Vika, the director of Samaritan Ministries’ Life Skills Center in Zhitomir, has just received her Master’s degree in clinical psychology.

It’s been a long and arduous journey that began 10 years ago with a single step when Vika took a counseling course at Good Samaritan Ministries in Beaverton, OR. Vika always had a heart for hurting people (and animals) but had no idea where or how to begin. That all changed when Bettie Mitchell, the founder and executive director of GSM, prophetically declared, “Vika, you are a counselor. Go home and begin counseling!”
Shortly after returning to Ukraine Vika had a dream in which God lifted her up over the forest to show her trees without end. Vika said, “I understood the dream the moment I woke up. God was showing me all the clients that I would be helping in my life.”

Feeling very inadequate for the task, God opened another door for Vika to continue training with Dennis Bowen, an American Clinical Psychologist, who had established a Counseling program in Kiev. For three years Vika traveled to Kiev staying there for two weeks every two months to complete all the courses available. After a two year internship, Vika graduated prepared to counsel but she still lacked a government recognized diploma.
Once again, another door was miraculously opened with a new program in Lviv in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy established by Oleg Romanchuk, a psychiatrist, accredited CBT therapist and supervisor trained in Europe and the US. After five years of frequent trips to Lviv, plus distance supervision via Skype, Vika completed required course work, supervision and her dissertation and earned her Master’s in Clinical Psychology. This is an amazing accomplishment, as she is one of few people in Ukraine who have received this honor and distinction.

Most amazing is that during these ten years, Vika has had two full time jobs! First as a parent of two daughters—now age 16 and 14 and wife to Alex. And secondly as a fulltime counselor and facilitator of seminars in parenting, assertiveness training, and numerous other emotional/social skill development areas.
Vika stated, “I feel very humble when I am able to use my training to rescue a suicidal teen who is destroying her life. Especially when I realize that if God had not prepared me to reach this person, she might have died. She believed there was no sense to living and now she has goals and plans to enter university.”
We can all be very proud and thankful that Vika Brzhezytska, has responded to God’s call and paid the price to be a Samaritan to the many Ukrainian children and families desperately needing healing!

SMU Editorial Staff