Ouachita Baptist University’s Pruet School of Christian Studies will host its annual conference on Issues in Christian Counseling Feb. 22. This year’s event will focus on “The Caregiver Confronting Abuse” and is co-hosted by Henderson State University and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
“It was my dream that we would be able to host a conference with New Orleans and Henderson, pooling our resources to draw professionals to this area,” said Dr. Bill Viser, associate professor of Christian ministries.
The conference provides mental heath professionals, social workers and nurses with an opportunity to receive Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for the sessions they attend as well as fellowship with pastors and other conference participants. “All these professionals deal with abuse,” Viser added. “The theme will deal with abuse in many different aspects and help the professionals be better equipped to address abuse in their different professions.”
Every year, the number of conference participants has increased. “I see it continuing to grow and grow,” Viser said. “It’s getting a good reputation and people are consistently coming every year that came the first time, as well as new people.”
Participants will have the choice of picking four breakout sessions throughout the day, led by health professionals from the host institutions as well as Central Baptist College in Conway, Ark., and East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, Texas. Breakout session topics are “Ethical Issues in Counseling: Christian Counseling in a Secular World,” “Darkness to Light,” “Legal/Ethical Considerations in Today’s Health Care Environment,” “Social Media and Ethical Implications for Counselors,” “Preventing Sexual Abuse in the Church,” “Getting the Assistance You Need,” “Sexual Addiction Among Christian Workers,” “Frameworks and Tools for Treating Survivors of Abuse,” “Addressing the Spiritual Needs of Adults in Clinical Settings,” “Sexual Abuse in the Church: Offering an Appropriate Ministry Response,” “Forgiving the Unforgiveable” and “Pray for Me, Too: Intervention for Children Who are Sexual Perpetrators from a ‘Faith-Informed’ Counseling Perspective.”
In addition to mental health professionals and pastors, students are welcome to attend the conference. “We are inviting all students who are interested to attend for free,” Viser added. “The students are really the future of the whole caregiving movement.”
There are two options for student attendance. Option one is free and includes attendance at the sessions only. Option two requires a $15 registration fee and includes snacks, all written materials, a catered lunch and a certificate of attendance. Students who are seriously considering attending New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary after graduation are also invited to a free dinner at Western Sizzlin’ on Thursday, Feb. 21, at 6 p.m. to meet faculty and members of the counseling department.
For pastors, the registration fee is $70, $90 with spouse, and also includes snacks, written materials, a catered lunch and a certificate of attendance. For mental health professionals, nurses and social workers, the registration fee is $100 and includes all of the above resources plus eight available CEUs.
By Ryleigh Salmon