Licensed Marriage & Family Counselor Weighs in on Faith & Workmanship Under God
Twenty-five years ago, Catherine Burton was invited to a Bible study by a friend. The women in attendance were all Catholic, except Burton, who’d been raised in a Presbyterian household, her father an Elder of the church.
On this day, Burton said she vividly remembers having a dramatic experience with the Holy Spirit. She recalled an overwhelming sense of “enthusiasm” from the women while they were singing and praising the Lord, until, suddenly, something happened that opened her eyes irrevocably.
“I could tell you the hour,” Burton said. “I didn’t know quite what it was, but the women were telling me ‘That’s the Holy spirit, energizing you and giving you power!’ From that moment, I had a very intense desire to read scripture; in fact, I couldn’t get away from reading it. It was a very transforming experience.”
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It wasn’t long after her first Bible study that Burton said she began feeling an intense desire to start her own Bible Study Group.
“Six women came to my first Bible study,” Burton said, “Four years later, hundreds of women had come. These were Catholic women that went to the Catholic church—they didn’t know scripture, they weren’t trained or taught to read it. Yet, they came in droves once word of my Bible study got out, and I started getting calls for advice: How do I apply the word of God in my professional life? To my children? My husband? They were like little birds, so hungry—you’d give them a little piece and they’d want more.”
The more her female counterparts came to her, each seeking practical ways to apply scripture to their lives, the more Burton said she began to realize she was called to be a counselor. So, she applied to the University of Texas at Dallas and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. In 1993, she received her master’s from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
Shortly after, while completing an internship in the trauma unit at a psych hospital, Burton said her supervisor approached her with an observation.
“He said, ‘You have the gift,’” Burton said. “I know where it comes from. I know what God has done with me, and I know that working with people in this profession is what I’m called to do, and I love it with all my heart. I never get tired—I can go all day, 90 mph, six days a week! I’m always energized."
In 1998, Burton received her L.P.C. (Licensed Professional Counselor), and three years later, she was licensed in Marriage and Family Counseling. Today, she runs her own private practice in Southlake, TX. As a Marriage and Family Therapist of 22 years, Burton said she is passionate about helping couples restore their connection to one another. In fact, her “4 X 4 Structure for Marriages” program, which concentrates on empowering couples and restoring closeness and intimacy, came about after she helped a particularly troubled teen overcome her battle with mental illness.
“Her psychiatrist told me, ‘You can’t do anything with her. There’s nothing you can do,’” Burton said. “So, I thought, ‘Don’t tell me that, that’s a big challenge!’ I prayed about how I would do it. And, wouldn’t you know it, the person who came out of my sessions flourished with this new knowledge and inspiration that we had worked on together. She even went to nursing school and became an RN and helped her mom through a terrible bout of cancer. That’s what God does!”
Recently, Burton became involved in the organization Christian Women in Media Association, where women in media—singers, writers, TV producers, and screenwriters—come together to empower each other and to help one another realize just how deep their impact is at home, work, church, and across the nation. Following Esther’s example in Esther 4:14, these women believe they have been called not only to recognize God’s hand in their lives but to respond to His calling, too.
“Media is how we get the word out,” said Burton. “Media unlocks the presence of God to people who don’t know Him or His word. They’re starving for answers, hungry for something they didn’t know, just like those Catholic women who came to my Bible study. If we can get God’s word out to this chaotic society—a society where people just give up when they can’t find the answers—we will achieve a tremendous spiritual revolution.”
In addition to her counseling career, Burton is also in the midst of authoring a new book, Don’t Give Up: Be Your Own Therapist, where she equips readers with practical tools for navigating through their relationships and re-establishing a loving bond. She also developed a recovery program called SALT (Single Again Life Training) which helps people journey through the recovery process of divorce.
A former TV and radio personality, Burton’s Dallas-based radio program called Who Are You Listening To? discussed world events from a psychological perspective. Today, she speaks on a variety of subjects, including How to Process Anger, Setting Healthy Boundaries, Communication that Works, Depression, Marriage, Relationships, Divine Guidance, and God’s Foundation for Marriage.
“I’m not perfect, and I’ve made mistakes,” said Burton. “But this is my calling; there’s not a question in my mind that God has given me this calling.”
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“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
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