History of the Bowman Counseling Suite
The graduate degree program for Counseling at Alpha Omega International College was created with a specific purpose and goal. The stated intention was to identify, recruit, train, and equip Christian men and women to selflessly serve as people helpers within their churches, communities, and families. The curriculum was developed so that each student would be exposed to a wide range of knowledge both from the secular and the Biblical perspective of psychology and counseling.
However, more than just didactic book knowledge must be an integral part of the training of counselors. Students must also be exposed to the actual skills and techniques of one to one and group interaction in the helping process. All educational programs for counseling require learners to watch as well as take part in role playing of varied scenarios with clients and families.
The AOIC counseling program has from the beginning involved students in skill techniques and role playing. The best venue for this type of learning is with a dedicated lab setting in which students can be observed both in role playing with other students and also observe actual counseling with individuals by trained therapists or counselors. This lab venue was not available initially and in the spirit of adaptation the faculty and students have worked within limited resources to best achieve their learning goals.
It has been through a cooperative effort on the part of multiple individuals and organizations that a counseling suite has now become a reality. Grace Assembly Church has provided space within its new facility for Alpha Omega International College and also for the counseling suite. Grace Assembly has also provided some of the start-up funding for the lab construction. As a cooperating partner of the counseling program, Global Mosaic International, based in the United States has also provided financial support. In addition to this organizational support several individuals have specifically donated monies for the establishment of the counseling suite. Many of the students and alumni of the program have also stepped forward to raise financial support for what they see as a necessary and much needed component of future training and experiences.
The Bowman Counseling Suite has been so named in thanks to the generous and loving involvement of Jim and Marcia Bowman of Virginia in the United States. The three rooms of the center are also named in honor of friends of the program in the United States: Darlene High, Bennie Rea, and Micheal and Amanda Szapkiw. This is no ordinary group of rooms. Each room has been fitted with an Internet connected camera. WIth the permission of those being videotaped any session can be observed by students and faculty from the observation area. In addition, these sessions can be viewed live or later by supervising faculty from around the world. These faculty members have become a positive addition to the learning process as they share their expertise and time with students. Many of them have also spent time in Malaysia, developing and presenting courses.
The Bowman Counseling Suite has been established as both a place of learning and of redemption. Over the next several years many stories will unfold within its walls. There will be tears, brokenness, healing, reunion, truth, understanding, revelation, comfort, touch, and love. It is the prayer of all who have been involved that God will intervene in the lives of many and that each person will be faithful to the calling God has made to build up a body of believers who care for and lift each other with compassion and understanding.