Phil uses a dynamic approach to help his clients recover their hearts and redeem their stories. His therapeutic approach is grounded in the Spiritual Root System™, and is informed by the work of Irvin Yalom, Curt Thompson, Dan Siegel, and Dan Allender. He also integrates perspectives from Judeo-Christian traditions, existential philosophy, and pastoral care. Phil works with individuals who have lost their way through addiction, anxiety, depression, struggles with spirituality, or burnout to walk them through the tumultuous and scary times that are so common to the human experience.
Phil worked in the trucking business through college and after college until finally realizing his true passion was helping people walk through difficulties and heartache. He completed graduate school in 1992 with a Master of Arts degree in counseling and religious education.
He served as a pastor in Texas for 15 years until joining the Center for Professional Excellence in 2005 where he served as Clinical Director until 2020. Phil became the Clinical Director and co-owner of (what is now) River Tree in 2020 and loves his role in developing, encouraging, and equipping the staff as they walk with people through their life journeys.
Phil lives in Murfreesboro with his wife Sheila and they have one son, Luke.
About Your Practice
I had a far less than stellar academic career other than classes that involved psychology. People who knew me and cared about me consistently encouraged me to pursue what they saw as a gifting I had to engage people in a meaningful way, so after years in the trucking industry, I took the plunge and entered graduate school at the age of 28. During my studies, it became clear that I flourished in environments where I could walk with people through tragedy and heartache and I am eternally grateful that I had people in my life that continued to encourage me to pursue the passion and gifting God put inside me.
Dr. George Nolan–a college professor who was the first to point me in the direction of my interests and calling (rather than the “shoulds” of staying mired in something I was not made for) Dr. Joy McInvale: my first supervisor who took a chance on me and gave me the opportunity to work in the field under her supervision and asked me to enter practice with her while I was still a student Dr. Wyona Elder: a graduate school professor who pushed me to find my voice and offer more of myself and my story to hurting people Dr. Chip Dodd: the impact of this man on my life is too meaningful to articulate fully. He pursued me, consistently voiced his belief in my calling to be in this field (by his side) and has continued to call me to “more” every step of the way and continues to do that.
I consider myself a vessel in the healing process, so my personal faith plays the central role in my work. As a person in recovery, it has long been apparent to me that my life, both the good times and the terrible are ultimately in the hands of God who loves me; the God who desires and is able to walk with and heal the people in front of me, also deeply desires to guide my steps in the process as well.
My current favorite music is called “podcasts,” but on the rare occasions I listen to music I listen to the two greatest bands in history: Fleetwood Mac, and Pink Floyd, of course.
College Game Day!
Telling Secrets by Frederick Buechner
Running and hiking the beautiful trails of the mountains of Tennessee
Just For Fun
Church janitor – I was a floor buffing wizard!
Nerd Alert: A friend gave me a complete set of Weust’s “Word Studies in the Greek New Testament” that I hope I never have to give up
The same thing I would cook if enemies or complete strangers were coming over: Manwich or scrambled eggs – The only two things I know how to cook.
Hiking, reading, running
Anywhere in the Smokies or Blue Ridge mountains