DeAron Washington knew he wanted to use his psychology degree to make a difference for the gospel, but when his Baptist Collegiate Ministry director suggested seminary, he was stumped.
“What’s a seminary?” Washington asked.
Washington had come to faith in Christ during college and as a new believer “seminary” was a foreign word. But Washington wanted to be “salt and light” to the culture and he began looking for a degree program that would combine counseling licensure with a theological education.
“NOBTS was the only place that allowed me to do that,” Washington said. “So, here I am.”
Now as a doctoral resident in the Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision program, Washington teaches graduate level courses in marriage and family counseling and multicultural counseling. Through the seminary’s Leeke Magee Christian Counseling Center, Washington provides professional counseling services to others.
“I'm honored to work with DeAron,” said Craig Garrett, associate dean of the counseling division. “He's the kind of doctoral student and professional who takes his learning very seriously and pours himself into it, but who sows what he has learned back into his counseling, teaching, and writing in ways that benefit others.
“For DeAron, the lines between scholarship, teaching, counseling, and ministry in the church and community are continually overlapping. He really does embody the idea of ‘salt and light.’”
When Washington came to faith in Christ, he struggled with psychology’s “inadequate” understanding of human spirituality, he said. Washington found that the gospel filled in the “holes” left empty by psychology.
“The light bulbs came on,” Washington said. “This really is the word of God. [Spirituality] really is an important piece of a person’s life and it needs to be addressed.”
Central to Washington’s approach in counseling is a biblical understanding of sin and the discord it brings.
“Sin came in and took us apart from God” is how Washington said he likes to explain it. “Sin took us apart from people and [broke] our relationships. But sin also affects ‘me, myself, and I,’ and ‘we’ don’t always agree.”
Washington has worked with individuals, couples, and groups in inpatient and outpatient settings. He is trained in Prepare-Enrich, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trust Based Relational Intervention, and Emotionally Focused Therapy and has experience with depression, anxiety, relational, spiritual and cultural issues.
Counseling has the ability to help people recognize the disruption caused by sin and helps them heal from sin’s trauma, Washington said.
As he encourages others in their personal struggles, Washington points to scripture.
“There’s so much rich, emotional language in Psalms that people of God can tap into … in times when it’s hard and it’s difficult,” Washington said. “You may ask that question, ‘How long, O Lord?’ How validating it is to know that I’m not the first person to ask that question.”
To learn more about the Leeke Magee Christian Counseling Center and the services it provides, visit https://www.nobts.edu/ccm/counseling-center.html.