Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson announced the formation of a committee chaired by Dr. Waylan Owens, dean of the Terry School of Church and Family Ministries, to shape a distinctively Southwestern Program of Christian Counseling. Owens will be joined by Drs. John Babler, Scott Floyd, Ian Jones, Mike McGuire, Elias Moitinho, David Penley and Dana Wicker, with provost Craig Blaising serving ex officio. This committee includes all professors who teach counseling on a regular basis at Southwestern.

For some years Southwestern has provided two different approaches to counseling. Financial realities now render this approach an impossible luxury, Patterson explained. Obligations to students in the program seeking state licensure will be honored, but the program leading specifically to licensure will not be available in the future.   Southwestern is a church-related seminary. The president explained that this meant that the school was created by and for the local churches that support it.

“We want to develop a program of counseling that is distinctively for the churches," Patterson said. "Like all graduate studies, such a program should introduce the student to all of the findings, history and theories of psychology and counseling. In addition, the program will emphasize biblical principles set in the context of developing a biblical worldview and perspective on life.”

Proposed curricula for this new program will be presented to trustees in April.