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Ouachita Stories


Ouachita to host Conference on Issues in Christian Counseling Feb. 28

Spiritual Issues Christian Counseling ConferenceFebruary 13, 2020 - Jessica Daniell

Ouachita Baptist University’s Pruet School of Christian Studies will host the 10th annual Conference on Issues in Christian Counseling on Friday, Feb. 28, in Walker Conference Center on Ouachita’s campus. The conference, which will focus this year on the topic of “Spiritual Issues,” is co-sponsored by the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Ouachita. The annual conference is open to mental health professionals, social workers, pastors, spouses of participants and current full-time students.

“With this being the 10th anniversary of the conference, we wanted to have a special topic that we felt encapsulated all of our conferences from the beginning,” said Dr. Bill Viser, professor of Christian ministries at Ouachita and conference organizer.

Since its beginnings in 2010, the conference has addressed topics such as family issues, issues in marriage, adolescent issues, depression and drug and alcohol abuse for the purpose of keeping professionals and pastors current regarding issues in counseling – a union, Viser noted, is not always present in counseling situations.

“There shouldn’t be a gap between pastors and therapists,” Viser said. “It’s the most natural union ever. This is one of the reasons we believed Ouachita should begin the conference in the first place.”

Two tracks are available for participants – a counseling track and a pastoral track – with both beginning at 9 a.m. The conference is approved by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) for up to seven hours of continuing education credit.

The counseling track includes sessions titled “Counseling Ethics: Contemporary Issues in Focus,” “Compassion Fatigue in Care Givers and Therapists,” “Building Healthy Spirituality in Christian Counseling,” “Understanding Near-Death Experiences in Therapy,” “Competent Spiritual Assessment,” “Dark Nights and Depression: Exploring Salutary Depression for Believers” and “Scripture-based Prayer as a Counseling Intervention.”

The pastoral track includes sessions titled “Biblical Guidance Counseling,” “Special Issues for Pastors and Ministry to Women,” “Pastoring Believers Who Struggle with Depression,” “Introducing Living Well Counseling Ministries,” “Mandated Reporting for Pastors” and a panel discussion with counselors from Arkansas Baptist Children’s Homes ministries.

Dr. Viser will lead a session available to both tracks during the lunch hour on “Therapeutic Aspects of Forgiveness.” Speakers for the counseling track include J. Craig Garrett, Justin Phillips, Larry Henderson, Ian Jones, Michael Kelly, Jeff Nave, Aaron A. New and Kathryn A. Steele. Speakers for the pastoral track include Glen Putnam, Tracy Osborne, Aaron New, James Barham, Sean Culpepper and counselors from ABCH ministries.

Participants that turn in evaluations will receive a certificate designating earned Continuing Education hours (7 if all approved sessions are attended). Credit has been approved for: Licensed Alcohol and Abuse Counselors, Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, National Career Counselors, Nursing Professionals and Social Work Professionals.

Registration and additional information can be found online at www.obu.edu/christianstudies/counselingconference/. Cost includes up to seven continuing education units, Certificate of Attendance, handouts for sessions attended, lunch and morning and afternoon snacks.

For more information, contact Patricia Fowler, administrative assistant in the Pruet School, at (870) 245-5599 or fowlerp@obu.edu.