Dr. Sophia Ogunlana is the new program director of Lancaster Bible College | Capital Seminary & Graduate School’s master’s degree in counseling, available at our DC location. The clinical mental health counseling degree in Washington, D.C. is designed to prepare our students for state licensure as a professional counselor in Maryland, Washington D.C., and Virginia. It is a rigorous 60-credit Master of Arts degree that delivers the knowledge and skills necessary to help diverse people in a wide range of difficult circumstances. Our students learn about the biological and environmental causes of mental illness and are trained to provide evidence-based treatment. Dr. Ogunlana shares with us why she stepped into this role, what her passions are and much more.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a native Marylander, and I’m married to Dr. Kolawole O. Ogunlana. We are blessed with two young children, a 5-year-old named Joseph and a 2-year-old named Rachel. I hold a bachelor’s degree in psychology from High Point University, a master’s degree in Christian counseling and discipleship from Capital Bible Seminary and a doctorate in counseling psychology with a concentration in counselor education and supervision from Argosy University’s DC campus. I am a licensed clinical professional counselor in Maryland and a licensed professional counselor in DC. I also completed an internship through the National Institute of Mental Health’s illustrious research organization, the National Institutes of Health. There, I researched Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections.
When did you first discover a passion for mental health?
I first discovered my passion for mental health when I was nominated by my teachers in middle school to become a peer mediator. Under the supervision of a faculty member, I met with my peers when they faced a conflict or behavioral issue. I mediated situations by helping them come up with compromises and positive strategies to problem solve. It was then that I recognized my gift in that area. I loved being able to assist my peers find positive strategies to deal with problems. My calm demeanor serves me well in de-escalating high-stress situations. I am so thankful that my school and teachers afforded me that opportunity. It eventually led me to my career in counseling!
What types of work have you done in the past?
I have served as a Mental Health Counselor at a number of agencies working with children, adolescents, and adults on a variety of topics. I’ve conducted, published and presented research locally and nationally including at Johns Hopkins University, the National Institutes of Health, Bowie State University, the Art Institute of Washington and the American Association of Behavioral and Social Sciences.
What drew you to the teaching position at our DC location?
As an alumna of the former Capital Bible Seminary, I was eager to give back to students at my alma mater. I’ve been an adjunct professor for the past four years and was recently promoted to the director of the clinical mental health counseling program at the DC site. It is an honor and pleasure to serve the students in the counseling program here. They are talented counselors-in-training with a heart to serve God and positively add to the mental health field. The previous director and current faculty have been dedicated to the success of our students, which has led to a 90% success rate in alumni’s successful completion of the National Counselors Exam and attainment of the graduate counseling license. I have a passion to assist students in practicing wellness as a proactive strategy for the successful matriculation of their program.
Why do you believe it’s important for Christians to become counselors?
I believe it is important for Christians to become counselors because Jesus calls us to love our neighbors and to come alongside those who need help. Christians already have an example in Jesus of how to practice many of Carl Rodgers Person-Centered therapy of being non-judgmental, accepting, giving positive regard and so on. As professional counselors-in-training, students learn ethical and multicultural competencies to treat clients with respect regardless of their gender, sexuality and spiritual beliefs. For Christians who have a heart to help others, feel called to counsel and who are eager to learn how to become a professional counselor, this is the place for you!
What type of students should apply for your program?
Individuals who have an innate ability to exhibit empathy and passion to learn more about mental health counseling. Those who are willing to gain skills to come alongside hurting people who want to make positive change and who are up for the rigor that graduate school brings. If that is you, consider our program.
What are some other things you’re working on?
We are in the final stages of completing our self-study in the CACREP-accreditation process for both DC and Lancaster.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
LBC | Capital has truly been a blessing to me. I am appreciative to be accepted as my authentic self at this Christian institution where I equip students in the counseling field and integrate my Christian faith.