Robert S. Paul, LPC

Co-President and Intensive Lead Therapist

Bob received his Bachelor’s Degree from Evangel University, his Master’s Degree from Georgia State University, and a Diploma in Christian Counseling and an honorary doctorate from Psychological Studies Institute. He holds a license in the state of Missouri as a Professional Counselor. Bob is an accomplished speaker who presents regularly at professional conferences and enrichment events both nationally and internationally.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television programs and has co-authored three books; The DNA of Relationships , with Drs. Gary and Greg Smalley, The DNA of Relationships for Couples, with Dr. Greg Smalley, and Finding Ever After.

He is a former professor at Evangel University where he taught in both the Biblical Studies and Psychology departments, specializing in Marriage and Family Counseling, Human Sexuality, and the integration of faith into all areas of life. Bob and his wife, Jenni, live in Springfield, Missouri, have been married for over 31 years. They have four children and one grandchild.


Geoff Reddick, PhD, LMFT

Intensive Marriage Counselor

He is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, having earned both a Master’s degree and PhD in Marriage & Family Therapy. He completed his Master’s degree at John Brown University, and his PhD at Saint Louis University. He received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas.

Geoff met his wife, Lindsey, while they both attended John Brown University for graduate school. While there, they trained under Dr. Gary Oliver & Dr. Greg Smalley and cultivated their passion for working with couples and families. Before joining the NIM team, Geoff worked as a therapist in several settings, including a primary health care clinic, university counseling centers, a victim advocacy center, adolescent group homes, and an elementary school. Geoff continues to speak in the MFT field at the international, national, and state levels.


Ryan Pannell, MA, LMFT

Lead Intensive Marriage Counselor

Ryan Pannell received his Bachelor of Science in Family Relations and Child Development from Oklahoma State University and his Masters of Arts in Marriage and Family Counseling and his Master of Arts in Christian Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He is a Licensed Marital and Family Therapist as well as a licensed minister.

Prior to coming to NIM, Ryan was the Director of Counseling at Doulos Ministries in Branson, Missouri, where he served for 6 years. In addition to his work at the National Institute of Marriage, Ryan is the founder and director of the Woodland Hills Counseling Center in Branson. Ryan was also a baptist minister in Oklahoma for 6 years before entering the counseling profession.

Ryan and his wife Brenda have been married since 1996 and have 1 daughter and 3 sons.

Robert K. Burbee, PhD., Licensed Psychologist

Lead Intensive Therapist and Enrichment Coordinator

Dr. Bob Burbee has 26 years of experience as a licensed psychologist working with individuals, couples, families, and groups. As one of National Institute of Marriage Intensive therapists Bob leads both Couples Intensives and Marriage Intensives.

Bob also co-ordinates marriage enrichment events and resources at NIM such as retreats and workshops. Bob provides a monthly column in the NIM monthly e-newsletter titled, Stepping Forward. Dr. Burbee has been involved with Intensive programs through NIM since 2000 and was part of the team at Smalley Relationship Center that helped support Robert Paul in developing the Intensive programs. He has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in psychology, currently he is an adjunct faculty member at Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri.

Marriage and family issues have long been an area of special interest for Dr. Burbee, and he speaks frequently to groups on these topics in seminars, retreats, and workshops. An accomplished performing songwriter Bob often integrates musical performance in his presentations to groups. Bob and his wife Mary Jo are active in their church contributing to children and family ministries including facilitating a Sunday school class for engaged and young married couples. Bob and Mary Jo have four children and reside in Springfield, Missouri.

Brett K. Sparks, PhD., LPC

Lead Intensive Therapist

Dr. Brett Sparks is a licensed psychologist who joined the Intensive team in 2003. He currently serves as an Intensive therapist as well as contributor to the aftercare and research programs for National Institute of Marriage.

Brett earned his doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Fuller Theological Seminary as part of his desire to integrate the Christian faith and the practice of psychology. He had the honor and privilege to serve as a psychology intern and then staff psychologist in the United States Navy. He left the Navy in 2003 and moved to the Ozarks in order to pursue his growing passion to help couples. After working briefly in a private practice setting with couples and individuals of all ages, he became a full time member of the NIM team in 2005.

Dr. Sparks and his wife, Jennifer, live in Branson, MO. They have experienced the challenges and joys of marriage since their journey began in 1993. They spend much of their time today trying to keep up with their three children.

Stephen Bell, PhD., LPC

Intensive Therapist

Dr. Stephen Bell earned his Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Louisiana at Monroe. He earned his MS (Marriage and Family Therapy) and BBA Degrees from Harding University.

