Assistant Professor of Psychology and Counseling, Dr. Jennifer Burgess, who served as an adjunct instructor in 2019, has begun the school year as Criswell’s newest full-time faculty member.
Before coming to Criswell she served as an adjunct professor at Tarleton State University in Fort Worth and Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Burgess earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Louisiana Tech University in 1994, a Master of Science in Psychology from the University of Louisiana in May 1996, and a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Denver in August 2002.
Burgess, born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana, grew up with a sense of certainty about her future career. A personal experience involving her best friend solidified her calling to the world of psychology and counseling.
“I was an odd kid. My mom used to tease me, saying that I was twelve going on 40. I was always looking to the future,” Burgess said. “When my best friend tried to commit suicide and was subsequently admitted to a mental hospital, I became interested in psychology. I started reading, and my aunt, who is a nurse, started supplying me with psychology textbooks. I also took Psychology in high school and came to feel that this was what God wanted me to do with my life.”
During her professional education, Burgess could sense God’s guidance and provision.
“In all my training in secular universities and doctoral work in Denver, God was looking out for me. For example, the man who taught my small group at the church I attended had earned a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Arizona, so he knew how to balance faith and the challenge of a degree from a secular institution,” Burgess said.
Burgess sees her calling not only to serve Christians but to serve those outside of the faith who are looking for answers to complex life questions.
“Therapy is a very large part of being whole, but I think it is certainly not the only thing we need to be whole. I think some people will look for answers first in religion, and others will look for answers first in therapy. God has called me into a field where I can combine both,” Burgess said.
She explains that the Christian way of life can be united with counseling, helping believers work through life’s issues intentionally and spiritually.
Burgess is looking forward to engaging students in course discussions and assignments designed to provide psychology and counseling training for individuals serving both within and outside the church.