My Gratitude for the MSI Abridged Counselling Online Course
Prof. Chow S Lam
Since last year, my wife (Irene) and I already confirmed travel plans to Chengdu this June. With plane tickets booked and hotel reservations made, our trip was cancelled last minute due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I started to wonder about the future of my overseas ministries, which I have been doing non-stop during the past ten years of early retirement. MSI President Dr. David Leung and Ms. Eva Yau, my co-worker in Sichuan, contacted me about teaching an online counselling course for MSI members, who delayed their return to sites due to COVID-19. I knew the necessity of the course, but I was hesitant because I have never taught an online counselling course. After some prayers, I agreed to the idea and submitted a course proposal to them for review. Teaching a counselling course for MSI on Zoom was indeed a blessing from the Lord, and it opened future overseas ministry opportunities.
This abridged counselling course comprises Basic Counselling skills and Advanced Counselling skills. Each component had six two-hour sessions covering lectures and skill practices. The Basic Counselling course included materials such as rapport building, role and function of a peer counsellor, setting boundaries, listening and asking questions, identifying the problems and problem solving, and mental health issues such as anxiety and stress, depression, PTSD, role-play and case studies. The Advanced Counselling course covered counselling approaches for specific mental health issues such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for Depression and Motivation Interviewing (MI) for addictive behavioural change and pros and cons of pharmacological treatments, etc.
The 100% attendance for both sessions, with over 30 in the basic and over 20 in the advanced, was exceptional! I was impressed with MSI members’ dedication and commitment to learning and completion of homework (yes, I assigned homework!). They were well engaged in the training and raised excellent and pointed questions, which some could not be quickly answered. Feedback from the attendees was positive, with comments like useful and essential skills to have, practical, excellent and clear teaching, and helpful case examples, etc. I want to express my gratitude to MSI, allowing me to serve and be part of the family, and I look forward to future collaboration in God’s Kingdom.