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Polly Clark

I first attended Richmont in 1999 when it was called the Psychological Studies Institute (PSI) and was a partner of Georgia State University. However, I never fully completed my licensure because shortly after graduation I got married and have had the privilege of staying home with our young children. I am now back at Richmont on the Chattanooga campus as a non-degree student in the Licensed Professional Counseling track in order to complete the courses required for licensure. My life looks very different now than my earlier years at Richmont.  I can see how the Lord has had a lot of work to do in me in order to better equip me to sit with other people in their pain.

I first came to Richmont with a desire to help people in their suffering as a result of many of my own experiences. I had been a rebellious young adult who struggled with depression, an eating disorder and my parent’s divorce. Since then, God has graciously continued to mold me through various trials such as infertility, a difficult marriage and seeking help for my anorexia.  Currently, after years of counseling and intervention with our church, I am going through a painful but advised and necessary marital separation. Through all of this, I have found my pain to be a deep portal to the heart of Jesus and my desire to help people is greater than ever.

While the “loose ends” of my story are not neatly tied in bows, the Lord has been using the last decade of my life to bring deep pain and experiences into perspective. I have spent years wandering and clinging to addictions trying to fill an internal emptiness that only God can satiate. I have wanted God’s blessings more than wanting to know Him. I have placed my hopes in finite things that have left my soul empty. Thankfully, Richmont introduced me to the work of Dr. Gary Moon , Dr. Larry Crabb and others. Through them, God’s word and His Spirit, God has helped me realize the deep problem in our hearts is that we all want something else more than we want God. I’m finally learning that we were just made to know God.  

As I pursue my state licensure, I am passionate about helping people see and fight the REAL battle for our minds and hearts. This is where Richmont comes in and equips students like me with the psychological tools and spiritual insights to help us lead clients through core issues to knowing God more fully. When people come to me now with their pain I want to point them to Jesus. We are not promised perfect solutions to our problems but I am learning that if we seek God through our pain, He will embrace us and empower us to walk through the mess of life with love and hope.  

For me, I intend to finish my coursework and take the National Counselor Exam (NCE) in January 2015. In the meantime, I am still on my path of healing and would consider it an honor to one day come alongside others in their journey. I am forever grateful to Richmont for opening my eyes to God’s healing available for us through the integration of psychology, spiritual formation and spiritual direction.

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