Mary Sponaugle, MA, MFTi, is a graduate of Chapman University where she received her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and is a member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT) and California Association of MFTs (CAMFT). She is also a member of IOCDF Southern California, an affiliate of the International OCD Foundation. As of November 2016, she has earned over 4000 hours of therapy experience, preparing to take the licensure exam.
Mary’s passion for working with those suffering from anxiety disorders, in particular OCD, came to full fruition upon beginning work with The Gateway Institute in June 2014. Since then, she has attended IOCDF’s national OCD conferences in LA and Chicago, and has been an integral part of Gateway’s team, working with clients through both weekly sessions and intensive programs. Mary has seen first hand how beneficial Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) can be for clients with the right motivation and dedication. Through facing one’s fears and developing strategies to get ahead of one’s OCD, clients no longer become victims trailing in OCD’s path, but rather leaders of their own paths, and in turn, their own lives. Mary’s ability to connect with clients suffering from OCD through kindness and support has lead to over 70 clients’ lives being changed for the better.
Mary also helps co-facilitate The Gateway Institute’s individual group therapy sessions, her own Young Girls support group, and family support groups, which are very solution-focused and goal-oriented.
Prior to working at The Gateway Institute, Mary received over 900 hours of extensive training and experience at the Francis Smith Center for Individual and Family Therapy in Orange, California, working with clientele suffering from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, as well as substance abuse, and relational/occupational issues.
Tiffany Lee MFTi
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.
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.