Highly Trained, Tenured Staff

Todd H. Bellinger, RADT, MFTT

Primary Counselor

Todd started working for Serenity Knolls in June 2021, just four days after retiring as a teacher of 34 years.  He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies from California St. University in Northridge in 1984 and held a California Multiple-Subject Teaching Credential from 1987 – 2022.  After changing careers, Todd decided to return to school and pursue a graduate degree.  He will earn his Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from the University of San Francisco this May, 2023.  He will continue working at a Primary Counselor and MFTT, while working towards his LMFT.   Todd’s approach includes a trauma-informed approach, as well as integrating Solution-Focused Brief therapy with DBT, somatic, art, dramatic and narrative therapies.

In the latter half of his teaching career, Todd became drawn to working with diverse learners and kids whose emotional challenges limited their entire school experience. By creating alternate and individualized educational plans and curricula, and by incorporating off-site experiential learning, Todd was able to better meet the needs of these kids. Their learning was enhanced, as was their personal peace and empowerment.  The skills he developed in teaching: keeping hope alive, a belief in the wonder inherent to humans, meeting with individuals and families, leading groups, and especially individualizing plans, has transferred well into counseling in residential treatment.

Todd’s decision to focus his second career on addiction recovery and trauma was influenced by knowing former students who died from the disease of addiction and how families were affected by the tragedies resulting from unexpected fentanyl overdose. Todd feels that working in addiction helps him get a bit closer to fulfilling his Soto Zen Bodhisattva Vows – “to live for the benefit of all beings.”

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