Biblical Counseling

The Ph.D. in Biblical Counseling equips students to serve as counselors, professors, educational specialists, and consultants in the local church and in denominational settings.

Why Biblical Counseling?

With the introduction of our Ph.D. in Biblical Counseling, Southwestern Seminary has become one of the only institutions worldwide to offer such a degree. This doctoral degree is unique in that it highlights Scripture as completely sufficient for the counseling task and  as the supreme source of authority for “everything pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3).

“We believe that the Bible is sufficient for the counseling task and that it is superior to anything the world has to offer. It’s not the Bible and bits and pieces of behavioral sciences. The Bible is sufficient.”

John Babler

Why a Ph.D.?

As churches seek to fulfill their biblical role and responsibility to counsel members of the local church, the need for people who will teach the discipline rises. In order for churches to turn from extra-biblical counseling methods that deny the power, authority and sufficiency of the inspired and inerrant Word of God, Southwestern accepts the responsibility to train its graduates to rightly handle the Scriptures as they relate to the human condition and conflict. Graduates from Southwestern’s Biblical Counseling Ph.D. leave the seminary prepared to help churches reclaim the ministry of counseling from the world’s wisdom and replace it with Scripture’s timeless and perfect wisdom.

Degree Components

Students can expect to spend three to five years working on a Ph.D. in Biblical Counseling and during their time of study will complete 44 hours in seminars and eight hours in completion of a dissertation, for a total of 52 hours. Students will spend 20 of those hours (five seminars) in biblical counseling and 12 of those hours (three seminars) in a minor of their choosing.

Minor options:
  • Administration
  • Childhood Ministry
  • Family Ministry
  • Foundations of Education
  • Student Ministry
  • Adult Ministry
  • Women’s Ministry

Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling

The Masters of Arts in Biblical Counseling is a 66-hour program of study designed primarily to equip Christian men and women to minister God’s Word through counseling in the context of the local church or other Christian ministries. The degree includes 29 hours of theological preparation vital for effectively interpreting and ministering the Word of God. The counseling courses (37 hours) will prepare students to apply God’s Word in both formal and informal counseling settings.

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Concentration in Biblical Counseling

For students interested in pursuing the Master of Arts in Christian Education or the Master of Divinity degrees, a concentration in Biblical Counseling can be added with the completion of 12 hours of upper division counseling courses:

  • Exposition of Scripture and Counseling or Grief and Crisis Counseling (CNSLN 3403 or CNSLN 4303)
  • Pre-Marital and Marital Counseling (CNSLN 4003)
  • Parenting and Family Counseling (CNLSN 4103)
  • Any other Counseling Course (CNSLN XXXX)

Certification in Biblical Counseling

The Walsh Counseling Center at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary offers comprehensive Biblical Counseling certification that will provide recognition of training as well as support and networking opportunities for active certificate holders. The certification is not a form of counseling licensure, but represents our belief as professors and practitioners of Biblical Counseling that participants have had adequate training to be able to counsel effectively utilizing Scripture. Certification provides credible evidence that one has received training for Biblical Counseling in a formal setting and would be recognized as a valid credential by churches committed to the sufficiency of Scripture in the arena of counseling. 

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John Babler

Professor of Counseling, Director of Walsh Counseling Center

  • Author, Counseling by the Book: Revised and Expanded Edition, and Biblical Crisis Counseling: Not If But When
  • Vice President, Texas Corps of Fire Chaplains
  • Warren C. Hultgren Chair of Ministerial Counseling
Frank Catanzaro

Professor of Adult Education and Counseling, Associate Dean for Doctor of Educational Ministry Studies

  • Author, “Why Biblical Counsel” in Faith and Mission, Spring 2000
  • Served for over 30 years in various pastoral ministry settings as well as teaching in SBC seminaries.
T. Dale Johnson

Instructor of Counseling

  • Author, "Hubmaier and Conversion Therapy: A Case for Religious Liberty in Counseling" presented at the Fall 2014 meeting of ETS.
  • Served as Associate Pastor of Family Life for 7 years.

Established 1908 Fort Worth, Texas