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Professor Karen Quek Named Director of California’s Top Professional Counseling Organization

Karen Quek is associate professor and program director of the Marital and Family Therapy (MFT) and Mental Health Counseling (MHC) programs at Bethel Seminary San Diego.

Associate Professor Karen Quek was elected board director by the California Association for Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (CALPCC), the premier leadership and governing organization for counselors in the state of California.

Quek is entering her second year as director of Bethel Seminary San Diego’s Marital and Family Therapy (MFT) and Mental Health Counseling (MHC) programs. In this short time, she’s refreshed curricula and expanded Bethel’s reputation and student opportunities outside the classroom. Last year, she worked closely with Sara Smith S’19 to present research on mindfulness at a prominent Marriage and Family Therapy conference. Now, Quek is excited about the additional networking possibilities and mutually-beneficial cross-pollination that will happen when her communities of counseling professionals become more connected.

She hopes that CALPCC members will become more aware of Bethel’s program, and that Bethel students will in turn become more aware of and involved in this influential board. She’ll encourage Bethel MHC students to submit research proposals and present at CALPCC conferences and events, and will be able to share job openings and important current events within her courses.

“This is huge for our students! Because of my association with this group, they will—by association—have the most current information about what’s happening in our profession, in our state,” Quek says. “Having a well-established network is becoming an important part of our profession—especially for those in private practice.”

Tina Watson Wiens is program director and assistant professor for the Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) program at Bethel Seminary St. Paul—a parallel role to Quek’s in San Diego.

“This is a great honor for Karen and Bethel,” Wiens says. “Karen will be abreast of the most current conversations and decisions impacting behavioral health in the state of California, and that always bodes well for students. Karen is a great representative of Bethel and will be fantastic in this role.”

Quek is excited, but shrugs off some of the credit. “Bethel is not widely known right now, and one of the best ways to expand the reputation of our MHC program is to get involved in this board,” she says. Her first plans include proposing Bethel Seminary San Diego as a host site for regional networking events, and she’s already working on recruiting a recent Bethel MHC alumnus to be the group’s local coordinator.

Bethel’s St.Paul-based Marriage and Family Therapy program and San Diego-based Marital and Family Therapy program are slightly different because of different state standards and accreditation requirements, but both focus on bringing faith into counseling. “Both programs are known for producing high-quality therapists and counselors who integrate their faith in ways that serve people well,” Wiens says.

Quek adds that a potential outcome of this new partnership will be the ability to recruit practitioners to study and teach at Bethel Seminary. “It’s my prayer that we’d continue to be able to find relevant people to instruct our courses,” says Quek. “To find not just experts in their fields, but committed Christians.”

Quek, PhD., joined the faculty at Bethel Seminary San Diego in fall 2016. She’s a dual-licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) and professional clinical counselor (LPCC) who has been providing therapy for individuals, couples, and families from diverse background and experiences for more than 20 years. Her innovative research reflects her expertise and interests in multicultural clinical work, cross-cultural family dynamics, and gender equality, and has resulted in numerous publications and research presentations, including her 2017 co-authored book, Transition and Change in Collectivist Family Life: Strategies for Clinical Practice with Asian Americans.

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