Faculty | Counseling Certificate | Concordia University Irvine

Faculty & Staff

Directors

Biography

Dr. Margaret Christmas Thomas has served as interim and as an assistant dean at Concordia University and previously worked in the office of Adult, Graduate and Online Programs to help programs from all over the university reach new levels of rigor and relevance in an online environment. She began at Concordia as a professor in the School of Education, then as Director of Curriculum and Assessment for the Master of Arts in Education Master's programs, which include master's degrees for Administration, Curriculum and Instruction and School Counseling. She also assists in the Doctorate in Educational Leadership program.

Most recently she has moved to the Dallas, Texas area with her family. She will continue working remotely with Concordia and the Townsend Institute as Director of Curriculum and Assessment primarily working with CACREP Accreditation.

For the years prior to higher education she led national Counseling/Academic services for a large national human services provider and consulted internationally in Europe and the United Arab Emirates in the areas of counseling, education and special education services. She has hosted several national conferences for counselors and educators and presented on these topics across the United States and the United Kingdom. Prior to her national position she was a principal at Excel Middle and High School, a school designed exclusively to serve expelled students. The school became a national model during her stewardship for agencies who seek to serve the “hardest to serve” populations of young people.

During her Ph.D. research and while completing her clinical supervision for her licensure in psychotherapy (FL) she completed her dissertation on the effect of counseling interventions on the academic achievement and behavior of secondary at-risk youth. Beyond her primary career, she has served as an adjunct professor and curriculum writer of Psychology and Education at Belhaven University from 2005 to March 2010.

Degrees Earned

  • Ph.D., Education and Leadership, Barry University
  • M.A., Counselor Education, University of Central Florida
  • B.A., Psychology, University of North Florida
Makin, Scott

Biography

Scott has a Master’s in Counseling Psychology and is the Executive Director of the Townsend Institute for Leadership and Counseling. Scott was previously the Founder and Director of the Wabash Friends Counseling Center for 21 years. The counseling ministry grew to 7 satellite offices in surrounding cities with over 20 clinical staff. In addition to this Scott created a yearly psycho-educational conference that became one of the largest one-day conferences in the Midwest for nearly 25 years. Scott is also an executive leadership coach and business consultant. Scott met Dr. John Townsend in 1996 and has co-facilitated 5 different teams with John. Scott is also a Senior Director of the Townsend Leadership Program and runs a group out of Indianapolis.

Degrees Earned

  • M.A. Counseling Psychology, Trinity International University
  • B.S. Psychology, Houghton College
Paessler-Chesterton, Heather, Ph.D

Biography

Like most counselors and those in the business of people helping, Dr. Heather Paessler-Chesterton (“Dr. C”) has a heart for the hurting. A Regent University graduate, Dr. C earned a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision and has spent the past decade as a counselor educator and faculty member at Walden University. Her background is also rich in clinical work, specializing in the treatment of children and adolescents, with an emphasis on trauma and attachment. Dr. Chesterton’s work has spanned the country as a consultant, researcher, mentor, and supervisor. She speaks at local and national levels on working in diverse settings and meeting the needs of challenging youth. Dr. C is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, a National Certified Counselor, and she also holds certifications in school counseling. Dr. Chesterton is also a Disaster Mental Health Volunteer for the American Red Cross.

While Dr. C has been blessed to have experienced a wide range of professional opportunities, she feels particularly called to the role of “people helper,” as well as being of service to other people helpers. She and her husband have been active in urban youth ministry and reside in Western New York with their three young children. As faculty and Director of the Masters in Counseling Program, she is dedicated to partnering with both students and faculty in order to empower them toward remarkable goals and to help prepare them as their own professional calling unfolds.

