Launching Christian Counselors with Dr. Jim Buckner

As we invite your participation in Project Expand, we are hearing from TBC professors who are launching students from the college’s various departments of study.
Next up, we interviewed Dr. Jim Buckner (Ed. D. Argosy University, M.A. and M.Div. Liberty University, M.A. University of Central Oklahoma).
Dr. Buckner created the Christian Counseling program for Trinity Baptist College.  His passion for launching Christian counselors is inspiring!
Question: Dr. Buckner, what is your favorite thing about teaching the next generation of young people at Trinity Baptist College who study counseling?  
Dr. Buckner: For me it is watching people be able to use counseling immediately when they learn how to integrate counseling into their lives.  Research indicates that people who go into counseling often do so because they are trying to “fix” or “help” themselves, which is interesting.
I like to compare it to the analogy of being in an airplane emergency: you put the oxygen device on yourself so you can help other people.  It is similar in principle in counseling.  If I can help counseling students first learn to help themselves and learn how to be healthy Christian counselors, I think I have done exactly what I want to do.  That is, to steer them in the direction of using biblical counseling to direct their own way of life, and therefore they will know how to help others.
Question: It seems like the demand for counseling professionals is ever increasing. To what do you attribute this? 
Dr. Buckner: It comes down to the fact that people want to know the truth. But it is interesting; if you look at the diagnostic manual for psychology… it has changed.  What was regarded as truth before is no longer regarded as truth now.
Question: Why is it important to teach counseling from a biblical worldview?
Dr. Buckner: People do get tired of goal posts shifting.  Biblical counseling is stable because it is always based on the same thing.  Knowing that God’s truth is stable and does not change is huge.
So many times, people buy in on the latest trend.  I see a lot of secular psychologists saying that whatever you believe is ok… but in reality, there can be a huge difference between what you think and the actual truth.
God had it figured out from the beginning.  Philippians 2:5 talks about having the mind of Christ, which is embodied in counseling.  That change of mindset – that cognitive behavior – it changes your whole life.
Question: TBC has alumni throughout the US and beyond.  Many will read this short interview. What would you want to say to them to encourage them? 
Dr. Buckner: I would encourage them to do what they are probably already doing which is use God’s word to give them direction and guidance.  Also, from a selfish perspective, I would also encourage them to get some training if they need it.  The TBC counseling program is available online, which is really convenient.
Actually, just recently, one of our associates grads from several years ago came back and signed up for our counseling program.  While on the mission field she realized it was needed in her own life.  And then, it expanded past that when she realized that so many individuals in her life needed it too.  She’s now looking into a master’s program as well.

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