Cairn University’s Oasis Counseling Center and graduate counseling programs hosted its first Faith in Practice Conference on Saturday, April 2, 2016. The conference provided an opportunity for counselors, pastors, lay leaders, and students to learn about and grow in the field of counseling while integrating their faith in Christ. They also had the opportunity to earn continuing education hours. With a lineup of distinguished speakers and over 13 seminars to choose from, attendees walked away with further training and were challenged, equipped, and inspired.
The day was kicked off with a welcome and address from the keynote speaker, Dr. Philip Henry. In his opening address, “The Neurobiology of Pornography Addiction,” he explained how the brain functions through pornography addiction and how those of faith can experience the transformative nature of Christ in the midst of their addiction. Later in the day, Dr. Philip Monroe provided a presentation on trauma in the church and how to make the church a safe place for victims of abuse. Dr. Monroe stressed the importance normalizing the brokenness people feel from experiencing trauma, as well as the need for all churches to have a prevention policy in response to abuse violence.
Another popular session of the day was “The Redemptive Role of Shame in the Process of Sanctification” by our very own School of Divinity professor, Dr. Keith Plummer. Dr. Plummer discussed Scripture’s use of shame as a way to show people the enormity of their sin and pride and motivate them to repent. He also discussed the difference between the debilitating shame that people experience—which Dr. Plummer defined as a problem with unbelief—with Scripture’s examples of shame used as a means towards transformation for God’s honor and glory.
Cairn’s graduate counseling faculty participated in the event as well, presenting thought-provoking workshops covering topics of sin, grace, and shame; the integration of cognitive behavioral therapy and faith; vulnerability in groups; the impact intimacy with God has in faith and practice; God’s perfect knowledge of man; the structure of the fallen human personality; and the professional development of new counselors.
Former graduate counseling faculty member, Dr. Penny Freeman, also took part in the day with her riveting session on cultivating resiliency throughout personal and professional transitions in life. Dr. Freeman touched on how a person’s competency and character impacts his or her growth as a counselor. She also taught about how the vocation of counseling, due to its nature, will always threaten a counselor’s emotional balance, making it vital to the life of a counselor to learn how to balance issues with compassion fatigue and trauma as they arise.
The variety of sessions throughout the day catered to the multifaceted needs and topics that arise in the counseling profession. “With over 200 attenders, 5 sessions and 13 presentations on a variety of counseling topics, this conference showed that there is a need for ongoing continuing education in the counseling and social work field,” says Baron King, director of Oasis Counseling Center.
The conference ended with a networking event, which provided attendees the opportunity to build friendships and professional relationships, fellowship, and learn from one another. Cairn’s first counseling conference was a success as many attendees shared their transformative experience of the event and were able to take away a greater understanding of how to live out their calling as men and women of faith.
Article by Katelyn Monaghan, Cairn University Graduate Counseling Student
Photos by Niwa Babayemi, Communications and Marketing President Intern