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#MyWheaton Alumni Blog

Posted December 7, 2016 by
Tags: Young Alumni Graduate School

Woman praising praise diversity 

It was during the celebration of my bachelor’s degree that someone mentioned the Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) program at Wheaton College’s Graduate School to me. The thought of continuing my studies at this prestigious college had never occurred to me, and I was not sure if I would even be accepted. As I considered applying, I realized that strengthening marriages had been a passion of mine for many years. I had spoken on the topic both in the United States and abroad, and as I worked alongside my husband, Paul, who is Lead Pastor of Wheaton Christian Center, we knew that there was something missing in our counseling sessions. 

With both a personal passion and ministry need, I applied to Wheaton’s MFT program. As I moved through the program, I was most attracted to the integration of faith and learning. It was during the time I was enrolled in the program that my husband and I became burdened by visiting several of our youth in the DuPage County Jail. We knew something had to change. As I studied the effects of mental illness in African-American families, I knew that I had to be a part of the solution. The tipping point for me was when I was in a MFT class with Dr. Jake Johnson, learning about a day in the life of a Chicago teenager. My heart broke and I realized that we had to help stop the cycle of trauma and recidivism (a person's relapse into criminal behavior) in the African-American community. 

Fundraiser tables 

Out of this passion, I co-founded the Carlton Center of DuPage and Kane Counties (CCKD). CCKD provides anger management resources, substance abuse counseling, job-readiness and life skills training, and other services to juvenile offenders and at-risk youth. In addition, spiritual and psychotherapy counseling services and parenting classes are offered to the youth and their families. Our goal is to help reduce the recidivism rate in the African-American population, which research shows is quite high. We want to do something to change the trajectory of youth who often lack parental monitoring, resources, and good role models. We are currently working with Kane County Probation Services to provide the required services. 

My time in the Marriage and Family Therapy program at Wheaton College taught me to appreciate my own vulnerability so that I can now walk alongside others in their times of need. The knowledge I received was comprehensive and life-changing. I am grateful to have received this opportunity to develop myself in ways that allow me to continue pursuing God’s call on my life.

 Christmas family smiling

Fiona Arthurs M.A. ’15 received a master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) from the Wheaton College Graduate School. She is a women’s ministry pastor at Wheaton Christian Center, author of Foolish Things Wives Do to Mess Up Their Marriages (EGEA Publications, 2015), and is co-founder of the Carlton Center of DuPage and Kane Counties (CCKD). Photo captions (from top): Fiona speaks to an audience of over 15,000 in Harare, Zimbabwe, on healing emotional wounds from childhood—the audience included government officials and women from all walks of life; Fiona with The Carlton Center Staff on their first day of classes in Spring of 2016—all staff are volunteers and have various backgrounds including criminal justice, law enforcement, education, and more. 

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