Interview with Anne Dryburgh
This is the sixth interview by Ellen Castillo in a series of posts featuring women who are biblical counselors. Each post will feature one or more counselors who have agreed to an interview to tell us about their ministries, their experience and expertise, and the history of their involvement in biblical counseling.
We trust that you will find this series informative and insightful. Many women have asked what opportunities might be open to them upon obtaining either a degree or certification in biblical counseling. As the biblical counseling movement expands, so do the opportunities for women to serve in a variety of ways as biblical counselors. Over the course of this series, you will hear from women who serve vocationally, as volunteers, in their churches, in a parachurch organization, in colleges, and a variety of other areas where they are serving around the globe.
Today we are sharing our interview with Anne Dryburgh, PhD.
Q: Anne, please tell us about yourself.
A: In 1991, I left Scotland to become a missionary in Dutch-speaking Belgium. I live in the picturesque town of Bruges. My hobbies include spending time with friends and reading.
Q: What are your biblical counseling credentials?
A: I am certified with ACBC, IABC, and AABC. I have a PhD in biblical counseling from Trinity Theological Seminary.
Q: Are you in vocational ministry (paid), or volunteer?
A: I am a missionary who lives by faith.
Q: Where do you currently serve and in what kind of ministry?
A: As a missionary with Open Brethren churches. My ministry is in evangelism and discipleship (biblical counseling).
Q: How long have you been a biblical counselor?
A: Since 2003, when I was certified with IABC.
Q: How did you get interested in becoming a biblical counselor, what drew you into the ministry?
A: The churches I come from in Scotland practice biblical soul care. Due to this, I have always been convinced that Christ and Scripture have the answers for how to live life. When I had to help people who had drinking problems, had been unfaithful to their spouses, and who had been abused as children, I knew I needed to know my Bible better to be able to help these people. Not long after that, I discovered different biblical counseling organizations.
Q: Please give us a history of your experience as a biblical counselor.
A: My area of service is in Dutch-speaking Belgium. I meet with women from around the country. Occasionally, I meet with others, such as internationals who are English speakers.
Q: Do you have particular areas of expertise?
A: Emotional abuse
Q: What women have most heavily influenced you as a biblical counselor?
A: These women have been older women in Scotland who have lived their lives before me and spoken biblical wisdom when requested.
Q: What men have most heavily influenced you as a biblical counselor?
A: Johnny Touchet, and Howard Eyrich (because I followed his classes at Trinity.)
Q: What counseling or ministry resources specific to women do you find most helpful?
A: Julie Ganshow’s blog, otherwise I use materials that are for both men and women.
Q: How do you stay current as a counselor, and is this important to your ministry?
A: I attend the ACBC annual conference, read various blogs, listen to podcasts, and observe what is posted on facebook and twitter.
Q: What unique ways do you serve other than providing 1:1 counseling.
A: I teach biblical counseling, speak, write for a blog, and am writing a book.
Q: When you first became a biblical counselor, what do you wish you had known then that you know now?
A: I think I started out believing that if you obeyed the Lord, things would work out for you, therefore if things are not working out for you, you must be disobedient. Thankfully, the Lord has graciously shown me that we are all by nature disobedient and that things can remain hard for some people because we have no control over the thinking and behavior of others.
Q: We all must count the cost of ministry. What has ministry cost you?
A: My home country.
Q: What blessings has your ministry brought you?
A: Seeing the Lord transform people, international friendships, and educational opportunities.
Q: How has being a counselor benefitted your own walk with The Lord?
A: It has shown me the nature of my heart. Due to knowing how to deal with my heart, it has helped me do so and trust the Lord in some difficult, testing times in my life.
Q: Are there things you would like to do as a biblical counselor but have not done yet?
A: I am hoping to spend more time teaching and writing.
Q: In what ways have you grown as a counselor since the beginning of your ministry?
A: I think that as I get older and see what a horrible world that we live in, I have more compassion for people who suffer at the hands of others.
Q: What does a typical work/ministry week look like for you?
A: I drive around Dutch-speaking Belgium, meeting with women who have asked for help with various issues, especially emotional abuse and depression.
Q: How do you manage your own spiritual growth and spiritual health?
A: Involvement in my local church (Sunday services and Bible studies), listening to sermons and lectures, and contact with other believers.
Q: Ministry can be draining and exhausting. How do you recharge?
A: By daily spending time with the Lord, exercising most days, spending time with friends, going away, and spending time with older wiser believers.
Q: How can the readers be praying for you and your ministry?
A: That I would continue to glorify the Lord in my life and encourage others to do the same.
Q: Are you optimistic about the future of women in the biblical counseling ministry movement in general?
A: Yes, there seem to be more opportunities for women than before.
Q: What kinds of opportunities do you see available for women in biblical counseling?
A: Writing, blogs, podcasts
Thank you, Anne, for sharing your heart for the ministry of biblical counseling with our readers today. May God richly bless you as you continue to serve Him!
This series of interviews is conducted by Ellen Castillo, a Biblical Counselor and the Director of Word of Hope Ministries, Inc., on behalf of Biblical Counseling for Women. You can connect with Ellen at www.wordofhopeministries.com and www.biblicalmentor.com.