As a DJ playing weddings, parties and well, anything, David Williamson had no idea he was honing his skills for his future calling…in counselling!
Over his ten years of working in nightclubs and at parties, David would often find himself behind the DJ booth chatting with people about things that were important to them.
“To have them there in the middle of a set—it was a strange multi-task,” he says. “They were mostly people who were escaping something, like they were unhappy. They were numbing their unhappiness.”
The nightclub and party environment taught him a lot about being calm, being patient and setting boundaries. But this wasn’t the first inkling Dave had that he would become a counsellor.
“As a student at Doncaster Secondary College, in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, I was affectionately known as ‘D&M Dave’, or ‘deep and meaningful Dave’,” he says.
Dave had grown up in a Christian home but had not been going to church as often as he would have liked. After praying for years that God would provide him with a sense of direction and put people in his life who could help guide him, he had an experience with anxiety which saw him seeing a Christian counsellor in 2015.
“He was very helpful,” David says. “It was about a year later that I enrolled at college in a Bachelor of Applied Social Science (Counselling).”
The DJ-ing on weekends that supported him through five years of study, until his recent graduation, helped clarify to Dave that there was definitely a link between this lifestyle and what he felt God was calling him to do.
“MST and Eastern played a role in my faith journey,” he says. “I think MST and Eastern were excellent in combining faith and counselling practice.”
Particularly fascinated by Christian apologetics and topics such as faith, reason, justice, foundations of faith, and Integration of vocation and faith covered in the core units, David was also enamoured by the college’s critical thinking approach to faith and Christianity. He learned how a reasoned voice can be presented to the public, friends and family, and non-believers.
“On the one hand the MST and Eastern environment is wholesome and brilliant,” he says. “You begin each class with a devotional. But there is also an excellent balance between the Christian faith and strong academic values.”
David wanted to be a counsellor with a Christian perspective but he also wanted to study both Christianity and counselling at an academic level.
“The college did an amazing job at providing the right environment,” he says. “I was really refreshed and ready to do counselling with these core Christian units.”
He says the staff are fantastic and particularly cites Senior Lecturer and Counselling Program Coordinator, Dr Julie Morsillo, as an inspirational teacher. “They all lead by example,” he says.
Graduation night was a great sense of celebration and accomplishment at the academic achievements of David and the other graduating students. He was also given the Heather Quixley Award for being ‘an exemplary student’ – effectively, a really nice guy!
“I used to help other classmates with encouragement to get assignments done, and with references,” he humbly recalls.
Proof of his conduct and skills in counselling have been recognised by MST and Eastern, who have employed him as one of its tutors. According to David, this too is an answer to prayer.
“I feel that was God’s calling because I was praying about it towards the end of the course,” he says. “I was asking God to help me keep Christian leaders and mentors a part of my life. Then out of nowhere I got this offer to do tutoring at college.”
Doing counselling in an organisation is David’s ultimate goal but he’s very happy with tutoring and with his few private clients.
As a Chrsitian counsellor, David will be guided by Christian values and principles, and be sensitive to his clients’ desires.
“If the client wants, for instance, to pray during a session, I would welcome that. I think MST and Eastern prepared me to bring God into my counselling practice.”