The master’s degree course presented by Strengthening Ministries Training Institute is comprised of modules suited to equip pastors and Christians to counsel from God’s Word.
Introduction to Research and Writing
This module needs to be completed prior to the Foundations of Biblical Counselling module. This module is the shortest of the 9 modules, yet it covers essential information designed to introduce students to the SMTI standards of research and writing. Particular emphasis is placed on the style expectations of book reviews, module papers and projects. Furthermore, it will assist in developing effective habits of research and the necessary skills for completing the master’s degree thesis.
Foundations of biblical counselling
This module is meant to be a general introduction to and first step in studying biblical counselling. Throughout this module, students will be confronted with at least 15 foundational statements regarding biblical counselling. Each statement could be likened to a pillar that supports the structure and framework of counselling. These foundational principles form the basis of the methodology for biblical counselling. Without a biblical understanding of the nature of counselling, the counsellor will be apt to substitute the teachings of the Bible for worldly philosophies of psychology. These 15 foundational statements will serve as driving motivations for the biblical counsellor who wishes to base his ministry on the sufficiency of Scripture.
Paradigms for biblical change
The counselling process is not to be viewed as a “hit or miss” encounter with a counselee; neither is it to be so highly structured that the counsellor has no freedom to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s divine guidance. This module seeks to outline the following 8 basic components of the nouthetic counselling process so that the counsellor will know the foundational framework for biblical confrontation:
Theology of biblical counselling
This module challenges students to consider the theological realities that form the basis of a proper approach to biblical counselling. Specifically, this module attempts to develop a biblical understanding of the nature of God and man. Special emphasis is given to understanding the nature of sin, the meaning and role of forgiveness, the realities of regeneration and progressive sanctification and the place of the local church in counselling.
Christian life issues
This is a theology module designed as an exposition and practical application of John Buyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress. Though the book was written more than three hundred years ago, John Bunyan describes the experiences, problems, and difficulties that we are constantly being confronted with today. Throughout the module students will find explanations of why they have these problems and what should be done about them.
Marriage and family counselling
This module is designed to give students a synopsis of biblical marriage and family counselling. Thus, a thorough overview of the biblical principles surrounding these issues is the primary focus of this module. Careful attention is paid to the specific application of these principles to real life issues. The purpose is to teach students how to instruct people accurately and appropriately in these truths, as well as inspire them to implement these truths in their own lives and relationships.
Marriage and family topics
This module will seek to present a biblical perspective on such issues as conflict prevention and resolution, premarital counselling, sex as God intended, rebuilding a marriage after immorality, divorce counselling, financial counselling, unequal yoke counselling and various parent/child counselling issues. To implement the content of this module into the student’s life and for the student to receive credit for the module, the design and facilitation of a marriage or family improvement project will be required.
Counselling issues and procedures
This module is designed to apply the biblical principles taught in the Paradigms for Biblical Change module to a range of specific counselling problems. Topics discussed may include depression, anxiety, anger, fear, stress, decision-making, life-dominating sins (such as homosexuality, drug abuse, eating disorders), etc. Students will be trained in how to study the Scriptures to find the procedures and solutions to follow in counselling each of the problems presented through the module.
Observation and practicum
This module is designed to help students learn practical skills in counselling by observation, evaluation, critique, and discussion with the purpose of helping build a practical and effective counselling model. In this module, students are involved in observing different counselling techniques from recorded counselling sessions.
ACBC Certification Workshop
This module seeks to utilise the content learned through the eight modules of SMTI to help prepare students to write their ACBC theology and counselling certification exams as well as the required 50 hours of supervised counselling.