E-Connect Newsletter / 4.19.17
Join us at the Urbandale Mental Health Symposium

Thursday, April 20, 2017
6-9 p.m.
Urbandale High School Media Center

One in two Urbandale residents will be affected by mental illness in their lifetime. Join in the conversation to learn what you can do to help yourself and your community. Light refreshments will be provided. The event will take place in the Urbandale High School Media Center.

The Center is pleased to participate in this important event to create greater awareness of mental health issues and resources. Jim Hayes, the Center's Executive Director and Diane McClanahan, Director of Leadership and Spiritual Life, will be part of the program and also available at the Center's informational table. Please look for them and say hello.  Thank you to NAMI Greater Des Moines for hosting and the Urbandale Lions Club for  sponsoring.  If you have questions, please e-mail Ashley at eventsnamigreaterdesmoines 

CarolWhen you can't go it alone

Carol Bodensteiner head shot

Carol Bodensteiner
She thought she could handle things herself -- until she couldn't. Read how one woman found her way through tremendous loss. Thank  you to Carol Bodensteiner, award-winning author and a member of the 2017 Women Helping Women 
Committee, for sharing this personal story of hope and healing. 

Special to The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center
By Carol Bodensteiner

If you're at all like me, you feel you should be able to handle what life throws your way. Sure we know we're going to hit bumps in the road, but even when we go down, we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, as the song goes, and start all over again.

My sense of how to handle life comes from my German and English heritage. From my mother's side, I inherited the well known English traits of 'stiff upper lip,' and 'keep calm and carry on.' From my father's side, I acquired the German ability to work hard and solve my own problems.

These traits served me well throughout my life. Successful career. Raising a son. Marriage - divorce - marriage. No challenge I couldn't tackle. If I just put my head down and kept moving forward, all would be fine.

Until it wasn't.

JimThe Center at 45 years

by  Jim Hayes, Executive Director of the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center

6 April 1972. Ring a bell?

That date, 45 years ago, was when the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center was formally incorporated. How do I know this? One of the first things Ellery Duke (executive director 1976 - 2016) provided me when I arrived in December 2016 was a faded and only slightly tattered copy of the board of directors' minutes of the first four years of the Center.

It's a great read, thanks to Glenna Evans, who was the secretary for all those meetings. She has a distinctive voice and wry wit as she captures some of the drama of our first years. The document begins with a thematic "This is Your Life" summary, based on the popular TV show of the day.

 SharonA message from Sharon Goldford: Why I support mental health counseling

Link to Sharon Goldford_s video
Women Helping Women committee member, Sharon Goldford, shares why quality mental health services are important to her. Click image to launch video.
birthdayHappy 45th Birthday to the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center

In 1972 the Center was founded with a small staff and a big vision: to provide quality counseling that respects the diverse values of all. A staff of one therapist has grown to a staff of 26 multidisciplinary clinicians, backed up by a crackerjack admin team, serving more than 3,700 individuals annually -- with huge thanks to tremendous community support. We are united by a mission for counseling, education and understanding. Time to celebrate with a virtual piece of cake. Cheers!

AnnieA message from Annie S. Brandt: Why I support mental health counseling

Women Helping Women  committee member, Annie S. Brandt, shares why quality mental health services are important to her. Click image to launch video.
The Center's psychiatry team: comprehensive services under one roof
pyschiatry team

The Center's psychiatry team

Recently the Des Moines Business Record posted an article highlighting ways to address the national psychiatrist shortage. We are grateful for the news coverage of this important issue. ( Read the full article here. )

The psychiatrist shortage is nationwide and felt acutely in Iowa. The article states, " With about 200 active practicing psychiatrists, Iowa ranked 46th in the nation for access to psychiatric care in terms of the number of psychiatrists relative to population, according to 2014 data from the Iowa Medical Society." 

At the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center, we are pleased and privileged to offer in-house psychiatry services through our team of medication providers, Geoffrey Hills, D.O., psychiatrist, and Susan Koehler, P.A.-C., psychiatry physician assistant. 

Reservations are open for the 2017 WomenWomen Helping Women Luncheon

RSVP button

WHW info

Click image for more information

Thank you

to the many businesses and individuals who have provided support 
to the  19th Annual Women Helping Women Luncheon , ensuring greater access to quality mental health services for vulnerable girls and women from low-income households. 

supportA support group for survivors of suicide loss  
The next meeting is May 16, 2017.


Click image for more information


Sign up for the Center's SpiritualLeadership and Spiritual Life program newsletter

Did you know the Center has a second newsletter? 

In addition to this newsletter which focuses on clinical aspects of the Center's mission, we also issue monthly news on topics related to the Center's Leadership and Spiritual Life programs -- communicating additional opportunities for learning and growth including professional development choices for clergy and congregational leaders. 

View our latest Leadership and Spiritual Life newsletter here. The next issue will go out next week. Be the first to learn about new educational opportunities at the Center by signing up to receive this newsletter.   


Sign up to receive the Center's monthly Leadership and Spiritual Life newsletter:

sign up botton
What is pastoral counseling? 

The Pastoral in our name is the traditional name for counseling that integrates therapy with a client's values and/or faith. It also refers to how Center counselors respectfully accompany their clients through the transitions and crises of life's journey. Center counselors seek to offer healing for the whole person and see each dimension - body, mind, and spirit - as worthy of care.


Our mission is to bring understanding, hope and healing to people of all ages through counseling and education.
Our key services:  

Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center is a nonprofit, nonsectarian organization  serving more than 4,000 individuals annually including children, adolescents, adults, couples and families. Although best known for its 44 years of quality, professional mental health therapy, the Center is a multi-faceted organization providing a range of services:
  • Counseling, including specialized services for children and adolescents
  • Psychological testing and assessment
  • Psychiatric consultation and care
  • Training for clinical professionals
  • Leadership and spiritual life programming 
  • Career Coaching
  • Conflict transformation and strategic planning services for congregations, nonprofits and businesses   / 515-274-4006
April 19, 2017

Dear Reader,

A few thoughts for those of you so gracious to make it to the bottom of this super long newsletter.  I wish there was another way to say "it takes a village" because it's kind of cliche' yet it's the phrase best describes what I see happening everyday at the Center. It is quite a privilege to offer this newsletter to you, reflecting on all the people who made it happen -- including people baring their own vulnerable selves to share their personal stories of hope and healing. I'd like to thank Carol , Sharon and Annie for giving us all a glimpse into their struggles and values. I'd like to thank Jim for highlighting an individual who could easily get overlooked in the history of any organization: the person who took the meeting minutes. I'd like to thank all who have donated to the 2017 Women Helping Women luncheon, and for the 25 women serving on the committee who are g iving their all to raise funds and awareness for mental health. I'd like to thank my proof-readers, Alison and Zeb , who do things A to Z to make things work around this place. I'd like to thank the individual who came to my office with a donation check and then confided to me their brave story of surviving suicide. I felt honored to listen but I did not have the skills to help. I wanted to wave a magic wand to make things better, but couldn't. I'd like to thank   those who do have the expertise to help survivors.  And I'd like to thank all the lovely people in the birthday cake picture , including the photographer (who doubles as an insurance specialist) and the 26 clinicians who flex their collective intellectual muscle to provide compassionate, responsive, informed mental health services to the community. 

I'm not sure how better to say it: it takes a village to generate this much creativity, goodness and generosity. Thank you all for your part.

In gratitude,

Terri Mork Speirs
Director of Marketing and Communications
Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center