$2,400
Full Tuition Scholarships Available – Apply Below
  • 40-Hour, Biblically-based, Clinically-excellent Training Program
  • Featuring some of the world’s leading mental health experts
  • On-Demand video lectures
  • Available 24/7/365
  • Study anywhere, anytime, at your own pace, on any of your favorite devices!
Apply for Full Tuition Scholarship Here
Includes Three On-Demand Courses:

Course 1 – Foundations of Mental Health Coaching

Introduction
Intro 1 – Mental Health Coaching Matt Stanford, Ph.D
Intro 2 – Role of Mental Health Coach Matt Stanford, Ph.D
Faith and Spirituality
The Effective People Helper Ian Jones, Ph.D., Ph.D.
Bringing People into God’s Presence Ron Hawkins, Ed.D., D.Min.
Spirituality and Counseling—Resources and Personal Development Ian Jones, Ph.D., Ph.D.
Ethics and Coaching Responsibilities
Ethical Guidelines and Professional Standards in Coaching Matt Stanford, Ph.D
Boundaries and Violations I: Confidentiality, Consultation, & Referral Jared Pingleton, PsyD.
Boundaries sand Violations Ii: Dealing with Seductive, Suicidal, and Dangerous People Jared Pingleton, PsyD.
When Helping You is Hurting Me: Stress, Burnout and Compassion Fatigue Ron Hawkins, Ed.D., D.Min.
The Successful Coach: Managing Time and Staying Organized Sandra Dopf, B.S.
Crisis Intervention
Trauma and Abuse Diane Langberg, Ph.D.
Best Practices for Trauma and Crisis Response: The First 24-48 Hours:  Part I Jennifer Cisney Ellers, MA
Best Practices for Trauma and Crisis Response: The First 24-48 Hours: Part II Jennifer Cisney Ellers, MA
The Crisis of Suicide: Understanding it, Preventing it, and Supporting Survivors Jennifer Cisney Ellers, MA
Conducting a Suicide Intervention: The Role of Ministry Leaders and Caregivers (with demonstrations) Gary Sibcy, Ph.D.

Course 2  – Mental Health Coaching Skills

Coaching Skills
The Field of Life Coaching and How it’s Different from Therapy: Seven Essential Skills for Successful Coaching Georgia Shaffer, M.A.
Creating a Safe Place: Listening, Empathy, and Winning Trust John Thomas, Ph.D., Ph.D
Relationships and Communication: Core Coaching Skills Catherine Hart Weber, Ph.D.
Helping Others Find Significance in Life Jared Pingleton, PsyD.
The Power of Encouragement: A Key to Hope Coaching John Thomas, Ph.D., Ph.D.
Getting Unstuck: The Road to Healing and Recovery David Jenkins. PsyD.
The Incredible Power of Intentional Listening John Thomas, Ph.D., Ph.D
Understanding Our Differences: Personalities and Coping Jesse Gill, Psy.D.
How to Help People Change Gary Sibcy, Ph.D.
Doing Brief, Solution-focused Counseling for Christ Jared Pingleton, PsyD.
Small Groups
Dynamic Small Groups and Spiritual Care Teams in Church-based Counseling Elias Moitinho, Ph.D.
Change and Restoration: The Healing Power of Small Groups Tim Clinton, Ed.D.
Types of Groups: An Overview for a Dynamic Ministry Steve Warren, Ph.D.

Course 3 – Mental and Behavioral Health Disorders

Mental Health Difficulties and Disorders
Mental Illness & Character Disorders: How to Recognize and Refer Serious Problems Matt Stanford, Ph.D
Depression: Issues, Challenges, and What Works Greg Janz, Ph.D.
Anxiety: Caring Well Shannon Wolf, Ph.D.
Bipolar and Spectrum Mood Disorders: Diagnosis and Treatment Strategies Paul Meier, M.D.
Eating Disorders and Whole Person Care Greg Janz, Ph.D.
Grief, Loss and Family Bereavement Norm Wright, M.A.
Not All PTSD is Alike: Treatment of PTSD vs. Complex Trauma Heather Davediuk Gingrich, Ph.D.
Psychiatric Care and Medication Paul Meier, M.D.
Psychotropic Medication: It’s a Matter of Trust Curt Thompson, M.D.
Addiction
Models of Addiction David Jenkins, Psy.D.
Helping Others with Alcohol, Substance Abuse, and Addiction Problems David Jenkins, Psy.D.
Dual Diagnosis and Comorbidity Gary Sibcy, Ph.D.
BONUS: Opioids and Addiction: An Alarming Tsunami Michael Lyles

“Without question, this training will be one of the most, if not the most, significant projects we have ever done in the history of the AACC. We need an army of helpers­ in the local church—those who God has given natural gifts and talents to, to offer help, hope and guidance to those in need!”

 

Dr. Tim Clinton

President, American Association of Christian Counselors

Learn to help those who struggle with Serious Mental Illness (SMI), including topics like:
Enrollment Bonuses!
matthew-stanford

Matthew Stanford, Ph.D., Executive Director

 

Matthew S. Stanford, Ph.D., is CEO of The Hope and Healing Center & Institute (HHCI) in Houston, Texas, and adjunct professor in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine and the Department of Psychology at the University of Houston. His research on the interplay between psychology and issues of faith has been featured by the New York Times, USA Today, Fox, MSNBC, Yahoo, and U.S. News & World Report. Dr. Stanford is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science. As director of HHCI, he writes, conducts training seminars, and serves individuals living with mental illness and their families. He is the author of two books, Grace for the Afflicted: A Clinical and Biblical Perspective on Mental Illness and The Biology of Sin: Grace, Hope and Healing for Those Who Feel Trapped.

Provost of Liberty University Dr. Ron Hawkins February 27, 2015. Photo by David Duncan

Ron Hawkins, Ed.D., D.Min., Academic Dean and Program Director

 

Dr. Ron Hawkins (Ed.D., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and D.Min., Westminster Theological Seminary) is a licensed professional counselor and serves as Chair of the Executive Board for the American Association of Christian Counselors. A distinguished voice in Christian Mental Health Care, he has written numerous books and served for nearly 40 years in administration and leadership roles including Provost and Chief Academic Officer, founding Dean of the School of Behavioral Sciences, and Professor of Counseling and Practical Theology at Liberty University and Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.

Clinton, Tim

Tim Clinton, Ed.D, LPC, LMFT

 

Tim Clinton, Ed.D, LPC, LMFT, is the President of the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), the largest and most diverse Christian counseling association in the world. Dr. Clinton also serves as the Executive Director of the James Dobson Family Institute and recurring co-host of “Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk”, heard on nearly 1,300 radio outlets daily. Licensed as a Professional Counselor and as a Marriage and Family Therapist, Dr. Clinton is recognized as a world leader in mental health and relationship issues and spends much of his time working with Christian leaders and professional athletes. He has authored or edited nearly 30 books, including The Struggle is Real: How to Care for Mental and Relational Health Needs in the Church.

Dr. Clinton is founder of Light University—a global leader in certificate, diploma, and mental health continuing education. He served at Liberty University for over 30 years in numerous academic and leadership roles, including Professor of Counseling and Executive Director of the James C. Dobson Center for Child Development, Marriage and Family Studies.

Randy Meetre pic

Randy Meetre, Director of Church Partnerships

 

Randy Meetre is currently the Director of Church Partnerships at the American Association of Christian Counselors, and previously served as our Director of Advertising for over 10 years prior to this role with our Dare2Care Global Church Initiative. He is a graduate of East Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, and has been involved in numerous areas with the AACC for 13 years. Randy is focused on connecting your church or organization with the AACC where we train individuals to become certified Mental Health Coach First Responders.

For any enrollment or scholarship questions, please reach out to Randy at randy.meetre@aacc.net.

technology and service fee
$54 ($18 per course)

Mental Health Coach FAQ

 

What is a Mental Health Coach?

Mental health coaching is a form of strengths-based support for persons living with serious mental illness (e.g., bipolar disorder). Coaches help clients develop a healthy balance in life, give guidance in decision making, offer support in navigating mental health difficulties, and assistance in establishing a recovery plan. Coaches help clients find ways to obtain and maintain stability, manage difficult symptoms, rebuild relationships, and find a purpose for living. Coaches also help clients find resources for professional care and treatment, family support, and education.

 

What is the Role of a Mental Health Coach?

Mental health coaches are unlike licensed mental health care providers in that coaches do not diagnose or offer professional care or treatment for mental health difficulties and disorders. Coaches support any positive change, helping persons in professional care to manage symptoms, build support for recovery, and work on life goals such as relationships, work, and education. Mental health coaching is action-oriented with an emphasis on improving one’s present life and reaching goals for the future.

 

Mental health coaches use a partnership model wherein the client is considered to be the expert on his or her life, the one who decides what is worth doing, while the coach provides expertise in supporting successful change. Mental health coaching focuses on achieving any goals important to the client, not just recovery-related goals. Mental health coaching emphasizes honoring values and making principle-based decisions, creating a clear plan of action, and using current strengths to reach future goals. The coach provides accountability to help the client stay on track.

 

Who Can Enroll?

Under the discretion of your Church, anyone with a calling to offer help, hope and encouragement to those who are hurting and looking for guidance and direction in everyday life. Our 2020 mission—to engage, educate and equip 750 churches and congregations and 7,500 students all over America and around the world.

 

How Do I Enroll in the Mental Health Coach Program?

To have your church considered for the Mental Health Coach program, you can apply at https://www.lightuniversity.com/mentalhealthcoach/ and a member of our team will reach out to you with more information. Students must be enrolled through their approved local church. Once you enroll and successfully complete all three courses, you will become a “Certified Mental Health Coach” by the International Board of Christian Care. Each student will also receive a FREE 6 month membership in the prestigious American Association of Christian Counselors

 

How Long Does It Take To Complete the Mental Health Coach Program?

The Mental Health Coach program is a 40-hour Biblically-based, clinically excellent training program that consists of three individual courses. The Mental Health Coach program is completely online so you can study anywhere, anytime, at your own pace, on any of your favorite devices!

 

101: Foundations of Mental Health Coaching (15 hours)

This introductory course is designed to provide students with an orientation to the field of mental health coaching. Topics covered include the role and scope of mental health coaching within the local church, ethical guidelines and professional standards in coaching, crisis intervention techniques, and the integration of faith and biblical wisdom in coaching.                                      

201: Mental Health Coaching Skills (13 hours)

The purpose of this course is to provide students with the fundamental theories and skills of Christ-centered mental health coaching. Key elements of the coaching process, including methods of change, listening, effective communication, giving hope, small groups, and counseling theory, will be discussed.

 

301: Mental and Behavioral Health Disorders (12 hours)

This course will introduce students to the fundamentals of mental and behavioral health disorders. Particular emphasis will be placed on factors that cause mental disorders, as well as conventional treatments. Conditions discussed include addiction, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, eating disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

 

Are There Any Fees For The Mental Health Coach Program? 

While tuition is covered for the Mental Health Coach program, there is a one-time $54 technology fee that covers all three courses.

 

What is Serious Mental Illness (SMI)?

The National Institute of Mental Health defines Serious Mental Illness (SMI) as “a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder resulting in serious functional impairment, which substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities. The burden of mental illnesses is particularly concentrated among those who experience disability due to SMI.”1

 

1 in 25 adults U.S. adults experience Serious Mental Illness.Examples of SMI include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder.

 

Is a Mental Health Coach different from a Certified Peer Counselor?

A certified peer specialist (CPC), is a person with significant personal “lived experience” related to a mental or behavioral health problem that has completed a state-approved certified peer specialist program. CPCs encourage and support individuals who are in the process of recovering from mental or behavioral health problems. CPCs and mental health coaches, while similar, differ primarily in two ways. First, mental health coaches are not required to have a personal “lived experience” like a CPC. Second, the training to become a certified mental health coach, while similar to that of a CPC, is more intensive.

 

Are Mental Health Coaches Eligible for Medicaid Reimbursement? 

Currently, 39 state Medicaid programs cover peer support services for either individual with mental illness, individuals with addiction, or both. Check with your state’s department of health services to determine if your state supports Medicaid reimbursement for mental health coaches.

 

References

  1. National Institute of Mental Illness. Mental Illness. 2019.
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2019). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. PEP19-5068, NSDUH Series H-54). Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/

 

Faculty
Jones, Ian

Ian F. Jones, Ph.D., Ph.D

Ian F. Jones, Ph.D., Ph.D., is Professor of Counseling at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he is chair of the Division of Church and Community Ministries and holds the Baptist Community Ministries’ Chair of Pastoral Counseling. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), and an American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) Clinical Fellow. Dr. Jones serves as Executive Director of the Board of Christian Professional and Pastoral Counselors, International Board of Christian Care. With degrees in Christian ethics, psychology and counseling, sociology, and religion, he has taught, counseled and done family conferences in the U.S.A., Mexico, Costa Rica, Malaysia, Taiwan, Korea, Cuba, and Australia. He is the author of The Counsel of Heaven on Earth: Foundations for Biblical Christian Counseling.

Gingrich, Heather Davediuk

Heather Davediuk Gingrich

Heather Davediuk Gingrich is a counselor, scholar, teacher, and former missionary. She is professor of counseling at Denver Seminary and maintains a small private practice working with complex trauma survivors. She is the author of Restoring the Shattered Self and coauthor of Skills for Effective Counseling.

She began counseling over twenty-five years ago in Canada, and continued in the Philippines where she counseled, taught, and completed her doctoral studies on complex trauma. She continues her international involvements with the Institute for International Care and Counsel at Belhaven University, as well as adjunct teaching at the Asia Graduate School of Theology in the Philippines and seminaries in Guatemala, Sri Lanka, and Singapore. She also conducts mental health assessments for missionary candidates.

Cisney Ellers, Jennifer

Jennifer Cisney Ellers, MA

JENNIFER CISNEY ELLERS, MA is a professional counselor, life coach, mediator, trainer and author. She speaks extensively and provides training, counseling and coaching in the field of grief, crisis and trauma through the Institute for Compassionate Care.  Jennifer serves as faculty for the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation. In addition, she serves as Director of the Grief, Crisis and Disaster Network of the American Association of Christian Counselors and Clinical Director for the Crisis Response Team of the United States Concealed Carry Association. Jennifer is co-author of: The First 48 Hours: Spiritual Caregivers as First Responders; Grief Following Trauma; Understanding Suicide: Effective Tools for Prevention, Intervention and Survivor Support; and Spiritual and Psychological First Aid.

Provost of Liberty University Dr. Ron Hawkins February 27, 2015. Photo by David Duncan

Ron Hawkins, Ed.D., D.Min.

Ron Hawkins, Ed.D., D.Min. – Licensed Professional Counselor; Member of Executive Board for the American Association of Christian Counselors; Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at Liberty University; Professor of Counseling and Practical Theology in the Center for Counselor Education and Family Studies. Pastor; Author, Speaker

Stanford, Matthew

Matthew S. Stanford, PhD

Matthew S. Stanford, PhD is CEO of the Hope and Healing Center & Institute (HHCI) in Houston, TX and adjunct professor of psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine and Houston Methodist Hospital Institute for Academic Medicine. Dr. Stanford’s research on the interplay between psychology and issues of faith has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, Christianity Today, and U.S. News & World Report. He is the author of three books, Grace for the Afflicted: A Clinical and Biblical Perspective on Mental Illness, Revised and Expanded, The Biology of Sin: Grace, Hope, and Healing for Those Who Feel Trapped, and Grace for the Children: Finding Hope in the Midst of Child and Adolescent Mental Illness.

Lyles, Michael

Michael Lyles Ph.D.

Dr. Lyles is a graduate of the University of Michigan Six Year Premedical Medical Program. He completed his psychiatric residency and APA/NIMH Minority Fellowship at Duke University Medical Center where he was the recipient of the North Carolina Neuropsychiatric Association Resident of the Year Award. He was an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Associate Director of Outpatient Services at The University of Kentucky College

Shaffer, Georgia

Georgia Shaffer

Author of five books, a Pennsylvania licensed psychologist, and a PCC credentialed life coach, Georgia has confronted many unwanted changes. She faced the upheaval brought with recurring cancer, divorce, single parenthood, loss of career and income. For more than twenty-five years, she has encouraged, counseled and coached those who are confronting troubling times. She shares her mistakes and a practical five-step approach for moving from hurt to healing in the newly expanded and revised edition A Gift of Mourning Glories. Learn how you can gradually move from despair and helplessness (mourning) to hope and joy (glory).

In 2015, she received the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) Caregiver Award for Excellence in Christian Caregiving.

Employee headshot day on October 5, 2017. (Photo by Leah Seavers)

Elias Moitinho, Ph.D., LPC-S, LPC, LMFT

Elias Moitinho, PhD, LPC-S, LPC, LMFT, Professor of Counseling, Department Chair in the Department of Counselor Education and Family Studies, in the School of Behavioral Sciences, at Liberty University. Dr. Moitinho is a member of the following organizations: American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC); American Counseling Association (ACA); Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES and SACES); Virginia Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (VACES); Virginia Counselors Association (VCA); Virginia’s Association for Spiritual, Ethical, and Religious Values in Counseling (VA-ASERVIC); and American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA).

Dr. Moitinho has many years of work experience in various roles including pastor, counselor, seminary professor, and director of a Christian counseling center. Dr. Elias Moitinho is also one of the experts featured in the GriefShare videos and has recorded new videos for the DivorceCare 2020 edition, which are used in thousands of churches across the U.S. Prior to joining Liberty University, he was the Hope for the Heart Chair of Biblical Counseling at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Dr. Moitinho has taught as guest professor in seminaries in Mexico, Cuba, and Spain.

Dr. Moitinho has been happily married to Dr. Denise Moitinho for over 29 years and have two adult children. Together the Moitinhos have taught and led marriage enrichment events and classes. They are the authors of the book: The Dream Home: How to Create an Intimate Christian Marriage published by Kendall Hunt Publishing Company and have the YouTube channel Motivation and Growth.

Clinton, Tim

Tim Clinton, Ed.D, LPC, LMFT

Tim Clinton, Ed.D, LPC, LMFT, is the President of the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), the largest and most diverse Christian counseling association in the world. Dr. Clinton also serves as the Executive Director of the James Dobson Family Institute and recurring co-host of “Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk”, heard on nearly 1,300 radio outlets daily. Licensed as a Professional Counselor and as a Marriage and Family Therapist, Dr. Clinton is recognized as a world leader in mental health and relationship issues and spends much of his time working with Christian leaders and professional athletes. He has authored or edited nearly 30 books, including The Struggle is Real: How to Care for Mental and Relational Health Needs in the Church.
Dr. Clinton is founder of Light University—a global leader in certificate, diploma, and mental health continuing education. He served at Liberty University for over 30 years in numerous academic and leadership roles, including Professor of Counseling and Executive Director of the James C. Dobson Center for Child Development, Marriage and Family Studies. He is founder of the biennial AACC World Conference (which has consistently hosted nearly 7,000 leaders representing all 50 states and nearly 40 countries) at the magnificent Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee.
He has been married 39 years to his wife, Julie, and together they have two children, Megan and Zach. In his free time, you’ll find him outdoors or at a game with his family and friends.

Jantz, Gregg

Gregory Jantz , Ph.D

Gregory Jantz , Ph.D., is a state-certified chemical dependency counselor, a licensed mental health counselor, and a nationally certified eating disorder specialist. He is an internationally recognized expert on a wide range of afflictions including anxiety, depression, abuse, and addiction, and a go-to media source expert on these topics who’s been interviewed by major outlets like CNN, FOX, ABC, CBS, and many more. Dr. Jantz is the founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE which is regarded as one of the nation’s top 10 best facilities for the treatment of depression. He is the best-selling author of nearly 40 books including Five Keys to Raising BoysDon’t Call It Love, and his latest, Healing Depression for Life.

Langberg, Diane

Diane Langberg, Ph.D.

Diane Langberg, Ph.D. is globally recognized for her 45 years of clinical work with trauma victims. She has trained caregivers on six continents in responding to trauma and to the abuse of power. She also directs her own counseling practice in Jenkintown, PA, Diane Langberg, Ph.D. & Associates, which includes sixteen therapists with multiple specialties.
Among Dr. Langberg’s books are Counsel for Pastors’ Wives, Counseling Survivors of Sexual Abuse, On the Threshold of Hope (with accompanying workbook), In Our Lives First: Meditations for Counselors and Suffering the Heart of God: How Trauma Destroys and Christ Restores.
Dr. Langberg is co-leader of the Global Trauma Recovery Institute housed at Biblical Theological Seminary. She is on the board of G.R.A.C.E. (Godly Reponse to Abuse in a Christian Environment). She serves as Co-Chair for American Bible Society’s Trauma Advisory Council.
She is married and has two sons and four grandchildren.

Steve Warren, Administrative Dean of the Counseling department has his headshot taken on June 17, 2015 (Photo by Kevin Manguiob)

Steve Warren, Ph.D.

Dr. Steve Warren is in residency in the state of Virginia under Dr. Clinton’s supervision. He has a Ph.D. from Liberty University in professional Counseling and has been a faculty member at LU for the past 11 years. His clinical areas of practice include adults, adolescents, and college-age individuals. Particular areas of interest include: family problems, Parent/child relational issues, depression, anxiety, and adjustment problems.

Recently Dr. Warren has transitioned from being the Dean of the School of Behavioral Sciences to becoming a Vice-president at the American Association of Christian Counselors. Dr. Warren and his wife Jennifer have been married since 1998 and have three active children. Dr. Warren enjoys running, fitness, sports, and outdoor actives.

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