Degrees Earned

  • Ph.D., Counselor Education and Supervision, Regent University
  • M.A., Community and School Counseling, Regent University
  • B.A., Sociology, University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire

Core Faculty

Biography

Dr. Lorraine Gordon earned her degree in Counselor Education and Supervision from Capella University. Dr. Gordon is a National Certified Counselor and is a mentor for the National Board for Certified Counselors Foundation, Mentor Program. She is a Disaster Mental Health Responder for the American Red Cross. Dr. Gordon’s professional experience spans Mental Health, Teaching, Counseling, and Healthcare. She has extensive experience working in community mental health, private practice, and within a teaching hospital in a variety of capacities. Dr. Gordon is an On-Demand Military & Family Life Counselor (MFLC) at Fort Dix. Her areas of interest include trauma, crisis management, online counseling learners transitioning into internship fieldwork, family, and Multicultural Counseling. Dr. Gordon served as Adjunct Faculty at Middlesex County College. Dr. Gordon’s ministry involves Family Life, Youth and Young Adults. She operates a Community Counseling office within her church. She serves on her church school Board and especially enjoys helping learners achieve their educational aspirations. Dr. Gordon resides in Central New Jersey with her husband, a retired Air Force Senior Master Sergeant, they are the parents of five adult children. For relaxation she enjoys hiking, speed walking, camping, traveling, and gardening. Dr. Gordon is committed to higher education and is a life-long learner, she is enthusiastic about integrating her counseling experience with academics.

Degrees Earned

  • Ph.D. Counselor Education and Supervision, Capella University
  • M.S. Human Services - Mental Health, Capella University

Biography

Dr. Angela Jackson is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor experienced working in clinical settings (youth and families) and as faculty with diverse populations. A graduate of Virginia Tech, she holds a Ph.D. in Counselor Education with a concentration in Race and Social Policy. She specializes in building rapport with clients and clarifying the basis for their presenting issues. For example, what’s beneath the surface of client’s symptoms for anxiety, depression, faith conflict, or family of origin trauma? Dr. Jackson has gained a unique cultural awareness of the family dynamics and relationships particularly with the African American population. Therefore, she welcomes broader roles beyond therapist (educator, faith advocate, resource person) by providing culturally responsive treatment that includes tailoring her skill set with the clients’ unique needs. She makes herself available to clients including being present when collective societal issues such as systemic racism or marginalization are the presenting issues.

As core faculty of the Masters in Counseling Program in the Townsend Institute for Leadership and Counseling, Dr. Jackson considers empowering students in the classroom and clarifying their “professional counseling identity” as no small task. With the high rewards of becoming a licensed professional counselor coupled with the awesome training of the Townsend character/competence model, students are set up for success.

Lastly, Dr. Jackson’s passion for mental health and cultural competency is also evident as the owner of Culturally Competent Consulting as she has worked in the field of consulting for over ten years. She is the author of “The Cultural Awareness Journal” available on Amazon.com.

Degrees Earned

  • Ph.D. Counselor Education, Virginia Tech
  • M.Ed. Community Counseling, Kent State
  • B.S. Industrial Management, University of Akron

Faculty

  • Adams, Mary
  • Professor
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Biography

Bobbi has a Masters in Counseling degree. She is a Billings, MT based Townsend Leadership Director, leadership coach, therapist, and founder and director of the AJ Blain Foundation. She has specialized experience in characterbased growth and works with leaders and others to help them maximize their organization's' performance and to have balanced and healthy lives. She has extensive experience with personal growth, loss and grief.

Callahan, Eileen

Biography

Eileen Callahan completed her graduate and post-graduate education in clinical social work and psychotherapy at New York University. Currently, she is pursuing a Certificate in Spiritual Formation through Soul Shepherding, a non-profit ministry aimed at helping pastors and ministry leaders foster a closer relationship with Jesus Christ. Eileen Callahan is a licensed psychotherapist and executive coach who helps clients experience real transformation in their personal and professional life. As founder of RESTORE Executive Coaching Experience, Eileen leads clients through an exclusive program designed to overcome depletion, stress and disconnection. As a personal growth and leadership facilitator for Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend’s Ultimate Leadership, Empower Now, and One Week Intensive for Therapists workshops, Eileen has helped hundreds of participants identify goals, overcome obstacles and grow as leaders.

