Meet Jacqie Wallen


Jacqie describes how an interest in the behavioral sciences led to her current call.

I was raised planning to work and support myself (not necessarily the case for all women my age) and believing that one’s work should be a calling — a vocation and not just a job.  I was always attracted to the behavioral sciences and to jobs that involved teaching or helping people and always felt that my vocation would be doing something like that.

I got my Ph.D. from the Committee on Human Development at the University of Chicago, a department that trains many excellent clinical psychologists but, though I took all of the clinical courses, I couldn’t afford to do the required clinical internships, since they didn’t pay and I needed a paying job. As a result, I never earned the title of clinical psychologist and wasn’t licensed to be a psychotherapist.

After completing my Ph.D., I worked as a researcher and university professor but always regretted not having completed training as a psychotherapist. In my early 40s, I went back to school, got a Master’s in Social Work at Catholic University, and became a licensed clinical social worker. I continued to teach at the University of Maryland for another 20 years, while maintaining a part-time practice of psychotherapy.  I am now an associate professor emerita at the University of Maryland, but though I have retired from teaching, my private practice is stronger than ever.  I focus on older clients and their families, accepting Medicare, which most psychotherapist do not do because Medicare reimbursement rates lower than what most psychotherapists charge.  I am making it possible for many people who would not otherwise be able to afford psychotherapy to receive it.

There is kind of call that is deeper than vocation, however.  It has to do not just with how you earn your living but with what you sacred occupation is, what God calls your soul to do. I’ve always been really scared to listen for that kind of call. I was afraid it would be something too hard or too awful, like maybe I would have to go work with Mother Theresa in Calcutta or be a martyr or something. I didn’t want to hear that call.  I did end up hearing such a call however, in 2003, when I felt a call to join Seekers Church and commit myself to a mission group. Well, surprise—it wasn’t scary at all.  I joined Learners and Teachers Mission Group and, later, Stewards.  I am tremendously grateful for the opportunity I have every week to be loved and supported and entertained while doing work that helps Seekers.


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