IR Spotlight

Sarasota Academy

Chandy Powell of Murfreesboro, TN is a Member of the Sarasota Academy of Christian Counseling and has been an International Representative since 2009.

Currently, I am excited to have the opportunity to share with you what is going on at New Life University, located at Branches Counseling Center in Murfreesboro, TN where I am the supervisor and the International Representative for this school.

New Life University began in 2008, and I came on board in 2010. There have been many changes and growing pains to get the school where it is today. Currently, we have about 50 students who are actively working toward their licenses and degrees. We began in 2008 with 3. My how the Lord can work when we give Him some space!

When we first began the school, we had our clinical director at Branches look over the curriculum to see if she had any extra advice to offer. So, we added 2 classes, Suicide Prevention, and a Counseling Practicum.

Suicide Prevention has been a wonderful addition to the curriculum. As we all know, this is a very serious situation, and it walks into all of our offices. Knowing the proper steps that line up with each student’s state laws is quite beneficial and empowering to the students. This class is taught in one weekend, a Friday night and Saturday.

The Counseling Practicum introduces all of the types of counseling outlined in our Basic Christian Counseling curriculum. The students learn about each type and each is assigned one type to write a paper on. The students also have a time of counseling each other under the supervision of a professional to give them tips on how to word questions and what and when to ask them. The students are usually quite nervous about this class, but they have all been very appreciative for being assigned to take it. This class is a full participation class and takes place in 2 weekends.

In the beginning, when Branches was just beginning to grow, and we had limited teachers, we only taught 5 classes at the center. Now, because the Lord has so richly blessed us with so many wonderful counselors, we offer weekend classes for all of the initial classes and even some of the advanced courses. The Cognitive Therapy class has been a longtime favorite.

I teach the Creation Therapy class and have, just this year, put the main concepts on power point. I taught it this way for the first time a few weeks ago, and I loved it! It was so nice to have everything on the screen for discussion and to be able to email the slides to the students. I am happy to report that all 7 new students made A’s.

It has been and continues to be a joy to be a part of this school. Several of our students have graduated and opened their own practices. I began a peer group with 4 former students. We meet the first Wednesday of every month in a suite that 2 of the students rent. It is lovely. One of our graduates is the partner in a prayer ministry here in town, and another is working hard to get a teen version of Narcotics Anonymous going in our community.

I am very proud of all that our students have accomplished, and feel so blessed to have been a part of watching the Lord call and equip them for the services they are bringing to our community.

Thank you for letting me share the wonderful news of New Life University. I hope everyone has a blessed Christmas and New Year!


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