What people are saying about the Life Model


The Life Model is the best model I have seen for bringing Christ to the center of counseling and restoring the disintegrating community fabric within Christian churches.

Dr. Dallas Willard
Speaker, Author, Professor of Philosophy USC


I support the use of the Life Model as an organizing principle for establishing a local church counseling ministry. I believe the beauty of this model, which emphasizes maturity, is in the unique way that it can integrate the healing ministry of counseling into the greater mission of the Church—that of making disciples of Jesus Christ, of developing individual and corporate maturity.

Daniel J. Rumberger, Psy.D.
International Center for Biblical Counseling



The answer given in the Life Model is very real—a combination of healthy spirituality, intellectual insight, a need for community and friendship—all put together to help us become transformed.

Dr. Francis MacNutt
Founding Director, Christian Healing Ministries


My counseling practice has been revolutionized by what I have learned from Dr. Wilder and the Shepherd's House team.  Utilizing the principles from your books and the Thriving: Recover Your Life materials, I have been able to give the parents of the children I work with simple, do-able activities to build bonds with their kids and make a difference.  I can also explain to the parents why they work, which gets them more on-board with doing them. 

The Life Model is more practical and applicable than any of the theories I learned in my master's program or since.  It makes sense and it works.  I can apply the theory to what's going on in my clients' lives (not to mention my own) and provide simple, practical ways for them to make the changes that they need to make.  Thanks for making that possible!

 Dawn C. Bartels, M.A., L.M.H.C.
(Licensed Mental Health Counselor) Orlando, FL


We are thrilled with your teaching so succinctly explained in the Life Model. The concepts are very transferable. Pastors, youth workers, counselors, Sunday school teachers, parents and grandparents will benefit tremendously from the training you are providing. I told my wife, “I wish I would have learned these things before we were married and children arrived in our home.”

J. Paul Landrey
Trainers of Pastors International Coalition (TOPIC)


“The Life Model: Living From the Heart Jesus Gave You” is the most meaningful book I had read in several years. I helped get this book translated into Russian and Korean in order to make it available to people on the mission field. I was impressed by this powerful and practical teaching on recovery. I have found this approach very effective for Christians from various cultural backgrounds. I would highly recommend the Life Model approach as a basis for counseling in the church. This model provides a clear understanding of the complex neuroscience of trauma and recovery. I strongly feel a healthy church needs to provide counseling for their hurting members.

Darvin W. Smith M.D.
University of the Nations


As an educator in the public schools for 17 years, I realized that the Life Model principles for living would be valuable for my teaching.  Initially, I used the principles to understand my students and the way they learn. Then I decided to teach my students the Life Model and the Five to Thrive principles.  As they began to understand their own brain functions, to synchronize their left hemisphere with their right hemisphere, they came to life in new ways.  They began to synchronize with each other. They became aware of when they were in one of the big six emotions. They began to practice joy-building exercises with each other in order to return to joy.  And, as a result, they began to THRIVE!

Shelia Sutton, MA, NBCT
National Board Certified Teacher


It has been a frequent experience when I introduce the Life Model material to someone that they say, “I need to give this to all of my staff.” Some of the people and places where I have been applying the Life Model to help people grow, heal and mature include the following:  church, business and Muslim leadership, discipleship, marriage, child rearing, children’s ministry workers, International Christian schools, consulting with University professionals, pornography addiction, helping my spouse recover from past trauma, and the most important has been strengthening my own walk with the Lord and steering me on a path toward true and healthy maturity.

Kenneth D. Smith
Disciple, Husband, Father and Cross-cultural Worker


I have been impressed over the years by the care and diligence Shepherd's House staff have shown in thinking through and developing their approach. They have a tremendous grasp of developmental issues and how to help the traumatized. I know of no one offering a more innovative and thorough approach to counseling and bringing psychological wholeness.

Dr. Ken Canfield
National Center for Fathering


On the Joyful Beginnings baby development calendar Martha Sears writes, “Of all the Baby Books/Calendars out there, this is the one I would have wanted my mother to read and put into practice.  As coauthor of THE BABY BOOK, I see this guide for parents of new babies as both the science and the art of Attachment Parenting.  It tells and shows, with grace and precision, just how important and intricate the job of Parent is.  Then it gives you many wonderful tips on how to put all this good information into practice.  When you finish this 18 month project, you will have a marvelous keepsake for your baby, and a special record of the amazing journey you will have taken, starting with JOYFUL BEGINNINGS.”  

