How I Became a Counselor

  • CCU alum Lucille Zimmerman

Article by: Lucille Zimmerman, M.A. Counseling 2005

The Columbine High School shootings happened in April 1999. Three miles from my home. Forty-nine teens from my church were in the school that day, and one of them lost her life. Her parents are friends of mine.

On a September morning a few years later, as I walked to the swimming pool at a Miami resort, a towel boy nervously told me a plane had just hit the World Trade Center. I ran to my room and camped by the TV for three days. Afterward, our church back in Littleton hosted the funeral for Jason Dahl, the pilot of Flight 93. While rushing to help out, I slipped and broke my toe. Sidelined, I begged God to let me be part of the healing. Then the phone rang. My friend was going to New York City to help, but she wasn't sure what to do once there, and she wanted my prayers of support. She also asked if I would go with. Yeah right, I thought, my husband won't want me traveling to such a dangerous place, especially with a broken foot. Instead, he said "Go!"

Each night in New York, volunteer police from across the nation escorted us inside the guarded perimeter of Ground Zero so we could offer rescuers handfuls of chocolate. Most of them had just lost dozens of friends and were working 18-hour shifts to clear the aftermath, find survivors, and lay others to rest. They asked why we had traveled from Colorado to be in such a broken place. "We came to see you."

They poured out their stories. We caught their tears.

For years I had been a stay-at-home mom wondering what to do once my kids eventually left the nest. Columbine and 9/11 rooted a purpose inside me. When I heard about Colorado Christian University's new counseling program, I signed up. I had never been a great student, but CCU's teachers and mentors believed in my potential and I was among the first students to graduate.

I wish I had known long ago how helpful counseling can be. Christians often rely on faith and prayer alone when psychology also has very effective tools to help emotionally wounded people. Now I'm using my education to serve the church and the community, and I hope to publish a book that will help more hurting people understand the benefits of Christian counseling. After graduation, I also opened a private practice -- a short walk from Columbine.


Lucille wrote her graduate thesis on "Couple Intimacy Dysfunction as a Correlation of Past Child Abuse." Her primary areas of practice include counseling for people who are experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety, as well as adults wrestling with midlife issues and boundaries.

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