Jennifer Jill Schwirzer, LPC, NCC is a graduate of Capella University and has extensive experience in individual and group counseling as well as seminars. She is also a well-published author and has made many public appearances lecturing on the principles of mental health. Jennifer specializes in Christian and wholistic counseling and recovery from eating disorders. She uses an eclectic approach, which includes cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal and motivational interventions.

Why did you choose a career in counseling? I was always the counselor type. As a teen, my friends called me “the shrink.” As an adult, while I was pursuing a career in music and public speaking, people would come share their secrets with me. Once my children launched, I felt it time to go back to graduate school. I had spent years traveling, and now I wanted to contribute to the local community. I boiled it down to two choices: pastoring and counseling. When I asked my husband if he wanted to be married to a pastor, he said, “No.” Since I’m the last of the obedient wives, that was that. Honestly, though, counseling fit perfectly with my personality.

What do you like best about counseling? I call it “the sacred space of whispered pain and glittering tears.” When I can truly empathize, and people can truly, feel it, all the suffering of my life suddenly makes sense. Equal with that joy is the joy of seeing actual movement and growth in the life of an individual. I often feel like God is doing it in spite of me, but I hope He’s doing it through me as well.

How do you recharge on your day off? My husband and I grow food together—lots of it. Our backyard is a jumble of tomato vines and corn stalks. I love walks in the park with my trusty Chihuahua/Jack Russell Terrier mix, Fred. I enjoy cooking, and I play lots of music on piano, guitar, and voice. I write prose and songs—I tell my lady friends I knit words instead of sweaters. In those last minutes before conking out at night, I voraciously read memoirs.

What are your three favorite things? 

1) I love to create, sing and play music. 2) I love just hanging out with family and friends. 3) I love God, His Word, and deep spiritual truth.


Robert Davison, MA, NCC, LGPC received his Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with Christian integration from Regent University. Robert’s professional background includes crisis phone counseling and vocational counseling for mentally and physically challenged adults. As a private practice counselor he has worked with individuals (depression, anxiety, grief, anger, trauma, relationship and spiritual issues); couples (pre-marital, marital, conflict resolution, infidelity, parenting, pornography, and sexuality); and groups (men, women, and wellness focus). He has completed the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) workshop in suicide first aid. Robert enjoys helping men develop integrity and character as husbands, fathers, and Christian leaders, and has served as an elder on a local church level. He uses an integrative approach to counseling that pulls from various best practice, research-validated methods.

Why did you choose a career in counseling? When I was younger I was subject to bullying. As bad as this was, God used my experiences to develop in me a sense of empathy for others going through life’s stressors and traumas. Of all the jobs I have had over the years, none has given me the opportunity to reach others in ways that I believe God has called me to, i.e. counseling, especially from a Biblical perspective. 

What do you like best about counseling? I really enjoy it when my clients let me know that “this is helpful.” Because many of us don’t have safe and constructive avenues to process the difficulties of life, we continue living with dysfunction, pain, and stagnation. When I am able, by God’s grace, to assist my client to manage the dysfunction, find healing in the pain, and experience growth instead of stagnation, that is what I like best about counseling.

How do you recharge on your day off?I like walks with my dog, talks with my wife, and private and public worship to my Lord. I like taking care of our yard and gardens, watching a good movie with my wife, and of course, enjoying her good cooking. If my son is in town, I get “recharged” laughing it up with him while watching The Three Stooges. Hey, you asked!

What are your three favorite things?

1) I love spending quality time with God, whether alone first thing in the morning or at a special event with Christian brothers and sisters where the fellowship is real, the testimonies are inspiring, and the praise of God in song and music is strong. 2) I love being with my wife while at my sister’s condo on the shore of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, listening to the surf, smelling the salt water, gazing out over the vast blue ocean, good book in hand, or just journaling about life. 3) I love laughing.


