By Rong Shen
Born and raised in Malaysia from a non-Christian family, Dr. Edward Ewe became a believer in Jesus at the age of sixteen. After feeling the call from God and encouragement from his pastor, he decided to pursue studies in Pastoral Christian Ministry with a minor in Psychology. Ewe came to the US at age nineteen and became a student of ministry and counseling. After years of study and work as a teaching assistant, Ewe graduated with a master’s degree in Christian Counseling and worked as a professional counselor. His experience as a TA and counselor allowed him to discover a passion for education, and prepared him to pursue a doctoral degree focused on counseling education at Oregon State University.
Ewe received his Ph.D. in counseling in 2018 and then joined the faculty of Northwest University. He teaches five graduate-level courses, including Multicultural Counselling, Counseling Skills, Research Methods, and Practicum & Internship. In the cohort program, students in his counseling classes are quite diverse — coming from different undergraduate majors, and a variety of cultural and religious backgrounds.
Becoming a professional counselor requires many steps, Ewe says.
“Our counseling profession has gatekeeping standards,” he says. “Being a counselor requires students to focus on three equally important aspects. It’s like a stool with three legs, students become counselors through academic and clinical preparation, developing a professional identity, and passing a national exam.”
Learning to be a clinical counselor involves more than academic studies, says Ewe.
“Students must have an integrative and development approach when learning on how to become a counselor. It requires students to be cognitively, emotionally, and spiritually congruent when becoming a professional counselor,” he says.
Dr. Ewe sees the teaching of counseling as a process of building a trusting relationship. “Students learn best, I think, when there is a sense of community and care in the classroom,” he says.
The job of a counselor requires one to have not only academic discipline but also personal strength.
“The profession needs people who are compassionate, have a good sense of self-awareness, and can develop empathy,” Ewe says.
In addition to teaching at NU, Ewe also works in counseling and clinical supervision.
“Each of these domains informs and sharpens my skills as a counselor educator. It informs my teaching, sharpens my clinical skills and help me understand the challenges and experiences of my supervisees,” he says.
Besides teaching and counseling, Ewe says he enjoys spending his spare time with his family – his wife Liz, five-month-old Owen and seven-year-old Aiden. In balancing work and life, he says he sees it important to set boundaries, which allow him to devote time to his family. Ewe says he enjoys swimming as his way of self-care, and that he also enjoys reading books about leadership. The most recent book that caught his interest was Michelle Obama’s memoir “Becoming.”
“Mrs. Obama’s book shared the first family’s experience at the White House. It is very inspirational to hear her life changing experience as the former first lady,” he says.