Archive for the ‘professionals’ Category

Heart for Mental Health Event

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

Speaking Event

Christian Family Institute is honored to take part in the Heart for Mental Health event Friday, March 10, 2017.

Come support efforts to educate, raise awareness, learn about resources, and experience training in mental health.

Register your attendance with Dr. Roddy of Advanced Eye Care, Inc. 

Participating partners:

Southern Hills Baptist Church – Celebrate Recovery

Bright Tomorrows

Hope is Alive Mentoring Homes

Teen Challenge

Heart for Mental Health flyer

PREPARE ENRICH (Customized Version) Training

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

prepare-enrichTaught by:

Dale R. Doty, Ph.D.
User and Trainer in PREPARE for over 30 years

All Training Materials Provided:

PREPARE/ENRICH Manual and Resources

PREPARE/ENRICH Sample Computer Report

Complimentary Online Scoring

User Friendly Feedback Materials You Receive With Each Scoring:

Couple’s Workbook

Schedule Date and Registration Information:

Friday April 15, 2016

Held at Christian Family Institute (space limited)
6846 S. Canton Ave. Tulsa Oklahoma
8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Lunch on Your Own)

Register Here

Cost: $195.00 Which Includes All Materials Necessary to be Certified
$245 for spouses to attend (material shared)
Contact: Christian Family Institute with Questions
(918) 745-0095

Deadline: April 15, 2016 (space limited)

Premarital Counseling With the PREPARE/ENRICH Customized Version

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Christian Family Institute has been training mental health professionals, pastors, and lay counselors to do premarital counseling for over 30 years.  We are strong believers that such premarital preparation can improve relationships and reduce divorce rates.  One tool CFI commonly employs to strengthen relationships and marriages before they begin is the PREPARE/ENRICH assessment inventory.

I look back at the old versions of this test and am amazed at the changes that it has undergone over these many years.  I first met Dr. David Fournier, an early developer of the inventory in 1977 when he was pilot testing PREPARE in Kansas City.  Little did I know how significant our relationship would later be, and what an important role PREPARE would serve in our work.

This last year, PREPARE underwent another major revision.  It is now going to be known as PREPARE/ENRICH Customized version, instead of PREPARE 2000.  Several major changes in the instrument are immediately apparent.  One change is that all the instruments are combined.  Another change is that this version can only be taken by computer.  When a counselor agrees with a couple to utilize this version, a private login account is established allowing the parties to take the inventory online.  The initial items inquire into the status of the couple’s relationship, such as whether they are engaged, living together, or married.  Other items inquire about age and other factors.  The answers to these questions determine which banks of questions are relevant and will be administered to the couple.  Each couple takes a “custom” version of the assessment.

The outcome results are immediately obvious.  Separate reports are generated for counselors (“facilitators”) and couples.  Reports include a massive amount or information about the couple and their relationship, no matter what stage of relationship the couple may be in.  This enables couples to make important informed decisions, including commitments to grow and change.

Another important aspect of the PREPARE/ENRICH inventories is the increased emphasis on interactive feedback and therapeutic exercises.  For those trained in this approach, tools for helping couples grow are immediately available to meet the couple’s needs.

CFI will be providing workshops to train new users of the PREPARE/ENRICH Customized Version, and to update those already trained in PREPARE 2000.  Watch CFI’s website for dates and times.  Also, check out the Life Innovations website for more information.

by Dale R. Doty, M.S.W., Ph.D.

To sign up for Dr. Dale Doty’s PREPARE/ENRICH training workshop on Friday, March 28, 2014 please click here.

Advanced Marital Therapy Series – 2013 Fall Courses

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Advanced Marital Therapy Training

1st and 3rd Fridays – 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

(time change for Dec 20th Ethics)

Register Here

September 6th, 2013. Mediation as a Tool in Marital Therapy – Dale R. Doty, Ph.D.

When mediation is mentioned, most people think of divorce. Mediation can also be an effective tool in resolving marital disputes. This workshop will focus on the development of mediation skills in the context of marital therapy.

