Our team


Rev Dr Karl Hood

lead lecturer

MBBS(Hons1 Monash) | GDRGP | RGA(ANZCA) | FRACGP | FACRRM | GCProfSup (clin/past) | MAR(1st Hons Westminster)

Karl has been a biblical counsellor in private practice for two decades. He studied at Westminster Theological Seminary and CCEF in Philadelphia 2003-2009 and completed ordination studies at PTC. His background was in rural generalist medical practice, with anaesthesia certification. Karl served on the pastoral team at Drouin Presbyterian Church for a decade. He is co-founder and executive director of Biblical Counselling Australia, which has brought several leading biblical counsellors to speak in Australia. Karl is founding President of Melbourne East Christian Counselling Centre Inc and is its lead counsellor. He is undertaking a DPhil at Oxford in the Psalms and trauma. He lives in West Gippsland with his wife, Louise, and enjoys tending their large garden and arboretum. They have four adult children and four grandchildren.

Rev Bern Merchant



DipTh | BTh| MAC (Westminster)

Bern is the Associate Superintendent (Peacemaking & Welfare) at the Ministry and Mission in the PCNSW. He has studied Biblical Counselling at Westminster Theological Seminary and CCEF, and has completed advanced level PeaceWise training. Bern has been involved with Biblical Counselling in various ways for over 15 years and has served as minister of several Presbyterian churches both in rural and city of NSW. Bern is married to Alison and they have three school-age children.

Joanne Charles



BAppSc(USyd) | MAC (Westminster)

Jo is a biblical counsellor based in Sydney. She taught biblical counselling at the Centre for Pastoral Studies in Santiago for over 15 years, serving as a CMS missionary in the Anglican Church of Chile. She has worked in pastoral care and counselling in local church and wider denominational settings in Sydney and Chile for almost 20 years. She is now adjunct faculty at Westminster Seminary, where she is the instructor for the marriage counselling unit.


The Centre partners with various counsellors to deliver field work counselling training under supervision. These include the following.  

Kirstyn Castle



BOccTher (Hons)

Kirstyn has worked as a counseling coordinator in a church and now works with MECCC. She has completed the CCEF Foundations of Biblical Counseling program. Her background is in Occupational Therapy (BOccTher – Hons.). She has counseled women experiencing challenges related to depression, fear and anxiety, bipolar disorder, relationships, marriage issues, singleness, grief and loss, and guilt and shame.

Emmelyn Chong



MAR (Westminster)

Emmelyn studied at Westminster Seminary  and counselled at CCEF in Philadelphia before returning to Sydney. She has served as a recitation instructor at CCEF’s School of Biblical Counselling, has been published in the Journal of Biblical Counselling, and is an accredited counsellor with Biblical Counselling Australia. Emmelyn worked as a lawyer before moving into counselling (sydneybiblicalcounselling.com). She is married to Jonathan, a pastor, and they have two young children.

Owen Seto

Owen Seto​


BCom (UNSW) | BDiv (Moore) | DipTS (Christ College) | GCProfSup | MAC (Westminster)

Owen is a biblical counsellor and ordained Presbyterian minister who has trained at Westminster, Christ College, and Moore College. He has been in ministry for over 20 years.  He is also an associate member of the Australian Association of Pastoral Supervision.  crosstalkcounselling.com.au

Jeremy Ward



MDiv (SMBC) | B Visual Communication Design (Hons)

Jeremy is a counsellor based in Sydney (christiancounselling.sydney). He has completed the CCEF Foundations of Biblical Counselling program and is about to complete counsellor accreditation with Biblical Counselling Australia. Jeremy is married to Hayley and they have four children.

Contributing Lecturers

PTC has been pleased to host lecturers from CCEF, who have very graciously allowed their lectures to be recorded and used in PTC’s online-only units. CCEF have also very kindly allowed material produced at CCEF to be used by PTC.

Dr Ed Welch


MDiv | PhD

Ed is a CCEF faculty member and psychologist. He has taught at PTC three times: 2006, 2011, 2023. 



MDiv(Westminster) | MD(UPenn)

Mike is a CCEF faculty member. He lectured at PTC in 2017. 

Aaron Sironi


MSc (Marriage and Family,Fuller) LCPC

Aaron is a CCEF faculty member and a licensed clinical professional counsellor. Video lectures recorded at CCEF. 

Dr David Powlison


BA(Harvard) | MDiv(Westminster) | PhD(UPenn)

David was a Professor at Westminster Seminary and Executive Director of CCEF for many years. CCEF has kindly provided audio lectures.

Winston Smith



Winston is a pastor who taught marriage and family counselling for CCEF/WTS for many years. CCEF has kindly provided audio lectures. 

PTC Lecturers & Staff

The Centre recommends that Biblical Counselling training be integrated with wider biblical and theological studies. The PTC Lecturers and Staff page lists all lecturers involved in delivering PTC courses. The page also lists staff members who assist students with course registration and unit enrolments.  

God’s wisdom for abundant living in Christ

The National Centre for Biblical Counselling is a centre of PTC, a Reformed, evangelical Bible college training people for ministry and mission

ABN 89 276 382 053

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