Jim Sterner, LMFT, founder of The Gateway Institute, discovered his passion and interest in the treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) while studying psychology at the University of Maryland and Antioch University. This passion and interest in the field of OCD drove him to further studies at Phillips Graduate Institute in Los Angeles, California where he obtained his Master’s Degree in Psychology and focused his studies on comparing various treatment modalities for OCD. Following his graduation, Mr. Sterner worked in Los Angeles for three years with a leading expert in the field of OCD applying the treatment methods taught by Dr. Edna Foa, an internationally recognized authority in OCD, who pioneered the protocols for Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).
After further refining his behavioral based treatment program, Mr. Sterner launched the Gateway Institute in November of 2008, and dedicated the Institute to treating OCD and other anxiety disorders with the most advanced techniques available for treatment. For over 10 years, Mr. Sterner has treated clients from all over the United States and other countries including Malaysia, South America, Europe and Canada, empowering individuals to find happiness once again by experiencing freedom from these anxiety disorders.
Tiffany Lee, MFTi, is a graduate of Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology. She received her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and is a member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.
Tiffany’s interest in the epidemiology and treatment of anxiety disorders began early in her education while doing her undergraduate studies at UCLA. While earning her Master’s degree at Pepperdine, Tiffany returned to UCLA to train at the OCD Intensive Treatment Program where she gained valuable experience and knowledge working with patients suffering from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Tiffany has become attuned to the specific needs of people suffering from OCD and she is very passionate and supportive when it comes to helping clients along their path to recovery. She has also treated numerous clients with co-occurring conditions such as major depression, social anxiety, panic disorder, ADHD, and autism spectrum disorder. She is a great proponent for the use of Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) in the treatment of OCD and other anxiety spectrum disorders, as she has seen first-hand the efficacy of the technique in many modes of treatment.
In addition to providing individual treatment to clients, Tiffany is a co-facilitator for Gateway Institute’s OCD support groups for teens and young adults as well as the adults and families group. These groups are a wonderful medium for those affected by OCD to find additional support and a sense of community and understanding.
Tiffany Lee is under the direct supervision of James Sterner, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT).
Chris Trondsen Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee (MFTT)
Chris Trondsen received his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from California State University, Long Beach and is currently enrolled in the Master’s program for Marriage and Family Therapy at California State University, Fullerton. He is the Vice President of the International Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Foundation’s (IOCDF) Southern California Affiliate leading efforts in OCD awareness.
Chris is an instrumental part of The Gateway Institute’s outreach program dedicated to educating local doctors, psychiatrists, schools, college teachers and students about OCD so that those suffering from symptoms can get diagnosed early and find proper treatment.
Chris is a national speaker on OCD and was the keynote speaker at the International OCD Foundation’s conference in 2011 and continues to be a regular presenter at the IOCDF’s annual conferences. Chris also helped create the Young Adult Track which is now an essential part of the conference’s program.
Chris started helping others suffering from OCD through the largest national OCD online support group. Then, in partnership with the IOCDF’s Speakers Bureau, Chris brought national attention to anxiety disorders when he appeared on The Montel Williams Show, Dr. Drew (Discovery Health Channel), Norwegian television and Fox San Diego sharing his personal triumph over his own OCD. Chris has also been featured in articles in the Orange County Register, the Long Beach Press Telegram and the Daily Breeze as part of his mission to raise awareness for others.
In his current role as Behavior Interventionist and facilitator OCD support groups at The Gateway Institute, Chris helps other sufferers understand that with hard work, determination and help from specialized therapists, it is possible to control the compulsions that limit the freedoms of life. He knows firsthand that clients may hide their rituals and compulsions from family and friends, and that they often suffer from depression, anxiety and panic attacks. Chris gives hope to others so they may find happiness once again.
Chris is fortunate to come from a family who also actively support OCD awareness. His mother, Liz Trondsen, co-presented at the 2011 IOCDF Conference and also runs a family support group at The Gateway Institute. Her compassion for helping others is evident in her commitment to the families she regularly supports.
Watch Chris and his mother, Liz Trondsen’s key note speech from the 2011 IOCDF annual conference retold at University of Southern California (USC) here.
Chris Trondsen is under the direct supervision of James Sterner, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT).