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Five MTS–Michigan Grads Serve Together as Counselors

Five MTS–Michigan Grads Serve Together as Counselors

  • April 28, 2014

Solid Ground Counseling in Plymouth, Michigan, is a Christian counseling center with close ties to Moody Theological Seminary-Michigan: Five of its seven licensed partners are graduates of the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology program. Together, Rick Janka '07, Ryan Delvecchio '08, Debbie Little '06, Tara Reed '08, and Kimberly Cooper '08 combine their Christian faith and training to serve as God's instruments to help bring hope and help to hurting people. Stacey Gerhart and Kim Voyer recently joined the staff after serving yearlong internships at Solid Ground.

Rick Janka, Solid Ground's clinical director, is grateful to MTS-Michigan for helping him fulfill his call to counseling.

"I had a desire to have a Christian background balanced with psychology," Rick says. "MTS had that balance. They really taught the students how to use principles from Christianity and psychology to help people heal."

Rick's close friend Ryan Delvecchio, co-founder of Solid Ground, pursued biblical counseling and psychology in college and then looked to his friend for advice about graduate school. Rick highly recommended MTS-Michigan. Ryan liked the intimacy of the small class size at MTS-Michigan and that he could work fulltime to support his family while taking classes at night.

After completing their studies, Ryan and Rick opened Solid Ground in the fall of 2008, soon bringing MTS-Michigan graduate Debbie Little on board. In December 2011, they opened a second location in South Lyon, near Ann Arbor.

The counselors give credit to MTS-Michigan Counseling Program Director Dr. John Restum for the depth of his experience as a counselor and his practical, faith-steeped teaching. In particular, they note the importance of being mentored by a professor who is active in private clinical practice and can offer advice about relating to clients and running a counseling practice.

Every course in the Counseling Psychology program, from research methods and assessment to Marriage and Family, Integrated Psychology, and Group Therapy, comes into play daily in Solid Ground's practice. They also appreciated the hands-on practicum course, supervised by Dr. Restum, which allowed them to work in the field as counselors.

"The program was tailored to incorporate our faith; we were trained to use the Word of God effectively," Ryan says. "Also, Dr. Restum and Dr. Jim Wood are well connected here in southeast Michigan, so we got to start networking early and fellowship with people who would open doors for us."

Moody training also opens doors, he adds. "It says a lot about character, integrity, discipline. And hopefully, churches and other ministries in the area don't have to worry about our worldview or whether we are going to handle God's Word carelessly or cautiously. Some of the bigger local churches are our best referral sources."

The Solid Ground counselors share a strong enthusiasm for their work. "When I see a client growing and changing and God using a vessel like me to help them, it just blows my mind," Debbie says. "It's just such fulfillment."

Ryan agrees. "Our passion in life is to serve God well and to help bridge that gap between people who are hurting and the love of the Lord," he says. "We don't change lives here. God changes people's lives through us, and we just want to help make that connection."

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