Greg Dunford, CMHC
Education & Professional Credentials & Experience
I have a master's degree in counseling and am a licensed clinical mental health counselor (CMHC) in Utah and a licensed professional counselor (LPC) in Wyoming. I have been counseling since 1997. I have been trained by the Arbinger Institute and have taught many classes on healthy relationships and behaviors to youth and adults. I am certified in Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART), and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). I was a full-time Seminary/Institute teacher for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for 20 years. I also worked as a program director for a girls' facility and a program director for 2 young men's ranches. I work with youth, young adults, and adults.
I offer a wide range of therapeutic modalities and experience with an empathetic, compassionate, and non-judgmental approach directed by each client's individual needs. My quest is to develop a safe, comfortable, and trusting relationship with each client as we explore their experiences and the direction they want to pursue. Depending on individual preferences, I can offer a spiritual or secular-based approach to therapy, and/or coaching, and provide the ideal methods for each
client's optimal wellbeing.
I have had the privilege of helping thousands of individuals, couples, and families find help, healing, and balance through practical, and sustainable ways. I have found great joy in life serving people, helping them learn and grow through their life experiences, finding clarity, connection, peace, and happiness in the journey! It has been so rewarding to witness thousands of lives change, and the generational ripple effects of those changes over the years!
Areas of expertise:
Sexual Shame Recovery
Sexual Issues and Development
Marriage, Couples, and Family Relational Concerns
Problematic Behaviors Including Pornography/Sexual; Alcohol/Substances; Gaming, etc.
Anger Management/Emotional Regulation
I help individuals discover themselves and optimize their agency as they seek to understand and manage life's challenges. Life gives us some difficult but powerful learning and growth opportunities. Together we evaluate challenging circumstances and create an individual plan that will enable the most healthy, thriving, and balanced life and relationships possible. We explore healthy practices in all areas of life. I am passionate about helping people explore and navigate through their unique, individual faith/spiritual journeys.
In my training and experience with sexual addiction recovery therapy*, I became aware of the pervasive shame culture around sexual issues. Too often, problematic sexual behaviors are misdiagnosed as sexual addiction, causing undue psychological harm. I am committed to creating more awareness around shame (in all areas of life), making shame recovery therapy more available, as well as promoting principles of sexual healing that I believe are congruent with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
*The DSM does not currently recognize pornography or sex addiction as a valid diagnosis. Compulsive or problematic sexual behavior may be symptomatic of underlying issues, and/or used as a coping mechanism to alleviate stress, loneliness, mental health issues, etc. I use an educational, sex-positive approach to help individuals gain clarity and sovereignty as they learn to reclaim and manage their sexuality according to their own chosen beliefs.
I am from the Salt Lake City, Utah area. I have been married to Julie, my
beautiful partner, best friend, and the love of my life, since 1987. We've worked through a lot to get to where we are now, but we can honestly say we have the relationship that we've always longed for, and we are passionate about helping others get there, too!
We have six wonderful children, the oldest born in 1988, and the youngest in 2007. We have lived most of our married life in Arizona, several years in Utah, and currently in Star Valley, Wyoming.
Through our own ongoing individual faith journeys, Julie and I have learned the importance of having a growth mindset and trusting in our own agency and inner authority in connection with our Heavenly Parents and Jesus Christ. We were both raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and enjoy an expansive view of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and find truth woven throughout many of the world's spiritual traditions. We honor and respect the beliefs and practices of others as stated in the 11th Article of Faith:
"We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may."
We are passionate about teaching clients principles and practices of sovereignty; learning to find and trust their inner authority; the faith/spiritual journey; healthy relationships; healthy sexuality, etc.
We both served many years as missionaries for the church’s Addiction Recovery Program (ARP). I led a Men’s Pornography and Sexual Addiction Group, and Julie led a Women’s Support Group, helping women through betrayal trauma, and helping them to support their loved ones in recovery in healthy and appropriate ways. Then we went on to leading the first ARP Couple's group. We love working together, and frequently do firesides and presentations.
I loved my 20 years of teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ in seminary and institute. I always imagined that I would teach till retirement.
In my last year of teaching, my wife and I found ourselves feeling strongly that God had another adventure/mission for us. We didn’t know specifically what it was, but we knew it had something to do with using gospel principles to heal lives. We felt it had something to do with a ranch-type setting, maybe a rehab, or a boys ranch of some sort. We felt inspired to “be patient and prepare”.
It was extremely difficult for me to leave Church Educational Services, and venture out into the unknown, but after 6 months of feeling these strong, daily promptings, we took a leap of faith, and our 401k, and packed up the family and took our RV cross-country, into Canada, down through the west coast, into Mexico and back up into the U.S., looking for where we felt called to be. We had great adventures with our family and lived in our RV for a total of 9 months. We learned to love the “faith phase”, challenging as it is. There was a kind of “Christmas morning feel” to it. We didn’t know what God (the givers of good gifts) had in store, but we knew it would be good!
