About Gideon Institute

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Academic Programs

Located within the HBU College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, the Gideon Institute offers a Master of Arts in Christian Psychology (that leads to an LPA license) and a Master of Arts in Christian Counseling (that leads to an LPC license).

A Christian Psychology/Counseling Training Clinic

The Gideon Institute Counseling Center on the HBU campus provides short-term therapy to HBU students that exemplifies the Christian psychology/counseling model. In the Fall of 2021 Gideon students will begin receiving supervision at the Clinic as the climax of their training.

Public Intellectual Work

We conduct therapist and pastoral training and conferences in Houston; our staff speak nationally and internationally, publishing articles and books on Christian psychology and counseling, as well as doing research in these areas; We want to build a local and national network of churches, counseling centers, and ministries committed to distinctly Christian soul care; and we offer a variety of practical and educational events for the college and Houston communities for therapists, pastors, and laypeople, including conferences; and a biannual journal of Christian Psychology will begin publication in 2021.

Vision Statement

The Gideon Institute of Christian Psychology and Counseling at HBU will foster Christ-centered, biblically rooted, clinically competent soul care.

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Mission Statement

To promote a Christ centered, biblically-rooted science of psychology and counseling through education, research, and training.

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Organizing calendar

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Eric L. Johnson

Director of the Gideon Institute and Professor of Christian Psychology at HBU

Eric L. Johnson, PhD, is also Professor of Christian Psychology at Houston Baptist University. He taught psychology and worldview studies for 10 years at University of Northwestern and counseling for 17 years at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In addition to more than 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals, he edited Psychology and Christianity: Five Views, and was a co-editor of Evidence-Based Practices for Christian Counseling & Psychotherapy and Marriage: Its Foundation, Theology, and Mission in a Changing World and has written Foundations for Soul Care: A Christian Psychology Proposal and God and Soul Care: The Therapeutic Resources of the Christian Faith, basic textbooks in Christian psychology He was the first director of the Society for Christian Psychology and has been doing pastoral counseling weekly for over 20 years. He’s married to Rebekah, and they have two children, Laura and Iain, a son-in-law, Rich, and three grandchildren by Laura and Rich: Cash, Jedi, and Seraphina.

Michael Cook

MDiv, PhD, Assistant Director of the Gideon Institute, Director of Clinical Training, and Associate Professor of Christian Psychology and Counseling.

Michael brings over twenty years of experience in teaching and counseling to the program. He previously taught psychology and counseling at Huntington and Taylor universities, and served as the Director of Clinical Experiences at Huntington in their M.A. program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Dr. Cook is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (IN) and has served in several mental health facilities and churches. His advanced degrees are a M. Div. in Pastoral Ministries and a Ph. D. in Psychology and Counseling from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He specializes in marital therapy, trauma therapy, spiritual formation, and Christian therapy.

Nicolene Joubert

Director of Gideon’s online Master’s programs

Diane Lamberson

LCSW-S, Director of the Gideon Institute Counseling Center

Diane has worked with adults and children in a variety of mental health and education settings for more than 25 years. Her areas of specialty include Christ-centered psychotherapy and working with people struggling with different life challenges such as grief/loss, trauma, major life transitions, relationship challenges, addiction and mental illness. She enjoys bringing her faith and God’s Word into her work with others. Diane is a native Texan and a member of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.

Gideon’s Guiding Principles

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We believe that the triune God of Christianity is the designer, source, sustainer, center, and goal of human life. “In him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28); “Whether you eat or drink or whatsoever you do, do all for the glory of God” (1Co 10:31).

We believe that Christian soul care is especially focused on Jesus Christ, being both God and human, Jesus is the way of life and true fulfillment of human being (Jn 14:7)—the True Human—“in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:3). Christian therapy, therefore, involves Jesus Christ, and Christian psychology brings together the wisdom of Scripture and the Christian traditions; theory and research based on a Christian worldview; and the best contemporary science of human beings, which we interpret critically, because of the secular worldview assumptions upon which most of it is currently based.

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Personal and relational growth and transformation is best found in the sacred space where Christ dwells with us and we with one another, reflected in our curricular emphasis on spiritual and character formation and the recommendation of extracurricular therapy.

There are multiple, valid sources of soul-care knowledge, beginning with Scripture and the Christian traditions; bodily, personal, and social experience, empirical research; and philosophical reflection.

We hold a holistic, multi-dimensional model of humans as biologically embodied, psychosocial and cultural-historical, ethical, and spiritual.

We seek to conform to the highest standards in relevant theological and psychological knowledge, spiritual experience, clinical competence, and professional ethics.

The Institute offers two-track training that equips graduates to respect and work with the worldview beliefs of all clients, using creation grace resources available to everyone and the redemptive grace resources available to Christians.

We maintain a fundamental respect for all humans in their freedom and diversity as images of God, combined with the desire that all humans find their healing and unity through conformity to the will of God as revealed in Jesus Christ, the savior of the world (1John 4:14), and the Christian Scriptures.

Christian psychology and counseling is based on a Christian worldview and is developed primarily for members of the Christian community. At the same time, Christian psychology and counseling is evidence-based and should be treated as an equal to secular forms of psychology and therapy, and allowed to participate in contemporary psychology and the public mental health system, towards the end of a pluralistic public mental health system that reflects the worldview values of all its citizens, in order to promote the common good and the flourishing of all humans.

To achieve our curriculum includes:

  1. A Christian studies core, that include relevant biblical, theological, philosophical, empirical, and spiritual subject matter; and
  2. Distinctly Christian content diffused throughout all the courses in the curriculum, depending on how worldview-dependent they are
  3. Our goal is to form therapists who are Christ-centered, biblically rooted, clinically competent, and can work with all kinds of people.

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