Cline, Becca

Biography

Becca is a licensed professional counselor in Michigan and licensed mental health counselor associate in Indiana.She holds a Master of Arts in Counseling from Huntington University and is currently participating in a Townsend Leadership Group in southern Indiana. Becca has attended workshops with Dennis Del Valle in Effective Group Process and Experiential Group Training as well as completing the One Week Intensive for Counselors hosted by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. Her clinical experience includes individual, couples, and group psychotherapy in a private practice setting. Becca is passionate about helping her clients flourish personally and professionally through leveraging the healing power of relationship to unlock increased capacities to navigate the challenges of life.

Degrees Earned

  • M.A. Counseling, Huntington University
Coleman, Shelley

Biography

Shelley Coleman received her MA in Professional Counseling from Liberty University in 2012. She is currently enrolled at the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Kentucky, pursuing a PhD in Leadership/Counselor Supervision and Education with CACREP accreditation. Shelley is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of West Virginia. Shelley completed a one-year counselor training program with Dr. John Townsend in 2013 that focused on the Townsend Character and Competency approach to counseling. She is also a Certified Emotionally Focused Therapist and EFT Supervisor with Dr. Sue Johnson’s International Center for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy, located in Ottawa, Canada. She is currently pursuing certification in Emotionally Focused Family Therapy as well. She has completed additional training in using EFT to work interpersonally in the healing of trauma through the Washington Baltimore Center for EFT. Shelley is a co-presenter for workshops and trainings in Emotionally Focused Therapy in the state of West Virginia, as well as a presenter for Trauma Informed Care. With over 10 years of field experience, Shelley specializes in Marriage and Family therapy, depression/anxiety, and trauma.

Degrees Earned

  • Ph.D. Leadership/Counselor Supervision and Education, University of the Cumberlands (in progress)
  • M.A. Professional Counseling, Liberty University
  • Cussen, Jason
  • Professor
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Biography

Biography

Nancy has a Master’s in Counseling and is a speaker, teacher, counselor and coach. She is a Director for the Townsend Leadership program in New York City and the Dallas Fort Worth area. She is in private practice as a Licensed Professional Counselor specializing in individual, marital and sexual issues. She is also a Certified Sex Therapist. She was on staff at Gateway Church for over five years, serving in the Marriage and Family department and Intimate Life. She loves to help people grow into their full potential, empowering them to be truly alive. Nancy teaches on topics ranging from relational health to sexual and spiritual growth and development.

Lowman, Melanie

Biography

Melanie Lowman, MA, LMHC completed both her Bachelor of Science in Youth Ministry (2000) and her Master’s of Arts in Counseling at Huntington University (2012). After the completion of her Master’s in Counseling she served as a therapist in both community mental health and private practice. Her area of specialty includes working with trauma, PTSD, physical and sexual abuse, anxiety and depression. In addition, she has group, child, adolescent, couples, premarital and geriatric clinical experience. She also provides mental health services for military veterans, active duty men and women and their families. She is a member of the Star Behavioral Health Providers registry that assists military veterans, active duty men and women and their families in seeking mental health treatment. In addition, to her clinical work she conducts locally workshop on such topics as relationships and trauma.

Degrees Earned

  • M.A. Counseling, Huntington University
  • B.S. Youth Ministry, Huntington College

Biography

Ben received his Masters in Counseling at Huntington University. He has worked with kids and teens for the last seven years in a variety of roles and has a passion for youth development. Ben has worked at Compass Rose Academy for the last 4 years as Philosophy of Care Coordinator. Here, Ben helps bring the therapeutic model to the residential setting by bridging the gap between therapy and everyday living. Ben is an avid soccer fan.

