Doctor of Ministry, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, La Mirada, CA 2005
Master of Arts in Counseling, Mid-America Nazarene University, Olathe, KS 2014
Master of Divinity, Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ 1989
Bachelor of Science in Social Work, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 1984
Kansas: Licensed Professional Counselor (#2682)
Individual Supervisor: Bryan Vignery, LCPC #787; Group Supervisor: Jan Frye, LCPC #042
Life experiences shape every counselor’s vantage point and hone the information and tools collected through academic training. My particular experiences include:
Like you, my experiences have come with stress. Families are under unprecedented stress today, which can be a major enemy of marriages. But stress doesn’t have to turn marital partners into enemies, nor need it be allowed to destroy a relationship. There are ways we can protect each other and, in the process, protect our marriages.
My wife and I have faced our own personal and professional stressors. Jointly we have jumped through the hoops of academia, changed cities four times, raised babies, guided teenagers, helped a child overcome a disability, changed careers, pinched pennies, aided parents in transitions, and re-fitted an empty nest. We've been helped by tools that served us well during these stressors, and you can be helped by them, too.
A prevalent cultural problem is isolation and loneliness. In fact, in 2018 Great Britain’s Prime Minister added a cabinet position called The Minister of Loneliness. It seems like most technological advancements are new ways to do things all by ourselves. This can create loneliness—even in marriage—as instead of drawing together to accomplish tasks, we isolate to “get things done” on one computer screen or another. We are not made for isolation and loneliness; we are made for relationship.
Couples need help in this century to challenge cultural isolation and reclaim friendship with others, and with each other. Companionship, and having a best friend with whom to walk through life is part of wellness.
Another prevalent cultural problem that affects marriages is the sexualization of our culture. Sex is everywhere, yet rarely depicted in a healthy way.
Often, it is depicted as exciting outside of marriage and boring or nonexistent within. Practices are commended in popular media that are damaging to relationships, and can leave wounds. But these wounds can be healed, and the truth behind the joys of married intimacy discovered or restored.
A healthy marriage is also about valuing instead of invalidating the ways we are different. We can have different ideas about our shared lives and still help each other be our best selves.
Dr. John Gray says, “Opposites attract, and then attack.” Don't try to change your partner into a carbon copy of yourself. Many marriages have wasted years trying to change each other, rather than finding strength in their differences as they adjust to each other.
My wife and I are complete opposites according to any temperament scale or personality test. Some people might call that “incompatibility;” we’ve come to experience it as complimentary, discovering the value in different approaches to life.
I'm not a big believer in "incompatibility." If you are both facing the same direction in life, and generally agree on what's important, and have the desire to restore your marriage, I will offer you the tools to heal and nurture your relationship.
I would love to help you gain tools and understandings that will enable you to experience a new, mutually satisfying marriage.
Dr. Doug Burford started his professional career in 1984 as a social worker in an inner-city environment. The relational dysfunctions that often worsen urban poverty exposed the limits of social work for creating life change.
This led Doug to seminary for training to address the spiritual roots of human problems. He held three Presbyterian pastorates in very different settings, adding breadth to his experience of American cultures. Pastoral ministry led Doug to an appreciation for therapeutic work as complimentary to spiritual growth, and an important aspect of one’s journey toward wholeness. He wanted to learn more about how to help people through counseling.
While the graduate counseling program was intense and equipping, Dr. Burford wanted to expand his expertise in helping couples through relationship challenges. Nearly everything he read mentioned the research of Dr. John Gottman. Dr. Gottman’s writings, and the resources offered by The Gottman Institute, recounted relationship situations all couples could relate to, and offered practical approaches to overcoming familiar problems.
After becoming trained as an Educator to lead the Gottman Institute’s “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” program, Doug completed three levels of training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy, as well as specialized training in affairs and trauma. He is currently studying Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (Dr. Sue Johnson) and the research of Dr. Patrick Carnes on sexual addiction in a couples context.
Dr. Burford leads with his wife, Claudia, “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” workshop. She is a trained Facilitator for the Gottman Institute’s “Bringing Baby Home” program, which Doug co-leads with her.
Dr. Burford is also experienced with trauma recovery, using the therapeutic intervention of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). His experience with trauma recovery helps him to see where individual trauma in the history of either or both partners might be triggered in relationship interactions, resulting in marital struggles otherwise hard to understand.
Dr. Burford is also a certified spiritual director and is currently being on-boarded with the faculty of The Leadership Institute of Orange, CA, a certification program for spiritual directors.
In his down time, Doug pursues his decades-long avocations of writing, and of photography—being especially drawn to still and silent images encased in fog. With his wife, Doug enjoys ministry, shared leadership of seminars, exploring coffee shops and antique malls, rearranging the furniture, and traveling West to visit their children and grandchildren.
Clinician Member, The Gottman Relationship Checkup
Clinical Pastoral Education (completed at Heartland Health Systems, St. Joseph, MO)
Chaplain with Marketplace Chaplains USA, Dallas, TX
Certified in Spiritual Direction (The Leadership Institute, Orange, CA)
Associate Instructor in Old Testament (Walk Thru the Bible, Atlanta, GA)
Ordained (Christian & Missionary Alliance, Colorado Springs, CO)
My office is in Overland Park, KS, a suburb of the greater Kansas City metropolitan area, which straddles the Kansas/Missouri state line.
Kansas City is a hidden gem in America—an historic center, boasting the nation’s WWI Museum, leading industries, fine arts, major league sports, respected hospitals and universities, growing suburbs in every direction, creative shopping, and a plethora of dining options.