Updated: Sep 17, 2021
Rev. Dr. Brett Travis
Dr. Travis, of Knoxville, Tennessee has been with the Sarasota Academy of Christian Counseling and the NCCA since 2012. He is An international Representative for the SACC. He is also an NCCA Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor-Advanced Certified and a Certified Clinical Supervisor with the National Board of Christian Clinical Therapists.
He is trained under Francis and Judith McNutt School of Healing (level 4) Jacksonville, Florida and teaches inner healing in his parish, His dioceses and counseling ministries. He has a private practice. Which is primarily focused on prayer, inner healing Temperament and integrated marriage and family counseling. Emmaus Centre for Healing & Christian Counseling has been an approved NCCA Certified Academic Institution (C.A.I.) since 2013.
How God Used Creation Therapy to Change the Course of My Life.
When Dr. Phyllis Arno contacted me to write an article for the Highlight newsletter I was honored by her request, my first thought was, “I really have nothing to say compared to all the reviews I have read about other successful NCCA ministries. After speaking to the smart person in my life, my wife, Pam said, “look how God has used the Arno’s to help you launch a counseling ministry, a church, healing ministry and a school for ministry.” Then, I realized I truly have a story to share with you today.
To set the stage let me begin here. In 2008, I retired after serving 37 years in the military and 24 years as a US Army Chaplain. Upon retirement, as they handed me a medal, I looked out into a sea of people and thought to myself, Lord, is this all there is? My world was suddenly changing, and I had lost my way; my thoughts were they are done with me, I am broken, worthless and of no more use. The military ministry sucked the life right out of me, and God seemed far away from me.
I returned home tired of ministry, of war, and seeing a Nation imploding morally, financially and spiritually. I was done as we say in the military. I did reach out to my denomination. After several attempts to re-connect to civilian life and ministry, it all failed because as one “Director of Missions” stated…have you ever served in the ministry? Better stated, have you ever pastored a “civilian church.” Ha! I thought to myself, I met with hundreds of my flock at 0530 in the morning at PT training, gave a devotion and then saw 8-10 Soldiers a day for counseling and ministry. I preached every Sunday, taught the bible weekly and conducted ministry in over 75 different countries. I really thought the denomination was a joke. I threw my resume’ in the trashcan on my way out of his office and never returned. My next thought was to retire to the lake. I stopped attending church and isolated myself from family and friends. Two years later, God spoke to me through a book called Creation Therapy.
New horizons begin. I was browsing through a bookstore and out of curiosity I opened a book and began reading about temperament. I purchased the book and over the next four months realized the book was intended for Christian counselors using Temperament Therapy. I found myself agreeing with Dr. Arno that secular counseling is useless without the holy spirit guiding the counselor and client in the therapeutic process. Needless to say, I called Dr. Steve Baran at the National office and after some vocational counseling, he directed me to a local CAI, and I found myself back in ministry.
The combination of finding the Creation Therapy book and God’s speaking through the five temperaments brought me back from the wilderness to launching a biblical counseling ministry. In fact, in the last ten years God has used Richard and Phyllis Arno to train my wife and I and start Emmaus Centre for Christian counseling. A year later we started the Emmaus School for Ministry which has now trained fifteen counselors and 9 lay ministers working in the three states. Emmaus Centre for Christian Counseling began its ministry in 2013. Today, Emmaus Centre has launched into a full-time church (Emmaus Abbey Church, Knoxville, TN) a full-time school of ministry, and a fulltime healing ministry. Our Emmaus network is in the cities of Woodstock, Thomaston, Sharpsburg and Fayetteville, Georgia. Also, during the 2020 Pandemic Emmaus started a new work as Greeneville Center for Christian counseling, Greeneville, Tennessee and of course Emmaus Centre for Christian Counseling, Knoxville, Tennessee. Since beginning the NCCA process we are growing, training and launching God’s work all because of one strategically placed Creation Therapy book by God in a second-hand bookstore. Amazing!
There is much to tell in regard to how God has used such a wonderful team like Richard and Phyllis Arno. When I received the request to write an article and thought I had nothing to say, as you see, I was wrong. God is using SACC and NCCA in a mighty way to reach the least, the lost and the broken hearted, Isaiah 61.
As a church here at Emmaus Abbey our vision and mission are twofold:
Our Vision: “To Reclaim the Ancient Faith, Reach a New Generation, and to Live in Holy Community.”
Our Mission: “To Care for People and Connect Them to Jesus Christ.
Creation Therapy is more than a system for Christian counseling. “It is a way of reclaiming conservative Christian values in counseling and clinical discipleship. In other words, it is evangelization and sharing the great commission, to all who come for healing and restoration. We invite those who come to enter the sacramental life in communion with God.” Creation Therapy is bringing people to God and God to people: the “Caring and Connecting to an Almighty God,” who can balance our lives, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.
In closing, I remember picking up the creation therapy book and on the inside cover it read these words:
In the beginning God created…” Genesis 1:1 and the answer was: I had value and God can still use me. Maybe not in the church but in counseling. It ended up He created four opportunities. “For you created my inmost being: you knit me together in my mothers’ womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful; I know that very well.” Psalm 139:13-14
In this passage God spoke to me and said, “You have worth and my spirit and character is within you. I began to respect what God says about his creation and slowly I moved to a place of victory. I believe it takes time to heal, to reflect and wait upon God. These are life lessons that sometime come at a price. But they are pearls for counseling those God sends us.
Life has a way of draining the life out of you if you let it. Reading through my temperament I realized I was performance oriented, not surprised! As a melancholy I learned I had to accept myself. Dr. Arno brought home that we have to surrender our ungodly ways in order to meet our temperament needs. Creation Therapy, at least for me brought me back home from a world of pain so that I could now minister to others who are in pain and do it in a way that they can know God.
I wish to thank Drs Richard and Phyllis Arno for allowing me to share about Emmaus Abbey ministries, my journey of how creation therapy brought me back home spiritually and in so doing helping hundreds of others seek restoration in their lives.
Fr. Travis is the Canon Missioner for the state of Tennessee and on staff at the Dioceses of the Midsouth, Georgia, Senior pastor of Emmaus Abbey Church and Executive Director of Emmaus Centre for Healing and Christian Counseling, Knoxville, TN. Dr. Travis served 24 years on active-duty military as an Army chaplain and Orthodox priest retiring in 2008. He has worked at the highest levels of military leadership, served state-side and many overseas tours. He has worked on staff as a senior clinician /Clinical Pastoral Education, clinical therapist in Army behavioral health with extensive training in individual, couple, trauma and mental health emotional disorders.
He completed his PhD in Christian Clinical Psychology, DMin, Pastoral Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary, Masters Clinical Counseling at Liberty University, Master of Divinity at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology/Respiratory Therapy from University of Kentucky.
Dr. Travis and his wife Pam, work in the counseling ministry together as a team providing marriage and family counseling at the Emmaus Centre. She is also trained in inner healing techniques and works with young women and children.