Counseling Connections - Volume 1

campus picture with Abide in Me – John 15:5 on campus banner
headshot of dana wicker

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Counseling Connections, a quarterly update shared to the DBU family about the Master of Arts in Christian Counseling program. Each edition will include a MarkYour Calendar section which will include upcoming DBU events and counseling events. There will also be a Counseling Tips section which in this edition features using music in counseling. The last section will feature either an alumnus or a current student. For today's edition, we are featuring Dietrich Blakes, a 2020 graduate who directs the Mentors for Couples program at Prestonwood Baptist Church.

I would also like to hear from you. What are you doing in ministry or has there been a change in your ministry? Would you be willing to mentor a current student who is in the Ministry Mentorship class?

Mark Your Calendars

Counseling Tip

In October, I attended the Hope Together Conference that is put on by the International Christian Coaching Institute and Hope for the Heart. Steve Siler led a breakout section titled Music for the Soul: A Timeless Resource for your People Helping Toolkit. Research suggests that we remember 90% of the information that we have learned with a melody. Think of commercial jingles or songs you learned long ago but you can still remember them. We also know that language is processed on the left side of the brain, but music, emotion, and trauma are processed on the right side, singing uses both sides. Using music can help those you are helping get in touch with their emotions. Emotions tell us what we are hearing is important. Music motivates us. Christian songs can remind us of biblical truths. Music can help us celebrate or grieve. Music can put words to a person's pain when they don't have the words. Music can create community and let a person know they are not alone in their struggles.

In counseling, music can be used during a session or as a homework assignment. You might encourage the care seeker to bring in a song that is meaningful or even write a song if they are musical. You can create a playlist on Spotify or YouTube and give it to your care seeker so that they can listen to it during difficult times. These are just a few examples of how to use music in counseling. If you want to learn more visit the Music for the Soul website where you can find music and resources.

Alumni Illumination

Dietrick Blakes ('20)

I serve as a deacon at Prestonwood Baptist Church. I am currently serving with my wife in the Marriage Ministry at Prestonwood Baptist Church as Directors of the Mentors for Couples program. It is a Christ-centered Lay Counseling ministry that serves married couples by providing biblical/spiritual guidance through God's word and the life experiences of mature mentor couples. Our trained volunteer group of marriage mentors are partnered with couples to disciple them through the seasons of their marriage journey. The ministry trains married couples to have a biblical perspective on marriage and gives them practical principles to use in strengthening their marriage.

picture of Dietrick Blakes

Since my 2020 spring graduation, God has led me back to DBU in the Graduate School of Business studying Management. I graduated from the M.S. in Management program in the Spring of 2023. I have committed more time to my church serving in the teaching and outreach ministries at Prestonwood.

The biggest takeaway from my degree experience has been that Christian Counseling in ministry is one small part of the body of Christ. There are many uses for the skills that I learned from the GSOM classes that are applicable to my ministry.

My advice to incoming students would be to start interning in whatever area of ministry you are studying early in your academic career. You will find that the skills and lessons you learn will benefit you in your life application while studying. Pray for God's direction and look to Him in everything you do.

Written by Dr. Dana Wicker

Dr. Dana Wicker serves as the Director of the Master of Arts in Christian Counseling and as a Professor of Psychology and Counseling in the Graduate School of Ministry at DBU. She holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of North Texas and completed her formal internship at the Dallas Child Guidance Clinic.