Gary and Sarah Armour give a balanced alternative to families who are looking for a counselor. Their 50 years of marriage (to each other) gives a stable foundation for their practice in marriage and family therapy. In fact, much of their work in the counseling field has been a great help to their marriage in applying principles of strong families to their lives. Sarah and Gary have three adult children and two grandchildren. Their greatest delight is spending time with our extended family and being “Grand” Parents for Avery and Addi.
The fact that Sarah and Gary provide both a male and female perspective in counseling families or individuals struggling with all kinds of issues, is a benefit as well. Sometimes, due to a person’s own set of stressors, the option of selecting a male or female counselor is important.
Gary’s background in serving for over 30 years in ministry, and Sarah’s commitment to share in creating a spiritual footing for their children, give them a common faith that may be included in the client’s healing experience. They also have empathy for pastors and others serving full time in ministry. The challenges can be overwhelming for families who desire to be faithful followers of Jesus and also fully committed to their family. The heartache and wounds that may occur in ministry are real issues that individual or family therapy may address.
Excellence in family counseling is the gold standard in Gary’s practice. As a marriage and family therapist and pastor, he has counseled families facing death, terminal illnesses, identity issues, parent-child dilemmas, marital conflicts, and many other turbulent storms through which I have walked with families. The “therapeutic alliance” that is formed with the Family during therapy is a key ingredient in creating a safe haven for persons to heal.
Gary has provided pre-marriage counseling to 100’s of couples! The “PREPARE/ENRICH Inventories” for couples is one of the best tools for equipping couples in creating a marriage that has lasting values. “Couple communication” is also a helpful model for increasing couple satisfaction in understanding each other’s needs.
Faith and spirituality are included in Gary’s work with families who desire to include their spiritual life as an important ingredient in giving strength to the well being of their life and relationships.
A further unique feature Gary brings to individual and family counseling is his experiences as a prostate cancer survivor and a cardiac by-pass survivor. Gary has a personal perspective on men’s health issues which can help identify the dynamics within families living through the uncertainty of cancer or cardiac illnesses.
Issues of aging and working families who are “sandwiched” between parents of advanced years and children still at home, are also stressors on families that the therapeutic process can give encouragement and assistance.
Learn more about my background and experience.
Gary is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and a licensed clinical marriage and family therapist. Gary has a Master of Divinity from St. Paul’s Seminary. He has done further graduate course work in Marriage and family therapy at MidAmerican Nazarene University, and Northern Seminary in Chicago.
Counseling individuals and families are areas of expertise Sarah has provided to hundreds of clients for over 30 years. She is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. She also has a teaching degree in the field of special education. and has worked with many families of special needs children.
Sarah has an undergraduate degree in Special Education and Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Avila University in Kansas City, Missouri . As the spouse of a minister of the Christian Church, Sarah brings a faith outlook to the work of therapy that can give strength to the healing process. She and Gary have been married for over 50 years. They have three children. One of their children is a special needs adult who is mentally challenged. The standpoint of being a parent of a special needs child, as well as a clinician who has done counseling with scores of families and individuals who have special needs children, also gives a unique perspective to Sarah’s counseling practice. Through her first career of teaching for over 10 years, and her past 25 years in counseling, she has worked with a broad spectrum of ages and feel as comfortable talking with children, as she does with older adults and families of all ages.
It is with the unique combination of proficiency in individual and family therapy, experience in the ministry, as a spouse of a minister in the Christian Church, along with the recognition that a person’s faith can give strength to the healing process, and her skill in working with a spectrum of therapeutic needs, that helps Sarah provide a distinct perspective to assist clients in their recovery and healing.
Sarah designs her focus in therapy on the hope element, and attempts to help clients see the hope in themselves and in their resources. She also has expertise in working with couples and family dynamics, and encourage the assistance and input of others who are richly connected with the client. Resourcing with others connected to the family is a very important ingredient, in finding support and establishing an intentional relationship for clients.
Sarah’s approach to the therapeutic process is short-term, focused counseling. She believes that even 4-6 sessions are a grand springboard for healing and provides a new beginning for a person to get on with their life.
Beyond individual and family therapy Sarah also has several workshops that she can present to groups, churches and schools:
- Self-image for children and teenagers
- Moving beyond the “blame and shame” cycle
- Resources for parents of special needs children
- Marriage enrichment
- Grief recovery
- Finding your center – spirituality and healing
- Discipline in the home – how to get beyond spanking, yelling, and fighting with your children
- Older adults and the care for the care givers