For much of my life, I have been a safe harbor where people can unload difficulties and find a new path. Whether you’re dealing with relationship issues, depression, anxiety, trauma, work frustrations, or other concerns, I look forward to working with you to overcome past barriers so you can fully enjoy the present. I believe in the importance of living in this moment that we’ve been given, and I want you to experience the abundant joy and freedom that comes from God. Don’t wait another day; invest in yourself today.
My Goal as a Christian Counselor
I work quickly with clients ready to change, and pace myself to my clients’ needs using core values which are universal to all walks of life. I have worked with tens of thousands of clients with issues ranging from trauma, marriage, communication, anxiety, parenting, motivation, work, depression, suicidality, relationships, sudden life change, and more. My goal is for you to experience peace in your life, stop coping, and start living in the now.
What I Offer in Christian Counseling
My therapeutic orientation is thought- and behavior-oriented. I attempt to work briefly (4-8 sessions). This works best for clients who are motivated to change and willing to discover new options other than their old programs and routines. To be fully alive, we must be fully present. No living in past and future predictions. Live in the now. This moment is the meaning of your life. We must change before others will.
My Approach to Christian Counseling
God is in charge of this life. I am here to serve you through Him. We are all flawed. We all sin, do stupid things, and fall into self-defeating life patterns. I am no exception. Jesus died so that we could have forgiveness. There is no judgement in my work. I take people at what they are and do not impose my life perceptions on them. I help them back to what they need to be – with a healthy understanding of the boundaries of their soul’s journey.
Qualifications & Experience
I received by Doctorate (Ed.D, Summa Cum Laude) in Counseling Psychology from Argosy University in Orange, California. Prior to that, I earned my Master of Science degree (Summa Cum Laude) from California Baptist University in Riverside, California. I also obtained by Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the University of Evansville in Evansville, Indiana.
In addition to my academic degrees, I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the states of California and Washington. I also have certified training as a Critical Incident Counselor as well as in Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) I & II, Court Mediation, Custody Mediation, Mediation (Business and Family).
Professionally, I have counseled over 15,000 people in office and nearly 500 critical incidents for the last 20 years, where God has allowed me to handle first responder situations and bring healing.
My Call to Christian Counseling
God has blessed my life in so many ways. He has given me the gift of counseling people where their lives meet them. It comes very naturally for me and has been my calling since I was a child. I waited to have life experience in my thirties before beginning my professional journey. This helps me to invest in my clients with real life wisdom and practical insights that will make a lasting difference.
More About Me/On a Personal Note
I am married to a beautiful Christian wife and have two wonderful children. I am a family man and love working with my church as a volunteer. I listen to various ministries and books when I work out daily. One of the turning points in my life was losing my mother and stepfather in a private plane crash on Christmas Eve 2000. I was awoken to the news via CNN on Christmas morning and had to fly to New Mexico to identify them. At that point, I decided to get a doctorate and travel the world to fulfill what my mother wanted for me.
In 2014, I started my Internet Radio Show/Podcast called Dr. Gary Bell’s Absurd Psychology on VoiceAmerica.com (empowerment channel). My audience started at 1,000 per month and has grown to over 850,000 per month internationally. Recently, I moved to Seattle to spend the rest of my life and am starting my practice back up here.
Depression has genetic ingredients, but is primarily a thought disorder. Very simply, if you want to be depressed, then spend your life expecting unreasonable and uncontrollable outcomes from people. If you want to be healthy and real, then identify those expectations and convert them to preferences. Preferences can be stated all day long, but don’t set up disappointment and negative predictions.
Anxiety is the need to control things we cannot control. We cannot control how the world responds to us or what people choose to bring to our table each moment. We can, however, control how we respond to outcomes and life. Once you start tuning into what God wants for you and accept that He is in charge of your journey, then maybe you will hear the voice of Jesus and begin looking forward to the new doors in store for you.
The roots of rage come from only two major sources: disrespect (not feeling heard) and fear. People who have anger issues often have a very low emotional (vocabulary) intelligence. Like a child, they use anger to represent emotions such as feeling tired, hurt, disappointed, frustrated, guilt and so many others.
Anger is a defense mechanism that requires a lot of energy and negative destructive outcomes (especially passive-aggressive). This work calls for examining these roots and finding a new way to identify the emotions needed and put words to them safely.
When working with couples, I go back to the vows and then start the healing from there. We start to hear each other (not agree) and find a way to do conflict effectively. All arguments are trust issues. If we can heal the trust, the love will grow. We begin to recommit, heal, and make real life memories.
I work fast at healing communication, respect, intimacy, defenses, and get back to the contract. Marriage is a contract. It is conditional and requires work. For therapy to work, it takes two to do the work and be humble before each other. We can fix anything with that in mind.
The brain stores traumatic experiences in a special place in the mid-brain so that everything passes through it. (If you had a Wooly Mammoth charging you and had to run for your life, then you would store that so you could be ready to run next time.)
Therefore, we react to life through the traumas we experience. As life goes on without the trauma being treated, this place takes root and expands our traumatic experiences, which limit doing things that remind us of trauma. Unfortunately, everything filters through the mid-brain to the prefrontal cortex (where our human logic resides).
Traumatized people feel out of control and vulnerable. I can help heal that using either Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, or both. We need to move these barriers if we are going to serve God.
Sessions: I offer 53-minute. Sessions can be held more than once per week, weekly, or every other week. Scheduling options are discussed in greater detail during your Risk-Free Initial Session.
Availability (by office location):
- Greenlake – Tuesday, Thursday
- Edmonds – Wednesday
- Ballard – Friday, Saturday
Fees: I offer a Risk-Free Initial Session for Individuals and Couples looking to pursue counseling with me. Please note that there is a fee for the Risk-Free Initial Session as it is a clinical hour and reimbursable to most insurance companies, but if you choose not to reschedule and continue therapy after the initial session the entire fee for the session will be waived. For ongoing treatment the full fee per session is required at the time of service.
Insurance: As a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist Associate (LMFTA) a majority of insurance companies will reimburse for a portion of my services (as an Out of Network Provider). Please consult with your insurance provider as to whether they specifically cover individuals and couples.
Receipts/Statements: In the event you require a printed or digital receipt, I will provide receipts for personal use, insurance reimbursement, Flex Spending Accounts (FSA), and Health Savings Accounts (HSA).
Payment options: Cash, Check, or Credit Card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, & American Express). A fee of up to 3.7% plus $0.15 per transaction will be added for credit card payments.