Having done the AIFC Advanced Diploma Course I now have the confidence to continue as a Chaplain with YouthCARE in WA at a local public senior high school. I know where to head to support students on a broad range of issues and work with staff and parents too. If it wasn’t for this course I probably wouldn’t have continued working as a Chaplain. Many thanks for the richness and personal growth this course has given me. I am available to talk about my AIFC experience should anyone wish to.
Chaplain, YouthCARE, WA
Phone 0427 560 115
I am an Area Chaplain and have been involved in Chaplaincy for over 10 years and working with Youth and families for over 20 years. Over the years I have done a number of short courses including Bible college that has been very beneficial.
I have wanted to get some formal qualifications and counselling is an area I believe God has called me to from a desire to continually serve the community. I started this year at AIFC and have found the course exceptional, very challenging, and insightful and a real blessing to me in my relationship with God.
I am doing a 2 year course which will give me an Advance Diploma in Counselling. This will give me the formal qualification and confidence to achieve my future goals and to continually grow and develop in the work that I am currently doing.
I would absolutely recommend this course to anyone who is working in Chaplaincy, youth, community services or families. It has a strong biblical base, while learning about the various psychotherapies is extremely worthwhile.
Area Chaplain YouthCARE, WA
0447 977 281
Made public with permission
I have been thinking about writing for a while. I wanted to write and express my gratitude for the opportunity to enrich every area of my life through the AIFC Course. Then and now the content has and is a blessing to me. Whether I am actively listening, or reflecting on the knowledge imparted my life is richer and I know I have made an excellent investment.
I am working as a Case Worker with Forrest Community Services Wagga; I am contracted until December 2011 after which time I would like to be working in an area of counselling or same that is of greater benefit to those with whom I am working.
I have seen the need for teaching on Family and Relationships within the local Junee High School, which I am praying about and would like to be able to impart the knowledge I have gained.
I have been invited to join the team for the 4th Kairos Outside for Women the first weekend in November (Kairos is an opportunity for women who have been in prison, or who have, or had somebody in prison, to experience Christian community, God’s unconditional love and acceptance). I have been given the “Relationships” talk, which I have started work on and am looking forward to sharing.
With much appreciation and gratitude,
Case Worker, Forrester Community Services, Wagga Wagga
Made public with permission
AIFC has been amazing!
My testimony is one of “from destruction to restoration” in 3 years: from the rags of the world to the riches of God. I’m by no means there yet, but man o man, what a journey it’s been.
This year of doing the AIFC course has been a consolidation of stuff that was accumulated in my head (theologically) and also was hidden deep down in my heart underneath the scars of life and making sense of it all. At least that’s how it felt to me this year.
I knew a lot of stuff, but I didn’t have revelation of it to appropriate it to change me.Doing the course clarified so many things for me. This year has given me so much freedom in Christ, just by the revelations I received in many of the assignments and exercises.I had prayed about doing the course a few years before I actually did it. I never thought I’d have the resources to actually do it. God spoke to me again about doing the course in about October of 2008. At the end of last year some miraculous thing happened financially and in the heart of my non-Christian husband (who actually encouraged me to do the course and he paid for it. He even drove down from Grafton to Sydney each workshop session).
Very soon after starting I think my husband saw changes. There were struggles and I was stressed out a bit about doing the work, but he saw a change in me. My name means “counsellor or advisor” so I believe I’m destined for something out of this. Don’t know what yet, but even if it’s only to “clean me up” then it was worth it. But I do believe there will be something more.
There’s so much to say. I just praise and glorify my Lord Jesus Christ for being so patient with me. It only took 50 years for the penny to drop…..darrrrr…..God is so faithful. I will defer for a year because my husband and I have to accumulate holidays from work (each workshop sessions were 5 days for us travelling up and down to Sydney). Also to consolidate finances. I have already purchased all my text books for 2nd year so I’m committed to do 2nd year in 2011.
