Orlando Master of Arts Counseling

Alumni Testimonies

Louise Holzhauer, M.A., LMHC
Member Care Counselor 
Orangewood Church, PCA
Orlando, FL
Licensed Mental Health Counselor

No one who knew me in my ‘previous life’ as a math and computer science teacher would ever have guessed that I would study counseling at RTS!  And yet, it’s a significant part of God’s unexpected goodness in my story.  As a 22-year-old newlywed I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer which necessitated the amputation of my leg and year of devastating chemotherapy.  Much that I believed about myself, my sense of security, many of my relationships, and my hopes for the future crumbled into uncertainty.  I spent almost ten years angry and depressed, avoiding the God I professed to know.

At the time I was unable to find a Christian counselor, so God used the insightful intervention of a wise friend to help me back to faith.  As a result I began an MA in Biblical Studies at RTS where I eventually completed the counseling program, as well.  I thought I was going back to school to strengthen my mind, but I ended up finding my heart.  Now I as a counselor for two local churches, I am exercising my passion to make counseling – aka “discipleship on steroids” – an available part of the church experience.  Thanks to God and to RTS, my roller-coaster journey through cancer and beyond has been a gift that has given far more than it took away.

Debbie Miller, M.A., LMHC
Director, Adult Faith Formation and Living Water Counseling Center
Ascension Church
Orlando, FL

There are no easy theological answers in the counseling room; it’s one of the places where our faith lives get put to the test.  In one way or another, clients wrestle with the hard questions.  “I love the Lord, and I still struggle with this addiction – is this Christian thing real?”  “Where is the abundant life in Christ when depression has swallowed me whole? “  “How can I believe that I’m God’s beloved child when my parents told me I was too much (or not enough)?”

I am so grateful for the RTS MAC program, where integrating the Biblical story into the real, messy lives of broken and glorious people was taught and modeled in classroom and counseling room.  I received a solid theological foundation and excellent clinical training, with teachers and supervisors who had years of experience in integrating Biblical truths with therapeutic modalities.  And I had the chance to be transformed by God’s love in powerful ways through the relationships I formed in my cohort.
My RTS MAC experience prepared me not only for licensure as a mental health counselor, but also to become the director of adult faith formation at my church, where we strive to help members live emotionally and spiritually healthy lives.

Jonathan St. Clair, MDiv, MA
Pastor of Spiritual Formation
Christ Church of Berkeley
Berkeley, California

"It is not a stretch to say that the counseling program changed the trajectory of my life and ministry. Indeed, it is difficult for me to imagine both my theological training and my present calling as a pastor and church-planter without my counseling experience at RTS Orlando. Life as a student of theology can become quite cerebral and disconnected from the complexities and challenges of life in the “real world.” However, the counseling program at RTS Orlando provided the context for me to “live theology” in relationships with peers, supervisors, and clients. This active engagement in relationships resulted not merely in the development of diagnostic and clinical skills, but more significantly in greater self-awareness, profound character formation, and a bigger vision for God’s calling in my life.  As for my present ministry, one of the greatest temptations is to hole up in a safe corner with my books, remain isolated from the needs of my community, and occasionally step into the chaos. But the counseling program seared in me the reality that any Christian ministry must necessarily be incarnational and any life transformation typically in dynamic spiritual relationships. That said, I would have neither the skills nor the courage to minister to the needs people in my community - failing marriages, loss and grief, sexual brokenness, addiction, job dissatisfaction, family conflict, etc. - were it not for the intensive mentoring and redemptive process God led me through at RTS Orlando.

Chris Hull, PhD, LMHC, NCC
Assistant Professor of Counseling
Chair, Department of Online Graduate Counseling
Grace College and Seminary
Winona Lake, IN

"My experience in the counseling program at RTS Orlando gavve me the tools to achieve licensure as a mental health counselor and establish myself as a successful clinician in both private and public settings. The counseling program continually pressed me to think critically about God’s world and how to care for His people. This training prepared me to pursue a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision and to serve in my current role as an Assistant Professor of Counseling for an evangelical college and seminary."

Dan Sartor, PhD, NCC
Clinical Psychologist
Ebenezer Counseling Services
Knoxville, TN

"The MAC program at RTS uniquely fueled my passion for scholarly inquiry, authentic Christian spirituality, and professional development as a Christian counselor and as an aspiring clinical psychologist. My growth in personal, spiritual, and professional integrity was fostered in a unique experiential program that created a transformational community of grace, consisting of peers, faculty, and supervisors. Since graduating from RTS, I have had the privilege of serving in full-time clinical, academic, and ministerial positions. In each appointment, I have been grateful for the foundational and deeply impacting personal, spiritual, academic, and professional growth facilitated by my RTS experience!"

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