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Dr. Dan & Kate Montgomery Bio



Theologian-Psychologist Dan Montgomery holds advanced degrees integrating psychology, theology, and philosophy. With over 40,000 hours of counseling experience, he holds dual licensure as both a California Psychologist, and Marriage and Family Therapist.

As a Professor of psychology and theology, he has taught at Pepperdine University, the University of New Mexico, Southern California College, and Central Bible College.

Dan has trained counseling students in universities and seminaries, psychiatric hospitals, churches, counseling centers, and the chaplaincy. He is an ordained non-denominational Christian minister.



Born in Texas in 1946, Dan experienced culture shock when he and his family moved to the northern New Mexico town of Las Vegas, where he attended public school from first grade through to a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, summa cum laude, at Highlands University. His Scots-Irish parents actively supported his academic interests by buying all the books he wanted, and responding enthusiastically to the papers he wrote. Neither one of them had graduated from high school.

Adolescence Through Young Adulthood


Three dynamics unfolded over these years that had lifelong influence.

First, Dan experienced the impact of racial tensions from belonging to an ethnic minority. He learned the art of street-fighting in order to survive, and defended himself in twenty fistfights before graduating from high school. From this he learned how to persevere through adversity, and developed empathy for those who suffer.

Second, he made friends throughout a wide range of Christian denominations that included Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Church of Christ, Methodist, and Assemblies of God. When he committed his life to Jesus Christ at the age of seventeen, he embraced an ecumenical mindset framed in Evangelical orthodoxy, an emphasis that continues to this present day.

Third, Dan developed an active interest in the world of ideas. This led to earning a Master's degree in Philosophy that integrated the history of philosophy with Christian theology and therapeutic psychology, an emphasis that continues in his writing today. His favorite philosophers encompass Aristotle, St. Augustine, Pascal, Berkeley, Kierkegaard, Husserl, Buber, and Marcel.

When his advisers at Goddard College asked what he wanted to do next, Dan said, "I want to learn the psychodynamics of helping people grow more whole, and then I hope to put this together with Christian faith and doctrine to build a holistic theory that weds psychology and theology around the theme of personality fulfillment in Christ."

Doctorate and Psychological Pedigree


At the University of New Mexico, Dan studied clinical and counseling psychology, while doing a three-year internship in psychodrama and group psychotherapy at Nazareth Psychiatric Hospital. As a doctoral candidate he supervised Master's students in training at Manzanita Counseling Center.

Dan devoured the works of Sigmund Freud, Jacobi Moreno, Carl Jung, Karen Horney, Carl Rogers, Harry Stack Sullivan, Abraham Maslow, Viktor Frankl, Rollo May, and Everett Shostrom. He engaged the writings of each of these psychologists, adopting them as dialogue partners who deepened his grasp of human suffering and revealed pathways to psychological and spiritual healing.

Beyond this, Dan's psychological pedigree enjoys historical roots, stemming from ten years of post-doctoral training under Everett Shostrom, who received post-doctoral training under Alexander Lowen, who received post-psychiatric training under Wilhelm Reich, who received training and supervision under Sigmund Freud.

Integration of Psychology, Philosophy, and Theology


Dan felt regularly guided by the Holy Spirit to re-read the Old and New Testaments. He prayed in communion with Christ that he might develop a practical integration of psychology and biblical theology.

When it came time to write his doctoral dissertation, Dan received permission to write a philosophical-literary work on "Personality Fulfillment in Religious Life," the beginning of what is now called Compass Theory. Dan drew from a wide pool of historical thinkers in psychology, philosophy, and theology that influenced both his dissertation and his future books.

Psychologist and Marriage/Family Therapy


Upon graduation, Dan moved to southern California where he taught psychology and occasionally philosophy at Southern California College. He had the good fortune to work with world-known psychologist Everett L. Shostrom, who became a friend and mentor, supervising Dan's several thousand hours of counseling to receive dual licensure as a Psychologist and Marriage and Family Therapist.

Shostrom drew Dan in to what was then called Actualizing Therapy, which formed the keystone of Dan's subsequent development of Compass Therapy. Ev also invited Dan to co-author three books with him. Their collaboration and ongoing development of counseling theory lasted for fifteen years. During this time Dan also had personal dialogue with Carl Rogers, Virginia Satir, and Rollo May.

Professorial and Theory-Building Years


At this time, Dan taught undergraduate courses at Southern California College, and graduate courses at the Pepperdine University Graduate School of Psychology, and United States International University.

