Faculty Profile: Dr. Darren M. Johnson

Dr. Darren M. Johnson joined Ohio Christian University’s Psychology Department as an Associate Professor of Psychology and Chemical Dependency Counseling.  He is currently teaching Abnormal Psychology, Introduction to Substance Abuse Counseling, Diversity Issues in Counseling, Principles of Counseling, and Physiological Psychology.

In 2017, ProQuest published Johnson’s “The Experience of Being an Atheist in the United States,” a report on his study of interviews with twelve atheists. He has presented on Coping with Stress in the Workplace, Good Grief: How Grieving Properly Can Be Healthy, Team Building: The Importance of Developing Cohesion, Creating a Drug-free Workplace, and Hidden: Adult Children of Alcoholics.

Licensed for Independent Chemical Dependency Counseling with Clinical Supervision and Clinical Counseling, Johnson has 25 years of experience in clinical counseling and therapy, program administration, and clinical supervision. He is a member of the American Psychological Association, American Association of Christian Counselors, and Society for Christian Psychology.

Dr. Johnson earned his doctorate in Psychology at Capella University, his master’s degree in Clinical Pastoral Counseling at Ashland Theological Seminary, and his bachelor’s degree in Sociology at Mt. Vernon Nazarene University. He taught at Trevecca Nazarene and Indiana Wesleyan Universities. His scholarship focuses on Behavioral Psychology, Addiction Psychology, Chemical Dependency Counseling, and Mental Health Counseling, specifically on counseling individuals with comorbid disorders.

“Teaching at OCU enables me to share my experiences of mental health and substance abuse counseling with a Christian perspective, demonstrating how Scripture may be integrated into therapy,” he explains.

Johnson integrates his faith into teaching by challenging students to think critically from a perspective rooted in Scripture—vital so they affect the world for Christ and bring healing to those who are broken. “We want students to view clients as individuals in need of Jesus Christ and to understand that treating mental illness and substance abuse disorders should be Gospel-oriented.   Psychology and faith are not mutually exclusive.  Our students learn to apply therapeutic theory and practice with Scripture to bring healing clients and glorify Jesus,” he continues.

“Secular therapists are recognizing more and more that spirituality is a source of great strength in a person’s life. Faith shifts our vision from our shortcomings and weakness and points us to the greater power. Christian psychologists recognize that psychological observations help us understand our cognition, emotion, and experience and that the Bible gives some very specific instructions on how one may become more emotionally and spiritually healthy. Psychology gives us insight into the dynamics of experience and provides tools to enact the Bible’s instructions. The word “mind” is mentioned over 95 times in the Bible. Paul instructs Christians to ‘take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.’ (2 Cor. 10:5)

“How do we accomplish this?” Johnson asks. “Studies show the average person has over sixty thousand thoughts go through their mind each day. Cognitive Therapy for example, provides therapeutic tools to help us become aware of these thoughts, identify irrational beliefs and cognitive distortions so we may replace them with ‘whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.’ (Phil. 4:8) In doing so, it helps us continue to have a mind like Christ.” (1 Cor. 2:16)

About OCU

Ohio Christian University is committed to offering a complete education that develops students intellectually, professionally and spiritually. OCU offers degree programs for residential undergraduate students, graduate students, and adult and online students. Every program is designed to equip students to become leaders in their careers, communities, families, and the world.