I don’t know what else to write, there’s so much. I just thank God for you all at AIFC. I know it must have been a long, hard road for you guys too. Your commitment to “healing of the nations” through competent, effective counselling is so wonderful. Thank you Bruce Litchfield for your vision and courage to persevere to make your/God’s vision become a reality. You were 50 when God touched your life, I’m 50 and God is touching mine. You’re a dentist and I’m a dental assistant. You were divorced and remarried as I was. (you to a beautiful awesome woman and me to an awesome wonderful man who hasn’t come to Christ, but is squirming) Your children were separated from you and so were mine. (God is doing an awesome work there) It’s just such an encouragement to see you now and how you have managed to touch the nations through AIFC and your changed life. It gives me hope. (mind you I don’t have your brains!!!)
Ask Linda Lessing, Assistant Centre Director Sydney, about my dread of journalling and PO Charts: I’ve avoided stuff like that all my life. Now miraculously I love it!!! It’s been a method of healing for me this year. Sooooo awesome! I’m looking forward to completing Advanced Diploma in 2011. I intend to go over my Year 1 stuff and read all the text books I’ve purchase already for Year 2. I want to be ready.
Cheers in Christ
Wasted on Jesus
“Doing this course straight out of high school was extremely beneficial. I learnt a lot about counselling but more so about myself…”
I feel very grateful for everything that I learnt studying at AIFC and many times refer back to my modules for help when dealing with a particular client. It was only yesterday that I was actually looking back at some of the modules and pictures from my time at the college.
A few months after finishing the course I started looking for my first job in the counselling field. I have to say that I was a bit reserved at getting anything because I was fresh out of school and was quite young and had no experience. God was wonderful as always though and answered my prayer.
I now work for the Salvation Army, Youthlink as a youth worker. I feel that it’s a great beginning and feel blessed to have this job. I’m loving it and am learning to deal with new challenges every day.
On reflection it was surprising to see how much I learnt about counselling but more so about myself. I know I was led to do the course by the Lord because I only registered for it soon before the cut off date after my mom found an AIFC brochure as I was considering another college.
Straight out of high school at only 18 years old, I went into it without too much thought or idea of what it would be like. I was instantly struck by how empathetic, caring, knowledgeable and Godly all of the staff was and eager to assist me with any questions. My first and second year tutors made learning so much easier and that much more personal. Apart from also finding the course challenging and interesting; the guest speakers were the best in their fields and spared ample time to hear us out after class. I remember always sitting in the front row so I could pay better attention but would always regret it when Dr. Litchfield was teaching as he always seemed to quiz me for the answers. Being the youngest in my class by a number of years, I was never made to feel inadequate or not as well equipped by the rest of the students.
I was blessed being a part of so many wonderful people’s personal journeys in the course and seeing first hand the wonderful healing powers of God’s love working through people by using simple techniques such as active listening. It’s funny because so many did the course to try and help others but ended up being helped themselves. The friendships that were created are those that I will treasure and keep forever. Working as a youth worker for a year now and furthering my studies through a Salvation Army college in a Cert IV for Drug and Alcohol work, I still find myself learning and facing new challenges daily.
I truly believe that it is through the grace of the Lord and the basics that I learnt from my time at AIFC that I am able to do this job and attempt to the best of my ability.
Youth Support Worker
The Salvation Army
Cafe Horizons Cabramatta
Phone: 02) 9724 6344
Fax: 02) 9724 5433
Thank you for your encouragement regarding my being salt. As a result I have documented my “Christian” Counselling qualifications on my CV which is used when I write reports to the children’s or the family court and at times requires my appearance to speak to the report and/or recommendations. I have also registered my “Christian” qualifications on my application for PACFA membership.
Thank you also for the invitation to give my testimony. Actually, for some time now I have desired to let you all at AIFC know about my personal and professional progress which all started at AIFC some years ago however, I dismissed this desire. So, your invitation confirms what was already in my heart.
I commenced at AIFC in 1999 when I was about 3 years old in the Lord. I was a stay home mum of my 4 gorgeous sons. When the youngest went to school, I did too. My conversion 3 or so years earlier, well it was more like the return of the prodigal daughter, was let’s say colorful in itself. My brother suffered from diabetes and kidney failure. He was on the waiting list for a donor and his whole Christian community was praying for a kidney for him. At one point, he and his wife felt the Lord encourage them that there would be a kidney but it would not be from a deceased person and prompted them to pray for the donor and the donor’s family. My life was spiraling with pain and brokenness and my determination to fix it all myself, apart from God. When my brother ceased praying for God to provide a kidney and for him but rather for God to save and bless the donor and the donor’s family, I hit rock bottom and reached out for the Lord. At that point I was not coping. I was dying spiritually, psychically and physically. God came into my life and set me on a path of healing and wholeness. My brother became so critical they were considering removing him from the list lest his health deteriorate any further he would have not been able to sustain the operation and recovery. I went through all the testing and gave my brother my left kidney. Today my brother is a Pastor and a teacher at Harvest Bible College where he is pioneering a special program for the vision impaired and his kidney is functioning at maximum capacity. Praise God.