September 20th, 2013 The Role of Forgiveness in Therapy – Chris Giles, M.S.

Unforgiveness of past offenses like poison to a marriage. It is difficult to identify but can do a great deal of damage. This workshop will give attendees a phase model to forgiveness in marriage.

October 4th, 2013 The Gottman Approach To Marital Therapy – Eric L. Clements, M.S.

John Gottman’s research into the inner workings of marriage is unmatched. This seminar will explore the main discoveries from his work, as well as the impact it can have, as we work with couples.

October 18th, 2013 Reproductive Issues in Couples Therapy – Amanda Harrington, Ph.D.

Many couples face reproductive issues such as postpartum depression, infertility, and pregnancy loss. These experiences can disrupt and cause significant strife in the couple relationship. In this workshop we will present a brief therapy approach to these issues.

November 1st, 2013 Suspicions of Infidelity in Marital Therapy – Dale R. Doty, Ph.D.

In some cases, a partner in marital therapy is suspicious of their spouse’s friendships, or relationships. Is it a friendship, or is it an affair? When does “friendship,” turn to betrayal? We will cover the strategy for therapy when there is denial of any wrong-doing in the face of mounting evidence.

November 15th, 2013 Marital Therapy and Personality Disorders – G. Bowden McElroy, M.Ed.

William Doherty once wrote that because so few therapists have training or experience in martial therapy, “From a consumer’s point of view, going in for couples therapy is like having your broken leg set by a doctor who skipped orthopedics in medical school.” If that’s true, then a couple where one or both have a personality disorder is like having surgery from a doctor that skipped basic anatomy. Learn what makes this complicated dynamic frustrating to couples and therapists alike and how to effectively provide marriage counseling for these couples.

December 6th, 2013 Sex Addiction: Diagnosis and Treatment – Salley Sutmiller, M.S.

Sex addiction or just bad behavior? The public discussion about that question has also found its way into therapy circles. This workshop will focus on defining and explaining sex addiction and treatment issues.

December 20th, 2013 Last Chance Ethics – William B. Berman, Ph.D. (3 hours 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.)

Seeing couples may involve highly complex ethical dilemmas not found in other forms of therapy. This workshop will present a number of such scenarios, along for options in ethically resolving or even preventing them. Bring your own questions or ethical dilemmas for this lively discussion.

How Do You Do What You Do (All Day Long)?

Monday, June 17th, 2013

couple therapyUsually this is asked at the end of a particularly difficult or emotional session.  It’s often followed by the statement, “I couldn’t do what you do”.  The truth is, I probably couldn’t do what you do.  Not day in and day out.  I believe one’s vocation is a calling.  We usually think of ministers and missionaries as “being called” to the pastorate or the mission field.  I think God has plans and designs for each of us and some are called to be counselors or bankers or truck drivers, and some are even called (though I think it’s more a curse than a blessing) to be Junior High math teachers. Counseling is what I do, it’s a part of who I am; it is what I have been called to do.

That is the short answer.  A longer answer is comprised of three parts. First, I have a well defined sense of self and very firm boundaries.  In other words, I don’t take responsibility for the outcome or direction of your life.  My job is to be the best counselor I know how to be for the time you are in my office.  What happens after counseling is over is up to you. That doesn’t mean I don’t care (I do) or that I don’t worry about you as you leave my office (I try to keep that to a minimum but the reality is some of my clients are in a really tough place).  It does mean that I take responsibility for my life and I expect my clients to take responsibility for theirs.

I don’t do the same thing hour after hour, day after day.  Counseling is a process made up of different parts or phases.  Some of my day is spent doing assessments: figuring out what is really going on in order to create the most effective treatment plan.  Being a good diagnostician is like being a detective.  I question, probe, and investigate.  I analyze, summarize, and interpret.  At other times I teach skills: communication skills, problem-solving skills, parenting skills, etc.  I get to take off my detective hat and put on my educator hat.  Still other parts of my day are spent listening, empathizing, and understanding.  On occasion I confront people, at other times I explain how they are quite normal and anyone would react/think/feel as they are.  Counseling is much more than just sitting in a chair murmuring “And how do you feel about that?”.  I actually enjoy those difficult situations that require me to call upon all of my training and experience; even if the client never realizes just how much work that is.

