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2023 Professional Counsellors Network

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    Professional Counsellors
Equipping Christian counsellors with a biblical worldview

The European Professional Counsellors Network is for professional counsellors and professional counsellors in training. This Network is a unique gathering of people with a Kingdom calling to soul care—specifically the mental, emotional, and spiritual health of others. Our theoretical training may include cognitive, behavioral, attachment, relational, or family systems. It may be within Christian, non-Christian, or even anti-Christian contexts, whether in academic, clinical, residential, or social systems settings.

The programme will feature lectures, small group discussions, and case studies. Each lecture will be followed by a time of questions and answers. Case studies will also offer break-out groups to provide a more participatory style of learning.

Prior preparation will be set for all applicants.

Network members should be working in the field of psychology for a minimum of 10 hours a week or a minimum of 7 clients. Students and interns may apply if they are full time students. This Network will examine the biblical framework for Christian counselling and will involve daily lectures as well as case study discussions.

Network Leadership

Jelena Sivulka was born and raised in Serbia, where she got her master’s degree in psychology and in theology. She became a Christian 25 years ago and a few years later got involved in ministry with her husband Greg, planting churches, distributing humanitarian aid, and partnering with Joni and… Read more
Eric L. Johnson is professor of Christian Psychology at Houston Baptist University, serving in the Gideon Institute of Christian Psychology & Counseling. He taught psychology for 10 years at the University of Northwestern and counseling for 17 years at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In… Read more

Network Speakers

Eric L. Johnson is professor of Christian Psychology at Houston Baptist University, serving in the Gideon Institute of Christian Psychology & Counseling. He taught psychology for 10 years at the University of Northwestern and counseling for 17 years at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.… Read more

V. Ellsworth Lewis, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist currently teaching (Houston Christian University), consulting with missionaries (OC International), and writing. He has worked with children, families, and adults-- providing assessment, therapy, and supervision in medical centers, rural… Read more

Jay Mosser has served in pastoral roles for 40 years – about 20 years in various assistant pastor capacities and the rest as senior pastor. Through those years he has served in three churches ranging from smaller (less than 50) to larger (about 1,000). Along the way he has worked with children,… Read more

Jelena Sivulka was born and raised in Serbia, where she got her master’s degree in psychology and in theology. She became a Christian 25 years ago and a few years later got involved in ministry with her husband Greg, planting churches, distributing humanitarian aid, and partnering with Joni and… Read more

Network Programme

Sunday, 21 May

Paul speaks of the body as potentially holy, an acceptable sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1). Yet, the Imago Dei has often been conceptualised in terms that exclude the body, limiting our earthly experience of “the hope of glory.” In this session, we will discuss some historical and philosophical issues in the concept of the Imago Dei, searching for a metaphysic that does not grieve the Spirit by foreclosing the power of Christ in us.

Interoception is potentially pivotal to psychotherapeutic processes; though accessible by “common grace,” it is powerfully enhanced by invoking the indwelling Spirit. C.S. Lewis warns of the cultivation of people whose organs of moral perception are underdeveloped — of “men without chests.” This session will introduce interoception as a field of human experience distinct from the verbally-mediated field, showing that we are viscerally designed for relationship.

Monday, 22 May

Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart.” God personally formed each one of us. With intricate details, He “breathed” us into existence. We are His one-of-a-kind masterpiece. As we live in the world at the pace we set for ourselves, we not only don’t see our bodies as temples, we ignore them altogether sometimes. Very often this powerful picture is lost by our self-centred desires, by unmet needs, compelled by illusions about who we are and what makes us acceptable or important. In this session, we will be reminded of what is the path to healing and restoration that we desperately need. How can we help others to be “searched and known” by a gracious God, and moved toward holiness that gives God the honour and fills their hearts with worship? “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.” 1 Cor. 3:16-17

Psychiatrist and author, Bessel Van der Kolk, wrote that, in trauma, “the body keeps the score.” But where, and how? How does it conceal, and potentially reveal, the score? If there are visceral “records” designed to keep things out of sight, there are also impressions from formative but preverbal injuries. This session will follow interoception into regions of experience that prove to be less accessible without skilled therapeutic intervention.

Tuesday, 23 May

Christ’s Incarnation justifies reviewing the ways church life involves our bodies – for example, in prayer, singing, confession, and eating and drinking – assessing why they benefit us, and practicing a little to explore their benefits.

The greatest gift God has given his children is the indwelling Spirit of God. Christian therapists can guide Christian counselees into a number of therapeutically relevant exercises, that will be explored and practiced in this session.

Wednesday, 24 May

Ministry roles are often viewed as "silos" -- areas that are loosely related but rarely connected. This is especially unfortunate when it comes to Pastoral Counseling and our Discipleship ministries. Biblically understood, these two ministry categories have far more in common than they have differences. How would "Counseling" be different if we viewed it through a "Discipleship lens" and how would "Discipleship" benefit if we included a "Counseling" framework? This session will help us think biblically about how these two often-separated ministries should become friends!

Christian therapy is especially interested in the heart, given its importance in the Bible. In this session we will explore the therapeutic value of working with the heart and demonstrate what such therapy looks like.