That year at AIFC was a wonderful time where the Lord gave me much insight and understanding into my own life and the road I had traveled and into his ways and his healing power and into the reparation of not only my own soul but how that would ripple out to my husband and children and all those I had contact with. However I almost did not attend because I had been praying for financial provision. Dr. Bruce Litchfield asked where I was the first day and a brother in the Lord said he thought I had not come because I had not received the provision. In short, Bruce asked him to call me up and tell me to get there ASAP. I did arrive a day late and my fees for the whole year had been paid.
I spent the following year integrating this knowledge and awareness into my daily life. My father encouraged me to go back and complete the 2nd year and my diploma and wanted to pay for my fees and books etc. At this confirmation I did enrol for the diploma in 2002 however almost did not turn up again because my father had died suddenly and I buried him the day prior to the commencement of the seminar. I was deeply grieving and did not know if I would be able to function however my father’s words of encouragement for me to complete this study and his desire confirmed my own, I remembered his wish for me to do this and so I attended. I felt rather dissociated sitting there at the opening words from Bruce. Bruce then stopped and he said OK someone here is under extreme stress who is that person?. No response. Bruce then said this is not everyday stress this is great stress someone is under. I put my hand up and told him that I had buried my father the day before. Bruce prayed for me and God gave him a word for the class. Bruce said (from my memory) “Get up and leave your father’s house and go to the land I am giving you and I will prosper you and I will make your name great and I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you and all will say look what the Lord has done and you will be a blessing to families in the Land”. And so, I functioned and went on to complete the course and continue with my own personal and spiritual growth.
In 2003 I commenced a Bachelor of Psychology at Ballarat University completing specific components to qualify for my entry into the Master of Psychotherapy and Counselling whilst operating a private counselling practice with the blessing of my home church and the use of their cottage for servicing members of the congregation for a discounted fee.
In January 2004 I commenced full time employment at a community welfare agency as a family therapist to provide assessments, short term interventions and recommendations for families who were involved with child protection with a view to prevention of children being removed from their homes or to reunify them when they had previously been removed. In July 2005, I was offered a position to provide assessments, therapeutic care and recommendations for a broarder range of families including research into attachment theory and clinical practice in the case of trauma and early intervention for families to divert them from the child protection system, the development and implementation of a student placement unit and development of effective clinical interventions to support placements where reunification with their families of origin has failed. I am currently writing my thesis on “Development of an Attachment based Psychotherapy for Caregiver/Child Dyads with a history of Maltreatment and/or Maladjustment”. When I complete this thesis, I will receive my Master qualification. This work has also taken me to America to be trained in the Adult Attachment Interview (Mary Main) at the Attachment Institute in San Diego California in Feb/March this year for which I am now undertaking an 18 month accreditation testing. I hope to commence a Phd in 2008 and return to America to commence the formal training and accreditation for the Strange Situation Procedure (Ainsworth) which will give me the formal qualifications (only one other in Australia currently has this) to continue with my research and development of early interventions for hurting families, with documented and empirical outcome measures to attain federal funding for the provision of same to the most vulnerable in our society and at the other side, provide recommendations for the recruitment of Foster Carers and direction for the care system which is currently in crisis in Australia.
I am very passionate about this work and know in my innermost being that these doors and opportunities are of a divine nature and it all commenced with my grounding in AIFC. As I move through the university culture and the worldly system I always rely on my “Christian” training and the development of a biblical mindset that I learnt at AIFC. I think this helps me to learn with God’s wisdom and to be able to see everything through perhaps “Christian Lenses” and to differentiate and discern what is of God and what is not. I will end here because I could easily go on when I start to consider all God has done for me and my family, it seems endless.