Paula Roeloffs received training from Jennifer Jill Schwirzer, LPC, at ABIDE Helper training. Since then she has been leading out in conference call support and a study group using Jennifer's books, "13 Weeks to Peace" and "13 Weeks to Love." Paula is married to a dairy farmer (Chris) and is a mother and grandmother. She is a member of the Northern New England Conference of Seventh-day Adventist Prayer Ministries team and participates as a morning line leader. She teaches Sabbath school at her local church and is passionate about the power of the Gospel to heal and restore. 

Why did you choose to run this telephone support group? Telephone conference calls are something I've become accustomed to through NNEC prayer ministries. I have been participating in a daily intercessory prayer group via teleconferencing for five years and as a leader for three years. I also teach Sabbath school at my local church. These two experiences made it a relatively easy transition into leading the ABIDE support group. (By the way, the group is Tuesday evening at 7 PM. Call 712-770-4010 and punch in 305624#.) What I really like about using Jennifer's books is the solid gospel foundation. Righteousness by faith is woven into each topic. I'm a firm believer that our heavenly Father has the remedy for all the difficulties we face.  

What do you like best about counseling? It's always such a joy when working with people and the "light bulb goes on." They find relief, resolution and tools to better deal with life. I feel like I'm partnering with God in this and it's so cool to see Him and His ways working. A bonus is that I'm learning and healing too! 

How do you recharge on  your day off? My time off is first thing in the morning. I like to read the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy and pray. Time with Jesus is the best. 

What are your three favorite things?

1) I love to walk a deserted beach. 2) I love photography. 3) I love discovering new insights into God's dealings with me/us. 


Miriam Bernstein, MSW is a graduate of University of Michigan School of Social Work and has also attended training by Jennifer Jill Schwirzer, LPC at ABIDE in Coach/Counselor training.  She is currently employed as a mental health therapist at Life Guidance, a community mental health clinic.  She has experience in individual counseling (depression, anxiety, trauma, co-dependency, parenting, conflict resolution, and other relationship and spiritual issues).  Her approach addresses the whole person (physical, mental, and spiritual) and follows evidence-based practices, such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy. 

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Why did you choose a career in counseling?

I didn't so much choose a career in counseling, I feel it chose me.  In the past, friends have sought me out for counsel and would say they appreciated my perspective.  I had a career in social work and was working with Simplicity Outreach in Allentown, PA.  Little did I know, the years I spent connecting in the community and meeting with people one on one in their homes was preparing me for me my work in counseling.  The Lord opened the door to counseling through a friend who saw potential in me and pushed me to apply to work in a community mental health clinic when she heard I was looking for work.  Since beginning this journey as a counselor, God has confirmed, in multiple ways, that He has me just where He wants me; I have discovered a love for counseling that I did not know I had.

What do you like best about counseling? 

I've found that counseling offers an opportunity to come alongside others in their hurt and brokenness--through encouraging, guiding, and and teaching. I used to think counseling would be boring because you are sitting and working in an office all day. However, I've found the experience to be quite the opposite.  I love learning about the special and unique story of each person and helping guide them on their personal journey of healing and growth.  I've found it is exciting to see through God's eyes the potential and value in each person.
 
How do you recharge on your day off?

I enjoy spending time outdoors, and when the weather is nice, I enjoy going for walks and hikes.  I also feel refreshed after taking time to reflect and journal, especially as I spend time with God in prayer and Bible study.  Taking time to be with, and talk to, friends also helps me refocus and process.

What are your three favorite things?

1) Spending time talking and reflecting with God. 2) Experimenting and cooking in the kitchen. 3) Deep and challenging conversations with friend.


Fran Gourdet takes time out of her busy day job to help out with an ABIDE telephone support group on Sunday mornings at 8AM EST (Call 712-770-4010 and punch in 305624#.). She attended the ABIDE Helper training put on by Jennifer Schwirzer, LPC and works part time as a life coach. 

What leads you to be a coach? I want to help others avoid the mistakes I've made due to lack of guidance. 