These courses included theories of counseling, theories of personality, theories of psychopathology, techniques of psychotherapy, clinical psychology, physiological psychology, group counseling and psychotherapy, psychological testing, psychodrama, human sexuality, psychology of religion, philosophies of religion, psychology of women, counseling supervision and practicum, clinical internship, religion and human behavior, human values, and ethics.

The Compass Series Books


This laid a broad academic foundation in Dan's thinking that became foundational to the formation of the Compass Series books, which reached mature development from 2004 through the present.

To streamline this holistic, comprehensive integration of psychology and theology, Dan engaged in critical dialogue with theologians Gordon Fee (Pentecostal), Donald Bloesch (Evangelical), Gabriel Fackre (Ecumenical), Adrian van Kaam (Catholic), Ray Anderson (Barthian), Tremper Longman III (Reformed), and Catholic Cardinals from six countries, including the Vatican.

He also drew upon the works of Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, and John Wesley, as well as more recent theologians such as G. C. Berkouwer, Jurgen Moltmann, Karl Barth, and J. I. Packer.

The Present


Dan and his wife Kate, a former Professor of Family and Child Development, continue to author and publish the Compass Series books that form a bridge connecting historic Trinitarian faith with Compass Therapy, the Self Compass, and Compass Psychotheology.

Dan and Kate also have written blogs on these topics:

Rev. Dr. Dan Montgomery Blog

The Self Compass Blog

Compass Therapy Blog

Compass Psychotheology Blog

Compass Pastoral Counseling Blog

Always Dancing with Kate!


And Dan's passions are not limited to the intellectual and spiritual, but also include the emotional and physical. A black belt in martial arts, he plays pool at a semi-pro level, and loves dancing tango and salsa with Kate!



Kate Montgomery was born near Toronto, Canada. Raised on a farm, she attended a small country school for most of her school age years, experiences that stimulated her independent learning. Her mother gifted her with numerous books on classical literature that fed an active imagination and exposed her to a range of ideas and writing styles.

Kate's family moved to Toronto for her high school years where Kate appreciated the quality of education and spiritual emphasis at Bishop Strachan School, where daily chapel and singing in the choir steeped her in the Anglican tradition of liturgy and music. Kate's later writing voice developed out of her ear for music, seeking the rhythm inherent in a well-written sentence.


Degree Specialities and Theoretical Influences


Attending the University of Toronto for both her undergraduate and graduate degrees, Kate especially enjoyed her time at the Institute of Child Study. There, she developed a keen interest in health psychology as it pertained to family and child development, and human lifespan psychology.

Theorists like Jean Piaget, Erik Erikson, Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, John Bowlby, Rudolf Dreikurs, Mary Ainsworth, Bruno Bettelheim, Carol Gilligan, Jerome Kagan, Howard Gardner, and Sybil Escalona all influenced Kate's thinking when she and Dan came to integrate compass theory with human development.

In addition, Kate studied history and philosophy, particularly drawing from the writings of Plato and Aristotle in pursuit of a well-honed argument.

Professorial and Theory-Building Years


Kate was a Professor of child and family development for over twenty years, teaching at community colleges in Toronto as well as southern California.

She taught courses in human development, multicultural education, infant development, creativity for adults and children, child observation, guidance theory and methods, approaches to parenting, teachers as people, early childhood principles and methodology, and curriculum design.

Kate enjoyed the administrative and interpersonal experiences with students, faculty, and staff in her role as department chair.

Integration of Psychology, Philosophy, and Theology


In collaboration with Dan, Kate deepened her theological knowledge through prayerfully reading the Old and New Testaments, and studying commentaries that include the Expositor's Bible Commentary, the New International Commentaries on the Old and New Testaments, and the NIV Application Commentary. She also read works by theologians such as Augustine, John Calvin, G. C. Berkouwer, J. I. Packer, Gordon Fee, Millard Erickson, Jurgen Moltmann, Thomas Oden, Donald Bloesch, Carl Henry, and Karl Barth.

Favorite Commendation


Kate's favorite commendation on the Compass Series books comes from David Bartlett, Yale Divinity School:

"What I appreciate most about the Montgomerys' work is their refusal to serve us either reductionist psychology or simple minded theology. The result is a work that is multi-faceted, like the human person. And just because it is multifaceted, it is wise and helpful in manifold ways."


Dr. Dan and Kate Montgomery joyfully continue to develop Compass Theory books relating to Compass Therapy, Compass Psychotheology, and the Self Compass. They make sure to go dancing, do aerobic walking and strength training, and enjoy spending time with friends and family.