Biography

Joel is a licensed mental health counselor and holds a Masters degree in mental health counseling from Huntington University. He has completed a post-masters degree in addiction counseling from Indiana Wesleyan University. In addition, Joel is a certified Gestalt therapist and currently enrolled as a member of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis and is training to become a certified hypnotherapist. His clinical experience includes lead therapist with youth in a residential care program; behavioral technician at a facility for sexually maladaptive youth; and as a private practice clinician. Currently he is an addictions counselor at a community mental health agency, in Marion, Indiana where he is leads group psychotherapy using Supportive-Expressive Psychodynamic Therapy and 12-Step Facilitation Therapy group modalities to help facilitate long-term dynamic/characterolgical change. He has been a featured workshop speaker both locally and nationally on topics ranging from addiction treatment to experiential-focused psychodynamic psychotherapy. Joel is on the NFL list of approved therapists.

Biography

Randall Rheinheimer graduated from Grace College with a BA in psychology and Bible Studies. He received his MA in Marriage and Family Therapy from Biola University and his PhD in clinical psychology from California Graduate Institute.

Dr. Rheinheimer has been in private practice since 1987, providing individual, family and group therapy. He has offices in Santa Ana and Encinitas. He is currently a group facilitator for the 'Ultimate Leadership' seminars conducted by GrowthSkills in Costa Mesa, CA. He also serves on the board of directors of GrowthSkills. He has also worked with Drs. John Townsend and Henry Cloud providing individual, family and group therapy in an in-patient hospital program.

Dr. Rheinheimer has taught as an Adjunct Professor at Trinity College of Graduate Studies in Anaheim, CA., classes included; Psychodynamic Therapy, Treatment Skills and Dream Interpretation. He is currently teaching at the Townsend Institute at Concordia University, classes include; Beginning and Advanced Treatment Skills, Group Therapy, Psychopathology, and Practicum Supervision.

Dr. Rheinheimer has worked with several churches. He was a presenter for ‘Wednesday Night Applications’ at Mariners Church in Newport Beach, CA. He developed a program similar to the Wednesday Night Applications for Richmond Community Church in Yorba Linda, CA. He has conducted seminars in numerous churches on various topics including; forgiveness, anxiety, depression, confrontation, as well as presenting various books by Drs. Townsend and Cloud. He currently is involved leading growth groups at his home church, North Coast Church, in Vista, CA.

On a personal note, he and his wife enjoy living near the beach, cycling, backpacking and finding adventure whenever-wherever-however they can.

Degrees Earned

  • Ph.D. Clinical Psychology, California Graduate Institute
  • M.A. Marriage and Family Therapy, Biola University
  • B.A. Psychology and Bible Studies, Grace College

Academic Program Director/Assistant Professor

Biography

Dr. Sinardi holds a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from St. Cloud State University and a Master's degree in Counseling from California State University, Long Beach. She became a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in 2006. In 2011, Dr. Sinardi completed her Doctor of Education degree in Organizational Leadership at the University of La Verne.

Professional Experience

Dr. Catherine Sinardi is Director of Healthcare Management, overseeing the following degree programs: Bachelor of Arts in Healthcare Management (traditional and online) and Master of Healthcare Administration. She teaches a variety of courses in aforementioned programs, and is an instructor in the Townsend Institute’s Master of Arts in Counseling curriculum. Previously, she was Regional Director of Clinical Services at Children’s Institute and Director of Quality Assurance and Program Evaluation at Counseling4Kids, both in the greater Los Angeles area. She also worked in private practice as a licensed counselor and held various administrative positions at ChildNet Youth and Family Services in Long Beach.

Blain, Bobbi

Biography

Madeline received her Masters degree in Mental Health Counseling from Huntington University. Madeline has several years of experience working with teenage girls and their families in a residential treatment facility that is built upon the Townsend’s model. Madeline also provides therapy for individuals, children and couples using the affect-focused, Competence and Character Model in her work at Wabash Friends Counseling Center. She’s passionate about psychodynamic group therapy and leads support/process groups for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren, as well as a Leadership Development Program for leaders in the Friends’ church which includes both didactic teaching and psychodynamic group work.

