Jamie Vanbiber

Jamie Vanbiber

Counselor Intern

I am originally a Cajun girl from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I stayed in my hometown until age 30; among many ups and downs, I attended and graduated from LSU with an emphasis in the Social Sciences, met and married the man I love, Craig, and began our family with the birth of twin daughters. Since Baton Rouge, we have lived in four cities, each in different states: Orlando, FL, Memphis, TN, Flint, MI, and now Marshall, TX. Two years ago, my daughters graduated from college, we gained a son-in-law, and I went back to school here at LeTourneau to earn my Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy.

Why do such a thing at my age and stage? It has to do with my passions and my story. My twenties proved to be a period of light and darkness. Though I was experiencing many dreams fulfilled in finding my life partner, having children, and being involved in meaningful work with people, underneath it all I faced emotional demons that sometimes greatly weighed me down and, during worse moments, felt like despair. Doubts about God, guilt over past mistakes, and crushing identity issues all played their part. Of course this took its toll on my marriage. Throughout the years, though, I began to see rays of light and hope. A loving husband, a supportive family (although I sought to gain a measure of healthy independence from them at the same time), a loving community of church friends, and an incredible counselor were all part of my journey forward. God loomed large and beautiful and filled with love.

Therein is my interest in becoming a counselor. Though there is much beauty in this life, there is also suffering. Sometimes we get stuck in the mire of it. One of the greatest joys of my life has been sitting with others and entering it with them, with the hope of finding together a doorway or a bridge, or sometimes simply offering human connection that could bring healing comfort in the midst of suffering. Many times in the past I wished I had more knowledge—about things such as family patterns, sexuality, the human brain (its cognitive and emotional systems) and medications (how they work and when they might be necessary). Having now been two years in the classroom and several months counseling clients, I am simultaneously more knowledgeable and more humbled, freshly aware of my dependence on God and aware of each client’s expertise on their own life.

In closing, I would like to add that my approach to counseling is a bio-psycho-social-spiritual approach. I seek to view every person in a holistic way—physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and relational. I incorporate the spiritual with clients who desire to do so.