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Ordained Southern Baptist Minister
“One of the things that DCCCD does very well is to allow people with advanced degrees from overseas to start their professional lives here in the U.S. I earned my 30-hour certificate from Eastfield going to evening classes while I was working full time as a therapist at St. Paul University Hospital, doing intake and assessment in their psychiatric department. Even working full time and serving as a minister on weekends, I earned my certificate in two years.
“I already had earned my Ph.D. in the Philippines and was an ordained minister but had to be licensed to be a counselor in Texas, and the quickest route was through community college. I earned a certificate in Substance Abuse Counseling, and by virtue of also having my Ph.D., the board of the state of Texas allowed me to sit for the exam.
“I truly believe that I was born to teach — I don’t think I would be able to enjoy life without teaching. I was also a professor in higher education in the Philippines for 15 years. I have a strong clinical research background, and teaching provides me an avenue to exercise my clinical experience and transmit that knowledge to my students.
“If you want to go into this line of work, you have to both love people and have the passion to help them. If you don’t have a genuine love for people, social work is not a good fit for you. And sometimes your family of origin plays a role in what you decide to do — there’s a strong line of addiction in my own family and a stepbrother died of cirrhosis of the liver from his alcoholism. My own family experience gave me motivation to understand the nature of addiction and to want to help those affected by it.
“This career path can be done, but you’ve got to be ready for work and sacrifice. Just attending class won’t earn you the grades. But this is a growing field — statistics tell us that one in three Americans will suffer acute depression in their lifetime, and wherever there is depression, there is the potential for addiction — it’s the same component of the brain. I’m glad that I’m in a profession where I can both help people and teach others how to help people too.”
Dr. Val Gonzales earned a doctorate in pastoral care from an institutional consortium that includes Louisville Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and the Asia Baptist Graduate Theological Seminary, now based in Hong Kong but originally based in the Philippines.
He earned a master’s degree in counseling from Dallas Baptist University and two bachelor’s degrees, one with a double major in economics and English and one in business administration, both cum laude, from Central Philippines University, where he was recognized in 2002 with the Outstanding Alumnus Award. He is credentialed as a licensed chemical dependency counselor (LCDC) and licensed professional counselor (LPC) in Texas, as well as an ordained minister in the Southern Baptist denomination. He earned a certificate in Substance Abuse Counseling from Eastfield College.