By Joy Vann
Dr. Trina Young Greer (SPC, ’00) never imagined business ownership as a part of her vocation until it landed at her doorstep. However, by age 10, she did know that she wanted to be a Christian psychologist. Today, she is owner and executive director of the Hampton-based Genesis Counseling Center.
Her occupational choice came naturally to her as she grew up in a family focused on helping others. Greer’s parents were missionaries who served in the Appalachian Mountains and Africa and she spent much of her early life at a Christian retreat they founded near Fancy Gap, Virginia.
Greer notes that, while life as the child of missionaries was spiritually rich, the family was often found in rough regions without electricity or running water. Contemporary cultural influences available through television and the like were nearly nonexistent. In that regard, a highlight of her young life was the arrival of James Dobson’s monthly Focus on the Family magazine.
“Looking back, I can see God’s hand in sparing me from certain cultural influences. In a family committed to full-time ministry, serving others was the norm,” she explains. “I am an extravert who truly loves helping others, so choosing a people-helping profession was aligned with God’s design for my life.”
Being Equipped to Serve
After graduating from Southeastern University, in Lakeland, Florida, Greer began master’s degree coursework at Regent University. During that time, she realized her life would benefit from counseling to control anxiety and to cope with unresolved issues.
“Therapy was incredibly valuable in helping me work through these challenges. I experienced firsthand how God redeems our brokenness … What was intended for evil, God has used for good,” she says, quoting Genesis 50:20.
Armed with her master’s in counseling degree, Greer worked as a licensed professional counselor focusing on child therapy and sexual trauma recovery. She continued her education by enrolling in Regent’s first psychology doctoral program, graduating in 2000.
“It was an amazing experience as we interacted with faculty and participated in the American Psychological Association approval process,” she says. “It has been a joy to trace the careers of my cohorts and see how they are impacting the world.”
“We desire to touch and inspire more lives, in more parts of the world, more completely. … We want all hurting individuals to know where to find best-in-class therapy based upon the truth of Scripture.”
When Life Throws a Curveball … Pray
Content in her professional life, she was stunned when the owner of the practice where she worked said he was leaving the state and that the practice would be dissolved unless Greer or one of her colleagues bought it.
While the thought of operating a business was daunting, Greer did what she had learned early in life to do when life throws a curveball; she prayed. Sensing the green
light from God, she then jumped in with both feet.
“I had no idea what I was getting into and had never wished to own a business,” she recalls. “Yet when our small soul-care team in my hometown was on the brink of not existing, God conquered my limiting beliefs, and Genesis Counseling Center was born.”
Greer invested her life’s savings into the practice. Through trial and error, it succeeded, growing from its four founding clinicians to 60 licensed providers working in six offices throughout the area. The practitioners provide individual and group therapy, counseling, testing and assessment, psychiatric medicine, art and play therapy, neurofeedback and teletherapy.
Greer attributes the growth of the practice to a shared commitment to help others live better lives.
“We desire to touch and inspire more lives, in more parts of the world, more completely. We know everyone faces trials and tribulations,” she says with deep conviction and empathy. “During those times, we want all hurting individuals to know where to find best-in-class therapy based upon the truth of Scripture.”
In addition to helping others, the practice is committed to education and has a robust training program.
“We strongly believe in training and equipping the next generation of Christian therapists,” Greer explains. “Genesis has 25 people in our training/resident program, including many from Regent. We are extremely grateful for the excellent education that Regent provides through the School of Psychology & Counseling.”
She and her husband, Steve, established a related company based on the business solutions created while Genesis Counseling found its footing. Genesis Assist helps therapists nationwide with consulting, billing and insurance paneling.
“We have learned much from our challenges in growing a private practice, and we share that knowledge with others to help them succeed. Just like me, most therapists don’t go to school to be business owners,” she notes. “Yet if our vision of helping the hurting is to be successful, we have to incorporate a business mindset so our ministries can grow and thrive.”
An Instrument of Hope
Being on the frontline of mental health, Greer and her colleagues hear stories that paint a picture of marriage and family under stress. The issues her team faces each day are wide-ranging: pre-school children traumatized by inappropriate websites; cyber-bullying causing post-traumatic stress; anxiety disorders in grade schoolers worrying about getting into a good college; porn addiction; and grandparents raising grandchildren due to parental opioid addiction.
While the issues are big and often heartbreaking, the power and hope that anchor the Greers and their Genesis team are leading others to deep restoration. Greer’s zeal to continue to help others through weighty problems is reinforced by the evidence of the effectiveness of therapy, as seen in marriages saved, abused children learning to trust, and adults keeping anxieties at bay.
“We know God’s heart for the restoration of each individual,” Greer reflects, almost as if noting in a split second the thousands of real lives she and her team have cared for. “The whole of Scripture points to God’s relentless pursuit of us to be in His family. He created family and the institution of marriage for our protection, pleasure, and lasting legacy in light of eternity,” she continues.
“I am beyond grateful that Genesis Counseling Center is an instrument in His great hand to bring His message of hope and restoration to hurting individuals, marriages and families.”