May God Bless You and please let me know what you think of my testimony and if you are able to use it to encourage others in any way.
Thank you for the opportunity, Yours in Christ
Counsellor, Family Therapist & Psychotherapist, Ballarat
To anyone considering undertaking study with the AIFC ….
If you are reading this then you are probably like me and feel a stirring in your heart to minister to the broken hearted and needy people of this world. Maybe you are already doing this in some capacity in your life and feel that becoming a Christian Counsellor is the next step. Let me share with you what led me to complete the Advanced Diploma of Counselling and Family Therapy (Christian) with the AIFC.
The desire to become a counsellor was always in me, however it wasn’t until I read a book called the Dream Giver that I seriously began to seek God and ask for His will to be made known to me. I started to earnestly pray asking God to direct me to the right place to study and to give me words of wisdom concerning this. Well within a few days answers started to come in, firstly through The Word in which I read Isaiah 61 and secondly through words of wisdom from others where Isaiah 61 was again spoken over me, secondly that stirring had now turned into a real desire and a strong excitement began to take place in my spirit. I now felt sure that God was leading me to become a professional counsellor but which course to do, there are so many. I knew without a doubt that it had to be a Christian course so I looked into a few that I knew and requested that flyers be sent to me, in the mean time I met a lady who had just completed the course with the AIFC. After speaking to her I was interested to find out more about the course, I jumped on the AIFC website that day. Immediately I knew that this course offered something more than what the other courses that I had been considering did. For example that I would not only be leaning how to counsel according to The Word of God but that I would also gain the tools and knowledge a professional counsellor needs to have. The role of the Holy Spirit was also something that was important to me. I decided to put it into God’s hands and apply.
Well I have not looked back since, what I thought was going to be a journey to get “Qualified” turned out to be so much more, I not only gained the skills I needed to effectively help others, I was also challenged to deal with some stuff in my own life and most importantly my relationship with God is stronger as I learn and continue to learn how to listen and discern what His will for me is. I encourage you, if you feel a stirring in your own heart to seek the Lord and He will make His will known to you.
Made public with Bernadette’s permission
My name is Vivian Biancardi and I have been a Chaplain since 2003 in a local Canberra College.
I wasn’t ‘qualified’ at the time I entered into this ministry but I had a servant’s heart and a tremendous opportunity. I knew that I should get a ‘qualification’ but never wanted to compromise my Christian beliefs.
I entered the Australian Institute of Family Counselling course quite a sceptic wondering how ‘God’ and ‘psychology’ worked together but my fears were quickly dispelled as I heard a teaching that balanced the Word of God and compatible knowledge in psychology. I gained a deeper knowledge of God’s Word, grew further in grace and studied for a recognised qualification.
I was able to complete the Vocational Graduate Certificatre in Counselling and Family Therapy.
The content helped me become much more capable in the College. My communication skills grew and now I am able to take conversations much further than I ever could in the past both personally and professionally. I have been given insight into counselling terms and people issues as well as been armed to talk with and understand professional psychologists that are my colleagues.
I highly recommend this course to anyone who has a call into the chaplaincy ministry, who wants to be a ‘professional’ counsellor, or just wants personal growth.
It has blessed me beyond my expectations.
Made public with Vivian’s permission
I am writing this letter to do several things, first to thank you and your staff at the office for all your help over the last two years to help me achieve my goal of finishing this course. The help I have received has been nothing short of outstanding. The always happy voices that I talked to have been very encouraging to me through the two years of this course, and all the staff have helped me immensely with the problems and inquiries that I have had over the preceding two years.
Secondly, to Bruce and Nellie, if it wasn’t for them I would not have had a course to do, so I would like to thank them for the hard work and effort they have put into this course, and the way that they have helped individual students with any problems that may have arisen at the seminars, they would always talk to the students which was encouraging to see. I really liked their teaching styles as they were down to earth and practical.
Third, I would like to thank the tutors that have taught me over the past two years, I am going to miss them; they have been very professional and very helpful. They have always been there when we have needed to ask questions, or needed advice; they have been there when one of us has needed help in a personal matter. They have blessed all of us with their knowledge and their help, at any time of the night or day. It really has been appreciated, not just by me but all students in this course.