We felt drawn back to Arizona, which was not our choice at the time, but we felt strongly about it and went. We were literally driving into the Phoenix valley “not knowing beforehand” where we should go. We made some calls to family and friends to find a place to park our RV while we found someplace to live. By events too perfectly orchestrated to be merely coincidental, we ended up parking/living in the driveway of some members of an old ward we’d been in years ago. We didn’t even know them very well, but they freely offered us the space. They became like family to us!
During our stay there, a man in that ward, four houses down, came over one day and started talking about a mission-prep ranch that he had been working on opening, and was seeking a “Ma & Pa” to oversee it. Of course, we jumped at the chance! We spent five years in the beautiful White Mountains of Arizona working that program. It was a great experience and we learned a lot! The funding eventually ran out, so we were at another crossroads. We started working on opening another mission-prep ranch that would be a sort of spiritual rehab…
Meanwhile, we opened a bakery/deli in large part for our oldest son Tyler who had experienced a lot of challenges in his life, due to addictions, despite being raised in the church and very much loved. He had been exposed to drugs and pornography at age 8! We were always very close to him, and he was very open and honest with us along the way. He is one of the most loving, pure spirits we have ever known.
Through Tyler, we were able to truly understand that those who struggle with addictions are often the most sensitive souls, that shame is often at the root of addiction, and that shame can also affect mental health.
While living in the White Mountains, Tyler met his beautiful wife and her 3 children. The pure love of her and her family helped him to have the happiest, longest stretch of sobriety in his life. We felt his meeting her was another reason we had been led to the White Mountains. Six months into their marriage, on Mother’s Day, 2013, he was killed instantly, riding a 4-wheeler to church. My wife was able to be on the scene within minutes, trying to resuscitate him. I came as soon as I got word…but he was gone.
This was a shocking, traumatic experience for all of us. Yet, we were so blessed to be able to have peace and understanding throughout it. We were carried by our Heavenly Parents and Jesus Christ, and so many loving souls on both sides of the veil!
People say that there is no right or wrong way to grieve. It is a very personal experience. Yet, there are principles and practices that can help in the lifelong grieving process. We were able to experience this first hand. We learned that God's Love is the most powerful force in the universe! Feeling our Heavenly Parents' and Jesus' love for our son and ourselves continues to carry us through what we felt could have otherwise destroyed us.
Three weeks after Tyler’s passing, I was out doing the milking (a great place to get inspiration!). I was pleading with God for help, as I had been immobilized by Tyler's death. I felt overwhelmingly heavy, the voices in my head compelling me to feel that I was somehow responsible. I was so depressed that I hadn't been able to go to work for three weeks. Then I heard a voice in my head saying, "He's My son first. He is in My hands and I have a plan for him." And that was the first time I felt free. The burden I had been carrying was lifted, and I was now able to move forward with peace. Then I felt I heard Tyler saying: “Dad, you need to work with people that are struggling. You work on that side, and I’ll work on this side, and we’ll work together.” I didn’t know exactly who he was talking about at that moment, or what it meant, but it was my desire to continue the work we had been doing at the ranch.
I told my wife, Julie, about the experience. The next day, my good friend Ron (we taught seminary and institute together) called me out of the blue. He had been running a boys’ ranch in southern Arizona for a few years, and I hadn’t talked to him for over a year. He said “Greg! What are you doing these days? I really need you down here!”
Of course, we said yes.
We spent two years down in beautiful Arivaca, Arizona! We loved it, and again, learned so much! Then we made the leap back up to Utah where I started my private counseling practice, "Greg Dunford Counseling". We are now living in Star Valley Wyoming.
Our relationship with God has carried us through the many challenges we have experienced over the years. I am so grateful to have had these experiences, for the understanding and compassion we have gained, and to be able to use them to help others.
I would be honored to support you in your journey in any way I can!
I speak fluent Spanish. I am an Eagle Scout and served a full-time mission in Chile. I served in many callings in the LDS Church. I have traveled extensively including Europe, North, South, and Central America, South Pacific, study abroad in Puebla, Mexico, the Middle East, & China where I was part of a group that had been invited by the Chinese government to teach therapists. When I was 17 My family lived in a kibbutz in Israel where my father was the director for the BYU study abroad, which I attended. I am blessed to be able to enjoy being active and healthy. I enjoy the beautiful outdoors, including fishing, hiking, and biking. I have excelled in all kinds of sports and have been a coach and P.E. teacher. I have experience working in construction and love to build things.