Ed Melinat, MFT, Ph.D.
But for the grace of God I’d probably be selling life insurance. No, really, when I was a freshman in high school the drama teacher went around on the first day of class asking each of us what we thought we’d like to do when we grew up. I looked at him seriously and told him I rather thought I’d like to sell life insurance. He looked at me for a moment to see if I was serious, paused, and then burst out laughing. Not just chuckling, mind you, but deep husky hilarity. I could have died right there. I didn’t, but it was a puzzlement that stayed with me for a long time. Looking back I can see what a goofy picture this skinny, be-speckled, all-too-serious kid made. The serious heart was real, but my head was full of nonsense, barely an ounce of wisdom upstairs. I’m glad he laughed. After I got over dying of embarrassment I learned a great deal from that man that God put in my life, and many others along the way… and I don’t think the world has suffered much from one less life insurance salesman.
No real biography is ever brief and no book ever complete…
Do you really care where I went to school? Pasadena High School (Varsity letter in swimming each year, Pep Commissioner, Head Varsity Cheerleader, ended up excelling in theatre, flunked French twice and survived with a 2.7 GPA). Now, when I counsel high school kids it helps me to remember my own academic (and social) struggles. Some of us are late bloomers. And struggling is good for us; it helps reveal our need for God.
Pasadena City College, Associate of Arts degree (took a social psychology class that really turned me on; explored majors in drama, history, art, geology and English).
University of Southern California, Bachelor of Arts (“Well, Edward, if you can get in I’ll pay for it,” was my father’s challenge). Getting/staying in was a bit tougher than I imagined but God delivered one of those seminal epiphanies for which He is known. About halfway through the first semester I got a letter from the Dean of Admissions informing me that I would not be allowed to register for classes the following semester until I met with him. I was more than a little nervous. I showed up in this guy’s office and he had all of my records spread out on his desk. He looked up from over his glasses and said, “Well, son, I don’t know how to tell you this but we just now received your last semester’s grades from City College and we must of let you in here by mistake.” Boy, talk about a way to make your liver fall right out on the ground! I wondered if this guy worked at a slaughter house on weekends. Anyway, he leaned over those glasses again and asked me what I’d been up to. Well, I had absolutely nothing to lose, so I told him. I told him about my passions and I told him about my faith in Jesus Christ. I told him about my involvement in Young Life, a national non-denominational evangelistic ministry to unchurched high school kids. I told him that I was spending time with kids and that was probably a big reason why my grades weren’t so hot. He took a deep breath and said, “Well, it looks to me like you’re the kind of young man we’d like to have around here, so if you can get a 3.0 GPA in at least eight units I’ll admit you to full student status and take you off of academic probation.” I got a 3.5 GPA or better from then on. I also got an inkling of God’s larger hand in things; His complete ability to direct our lives in spite of ourselves.
I started out in accounting – pure disaster; then switched to Public Relations in the School of Journalism – actually majored in it – was president of the USC chapter of the public relations student society of America. The first day I showed up in the department trying to see if I should switch my major to P.R. (I was studying my brains out and getting a “D” in accounting) I told the department head that I thought I’d like to work with people. Without missing a beat he said, “So do morticians, could you be more specific?” I knew he was a keeper.
Azusa Pacific University, Master of Arts (Lots of wisdom in that place … Once a professor started his class by reading a stack of outcome studies indicating that therapy was at best capable of producing no improvement and more commonly, clients reported getting worse. After a long 15 minutes or so he looked up from the lectern and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, at the very least, don’t hurt anybody!”) A good word. There were lot of them in that program. It was taught by a faculty comprised of practicing Christian therapists working out their faith humbly before God daily in their offices. Kind of like what we do here at Hope Counseling.
I enjoy being a Marriage, Family, and Child counselor. It fits me, it suits me; I am called by God to do it, and most days I consider it a privilege. So it occurred to me that as long as I was going to do this thing for 30 or 40 years I might as well get a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. My dissertation regards intimacy, how language orchestrates the negotiation of emotional closeness and distance in an intimate relationship. It was a useful exercise; the subject still fascinates me.
My profession is that Jesus Christ is who he said he was – the son of the living God. He is my Lord and Savior. My life’s work is being a husband to Roxanne, my wife of more than 32 years, and a father to my two daughters, Jessica and Ashlee. I have many passions; hunting, fishing, camping, golf, men’s ministry, poetry, and bar-b-que!
I like being alive. I am passionate about my work. I am fortunate to be able to do it.
When I was a young man I was a white-water river guide in southern Utah. I ran 110 miles of the Green River just north of where it joins up with the Colorado and heads toward the Grand Canyon. I ran special 10-day-long trips where we taught folks from all over how to navigate the river; how to run their own boats through the dangerous whitewater and get safely downstream. I didn’t realize it at the time but it was an archetypical experience for my gifts and talents, a hint at how I would spend my professional career as a marriage and family therapist: river guide and teacher. What we do as therapists is help our clients navigate difficult passages in their lives. Smooth water never brings people to our offices. Rough patches are what makes one pick up the phone; it’s probably what made you search this website today.
Most everyone who picks up the phone or searches this website is in a world of hurt; their marriage isn’t what they hoped it would be, their teenager at home seems sullen and withdrawn but says everything is O.K., the use of alcohol or drugs by oneself or a loved one is stealing joy and crippling dreams. There are dozens of reasons the landscape of your life isn’t what was expected and navigating from where you are to where you’d like to be may seem impossible.
Give me a call; we’ll set up a time to meet. It would be my privilege to come alongside you to help you on your journey.