Jeffrey S. Black, Ph.D., Chair
James C. Meyer, Ed.D.
Susan K. Childers, M.S.
Lisa M. Kuzma, M.S.
William W. Clark, Ph.D.
Thea Gallagher, M.S.
Geraldine Huminski, M.S.
Baron S. King, M.S.
Patience Lee, Ed.D.
William J. Librizzi, Psy.D.
David J. Wiedis, J.D.
Helping People Find Direction in Life
There are many indicators to suggest people from all walks of life are struggling: divorce; broken relationships; single-parent households; addiction; depression; anxiety disorders; and problems controlling sexuality, eating, and anger. How do we even begin to deal with these difficulties? What is the individual’s level of responsibility in the midst of these emotional and behavioral struggles? Is there a moral choice to be made? Most importantly, how does a Christian understand and solve these struggles within the context of a relationship with God?
These questions and many more are the focus of the Master of Science in Christian Counseling (MSCC) Degree Program. Since its inception, the MSCC Degree Program has trained men and women to be biblically minded, professionally competent Christian counselors who offer lay and professional help in a variety of settings, including the church, inpatient and outpatient counseling, addiction-recovery ministries, soup kitchens, women’s shelters, youth ministries, Christian schools, and other settings where biblical counseling offers hope and light to those in need. Students who complete the MSCC Degree Program are prepared to work as professional counselors in most any counseling setting.
The graduate program in counseling seeks to accomplish three main objectives:
- To build a knowledge base in the areas of biblical psychology, spiritual formation, counseling theory, counseling ethics, and research psychology.
- To aid in the development of assessment, counseling, and literature research skills.
- To help students acquire the emotional, interpersonal, intellectual, and spiritual maturity necessary to effectively promote Christian character growth in others.
The program’s educational strategy includes seven distinctive components:
- Personal Attention and Respect
The faculty and staff are committed to giving students the same personal attention and respect they will one day give to their counselees. From assistance with the application process and advice in registering for courses, to classroom interaction and one-on-one lab supervision, faculty and staff make it a priority to treat each student as a unique individual. Personal attention and respect are essential to helping each student reach his or her full potential.
- Development of the Whole Person
Helping students achieve academic excellence is very important to the faculty. Additionally, we believe that effective counselors are those who mature spiritually, relationally, and psychologically as they grow professionally. Students are challenged and assisted to develop and maintain health in their spiritual, family, and private lives—inside and outside our classrooms and laboratories—as they pursue competence as counselors.
- Nurturing Community
The faculty believes people thrive in a safe, supportive, and nurturing community. Faculty strive at all times to keep students immersed in small groups with both peers and faculty to provide this kind of nurturing community.
- Balanced and Relevant Curriculum
Faculty are vigilant to assure that all of the course work is relevant and practical for counselors who will soon work with troubled people. They are committed to offering a curriculum that balances contemporary scholarship and professional standards with biblical truth.
- Approachable and Involved Faculty
The faculty is committed to teaching by example, so they are both approachable and involved in the lives of students. This individual attention creates the opportunity for students to benefit from their experiences as counselors.
- Real-Life Laboratory Experiences
Faculty believe counseling is an art that must be practiced in order to be mastered. From the first day to the last day in the program, students participate in laboratories and/or practical field experiences that plunge them into real-life scenarios. They will learn through hands-on, trial-and-error rehearsals under the watchful eyes and artful supervision of faculty.
- Dependency on the Spirit of God
Faculty believe counseling people when they are most vulnerable and talking to them about the most intimate and difficult struggles in their lives is a serious and sacred calling that must be approached with humility. Even with the most advanced training, no one is really adequate for this task without help from the Holy Spirit. Faculty are committed to helping students learn to depend on the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit as they apply God’s Word to their own lives and to the lives of others.
Understanding people and their problems and helping them to change and find solutions are not easy tasks. Students in the MSCC program are equipped for this task by an experienced faculty who base every aspect of the students’ training on the following core values:
- The Centrality of Christ in Psychological Health
The Bible makes no distinction between spiritual and psychological affliction, therefore, the faculty believes that spiritual health is psychological health. People cannot experience wholeness without intimately knowing Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, and obeying Him completely. It is through His work and His Lordship that men and women have the power to change, the power to love, and the power to overcome.
- The Authority of the Bible
The Bible is God’s authoritative, comprehensive, and sufficient written revelation. It is the only reliable source for understanding the complex nature of people, their problems, and the possibilities for change. The Bible provides Christian counselors with a comprehensive, theoretical framework for understanding the diverse problems they confront, as well as a blueprint for promoting change in someone seeking counsel.
- The Importance of Relationships
By God’s design, change takes place in a complex matrix of relationships. Men and women grow in their relationship with Him, just as they grow in their relationships with others. The relational environments in which people live either contribute to their behavioral and emotional problems, or promote change and growth. Helping men and women develop mature, loving relationships in community is an indispensible part of the counseling process.
- The Indispensable Role of Suffering
Human beings suffer because we live in a sinful and fallen world. Interestingly, the suffering people experience is not the cause of their psychological problems, rather, it is their response to suffering that causes their problems. The primary focus in Christian counseling is not to help people escape suffering or manage their symptoms, but to help people understand, respond to, and overcome their suffering in ways that enable them to live in a manner that pleases God, and to rejoice in their relationship with Him in the midst of their suffering.
The goal of the MSCC Degree Program is to thoroughly equip individuals to confidently and competently integrate their Christian faith with professional standards and practices in whatever settings they serve as counselors.
Students in the MSCC Degree Program take 32 credit hours in four core areas that focus on basic counseling theory, a biblical view of persons and their problems, fundamental skills in counseling and assessment, as well as on marriage counseling, working with families, and small group ministries. Each core area is complemented by a small group intensive training experience known as lab. Labs provide students with a controlled training environment to develop their skills and the character needed to use those skills well. In addition to the core counseling classes, students also complete 12 credit hours of Bible/theology and 4 credit hours of counseling electives. Students can also extend their studies in one of two specialization tracks: professional counseling or marriage and family counseling.
Graduates of the MSCC Degree Program have gone on to successfully serve in counseling roles as pastors; missionaries; school counselors; social workers; youth workers; small group specialists; campus student-development directors; human resource and employment assistance counselors; chaplains; and therapists in inpatient, outpatient, wrap-around, correctional, and private practice settings. Many graduates also pursue post-graduate certificates and doctoral degrees. The program is especially suited to equip people for counseling ministries in churches, parachurch organizations, counseling centers, social agencies, and schools.
Related Program Information
Profile of the MSCC Student Body
One of the most enriching elements of the MSCC Degree Program is the diversity of the student body. Such diversity provides opportunities to learn and grow from multiple perspectives.
Age and Career Diversity:
The majority of students enter the program in mid-life, already having a wealth of life experiences. Most are employed full-time in professions ranging from education, church, or parachurch ministries to medicine, law, social work, corrections, human resources, or business.
Gender and Cultural Diversity:
At any given time the student body is composed of students, 73 percent of whom are women, who represent every major racial group and numerous ethnic cultures from around the world.
Students in the program come from a variety of church backgrounds. They are evangelical in their doctrine and committed to integrating their faith into their professions.