Dr. Bell is an Associate Professor at the College of the Ozarks. He teaches several courses in the Sociology Department including Marriage and the Family and Counseling Techniques. In addition to Dr. Bell’s work at the College of the Ozarks, he is Co-Founder of Family Fanatics, LLC. Family Fanatics offers various services to strengthen marriages/families. Before moving to the Ozarks, he was the Assistant Golf Coach at the University of Louisiana at Monroe and he practiced therapy at the ULM Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic.

Dr. Bell and his wife, Tracy, reside in Branson, Missouri with their two daughters Lillie and Ruthie with a new arrival expected in the fall of 09. He and Tracy (NIM’s Certified Life Coach) met through their mutual call to serve families. They enjoy the outdoors and being involved in their church. Dr. Bell feels very honored and blessed that God has opened up an opportunity for him to serve married couples at NIM and to be a part of NIM’s vision to serve God.

Cindy Irwin, LMFT, ABCST

Lead Intensive Therapist

Cindy Irwin earned a Masters Degree in Family Counseling from the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary and her training as a Sex Therapist from the Psychological Studies Institute’s Institute of Sexual Wholeness where she has gained certifications in both Advanced Sex Therapy and Homosexuality/Sexual Identity.

She is member of the American Board of Christian Sex Therapists.

In addition to her work at the National Institute of Marriage she is also the founder and executive director of Life By Design, a local counseling center that specializes in Sexual Wholeness, Marriage and Family Counseling. Along with outpatient counseling, Life By Design serves as a resource on sexuality issues for the medical community and a training center for Masters Degree students seeking practicum work in marriage and sex therapy during their professional development.

Her passion is to help individuals gain insight and delight around their sexuality and for couples to experience all that God has designed for intimacy. As an author and speaker, Cindy endeavors to promote wholeness in the heart of each person as an outflow of the fullness of their lives.

Ken Bryant, Ph.D., LPC, NCC

Intensive Therapist

Ken Bryant received his M.S. in Counseling from Pittsburg State University and his Ph.D. in Counseling from the University of North Texas-Denton. Other degrees include a Bachelor of Sacred Literature from Ozark Christian College and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Ken is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Missouri and Colorado and a National Certified Counselor.

In addition to his work with The Institute, Ken serves as the Founder and President of Oak Tree Marriage & Family Ministries, where he, along with his wife, Carol, offer grace, restoration, strength, and freedom to marriages and families through biblically-based counseling and seminars. Ken has taught undergraduate and graduate classes in Counseling and Psychology in Texas and Colorado. Ken also served as a church pastor for over 30 years.

Ken and his wife, Carol, have been married over 40 years and have experienced the joys and the challenges of Christian living, both as individuals and as a couple. Next to their relationship with Christ, their marriage and their family are their greatest treasures. God has blessed them with four wonderful sons, four wonderful daughter-in-laws and eighteen (going on nineteen) precious grandchildren. They currently make their home in Springfield, Missouri.

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Cynthia Nicholson, MA, LPC

Intensive Therapist

Cynthia Nicholson received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Central Bible College, a Master of Arts in Counseling from the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, and graduated from the Spanish Language Institute in Costa Rica. She is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God, and is licensed with the state of Missouri as a professional counselor (LPC).

As a featured speaker in churches and conferences for over thirty years throughout the United States and Latin America, Cynthia has focused on marriage and home and women’s issues. She is a professor for the Latin American Theological Seminary, and the Latin America Advanced School of Theology, teaching counseling courses for pastors.
Cynthia has been working with the National Institute of Marriage for ten years, bringing insights from a cross-cultural perspective. Having served with her husband, Richard, fourteen years as missionaries in Argentina and Mexico, they continue to travel extensively in Spanish-speaking venues, providing marriage seminars based on principles that are foundational to the clinical work she does at NIM.

She and Richard have three grown children and eight grandchildren.


Rachelle Colegrove, MA, LPC

Intensive Marriage Counselor

Rachelle earned a Master’s Degree from The Assemblies of God Theological Seminary and is currently working on her sex therapy certification with The American Board of Sex Therapists through Richmont University. She also holds an Elementary Education Degree from North Central University.

Rachelle is a licensed professional counselor in Missouri and a licensed Assembly of God minister. Rachelle is passionate about coming alongside couples and families experiencing relational conflict. In addition, her many years of ministry experience equip Rachelle for understanding unique pressures that ministry couples face. When not working at the National Institute of Marriage, she encourages couples and families in their relationships at The Relationship Center in Springfield, MO.

Rachelle and her husband, Greg, also travel and speak at weekend marriage conferences. Rachelle and Greg have been married for 29 years. They also have two adult sons and reside in Nixa, MO.

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