THERAPIST – AUTHOR – SPEAKER
THERAPIST AUTHOR SPEAKER
Molly is a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) in private practice. She received her master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from Bethel Seminary San Diego and returned to Bethel as an adjunct professor in the MFT program.
Early in her career as a therapist Molly decided to specialize in treating the impact of early adverse experiences and trauma. Understanding the influence of the family system from her training, when Molly began studying the Internal Family Systems (IFS) Model she knew she had found both a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to healing, and a model deeply congruent with Christian spirituality. Molly has the highest possible level of training in the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model and has attended numerous IFS retreats. She presented twice at the annual IFS conference on the integration of IFS and Christianity. She also frequently serves as a staff member for IFS trainings, and offers workshops and individual consultation to other therapists interested in learning IFS.
Molly’s first master’s degree, in Public Health, led to her previous career in healthcare administration. Unlike most people, she loved being in a hospital environment. Capping that career as administrator of an acute care facility was a highlight of her professional life. During a break from paid employment her primary vocation outside the home involved service in a para-church ministry offering in-depth Bible study. After serving in various leadership roles, Molly helped launch a new class as teaching director. In addition to weekly lectures, she routinely led retreats. She assumed the nudge to go to seminary was about studying theology (which is still her favorite topic for reading and podcasts), but God had a different idea.
Molly and her husband live in Central Oregon, an outdoor paradise offering, among many things, Molly’s two favorite activities: hiking and downhill skiing. In 2018 Molly became “Minnie” to her first grandchild, a life-altering event. She loves telling people that every cliché you’ve ever heard about being a grandparent is true. Minnie and Papa visit their children and grandchildren in Southern California as often as possible.
I write at the intersection of Christian faith and emotional and relational well-being. Thank you for your interest in my story and my work. I hope it serves you on your journey of healing and transformation.
I received my master’s in marriage and family therapy at a seminary, and I see clients in my private practice. I specialize in helping people work through the impact of adversity, focusing on experiences that block the ability to thrive.
How did I end up being a therapist?
Psychotherapy is not my first career. When my children were in elementary school, I made the difficult decision to leave a career in healthcare administration that I loved. While I knew I made the right choice in stepping down from a very demanding job, it was disorienting to face a season where I was uncertain about what would fill the void. Having come to faith as an adult, Bible study was a crucial part of my spiritual journey. Attending an in-depth Bible study met some of my deepest needs during that difficult transition. It was a gift to have the opportunity to use skills developed in my career to serve class members in various leadership roles. Ultimately, I became the teaching director of a class.
Week after week, I poured over commentaries, reading and re-reading the passage of Scripture so I could write a lecture serving the needs of the women in my Bible study. It was a season when our children were old enough to be out of the house all day, so I had hours to indulge my love of learning. Surely, if I could help people unpack the text’s richness, they would glean the nugget that would nurture them in their faith journey.
Initially, I was satisfied with that goal.
I saw that information was not sufficient for transformation.
Over time, however, I saw myriad challenges reflected in the women’s prayer requests. The year I taught the Book of Luke, I was struck by the disconnect between the promise of Jesus’ ministry and what I saw in women’s lives. In Luke 4:18-19 (NIV), Jesus announces his ministry with these words:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
The poor, the captives, the blind, and the oppressed would be freed – released from the constraints that block their ability to live out the life for which God created them. Jesus came to “to set the burdened and battered free…” (The Message).
The women who attended my class were dedicated, faithful, committed Christians. And they were burdened. Marriages were in trouble; spouses struggled with addiction; anxiety and depression robbed people of joy.
One week a young mother tearfully reported being devastated by learning that her husband was addicted to porn. She struggled to make sense of something in conflict with everything she knew about him. Her fear for the future and her anger over the betrayal was overwhelming. She was mystified and desperate for help.
I felt the nudge to do more to support people in their journey.
Hers was not an isolated case. Many of the women were dealing with significant challenges. I began feeling that I wanted to offer more than a weekly lecture and was surprised when the idea of pursuing a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy came to mind. It was one of a few times when I was sure I was hearing God’s voice. My response? “You want me to do what?!”
The idea of going to seminary was very appealing, but I thought the purpose would be to study theology so I could be a better teacher. Despite a lack of conviction about the focus, I was clear about attending seminary. The first semester I was still convinced I was there to study theology, not marriage and family therapy. But the introductory counseling course helped me accept that I was on a new path.
While my calling shifted from teaching a Bible study to providing psychotherapy, my commitment to helping people on their journey of transformation, their journey of healing, remained.