At this point I would like to say a really big thank you to the tutors in this final year, and this just comes from me as all of the tutors have blessed me so much that it is hard to describe. With living in Broken Hill, Canberra is 1250 km away so of course is costly to visit four times a year, especially with both my wife and I on a pension. I had no intentions of going to the seminars and intended to do the course by distance education.
In March last year I had to go to Canberra to pick up some computers I had bought in an auction, so I thought I would attend the first seminar while I was there. Well, once I attended that one and I met the people doing the course, I realised that I had to attend all the seminars. Everyone was so beautiful and we all just clicked as a team. We could all relate to each other and I could see that we could all help each other out through the course, so it was a final decision that I would attend all the seminars in Canberra.
At that first seminar Bruce encouraged all of us and he said that this was the first time that there were 6 males in one course, so we went with that and all of us blended as a team and worked together for the whole year. I really believe that teamwork in this type of course is essential, it brings the students together, and they do work as a team, it does not seem to matter where they are from, or what life experiences they have, they work together.
So getting to the fourth point, I believe that this course cannot be completed successfully with distance education, you really need the help of the other students that are completing the same subjects, to talk to and to work with, this is important so that you learn different ideas and others input on what you are learning. It is important to work as a team to discuss relevant topics and gather different ideas about the different subjects that you have to learn. It is also important that you understand the different perspectives from the different Christian denominations within our society.
Being a Christian is one thing, but believing in God can be totally different, a lot of us call ourselves Christians and believe in many different things. What we believe in is a personal thing regardless of what Church we go to, the basic thing is that we all believe in God and that we recognise that Jesus died for our sins. This is something that I found at the seminars, even though the students all had different opinions, we all believed that Jesus died for us and I feel that this is what drew us together.
Year two has been a real life lesson for me, I thought that I was over a lot of things in my life, but in completing the subjects in year two I realise that this was not true, it made me face up to some of the feelings that I had hidden for many years, feelings that I did not want to confront, but now I had to. I found it very challenging to confront these feelings, to work through them and to change my life and attempt to improve my beliefs and feelings so that I may live a better life by working with Jesus Christ.
Over the past two years I have made many new friends from this course, lifelong friends I feel, friends that I can turn to and say ‘hey how are you’ or to get advice. Friends that I can visit from time to time and they can come and visit me. I think we became a family over the past two years, some of us have been through a really rough time and everyone has rallied around to help that person, no questions asked, we were just there for them.
Over the two years we have been blessed so many times that it is incredible, in going to Canberra for every seminar ended up costing us approximately an extra $500 each semester, we struggled and went without a few things but God was always watching over us and when we were in trouble, he was there to rescue us each time, even when we blew the motor up in our car, there was another car there for us to drive home in, it was just unbelievable.
The tutors, well I can’t praise them enough, they went out of their way to help us, they went out of their way to help me, it was just unbelievable, I would like to thank all of the year two tutors personally for all the help that they have given me over this past year. I don’t think I could thank them enough for the knowledge they have given all of us, for the help they have given us, and their own personal time.
The Course has changed our marriage and I constantly refer to the material learnt in my counselling work and teaching. (Anglican minister)
The way I’ve been helped in understanding who I am has been amazing. I also have a deeper understanding of God’s grace and know that I don’t have to perform to have God’s love. (Church elder)
The Course is very comprehensive. It has made me more compassionate and less critical. I am also able to control my emotions better. My family have seen many changes. (Female small group leader)
The Course has been a great help to us both as we prepare to marry. We are communicating very much better, and we understand each other much more. It is also been a great help in our youth group work at Church. (Youth leaders)
The Course has been life changing. I found the two-pronged approach very helpful – firstly in the way it has helped me personally, and secondly in developing counselling skills so I can help others. (Female assistant pastor)
The course has taught me how the synthesis of biblical theology and the dynamics of psychology can create a wonderful framework for an excellent model in Christian counselling. (Assemblies of God pastor)
The academic work was not easy, but I surprised myself on how I was able to do the assignments, and do them well. The course has been a great help in my social work. (Young male alcohol and drug rehabilitation worker)
The training and qualification has assisted me in running a successful professional counselling practice. (Female professional counsellor)
The diploma has helped me obtain a position as a school counsellor. (Male school counsellor)