Counseling Connections: Managing Stress & Alumni Spotlight

The Mahler building on the DBU campus in Dallas, Texas

Counseling Tips

When you are dealing with stress, you have three options: Accept, Alter, or Avoid. When you are in a stressful situation, it is important to first decide what option you will choose. In some situations, you will choose to accept or may not have the option to alter or avoid. In these situations, it is important to plan and prioritize. In other situations, you may be able to alter the situation. One way to do that is to delegate responsibility. There are situations that you need to avoid. In ministry, we may, at times, take on more than we can do. It is important that we seek God's direction. It is okay to say no if God is not calling you to do the task.

During stress, it is important to focus on God. One of my favorite scripture passages is Matthew 14:22-34, which tells us about the time that Peter walked on water. I have a statue in my office to remind me to keep my focus on God. It is also important that you take care of yourself. Eat even if you do not feel like eating, and make sure that you are getting some rest. You will be able to handle the stress better. Do not forget to breathe! Box breathing can be helpful. Inhale for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, exhale for 4 counts, and rest for 4 counts. This slowing of your breath calms your body, and counting helps distract you from racing thoughts. Remember to breathe deeply so that your belly and ribs expand.

If you would like to learn more about dealing with stress, read 101 Ways to be Less Stressed by Dr. Caroline Leaf. In her book, she gives you tips for mental self-care, which will help you build your mental toughness and resilience. While this book is written for a general audience, Dr. Leaf is a Christian and has spoken at the American Association Conference numerous times.

Alumni Illumination: Kathy Turner

picture of Katy Turner standing by a Christmas tree

"I am serving in the Recovery Ministry, Regeneration, and Online Ministry at Lakepointe Church. I am also serving as an Adjunct Faculty Course Developer for Dr. Wicker at DBU. The Lord brought me back to DBU in the Cook School of Leadership in 2021 to pursue a Ph.D. in Leadership in Ministry. I have now completed coursework and am preparing to begin my dissertation after comprehensives this August.

I have walked through many hard seasons of life, so I am able to step into other's grief and loss. Because of the MACC, my focus shifted from caring for them in the best way I know how, to caring for them God's way. To incoming prospective students, DO IT! But also understand the focus of this degree: this degree does not lead to licensure; however, it is perfectly suited for augmenting a ministry role. Really understand what you want to do with it before you begin."

About The Graduate School of Ministry

The Graduate School of Ministry provides training for individuals who sense God's call to ministry. The mission of the Graduate School of Ministry integrates biblical foundations of Christian faith and values with professional academic studies.

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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.