Finally, I do what I do all day long because I take pride in my work.  I make a difference in people’s lives… and that’s more than a lot of people can say.

Mr. Bowden McElroy

G. Bowden McElroy, M.Ed.

Licensed Professional Counselor

What To Do When Your Spouse Won’t Admit They Did Wrong

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Trust Highlighted - iStockA common first question to a breach in relational trust is: “What did your spouse do?”.  The answer will likely depend on the severity of the action. For instance, when your spouse forgot to pick up the dry cleaning when you clearly asked them to, you may receive a denial in response, such as “you never asked me to get your dry cleaning.”  You would probably be able to forgive this more easily than forgiving your spouse when they won’t acknowledge a greater breach, such as infidelity. The adage “pick your battles” correctly applies here. The life of your marriage probably won’t depend on dry cleaning, but infidelity is a much more complex and damaging offense. However, the core issue is the same: A spouse’s unwillingness to take responsibility for their actions and make amends is a major roadblock in trusting relationships.

With something as serious as infidelity, your spouse may fear the demise of your marriage and fool themselves into thinking that if they don’t admit wrong doing, then the incident didn’t really happen.  As fallible humans we are masters of denial. Understanding why your spouse won’t admit their mistake is important. Do they disagree that their actions were wrong or are they ashamed and using their denial as a defense mechanism?

If your spouse has a pattern of dishonesty and is unwilling to seek forgiveness, there is probably a deeper issue present that needs to be addressed through professional counseling.

The dilemma for the wronged spouse is, do you forgive them even if they don’t seek your forgiveness?  For your spiritual and emotional health, is it best to choose to forgive them? Feeling forgiveness and choosing it are different. We often don’t feel like we want to forgive someone, but we can choose to forgive them. When we consider the grace and mercy of God toward us, it empowers us to extend that same forgiveness to others. Communicating your forgiveness toward your spouse can help them understand how their actions have affected you and encourage them to seek forgiveness.

Infidelity is a complex issue and the forgiveness of such offense is also complex.  Christian Family Institute has developed and refined a methodology for helping couples through infidelity.  Call us to set up a time to meet with one of our trained and licensed therapists.

KristaCaveny headshot

Krista Caveny, M.A.

Disaster Mental Health Response in Moore, Oklahoma

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

CFI’s Dr. Tim Doty volunteered last week with the American Red Cross in Moore as a Disaster Mental Health responder. This blog post is reposted from

As you have all seen from the pictures, videos, news reports, etc., the devastation is immense and fierce…but so is the spirit to rebuild.  I had two different assignments while on the scene.  The first was to accompany an Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV)into the field to give out hot meals and cold water to people who haven’t had power or access for days.  I was assigned to a team of two nurses and two disaster mental health volunteers to help triage wounds, both emotional and physical. We talked to people who had lost everything…in fact some people had lost everything more than once.  They also survived the May 3, 1999 tornado.

Photo May 22, 10 10 38 AMPhoto May 22, 10 10 33 AM

In Disaster Mental Health, our role is to encourage, support, promote healthy coping strategies and to help identify those who need help immediately (like psychosis or suicidal/homicidal). There has been media coverage about who was let into the disaster areas and who was not (as in some residents) during the search and rescue and search and recovery phases of the disaster response.  Red Cross was given access on Wednesday, so we were among the first to be delivering food and water since Monday.  People were gracious.  They have been through incredible events.

Yesterday (Thursday) I had the honor of assisting with the reunion of the Briarwood elementary school that took place at Bonds elementary in Moore, just down the road from the destroyed Briarwood.  Again, as a Disaster Mental Health volunteer for the Red Cross, 8 psychologists were sent (4 each) to Briarwood and Plaza Towers reunions. It was a touching and powerful event.  Students and teachers reconnected.  Parents and family members were able to hug one another and actually close out their school year, which they were otherwise unable to do since the school was destroyed Monday. Some of the students were telling one another “I saw you on TV, so I knew you were ok.”  In fact, one father did not know that his son was alright until he viewed his son on TV as well.

