Emily Lawyer (MABC, 2020)

Alumni Spotlight

God loves to write an extraordinary story if given the opportunity. Little did I know when I moved from Louisville, KY, to Washington, D.C., twenty-two years ago (only two days after 9/11), my story would eventually lead me to DTS to be trained as a therapist and sent out into a world more desperate for counseling care than ever before. After completing my degree in August 2020 as part of the very first MABC graduating cohort from the DTS-DC campus, I was dropped into unchartered waters, attempting to support clients navigating a global pandemic and societal upheaval while maneuvering those same waters myself. 

I primarily enrolled in the MABC program because I was drawn to its combination of best psychological practices integrated with solid biblical truth; indeed, I acquired that in spades. I could easily defend that the counseling program at DTS rivals any of the top schools in the D.C. area. But the most important result was one I could not have received from any other school because the most important result was who I became during my time at DTS. That has been tantamount to serving the D.C. area as a therapist. I was profoundly shaped by incredibly generous and devoted professors. I was challenged to continue the hard work of self-examination—an absolutely essential practice for highly effective therapists. I laughed and cried with a cherished cohort during long days of classes, complete with copious amounts of caffeine! Those classmates are now esteemed professional colleagues in a career that can feel isolating at times, and I am infinitely grateful to still collaborate with such extraordinary clinicians.

A Christian counselor must be characterized by a true depth of spirituality—a spirituality that exhibits a deep thirst and hunger for God. That spirituality must include an acceptance of His love that naturally leads from being filled with the Holy Spirit and yielding to God’s deepening work of grace. In my own life, this spirituality allows me to serve my clients better. Healers cannot take clients further than they have been and can only love another if deeply loved themselves. Even if the person sitting in my office is not a follower of Christ, I am able to believe he has infinite worth. That she possesses inherent value simply because she has been created in the image of God. That they are ferociously loved by a God they might not even yet know.

I love a quote from Staunton Jones that I came across in one of my textbooks during my first year in the MABC program. He states, “The claims of Christian truth should fundamentally transform, at a basic and profound level, the ways we conceptualize and understand our human subject matter, as well as our problems, our goals, and the processes of change. As a result, there is an undeniable relevance of God’s revelation for the work of mental health professionals, and because Christian marriage and family therapists, clinical social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and counselors are doing part of the work of the church.”

When we work to bring healing and wholeness to the hurting, Christ is present in a unique way. We speak to a culture desperate to find connection and meaning. This work pushes back the darkness in a way that shouts through a megaphone to an unbelieving generation. To be invited into that type of work is a sacred privilege and a sobering responsibility.

By His immeasurable grace, God has designated that my work is to serve clients in the DMV area. I will complete my CSAT (Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist) by December. With every day and every client who walks into my office, I feel heartfelt gratitude to DTS for helping make that possible.