Gary Dinkelman | Retired Counselor of Burning Tree Ranch

Gary Dinkleman, known for his insightful counseling methods and as a long-time counselor at Burning Tree Ranch, retired in 2021.

Gary helped hundreds of family members break the cycle of addiction.

Gary lived in Illinois and while 3-years sober he worked at a grocery store. His sponsor started going to school to be a counselor and soon Gary followed in his footsteps. He started classes in 1987.

After graduating, Gary started working at a young adult program in Chicago. The short-term detox helped young adults come off crack and meth. The company eventually landed a Dallas County Judicial contract and Gary volunteered to move to Texas. 

He worked with the Dallas County Judicial department for 10 years and began part-time work at Burning Tree Ranch. He started as a tech on the weekends and then became a full-time counselor in 2001. 

Gary has been sober since 1987. 

While at the Ranch, Gary got the nickname of “The White Wizard.”

He used a whiteboard in his sessions and wrote down what his clients would say to him.  Writing his client’s words, he would show them their belief system. 

“I would change it around and make it into an affirmation,” Gary recently said. “Then I would hold a mirror in front of their face and tell them to say it out loud.”

The exercise proved to be a dramatic realization of the negative self-talk clients often told themselves, and for some, had a profound effect on their thinking.  

To be an effective counselor Gary said patience, compassion, passion, willingness and openmindedness were critical so he could help clients reflect and grow. 

Gary said the most fulfilling part of his job was when clients started to grow in willingness to own their mistakes and look at themselves. He also enjoyed working with families and teaching them how to not enable their loved ones. 

“If you do the work that is laid out in front of you, you will have a life beyond your wildest imagination,” Gary said. “Listen to experts. Notice the miracles. Don’t let the appeared failures discourage you.”

Burning Tree Ranch thanks you for your many years of service.