The Thistle

Dr. Richard Winter Receives Award for Excellence from American Association of Christian Counselors

Dr. Richard Winter, professor emeritus of counseling at Covenant Theological Seminary, was awarded the Frank Minirth Award for Excellence in Christian Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine by the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) at the organization’s 2017 World Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, in September. Dr. Winter was honored for his work in teaching and writing about the complex interplay between medicine, psychology, and theology, and his training of counselors to help hurting people bring spiritual, psychological, physiological, and emotional balance to their lives. The award is named for the late Dr. Frank B. Minirth, pioneering Christian psychiatrist, author, and founder of the Minirth Clinic, whose work had a major influence on the fields of Christian psychiatry and counseling.

On receiving the award, Winter commented, “It was a bit of a surprise—and a very great honor—to be given this award by my colleagues at the AACC. Though I have not been doing psychiatry in the formal sense, my work over the last 25 years has focused on thinking through issues related to mental health and psychiatric care from a Christian perspective, and on training Christian counselors to work alongside psychiatrists in the mental health field. I am humbled and grateful that the AACC sees my contribution as worthy of the Minirth Award.”

A native of England, Winter trained in medicine at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, and then in psychiatry in Bristol. He was a counselor, teacher, and leader at the English branch of L’Abri Fellowship, and also served as associate pastor of a church in Hampshire for several years. He moved to the United States in 1992 to start the master of arts in counseling (MAC) program at Covenant Seminary, which he oversaw until his retirement from full-time teaching in 2016. The program has drawn increasing numbers of students over the years and is now the Seminary’s second-most popular, just after the master of divinity (MDiv). Covenant’s MAC graduates serve as counselors in a variety of church and church-related ministries; in independent counseling centers, hospitals, and private practices; and in corporate, educational, or other organizational settings throughout the country.

Even after his retirement, Dr. Winter continues to teach selected courses at the Seminary and remains a popular speaker at conferences, seminars, and other venues around the world. He is the author of several books, including Choose Life: A Christian Perspective on Abortion and Embryo Experimentation, Still Bored in a Culture of Entertainment: Rediscovering Passion and Wonder, Perfecting Ourselves to Death: The Pursuit of Excellence and the Perils of Perfectionism, and, most recently, When Life Goes Dark: Finding Hope in the Midst of Depression.

Dr. Mark Dalbey, president of Covenant Seminary, commented, “All of us at Covenant are pleased and excited that the AACC has chosen Richard for this award. It is a fitting tribute to his excellent work as a professor and scholar, his heart for healing people broken by sin, and his care and mentoring of those training to counsel and care for others. We are grateful for his many years of faithful service to our students and for the way he has enriched so many of our lives through his own life, work, and friendship.”