Known for such bestselling self-help books as How to Have That Difficult Conversation You've Been Avoiding and the Boundaries series, he also worked as a psychologist and headed the Indiana, California, and Texas-based Leadership Coaching Program.
After graduating from North Carolina State University, the Dallas Theological Seminary, and Biola University, he started a psychology practice called the Minirth-Meier Clinic West.
He headed the American Association of Christian Counselors and also joined the board of the Mustard Seed Ranch (a rehabilitation program for children who have been abused).
A native of Smithfield, North Carolina, he later settled in Orange County, California, with his family.
Like his contemporary, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus writer John Gray, Townsend had a successful career as a self-help author.