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Why Choose Happy Couples Healthy Communities?

Happy Couples

Michael Brown, founder of Happy Couples Healthy Communities, with Drs. John & Julie Gottman at a Seattle Couples Workshop.

“When there is love in marriage, there is harmony in the home; when there is harmony in the home, there is contentment in the community; when there is contentment in the community, there is prosperity in the nation; when there is prosperity in the nation, there is peace in the world.”

Chinese Proverb

Michael Brown, MSC, LMFT, is fiercely committed to assisting non-profit organizations and communities with high needs to help couples dramatically improve the intimacy and friendship in their relationship and resolve conflict in a healthy, productive way, thereby creating healthier communities. If you are looking for a proven professional who can help you address the problems of marital conflict, substance abuse, and domestic violence in your community, you’ve come to the right place. With over 12  years of experience working with couples and families in community mental health and substance abuse treatment, my mission is to bring quality, research-based couples workshops to non-profit organizations and communities with high needs.

My path to becoming a marriage and family therapist became clear when, as a Substance Abuse Case Manager and a Family Support Specialist, I was privileged to witness parents achieve sobriety, enter recovery, and regain custody of their children, thereby restoring harmony in the home and contentment in the community. Later, as an intern at Phoenix Interfaith Counseling, I was introduced to Gottman Method Couples Therapy, and immediately gravitated towards it because I found it to be effective in giving couples the tools that they need to improve their friendship and intimacy and manage conflict in their relationship in a healthy way.

Clients say remarkable things about the impact my work has on their life. Here are some example comments:

  • “Michael Brown is a good therapist in his field; without him my life and my son were in chaos. Great one on one, groups, family groups, couple groups, child therapy, great family enrichment therapy. To restart your new life you need to have help in keeping your life and family together.” (July 25, 2013)
  • “Thank you for examples and instructions and guidance! I appreciate your openness and availability and positivity!” (June 28, 2015, Tempe Art and Science of Love)
  • “Excellent, kind, human, understanding, caring.” (June 28, 2015, Tempe Art and Science of Love)
  • “Loved Michael’s true heart for marriages. A genuinely great man.” (June 28, 2015, Tempe Art and Science of Love)

Similar benefits await when you decide to invite me to serve in the powerful ways that I can support your success.

marriage and family therapy

What lights me up about this work is witnessing couples and families turn their relationships and lives around and interact in loving and healthy ways. I want to be about changing the world and creating a more peaceful and just society and I believe that the best way to do so is to create happy couples and families and healthy communities.

What sets me apart from other service providers is my ability to integrate Gottman Method Couples Therapy with the unique needs of communities in crisis. I have an inquisitive mind that seeks to integrate theory, research, and sound clinical practice in a culturally-appropriate fashion. Unlike many of my colleagues who are in private practice, I have worked in community mental health and substance abuse treatment for the past ten years. For almost 8 years, I worked with the White Mountain Apache Tribe, first in suicide prevention and intervention, and then as the Family Enrichment Coordinator, the Clinical Coordinator, and the Acting Clinical Director at a substance abuse treatment center. One of the programs that I coordinated was Couples Together for Safe and Sober Families, a multi-couple treatment program for substance abuse and domestic violence that I designed and that integrated Domestic Violence-Focused Couples Therapy (Stith & McCollum) and Gottman Method Couples Therapy. I also coordinated the first-ever Couples Day Treatment Cycle and the Annual Rainbow Treatment Center Couples Retreat, which featured the maiden voyage of “A Roadmap for the Journey: A Gottman Workshop for Couples in Recovery from Addiction.” The last two years, I facilitated the Roadmap for Journey Workshop.

You can feel confident engaging me to help you and your organization to address the problems of marital conflict, substance abuse, and domestic violence in your community. Over the years, my expertise has been honored with remarkable and notable accolades, including the 2009 Devereux Quality Star Award; a Master of Divinity in Theology and Master of Science in Counseling in Marriage, Family, and Child Therapy; Clinical Membership in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy; and certification as a Triple P – Positive Parenting Program facilitator, a registered Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) trainer, a Fatherhood is Sacred facilitator, and a Gottman Therapist. I have also been a presenter at several conferences, such as the Celebrate Life Conference, the White Mountain Apache Men’s Health Conference, the Child Find Conference, the Rainbow Treatment Center Substance Abuse Conference, and the NAFFA (Native American Fatherhood and Families Association) Annual “Fatherhood is Leadership” Conference.

My perspectives have been featured on the Gottman Institute Relationship Blog, KNNB radio, the New Theology Review, Carmel in the World, and Allpanchis (the pastoral and anthropological journal of the Southern Andes), and my Facebook pages: “Happy Couples Healthy Communities,” and, in Spanish, “Matrimonios y Familias Felices” (“Happy Marriages and Families”).

Five things about me and my experience that might surprise and delight you – while serving our work together:

  • I have been happily married for over 12 years and am the father of a beautiful 8-year-old daughter.
  • I lived and worked as a pastoral agent in Peru for 10 years, serving in the suburbs and shanty towns of Lima and in the high plains of the Southern Andes.
  • I speak fluent Spanish and intermediate Quechua (the first language of the majority of the population of the Southern Andes).
  • I entered the ring as a bullfighter in the Southern Andes on at least four occasions (don’t worry, they do not harm or kill the bulls in the Southern Andes, only “play” with them with the cape – the bullfighters are at greater risk than the bulls).
  • Last Fall, I participated in my first mountain biking event, the Tour of the White Mountains, completing the 35-mile, single-track route.

Michael Brown after the 35-mile Tour of the White Mountains.

My home is in St. Augustine, Florida, but I am willing to travel nationally and internationally (particularly to Spanish-speaking countries) to provide workshops and consultation.

It would be my pleasure to help you to achieve happy marriages and contentment in your community. Let’s continue the conversation in the manner that suits you best. See my contact page for more information.

Sabrina Rensink
Master’s Student Intern

Hello! Nice to virtually meet you, I look forward to meeting you in person soon.

A little about me:
I grew up mostly in the Midwest. I say mostly because I was born in Florida and we lived in Colorado before settling in Wisconsin. After moving around as a young adult, I made Minnesota home. I met my husband there and we started our family. We have now been married for over 18 years and our children are 12 and 13. We had the amazing opportunity to live and travel in an RV for a year and discovered Florida. We are so happy that we said goodbye to snowy winters!

After staying home with my children and helping my husband start an IT training business, I decided to pursue my passion for helping people by becoming a counselor. I completed a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Mental Health Counseling. I am currently enrolled at Colorado Christian University, working to obtain a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy.

If you’re struggling in life or in your relationships, I would love to walk alongside you in your journey. I welcome you to come as you are, and I will offer empathy and compassion. I look forward to working with you.

Who I can help:
Individuals: Anxiety/depression, change of life challenges, divorce, grief and loss, work/life balance, dating and relationship problems.

Couples:  Communication, conflict resolution, emotional or physical intimacy concerns.
Adolescents:  Social skills and interactions, self-esteem, relationships, academic stress, anxiety, depression.
Families:  Parenting, parent-child relationships, in-laws, extended families, boundary and discipline concerns.
I enjoy cooking, traveling, watching movies, and spending time with my family in my free time.

NOTE:  Sabrina Rensink is acquiring the clinical hours required to complete a mental health counseling degree and is under supervision provided by Michael Brown. Sessions may be recorded for training purposes.

© 2024 Michael Brown, MSC, LMFT, dba Happy Couples Healthy Communities