Degrees Earned

  • M.A. Mental Health Counseling, Huntington University
  • B.A. Psychology, Malone University
Tackett, Ginny

Biography

Ginny is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Consultant, Speaker, Executive Coach, Adjunct Professor and Townsend Leadership Director who brings 23 years of experience to her industry. She received a Master of Science in Counseling from Indiana University Southeast, a Bachelor of Science in Education from Indiana University Bloomington and her Marriage and Family Certification at Indiana Wesleyan University in Indianapolis, IN. Additionally, Ginny leads two Townsend Leadership groups, working with multi-level leadership from various industries nationwide. With 15 years in the field of education, Ms. Tackett is passionate about helping leaders overcome and eliminate the obstacles that may be preventing them from reaching their full potential. She challenges leaders to access deeper emotional and relational connections, which will profoundly affect their personal and professional lives. A dynamic and inspiring speaker, Ginny has lectured on workplace relationships, leadership, culture and organizations.

Degrees Earned

  • M.S. Counseling, Indiana University Southeast
  • B.S. Education, Indiana University Bloomington

Biography

Karen was first introduced to Dr. Townsend in 2008 when she attended the Ultimate Leadership Intensive. She attended the inaugural One Week Intensive for Counselors in 2010 and the year long Counselor Training Program with Dr. Townsend and Scott Makin in 2012-2013. Karen has a BA in Psychology and an MS in Counseling. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Colorado where she has been in private practice since 2007. Her primary focus with clients is guiding them toward understanding the roots of their issues, compassionately accepting them where they are, and encouraging them as they move through the growth process. She uses Emotionally Focused Therapy and EMDR in addition to the Townsend Character Structure model. Karen is a Marriage Coach with the Smalley Institute through which she conducts one to three day marriage intensives for couples in crisis. She has served as a volunteer counselor with Azmera, an organization dedicated to restoring and refreshing Kingdom-minded women who serve overseas. Karen is a blogger and author of Surviving the Scarlet Letter: Freedom from Shame and Journey Forward Workbook: Daily Steps to Achieve Emotional Balance & Healthier Relationships.

Degrees Earned

  • M.S. Counseling, University of Phoenix
  • B.A. Psychology, Bucknell University
Weaver, Marianne

Biography

Dr. Marianne Weaver lives in La Grande, Oregon with her two kids, Bethani and Aaron. Dr. Weaver is a licensed psychologist in Oregon, and was licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist when she lived in California. While in California, she had a private practice for several years where she had the fortunate opportunity of working with many families, kids (doing play therapy), couples , as well as individuals. She enjoys working with those who have experienced trauma (she is a a Level 2 EMDR provider), and those who are struggling with various addictions, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and relationship problems.

She is currently the director of, and a practicing psychologist, in the Counseling Center at Eastern Oregon University (EOU) and really loves working with the college student population. Along with doing tons of fun therapy with students, she also teaches a 400 level Family Systems Theory and Therapy class in the Psychology Department, and a Clinical Interventions in the Classroom course in the Master of Arts in Teaching program. Living in a more geographically isolated area has enabled Dr. Weaver to practice rural psychology. She can rarely go to the store, or even for a walk, without seeing either a current or past client. This has challenged her to become very authentic and integrated in her everyday life. Dr. Weaver also maintains a small private clinical and coaching practice with a home office in La Grande, and shares that one of her favorite memories is when a client drove to his appointment in his tractor.

Dr. Weaver has been teaching counseling classes in the Townsend Institute since Spring, 2017. Her greatest passion is helping students heal and grow in their relationship with self, God, and others; equipping them to become a phenomenal therapist and/or coach. She marvels at how God has brought her back to her alma mater, allowing her to participate in the Great Commission by developing healers within the body of Christ.

Degrees Earned

  • Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology (emphasis in Family Psychology) from Azusa Pacific University (2002)
  • M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Azusa Pacific University (1993)
  • B.A. in Behavioral Science (minors in Psych and Soc) from Concordia University Irvine (1991)
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