The work through the Red Cross is emotionally challenging, but very rewarding when you can help encourage healthy coping strategies and help families predict the kinds of emotions and responses they are likely to encounter in the days and weeks ahead.

Our prayers continue to be with the survivors as they rebuild.

Dr. Tim headshot

Tim Doty, Psy.D.

twitter: @DrTimDoty


How to Talk to Your Kids About News and Tragic Events

Monday, April 15th, 2013

The following is reposted from our CFI Facebook page:

man listening to childIn light of the tragedy at the #bostonmarathon today, please be cautious how much of the news you take in around your children. We advise that children who are not of age to understand violence and tragedy (and really, who among us does understand it), can be insulated from the news as long as parents and caretakers shield them from the information. Obviously, at the speed of communication, many of our teens, pre-teens, and adult family members will have seen/heard about the violence and we should take care to console one another in the face of tragic events. For younger kids, there is no need to watch/listen to reports of violence in front of them. If they hear about the tragedy, take time to explain with child-appropriate wording. We will post resources ASAP.

Here are the resources we linked to on Facebook:

If you, a family member, a loved one, or a child are experiencing difficulty in response to tragedy in the news, we have staff available to help you manage traumatic stress reactions.  Give CFI a call to set up a time to meet with one of our professional therapists. 


How to Get the Most from Marriage Counseling

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

iStock_000011684244XSmallPeople are often curious about how to get the most out of their sessions with a marriage therapist.  Who wouldn’t want to get their marriage back on the right track as quickly as possible?  In addition, most couples do not have an abundance of extra money so they want to make sure their hard-earned cash will be used wisely.  If you and your partner are interested in couples/marriage counseling, here are some guidelines to get the most out of your experience:


  • First, consider whether the therapist has training/experience in couple’s therapy.  Not all therapists are equipped to work with marriages.  Related to this, you want to make sure the therapist values marriage and will validate your efforts to work things out and make it the marriage you both desire.
  • Second, it is important to find a therapist that is the right fit.  A therapist that was wonderful for your friend may not be the right therapist for you and your partner.  Research indicates that the fit of the therapist is a major factor in the success of therapy.  Things to consider are the gender of the therapist, other areas of expertise that may be needed (parenting, step-parenting, miscarriage, grief, previous divorce, depression, etc.), style of therapy, and availability.
  •  Third, each partner has to agree to put it all on the table.  Therapy doesn’t work if there are secrets, or if one spouse is not committed to the process of therapy.  This may seem scary for some, but a therapist cannot help the unknown.
  • Fourth, the couple has to commit to finding time for each other.  Marriages are not saved or made better by only talking about them an hour a week with a therapist.  It takes time and effort.  Spending time focused on the relationship also gives the couple more specific things to address with the therapist each week (for example, attempts at talking about a problem).
  • Finally, consider the idea of giving your spouse the benefit of the doubt.  Often, especially when we are frustrated with someone, we look for ways they fall short.  However, when we focus on believing the best, people often rise to the occasion.

Marriage counseling can be life changing and can help you build the relationship you have always wanted.  Why not start now?

Amanda Harrington, Ph.D.

AmandaHarrington headshot

What does “Out-of-Network” Mean?

Monday, May 21st, 2012

One of the most asked questions we hear is “Do you take my insurance?”. We love it when the answer is a clear-cut “yes” or “no”. Unfortunately, we find ourselves frequently saying “it depends”. It depends not only on your insurance company, but on which of the dozens (or sometimes hundreds) of policy’s your insurance company offers that you might have. Just because you have XYZ insurance doesn’t mean we know which particular policy XYZ offers that you have.

For some policies we are “in-network”; for others we are “out-of network” but can still work with you and your insurance. For still others, we are out-of-network but cannot work with your insurance.

