Jill Trate: Counseling Biblically

Jill Trate: Counseling Biblically

Jill Trate has a heart for God's Word and His people.

After graduating in 2004 from Marywood University in Scranton with a bachelor's in Clinical Psychology, she enrolled in BBC's graduate program in Counseling Ministries. She graduated in 2007.

Jill Trate She and her husband, Dennis (a 2003 BBC graduate), now live in Dallas, TX, where he is finishing his graduate studies. Jill has worked at a homeless shelter, where she was able to share the gospel of Jesus Christ each day. The couple is looking forward to full-time ministry, where the Lord will lead them to use both her counseling skills and their heart for people.

Learn more about the graduate Counseling Ministries program, with both on-campus and online options, here.

Read more In the Spotlights here.

Insight Questions

What led you to BBC?
While I was attending Marywood, I was still a fairly new Christian. I decided to take a couple of Bible classes at BBC during my junior year since it was so close by. The first friend I met in both of my classes was Sarah Pursley, who happened to be Dr. Dow Pursley's daughter. Sarah invited to me lunch, telling me she wanted to introduce me to her Dad who was a professor on campus.

Over the next two years, I had several more lunches with Dr. Pursley and Kelly Bushey (the former Clinical Supervisor) and even did my internship for my undergraduate degree at the Love-Life Marriage and Family Center. While at the counseling center, I was exposed to biblical counseling, which, as a new Christian, I never knew about. I always thought counseling was counseling. I wanted to learn more about what it meant to be a biblical counselor and I wanted to be a part of transformational change, not the Band-Aid solutions the world had to offer.

Why did you decide to pursue graduate studies?
From a spiritual perspective, I knew the Lord was leading me to be a counselor. From a practical perspective, I knew I needed more training in order to do what He called me to do.

What kinds of things were you involved in while at BBC?
I had the opportunity to lead a Bible study at Lourdesmont, a secondary school for children with special needs. I was also involved in a small group with second-year graduate students who mentored me along the way.

How did BBC prepare you for your current ministry?
As I observed counseling sessions, where prayer and Scripture played an integral part, I had the unique privilege of watching the Holy Spirit work in the lives of those who were hurting. This was so contrary to what I was taught in psychology and I was intrigued to learn that the Bible really was sufficient. During my time as a psychology major, I had learned man-made techniques that would help people with their problems. I was taught, "if you put your mind to it, you can do anything; you can overcome any obstacle." For the first time, I learned that it was not about me; it was about God and giving Him the glory.

The hands-on training BBC has to offer is priceless. During my practicum, I had the opportunity to observe and take part in counseling sessions. When you finish your classes, you are not just thrown into a counseling room. BBC gently guides you through the process and mentors you along the way.

The small class sizes also played an integral part in my learning. I was used to being a face in the crowd. I never had the opportunity to get to know many of my professors on an intimate level. At BBC, the professors took an active role in the lives of the students, and due to the small class sizes were able to mentor each and every one of us.

Where and how are you currently ministering?
For the past two years I have worked as a counselor at a homeless shelter. I had the unique privilege of working with a single mother and her children. She came to the shelter in tears, having lived in her car for the past week. She was laid off from her job, which in turn, caused a domino effect on the rest of her life. Shortly after, she was unable to pay her mortgage and was forced to leave her home. Not having any family or friends in the area, she resorted to sleeping in her car with her children.

She was raised in a Christian home, where her father was a pastor. As a teenager, she walked away from the Lord and got involved in a lot of trouble, which eventually landed her in jail. When she came to my office, she was broken, physically and spiritually. Over the course of the next few months, the Spirit used me to show her what a life walking with the Lord looks like. She began to attend church and walk with the Lord once again. She eventually got back on her feet and moved out of the shelter into a three-bedroom house. Her incredible story was featured on the front page of the newspaper. More importantly, she thanked me for loving her as a sister in Christ and gently admonishing her in love. That is what biblical counseling is all about.

My husband and I are also involved in an evangelistic apartment ministry, Apartment Life, where we host social events in an attempt to create community and share the gospel with our neighbors. We have had the privilege of developing many spiritual relationships and showing the love of Christ through serving our neighbors. We also have the opportunity to pray with our neighbors, take them meals during difficult times and provide support and love.

What is your favorite part about your counseling ministry?
Helping those who are hurting. It is such a joy to see the Spirit work in the lives of those who are broken, bringing them to restoration.

Who or what had the most impact on you here at BBC?
The professors cannot be described in words. The time, energy, and care put into the classes and each student are an incredible blessing. Each professor inspired me in his own unique way: Dr. Dow Pursley taught me how to be an effective as a counselor and how to be more assertive in my counseling. Dr. Cary Lantz encouraged me to trust the Holy Spirit and His nudges in my own personal life and in my counseling sessions. Dr. Barry Smith taught statistics and research, classes I dreaded most. But he taught in a way that allowed me to view creation and science through a completely different lens. President Jim Jeffery's message during graduation really encouraged and inspired me to go out into this world and make a difference using the gifts and talents the Lord has given me.

Contact information:

Learn more about the graduate Counseling Ministries program here

Learn more about the undergraduate Counseling program here

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Posted on: 9/14/2010 2:57:44 PM

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