Announcement of Dr. Tom Barbian’s Retirement and the Hiring of Dr. Brian Mesimer as the Next Executive Director
June 10, 2024

We are just leaving spring as summer approaches here in Columbia, and things are changing all around us. This time of year has often been a time change for the Christian Counseling Center as well. It was April 1, 1997 that the ministry of the Christian Counseling Center began with Dr. Tom Barbian as its first Executive Director. Much has changed over the past 27 years, and the Center’s growth has been beyond what was initially envisioned.

The Board of Directors can now announce that we are once again in a season of change.

Effective June 10, 2024, Dr. Tom Barbian will step down as the Executive Director of the Christian Counseling Center. Dr. Barbian will enter a season of semi-retirement, remaining on staff as a counselor and continuing to oversee the Center’s sexual addiction treatment program. Under Dr. Barbian’s visionary leadership, the Center has grown from a staff of one in 1997 to a current staff of over 20 counselors, a full-time psychiatrist, an administrative staff of 4, and 5 satellite locations in addition to the large downtown office. Each year the counseling center provides approximately 17,000 sessions with over 1,300 new individuals seeking services each year. We are ever grateful for the service and ministry of Dr. Barbian, who has left his mark on Columbia through his dedication to providing excellent and affordable Christian counseling to the community while training a generation of local counselors.

Dr. Barbian will be replaced as Executive Director by Dr. Brian Mesimer. Dr. Mesimer has been a counselor at the Center since 2015, specializing in the treatment of anxiety and depressive disorders.

He has degrees in philosophy and religious studies (USC), clinical counseling (CIU), theological studies (RTS), and a Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision from the University of the Cumberlands. Most recently, he was an assistant professor at Richmont Graduate University, lecturing on theological integration in counseling with interests in the application of Reformed theology to counseling and the best pedagogical practices for counselor education. His writings have been featured at platforms as diverse as the Journal of Biblical Counseling, MereOrthodoxy, and Fathom Magazine. He has also been active in local church service, and has served both in music ministry and as a ruling elder in PCA and ARP congregations. We here at the Center are excited at God’s leading and ask for your prayers in this time of transition as we continue to aim to provide Columbia with excellent and accessible Christian counseling. 

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