In-Network. This means that we have a contract with your insurance company. Our contract with the insurance company may spell out what we can charge, how many session we can provide, or how often we have to report back to the company on the progress being made in treatment. Some contracts are with Christian Family Institute as a group and others are with individual therapists. The therapist you originally requested may not be in-network but one of our other clinicians is; in other words, one of our therapists is likely to be able to work with you and your insurance.

The sad truth is that insurance companies are requiring more and more from therapists while paying less. Also, it appears that insurance companies have a preference for contracting with large hospital-based networks: they can do one-stop-shopping as they negotiate fees for surgery, oncology, pediatrics, etc. as well as mental health. This may mean that some companies prefer not to contract with individual providers or small groups. For these reasons we are constantly re-evaluating our insurance contracts.

Out-of-Network. This means that we are not contracted with your insurance company. Some policies will reimburse you for counseling services that are provided by a clinician who is not under contract with them. Usually you will be reimbursed at a somewhat lower rate than if you had seen someone in-network. Other policies (usually HMO’s) will not reimburse anything to you if you see an out-of-network clinician.

It is important to remember that out-of-network means we have NOTHING to do with your insurance, co-pays, or deductible. This is YOUR insurance: you are the one with a contract with the insurance company, not CFI. We may, if you request it, offer to submit claims on your behalf. We do this as a courtesy and convenience for some of our clients. It does not mean that we are offering to act as if we were in-network; it is merely a free service we offer so your counseling experience will be as simple and hassle-free as possible.

The trend among counselors is away from offering a convenience filing: more and more mental health professionals are giving clients a “super-bill” (an insurance friendly receipt) and leaving the client to navigate the insurance-billing waters completely on their own. So far, CFI has been able to resist this trend and continues to offer our clients assistance in billing their insurance.

Why see an Out-of-Network Clinician?

1. Because we are not a large hospital-based conglomerate; we are not a bureaucracy and we don’t act like one. Each therapist has the freedom to negotiate directly with clients regarding fees, number of sessions, and payment plans. There are no layers of bureaucratic approval to get in the way of the counselor-client relationship.

2. The name Christian Family Institute conveys our world-view and our approach to treatment. Our statement of faith is published for the whole world to see. Respect for your faith may be worth paying a little extra, if necessary, to ensure a counseling philosophy that is compatible with – and not hostile to – people of faith.

3. We always keep the family in mind even if only one person is present in the counseling session. Marriage and family therapy is a speciality that not all therapists have training in. Yes, we see individuals for a variety of reasons; all of our counselors are licensed to diagnose and treat mental health issues. Our therapists are also skilled at working with marriage, parenting, and family issues as well. People trained in individual therapy can actually do marriages and families more harm than good when they act outside their training.

4. The word “Institute” speaks to CFI’s commitment to training and education. CFI clinicians have served on state licensing boards, professional associations, and as university professors training the next generation of therapists. We are committed to offering continuing education to the mental health community. We are, in other words, experienced professionals who take pride in our craft. The staff of Christian Family Institute have many years of experience as leaders of their profession. Remaining on the cutting edge translates into the best possible clinical experience for clients.

“But my insurance company says… something different than what CFI has told me.” We only pass on whatever information your insurance company has told us. It is not us giving you a different answer; it is your insurance company telling us one thing and you another. Over the years we have discovered that it is possible to get an answer from an insurance company (“how much will you pay for out-of-network services?”), hang up the phone, immediately call the insurance company back, and get a completely different answer on the second phone call. Sometimes this may have to do with the fact that your insurance company has hundreds of similar policies and the clerk on the phone simply looked at the wrong policy. Other times, it may be that you called one phone number, while we called a different number for the same company: it appears that some insurance companies are so large the left hand simply doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.

Remember: if we are out-of-network then we have NOTHING to do with your insurance (other than doing you a favor and submitting a claim for you). If your insurance company isn’t paying on a claim, then let us know and we will do all we can to help you straighten out your insurance. But in the final analysis, you are the one with a contract with the insurance company, not us. Therefore, the final responsibility for seeing that your bill is paid rests on you.