John William Harkins

John William Harkins is an ordained Episcopal priest and a professor of pastoral theology and counseling at Columbia Theological Seminary. His work is centered on practical applications of pastoral theology and counseling, which he puts into practice as a licensed marriage and family therapist.
Harkins received a B.A. from Rhodes College (1977), an M.Div. from Vanderbilt University Divinity School (1986), a Post-Graduate Marriage and Family Therapy Certificate University of Georgia (1997), and a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University (2001). He has also completed the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Training Program at Emory University Psychoanalytic Institute (1999-2000) and the Anglican Studies Program at Candler School of Theology (1998-2001).
He has served in a number of healthcare institutions including a chaplain at Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute (1983-1985), an Emergency Services Clinician at Rockdale Mental Health (1986-1987), a Liaison for Outpatient Assessment and Therapy at United Behavioral Systems (1990-1997), and a Senior Therapist and Regional Training for United HealthCare Corporation. He has also served as an individual and family therapist at the Pastoral Counseling and Consultation Centers of Tennessee, Inc. (1988-1990), Williamson County Mental Health Center (1988-1990), St. Andrew Counseling Center (1991-1997; while also working in Parish Education and Consultation), Atlanta Therapy Associates (1997-2001), and at Brookwood Center for Psychotherapy where he also served as a pastoral and marriage counselor (1999-present). Harkins has worked in the education and church fields as well, working with Vanderbilt University Divinity School as a Teaching Assistant with Pastoral Counseling and Psychology of Religion (1987-1991), Christ Episcopal Church (1987-1990; where he served individual and family therapy, pastoral care, education, and as a lay minister), St. James’ Episcopal Church as a transitional Deacon (2001-2002), Holy Family Episcopal Church as an Assistant Priest (2001-2004), Candler School of Theology as an Adjunct Instructor of Pastoral Theology and Counseling (1996-1999), Care and Counseling Center of Georgia as a Clinical Seminar Faculty and Supervisor (1999-present), Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta as an instructor in Pastoral Care (2000-present), CREDO Faculty (2012-present), Cathedral of St. Philip as a priest associate (2004-present), and as the Senior Lecturer in Pastoral Counseling and Pastoral Theology, as a well as the Th.D. Program Co-Director at Columbia Theological Seminary.
Harkins has contributed to a number of publications and has lectured for a variety of organizations and conferences. One of his main focuses throughout his career has been the attention to clergy's mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health.
He has used his work in pastoral theology and counseling to develop a model of the family systems theory within a congregational church context. He uses this model to "help churches manage difficulties that arise over time, much in the same way that a family might experience conflict and growing pains." He has also done worked to develop a model of Object Relations Theory in relation to religious studies, focusing specifically on the research of D.W. Winnicott. Additionally, he continues to do work in the field of integrating theory and practice in relation to pastoral care and counseling.
*Theological Perspective Essays on Luke 15:1—10, Luke 15: 11-32, Luke 16: 1—13. Feasting on the Gospels: Luke Volume 2. Westminster/John Knox Press: Louisville, Kentucky. 2014.
*Theological Perspective Essays on Matthew 16:24-28, Matthew 17: 1-13, Matthew 17: 14-21. Feasting on the Gospels: Matthew Volume 2. Westminster/John Knox Press: Louisville, Kentucky. 2013.
*They Need Not Go Away. Anglican Digest and Cathedral Times. 2011.
*The Light of Imagination.The Episcopal Café. 2011.
*The Disconnected, Unplugged Man; A Clinical/Theological Case Study. Journal of Spirituality and Mental Health. 2009.
*Pastoral Perspective Essays on Monday in Holy Week, Tuesday in Holy Week, and Wednesday in Holy Week. Feasting on the Word: Year B, Volume 2. Westminster John Knox Press: Louisville, KY. 2008.
*Proper 8 and 9, Pastoral Perspective Essays. Feasting on the Word: Year B, Volume 3. Proper 8 and 9. Pastoral Perspective Essays. Westminster John Knox Press: Louisville, KY. 2009.
*Lars and the Real Girl—An "Otherwise" Clinical/Theological Case Study in Compassion. Southeast Regional Clinical Conference. 2009.
*Hard Grief Work and Holy Saturday. @This Point—Theological Investigations in Church and Culture. 2006.
*Holy Comforter Parish: Justice and Compassion—A Case Study. American Association of Pastoral Counselors National Convention. 2010.
*How Clinical Pastoral Education Programs and Seminaries Can Work Together More Effectively. ACPE Southeast Regional Conference. 2011.
*The Case of the Wayfaring Stranger and Compassionate Colleagues. American Association of Pastoral Counselors: Southeast Regional Conference. 2011.
*Masculine Spirituality in a Postmodern World. St. Mary’s at Sewanee Episcopal Conference Center. 2012.
*Living With Integrity. CREDO Faculty Development Conference. 2012.
*Th.D. Association of Theological Schools Narrative Report. 2012.
*Family Systems Theory Applications to Lay Pastoral Care. Journey into Wholeness Conference, St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church. 2013.
*Leadership and the BVP. Living Our Vows Bishops’ Conference. 2013.
*Conditions May Vary, Inside Passages, Get Out! CREDO Health Vitality Blog. 2013.
*Transition, Imagination, and Resilience. American Association of Pastoral Counselors Southeast Region Conference. 2013.
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