Today we’d like to introduce you to Edward Callirgos
Edward Callirgos, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today..
I graduated from ASU with a bachelor’s in communications and a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy. I am the first master’s degree graduate in my family and received a Minority Fellowship Award from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). After graduating I was offered an opportunity to teach at Mesa Community College (teaching interpersonal communications, Communication theory and Conflict Management). I was also hired by an agency to work as a therapist providing in-home therapy for families involved with the Department of Child Safety (DCS). The agency also gave me the opportunity to work as a group facilitator for court mandated therapy groups- anger management, Intimate Partner Violence/DV, Cognitive Behavioral; as well as providing counseling to some of the Maricopa County jails. As I was working towards my AZ board of behavioral health license I was given an opportunity to work at a private practice where I specialized in high conflict couples. During this time, I also acquired advanced training in mediation.
After obtaining my full licensure and with the help of my amazing wife (Adonai) we started to build The Bridge Counseling, Consulting and Mediation LLC. I continued to work at MCC and at the in-home therapy agency while building the practice. This was tough, and I must thank my wife and 4 amazing, energetic kids (Mia, Micah, Kyla and Kaleb) for their love and support through those crazy months. Eventually, I was able to let go of my other two jobs and was able to focus solely on my family and the practice.
We quickly started making a name for ourselves for our work with intensive cases- Couples with escalated anger and destructive patterns, infidelity, trauma, codependency, anxiety, court related therapy, therapeutic intervention, pre and post-divorce counseling and of course my area of focus domestic violence focused marital therapy. We started with just me as the counselor, consultant and the mediator. Now we are grateful to have three strong counselors (Mejia Schreiner, Christina Kennedy & Blake) and a professional mediator (Melanie Spilo).
The Bridge is more than just counseling and mediation. We offer systemic business consulting and trainings. This last year we provided crisis intervention for a business that suffered a tragic accident. We have gone and presented mindfulness, communication, domestic violence, conflict management, and stress management for some businesses, city employees and school districts. Something important and engrained in me by my parents (Victor and Flor) is the desire to help others and so to honor this teaching The Bridge Counseling Consulting & Mediation gives back to places like the Tempe YMCA and the 100 Club of Arizona (police officers). As a 1st generation Latino it is a pleasure to help Spanish speakers in the community too by providing our services in English and Spanish.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Starting a business takes courage, faith and patience. The toughest part was working 3 jobs including building the practice. Finding time to spend with the family, working out and eating right was a struggle! I was staying up late, trying to keep up with paper work. Once I knew I could not keep up working 3 jobs, my wife and I talked and made the decision. I knew I had done all I could do to make this as safe (financially) for my family and with my wife’s encouragement it was time. So., we said a prayer and I typed up my 2 weeks’ notice for both my full-time job and part time job and pressed the send button. It was a slow but steady start. As we continue to grow as an agency we encounter exciting challenges. It’s all part of growing and developing.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about The Bridge Counseling, Consulting & Mediation – what should we know?
The Bridge Counseling, Consulting & Mediation specializes in three areas:
1.Counseling- We offer individual, couples and family counseling for a variety of individual and relationship challenges- including pre- marital and communication issues; but we specialize in high conflict, pornography addiction, emotional deregulation and trauma. Our majority of cases are couples, followed by individual counseling and then family counseling. We are well known and respected for our work with cases that involve domestic violence, infidelity, couples on the brink of divorce, and post-divorce issues- co-parenting/parallel parenting, communication and child-parent relationships. We receive many referrals from agencies where the individual or relationship is at its worse and those involve feel hopeless and volatile.
- Mediation- Mediation is a great alternative to litigation or courtroom disputes. We offer professional, private and experienced mediation services for family court issues, neighbor issues, employee-employer etc. Our mediation has a unique approach and has been very successful. We have a notary on site to officialize mediation agreements.
- Consulting- We use a unique approach that interweaves mental and emotional components to provide comprehensive assessments, trainings and interventions for business and community entities to: Increase productivity, plan and guide transitions, crisis intervention, work place violence, conflict management, sexual harassment and other trainings.
We are proud of the work we do. Our clients come in tired and hopeless; many are ready to give up. They are hurt and are reactive. Some are unaware of how reactive they are to each other. My counselors and I are provided our clients a safe place where they begin to increase in self and couple awareness, which leads to empowerment and hope. We carefully use interventions that highlights and activates their internal resources and strengths. I believe our nonjudgmental and empowering approach is what leads to us receiving many referrals from clients. We use various models to fit the client’s needs. We use Emotionally Focused Therapy, Restoration Therapy, Acceptance Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, PREP and ENRICH, Gottman, EMDR, Narrative, Trauma focused-CBT and others
I know many therapists in the area and they are good friends and amazing people. I think all therapists have a unique style and a way of looking at interpersonal and psychological challenges. What sets us apart from the rest is that we take on cases that some therapists would refer out. For example, one of my passions is working with domestic violence focused marital therapy. That combination of words will make some readers do a double take. Working with couples who have had domestic violence issues takes a certain type of skill and mentality. There is a lot that goes into serving a couple with this challenge—we have what it takes and if we handle these types of cases imagine how well we navigate other simpler issues.
We have clients from all over AZ. we have clients from Scottsdale, Mesa, North /west Phx, Casa Grand, Chandler, Gilbert, Fountain hills, ahwatukee, and of course Tempe.
Any shout outs? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I am very grateful for our clients. It’s not easy picking up the phone and making that call and then sit in front of a stranger and let them know things your best friend doesn’t even know. They have the courage and endurance to get the work done. So, if any of you are reading– thank you for your trust, hard work and commitment.
Grateful for my parents- Victor and Flor Callirgos. My parents had careers in Peru but wanted something better for their children. My father worked 3 jobs and my mother worked at a factory. My dad retired at the age of 76 as a Janitor in Wilton Connecticut and my mother is still working in a school cafeteria. Thanks to them my siblings and I stayed out of trouble, learned to not be afraid of work and to never give up.
My wife is amazing. She handles our household finances, the billing and administrative parts of the business and still finds time for the kids sports and extracurricular activities. Her encouragement and support are what made the Bridge possible.
I have several mentors- Karissa Grieving Mehall and Mary Doyle co-chairs of the MFT ASU program. They were tough and pushed us hard. They are incredible leaders and teachers! Megan Lewis, Minon Maier and Rachel Thomas were wonderful supervisors and challenged me to become more self-aware, stay present and focus on the process. Dr. Ray Branton a seasoned psychologist and owner of his own private practice for his support and guidance with challenging court related cases.
And of course, my children – Mia, Micah, Kyla and Kaleb who rush the door like I am some type of celebrity when they hear me come home (no matter how late). Their love feels so unconditional. No matter how hard a case or challenging the day; no matter how bad I feel I messed up something…they are there greeting me like I am champion…. their champion. I feel very blessed.
- Address: 4625 S. Lakeshore Dr #302
Tempe AZ 85282
- Website: www.thebridgeccm.com
- Phone: 4802037165
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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