What do you like best about it? It helps others develop self-awareness. For people of faith, it enables them to learn to listen to that still, small voice of God. 

How do you recharge on your day off? Days "off" are hard to come by. those are the days I have no immediate obligations for work, business or school. I do something really social--have a meal with a neighbor, spend time with family, or work on some crafting project such as knitting, crocheting or sewing. I might even spend time learning a new skill. 

What are your three favorite things? I love learning, teaching, and researching. More tangibly, I like being with family, friends, and other like-minded individuals. I'd say I like ice cream, chips and sci-fi movies with great special effects but I have learned those things aren't the best for my brain, so I avoid them :) 


Marina Acevedo was born and raised in Miami, Florida to an amazing Argentinian family. She obtained a graduate degree in engineering from the University of Michigan in 2013. In 2014 she became a full time urban missionary in Allentown, PA, where she helped jumpstart a mission school called Simplicity Christian Academy. Marina enjoys mentoring youth and young adult as she has a passion for coaching others to meet their God-given potential. As a current dean at REACH Columbia Union Urban Evangelism School she has the pleasure of coaching both current students and alumni.

What lead you to be a coach?

I believe that what leads me to coaching is a strong desire to see people succeed. I believe everyone has a God-given potential regardless of the situation they are facing. We are here to help and remind one another of this God-given potential which together we can all strive to meet. 

 What do you like best about it?

The most fulfilling part of coaching is watching people succeed at their goals. Being able to process through doubts or questions that may arise can make or break it for people and in those moments I truly like to be of service.

How do you recharge on your day off?

On my day off I like to recharge by watching funny movies while drinking some amazing bubble or herbal tea. I also enjoy taking long drives through nature and going on random adventures with friends.

 What are your three favorite things?

My three favorite things are: my wonderful family, my spunky friends and of course amazing vegan food. 


Jason Vanderlaan graduated from Southern Adventist University with a B.A. in Theology. Since then he has explored a variety of ministry opportunities, including being an academy dean, hospital chaplain, and assistant pastor. Most recently, he has served as the Associate Pastor of Discipleship at REACH Philadelphia SDA Church and as the Business Manager and Communications Coordinator of REACH Columbia Union Urban Evangelism School.

What leads you to be a coach?

I think there is something incredibly profound and sacred about listening to and guiding someone through the process of exploring their own thoughts and feelings, both past and present. Joining someone on their journey and sharing in it with them is a privilege and a very meaningful experience. 

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What do you like best about it? 

What I enjoy the most is being able to see people make their own connections and realizations about themselves, their world, and their God, which bring them into a place of freedom and peace.

How do you recharge on your day off?

I’m refreshed backpacking or canoeing, as well as taking time to read a good book or do some creative writing.

What are your three favorite things?

Tacos, live music, and my fiancé, Natanya.


Christina Cecotto, LMSW, is a Christian counselor and life and health coach. She works at Wildwood Lifestyle Center as a mental health therapist. She also teaches principles of biblical mental health to students become medical missionaries through the Wildwood Center for Health Evangelism. She has appeared various times on 3ABN to discuss mental health issues on the program A Multitude of Counselors. She understands the impact that physical and spiritual health have on mental health and is passionate about providing holistic care. She has found that individuals have a high success rate of healing when biblical psychology and the eight laws of health are combined. In her own personal experience she has learned to overcome trauma through applying these biblical principles. Her lifework is focused on helping others learn to personally apply biblical principles in a powerful way so that they may overcome trauma and other mental health issues through the blood of Jesus Christ. 

What leads you to be a counselor?

I chose a career in counseling because I felt impressed since high school to do so and tried to evade that calling, but eventually the Lord found me. In other words, God leads me to be a counselor. 

What do you like best about it? 

What I like best about counseling is the connection I have with my clients and the opportunity to make a difference in their lives.

How do you recharge on your day off?

To recharge I paint, spend time in the outdoors, and research/read.  

What are your three favorite things?

The same--painting, nature, and study. Plus I'll add that I love to learn something new.