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Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Tim Parker

Taking his father, husband, and professor roles seriously, Dr. Tim Parker upholds his legacy by serving his community and patients as a licensed marriage and family therapist and professor. Working as an integral member of the online Master of Marriage and Family Therapy (MMFT) degree program, Dr. Parker has helped shape students and staff members on the importance of being a humble listener and advocate for those undergoing drastic changes and life circumstances. Known for his expertise in mental health therapy, higher education, and private consulting, Dr. Parker goes beyond his calling and constantly seeks to follow God’s plan for his life to the fullest. Teaching a variety of courses related to group psychotherapy, addictive disorders, and the ecological studies of crisis and trauma within military families, Dr. Parker hopes to inspire more students to reach marginalized or underserved populations with the skills and knowledge they receive through the program, while still reminding them to pursue their other passions. 

Following God’s Plan

Growing up in Michigan, Dr. Parker recalls how important faith and vocational ministry were to him. Wanting to serve in the Kingdom in some form or another, Dr. Parker worked in ministry and earned his bachelor’s in biblical text from Rochester University, a small Christian university, that allowed him to grow as a believer and scholar. Understanding that his calling was not to be a pastor, per se, he decided to become a missionary. However, after doing research, Dr. Parker felt like maybe that wasn’t for him. 

“I realized that if my bible degrees, bachelor’s or master’s, didn’t work out, I might’ve become something I didn’t want to be like a salesman or something,” Dr. Parker remarked. “And not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I felt in my heart that I wanted to serve in some capacity. And for some reason, therapy seemed to fit really well with what I was interested in.” 

Hoping to assist children and their families, Dr. Parker embarked on an academic adventure and received his master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Abilene Christian University’s residential campus. It was there that his love for the university began to bloom. Noticing how intelligent, wise, and humble the professors were, Dr. Parker felt the tug inside of him. He wanted to teach and practice just like they were. The only catch was that he needed to continue with school and was up for that challenge. Receiving his doctorate degree from Texas Tech University, Dr. Parker continued using his training at local and state-level institutions including the Community Health Center of Lubbock, where he provided ongoing mental health counseling to a diverse population of underserved families and children. Working on a collaborative team to ensure each patient received the counseling they required, Dr. Parker saw God move in extraordinary ways. And it was all uphill from here. Working as the Acting Associate Chief of Mental Health for Northern Colorado and founding director for the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at Lipscomb University, Dr. Parker was blessed beyond measure. Every move, every opportunity – all blessings and lessons from God. 

“It was just amazing to see how God was picking up and moving my family and I from place to place,” Dr. Parker said. “When you rest in Him, all bets are off. He can do anything, and it’s all for our betterment.” 

Next Stop: ACU Online

After working for several years in various positions across the country and opening his private practice, Dr. Parker was offered the chance to serve and teach once again. Although he saw the benefits of teaching online, Dr. Parker admits that it was a decision he needed to make carefully. Working to support his family and maintain his income and independence level, Dr. Parker was worried whether working as an adjunct professor would help (or hinder) his family. Taking everything into consideration and through prayer, Dr. Parker applied and, within a few months, was given the chance to join the Master of Marriage and Family Therapy department. Needless to say, it’s been one of his best decisions. 

“Honestly, it’s been so great to work with people who once trained me and know me,” Dr. Parker expressed. “I like working with students and being able to work with them remotely, and keeping myself busy with my family and practice has really helped me become a better therapist and person to relate to. And overall, that’s really helped me with my patients and their needs for a good listener as well.” 

Looking back now, Dr. Parker thinks about his motives for becoming a therapist and how it’s impacted his views on the church. Seeking a way to connect with people who have been hurt in the past by Christians, the church as a whole, or by disputes within church settings, Dr. Parker believes his gifts for reconciliation, constructive thinking, and sympathizing actions have been used for His glory. Focused on teaching his online students to become future therapists and counselors, Dr. Parker is excited to see where his students will end up. Whether they pursue their doctoral degrees or serve in community centers, Dr. Parker is ready to see his students flourish – just like his professors poured into him. 

Are you interested in taking classes from professors like Dr. Parker? Learn more about our programs today! Or, call our admissions team at 855-219-7300 to begin your journey at ACU Online.

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