband, Lance, have been married since 2003, and have three children.

Meet Our aftercare Coaches

Jenny Coffey, MA

Aftercare Coach

Jenny Coffey, MA

Jenny has worked as a professional therapist for over six years, with special focus on couples and women. In addition to helping couples through basic conflict resolution and communication issues, she also comes alongside those dealing with intense hurts, such as affairs, miscarriage, infertility, child loss, divorce recovery, and postpartum issues.

Tricia Cunningham, MA, MFT

Aftercare Coach

Tricia Cunningham

Tricia Cunningham, MA, MFT, is a Professional Life Coach who serves couples by helping support and equip them in achieving their goals of a successful relationship. In addition to coaching, Tricia is a licensed counselor and has a private practice in La Quinta, CA called Restoration Counseling.

Heather Larson

Aftercare Coach

Heather Larson

Heather married her husband Peter Larson, PhD., in 1995. Together, they teach, coach and write. They have co-authored four books with David and Claudia Arp. Heather has worked with hundreds of intensive alumni couples since 2013.

Glenn W. Lutjens, MA

Aftercare Coach

Glenn W. Lutjens, MA

Glenn Lutjens has been a counselor with Focus on the Family for over 23 years. He also provides counseling in Colorado Springs as a marriage and family therapist. "When people are willing to work together to grow, significant change can happen, especially if Christ is their source of strength and direction.”

Russ Rainey, PhD, BCC

Aftercare Coach

Russ Rainey, PhD, BCC

Dr. Rainey has practiced as a professional Board Certified Coach for 14 years. He is also a trained counselor and a trained addiction counselor. Russ has been on church staffs, worked for a Christian psychiatric hospital, and served as VP at a Christian nonprofit. Russ has authored two books and is working on a third. He and his wife live in Colorado Springs. They have two adult sons.

Terry Shank

Aftercare Coach

Terry Shank

Terry Shank is a Certified Professional Life Coach with Professional Christian Coaching Institute and the founder of Selah Coaching Services. He has worked with the WinShape Foundation since 2003 where he and his wife, Theta, currently serve as hosts for marriage intensive programs.

John Thorington, DMin

Aftercare Coach

John Thorington, DMin

John is a professional counselor and has worked in the church as a pastor for 30 years. John has helped individuals and families in the areas of sexual integrity recovery since 1999. Along with serving as a counselor with Focus on the Family, John maintains a private practice. He is the author of Pure Teens: Honoring God, Sex, and Relationships.

MT Wilson, MS, PCC

Aftercare Coach

MT Wilson, MS, PCC

MT worked as a professional counselor for over 20 years and a sex therapist for more than 10 years before transitioning his private counseling practice into a coaching business that serves individuals and marriages in the areas of sexual integrity recovery as well as overall marital health. MT is also the author of 3 books.

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