Columbia is thrilled to welcome Darrin Derksen back on campus as Director of the Caregiving & Counselling program. Darrin and his family JUST moved here from Alberta (picture his hallways still full of cardboard boxes) but he managed to find the time to introduce himself to us. He sounds pretty awesome, yes?
You’re an alum! What did you appreciate most about your time at Columbia? How did your education here prepare you for your career & ministry?
Yes, I am an Alumni of CBC (2002)! What I appreciated the most about Columbia, is that my learning was grounded in both Faith and Psychology. My goal was to pursue the profession of Counselling, that allowed me to integrate my own personal faith pursuits. I found this at Columbia. In my career as a Counsellor, I have consistently needed to lean on what I have learned. For some clients, their issues revolve around serious mental health issues that are a result of trauma or addiction, and I have a solid knowledge base of these psychological issues. Other clients have developed such a mixed up core belief system, that when introduced to the truth of the gospel message, their emotional life is transformed. My ability to compassionately challenge people with truth I can attribute strongly to what I learned during my time at Columbia.
Where has life taken you since your time at Columbia? (Career & family highlights)
I came to Columbia as a mature student; already married, and had two of my three children during my time as a student. We had our third child two years after graduating from CBC. Before completing my MA degree, I was apart of a new church plant as a Prayer Counsellor, and I worked as a Child and Youth Counsellor in a group home. These experiences were both excellent, but also helped me to see that I desired to start my own counselling practice. This lead me to pursue my MA in Counselling Psychology, and went straight into private practice for the last six years.
Life’s highlights are not always based on achievements. Some highlights are also experiences that change you forever. One of the most shaping experiences for our family, was having to stand with our daughter as she battled childhood cancer. Thankfully she is a survivor, but going through an experience like this shakes up everything you know, and challenges your faith. I saw firsthand the necessity of my faith in Jesus Christ, and discovered how God meets us in our times of brokenness. This experience has helped me identify with challenges my clients face.
What drew you to your new role as Program Director of the Caregiving & Counselling program? What excites you about this opportunity?
It has always been in the back of my mind, that if I were to teach, I would love for it to be at Columbia. Throughout the years, I would periodically check to see if there was an opening. When the position was available, I immediately knew in my spirit that I was supposed to apply.
I am excited because I know how life-shaping our initial education can be. I have always had a love for the College-aged student, as it is such a formative time of life. Faith, knowledge, opinions, and lifestyle choices are all shaped during this time of life, and it will be an honour to be a part of many students journeys. I hope to encourage students in both their educational and career pursuits, and in how they walk out their faith.
Why do you believe the caregiving/counselling profession is so vital to the church/world?
The Caregiving/Counselling profession is so vital, because there are so many life challenges that end with people getting hurt. Anxiety, depression, divorce, addictions, disease, and traumatic events all lead to people overwhelmed and unsure what to do. The counselling profession has becoome a place where many have turned for help, and have found someone to guide them through from chaos to a place of joy and peace. I believe that as Christians we are to model Jesus as we bring healing to the broken-hearted, and that in the counselling profession we can show unconditional love that will draw people to be invigorated in their faith, and help people to engage in their church communities. Healed people love one another better.
What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?
What may be surprising to some, is that despite my calm and relaxed demeanor, I love Alternative and Rock Music!
Hobbies? What do you love to do in your free time?
It is quite possible that I may be found in the gym playing some basketball! I also enjoy photography and music.