Martha Sears
Mother of eight
Coauthor of THE BABY BOOK


As a "caregiver" for several friends who have suffered great damage from evil in their lives, I have come to appreciate deeply the need for a true community to surround each person--not only for that person's sake, but also to encourage, strengthen, correct, and direct the caregiver. The LIFE Model of Redemption and Maturity offers a Christ-centered approach to helping one another live out the abundant life God has promised to each one who comes to him. THIS makes me excited.

Ruth E. Van Reken
Cross-culture kid advocate and author


This model of adoption into the family of God is crucial for our own growth as well as essential for setting captives free.

Dr. Neil T. Anderson
 Freedom in Christ Ministries


The Life Model is an indispensable resource for me as a director in Christian ministry. Leaders have immense responsibilities. A leader’s maturity, deficits, shortfalls, weaknesses, lifestyle and choices impact countless others. The Life Model and THRIVE training combine crucial teaching with realistic applications to help leaders be the kind of people who lead effectively. The Life Model provides a language and direction for leaders to discover their next step of growth while being more like Jesus every day. The Life Model helps me reach goals and finish with style and grace.

Chris M. Coursey


The Life Model is a brilliant description of the barriers and aids to reaching an adequate level of maturity. Applying these principles with my patients has been amazing. The concept of restoring joy opened people’s eyes.

Dr. Daniel Rota
Psychiatrist and pastor
FIET - Instituto Teológico
Buenos Aires, Argentina


Last summer a counselor gave us a copy of The Life Model: Living From The Heart Jesus Gave You and it immediately became one of our core resources for our ministry to men trapped in sexual addiction as well as our ministry to their wives.   Since then we have added Living With Men and the “Recovery From Sexual Addictions” video conference. The teaching has proved invaluable and we continue to add more “Life Model” principles into our understanding of the recovery process.  Thank you for your faithfulness and for allowing God to use you in the lives of many broken people. 

Darrell Brazell
New Hope Fellowship


We have begun using the Life Model in our Christ centered twelve step recovery program. It is one of the most impactful things that we have done in the life of the recovery ministry. Our attendance has increased from 60 to 100. In addition to that, it has pulled people into our ministry who have not been a part of it just so they could do the Life Model. There is a feeling of community within our ministry that we have not had for a long time, as well as a feeling of life and excitement that had been missing for quite a while. People are learning about their relationships and what they have been based on. They are learning about their maturity levels, where they are and where they want to be and finding a community to help them get there, which is giving them hope. It is helping to bring out a realness in our recovery groups that is on a higher level then we have seen in a while and at a greater volume. We will continue to make Life Model an on going part of our recovery ministry.

James Newman
Pastor of Recovery
Community of Grace Church


The Life Model has profoundly impacted the work we do as ministers, addiction counselors and missionaries.   Not only does the Life Model help us minister to others and train them to more effectively serve hurting people around the world – it has profound and revolutionary implications for the understanding and treatment of addictions.  We have used Life Model principles to help train others from the US, Europe, Asia, The Middle East and Africa who minister in residential rehabilitation programs, outpatient and church support groups, HIV/AIDS treatment, outreaches to street children and many other settings. Whether our students are African or European, Moslem or Christian, working in clinical or faith-based programs, Life Model principles have formed an effective bridge that has allowed us to train effectively in widely diverse settings. In particular, concepts related to attachment and development of the Control Center, trauma and its impact on the brain, and the necessity of healthy, joy-filled relationships and healing community as essential components of treatment and recovery have been invaluable.  In every situation, students have found Life Model principles highly applicable and useful.

Ed and Maritza Khouri
Addiction counselor trainers


The Life Model is wonderful hope for addicts. The Life Model offers a clear vision for recovering people. It allows them to see what has happened to them and then find the keys to a successful life. Powerful concepts from current brain science are expressed in simple terms that bring hope and help addicts experience trust. Life Model offers an ongoing vision of life as a community where the very thing addicts need is the same thing the rest of the church needs. Thank you, Shepherd’s House for a functional model that corrects growth that was less than ideal or even traumatic.

Charles LaCour, CAP (Certified Addiction Professional, Florida)
President NET Training Institute