Alyse Thompson (M.A./BC ‘02) is the senior advocate at Brighter Tomorrows, an agency that helps survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. She works in the outreach office providing individual and group counseling, legal advocacy, and community education.
Alyse’s bachelor’s degree was in computer science from The University of Texas at Austin. She came to faith in Christ while she was in college, and as a result her interest changed to full-time ministry.
“I kept wondering ‘why am I finishing a computer degree when I just want to go to seminary?’” she said.
As it turned out, her computer science training is what allowed her and her husband Craig, whose undergraduate training was pre-med, to come to Dallas Seminary for ministry training. Craig and Alyse dated on and off from eighth grade through college and were married after they graduated from college. At DTS, their plan was for Craig to go to school while Alyse worked … but that didn’t last very long.
“He was in this new world that I desperately wanted to be part of. He had a new vocabulary and I wanted to know what it all meant.”
So, one semester after Craig started, Alyse began her course work toward a counseling degree. They both worked part time at first, but when Alyse was hired by Frito-Lay, Craig was able to quit his job and concentrate on his schoolwork.
They also lived at a retirement community, acting as the managers, for a few years.
“I quickly learned I was not into gerontology!”
Her practicums in the counseling program also helped her decide for what type of counseling she was most suited. She had a practicum set up with Minirth-Meyer program at Green Oaks Hospital, but it fell through when the hospital cut the funding. So she ended up doing her first practicum with The Family Place, focusing on domestic violence and sexual assault.
“After that experience, I knew I wanted to work with traumatized people—I thought in a hospital setting. I didn’t think I wanted to deal with legal issues around divorce and child custody or Child Protective Services.”
So, she set up her next practicum with Timberlawn, which is a mental health facility, in their trauma unit. There she counseled with individuals and groups, and she even used her computer skills to work on their computer database.
In addition to her counseling responsibilities, Alyse advocates on behalf of her clients with other agencies, including Child Protective Services and police departments. She assists clients with applying for Protective Orders and accompanies them to court.
She also does community training, going to workplaces, churches, coalitions, and information fairs to talk about domestic violence—including the resources available to victims.
“It’s my role to help people have an appreciation of the dynamics involved so that when they come into contact with someone in this situation, they won’t get stuck on the question, ‘why doesn’t she just leave?’”
Some high schools and youth groups have asked her to come and speak on preventing teen dating violence. She focuses on defining abuse and respect in relationships.
And she also uses her computer training regularly in community education to train people on technology safety.
“In the realm of domestic violence, technology is a tool that can be used to help victims or misused by abusers to further control and dominate them”
She said that often victims of domestic violence are intentionally isolated from their family and friends, which makes it more difficult to get help. So, for that reason cell phones and computers have opened up many opportunities. The problem is that they can also be monitored by technology-savy abusers. Alyse’s technology safety training raises awareness of these issues and encourages safety planning for victims who are trying to leave.
“We need to help them ensure that their efforts are not sabotaged through technology.”
Alyse said her training from Dallas Seminary was exceptional preparation for her counseling ministry. She said she uses it every day, especially relying on theology such as the doctrine of man and sin, along with counseling methods and family law.
“I chose DTS because I knew I would get extraordinary theology and exemplary professors.”
Craig and Alyse both graduated in May of 2002 and their future plans are to work overseas. Craig completed his Th.M. and desires to teach at a university or seminary level in another country. She expects to finish her licensure by the middle of next year, and Craig hopes to start a Ph.D. program soon.
They have been on numerous mission trips to destinations such as Africa, New Zealand, and the Philippines. They don’t have a specific place in mind yet, but Alyse expects to be able to use her counseling training and experience wherever they end up.
The mission of Dallas Theological Seminary is to
glorify God by equipping godly servant-leaders
for the proclamation of His Word and the
building up of the body of Christ worldwide.