E-Connect Newsletter / 7.20.17
The gift of counseling Billie

Writer Billie Wade describes herself as a "gregarious introvert interested in life's vagaries." 
special to the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center

by Billie Wade

The eldest of three children, I grew up in a turbulent home. At age thirteen, I wanted counseling, but my mother refused, thinking counseling was for "crazy" people. My family doctor prescribed "nerve pills." Shortly after my fifteenth birthday, I experienced a miscarriage. I graduated from high school at age seventeen and married a year later. At the age of twenty-two, I attempted suicide. My husband ridiculed me. The medical staff in the emergency room told me not to do it again and sent me home. In my mid-twenties, my doctor diagnosed me with clinical depression. Thus, began my rounds with counseling and medication.

Volunteers needed! penny

The Center's operations director Penny Heiss (L) and her niece  Amber prune weeds at the Center's front entrance to help welcome guests. 

Are you searching for a way to get outside and make a difference for others?

Are you searching for a team building project? 

Groups and individuals are invited to help prune the Center's outdoor gardens and beautify our outdoor space. 

If you and/or your team would like to learn more about this volunteer opportunity, please contact either Jim Hayes, executive director,, 515-274-4006, ext. 114, or 
Penny Heiss, operations director, , 515-274-4006, ext. 129.

Thank you in advance!
BLOG ::  Men, boys and mental health. Join the conversation. Scott

Scott Young headshot

Center psychologist Scott Young, Ph.D. is one of the contributors to this blog post
Post #2 - Unique perspectives

Edited by Zeb Treloar-Reid
Contributors: Dick Douglass, Scott Young, Zeb Treloar-Reid, Jim Hayes, Mark Minear

We all have our own unique perspectives on masculinity, manhood, boys, and men. It's sometimes hard to piece together whether there are any significant or meaningful differences when it comes to gender. We all come to gender from different places, recognizing that every person is unique and yet there are commonalities between all people. This blog post will share some of the unique perspectives of some of the contributors of this blog, trusting that our unique and communal perspectives will enhance our conversation about men and boys.

Health tip
Understanding and treating "self-injury" Alison

Alison Li_s headshot

Alison Li, L.I.S.W.
by Alison Li, L.I.S.W., therapist at the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center

People cope with stress and emotional pain in many ways: exercise, alcohol, eating chocolate, meditation, using drugs, therapy, self-injury. All of these can be effective coping mechanisms in the short-term; not all, however, are effective in the long-term.
Self-injury, also called deliberate self-harm, is the act of intentionally hurting one's body for purposes that are not socially recognized, and without suicidal intent. The most common form is cutting, although it can take many forms. 

A new biography of Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach has renewed interest in the famous inkblot test but the Center's clinicians have always known it is a powerful tool for psychological assessment.
register now

Introduction to the Rorschach Performance Assessment (R-PAS)
professional development opportunity for psychologists

The Center is pleased to offer a four-day (2-two day workshops) introduction to the Rorschach Performance Assessment System (R-PAS) for psychologists, covering background, administration, coding and interpretation. This conference is for those without previous Rorschach experience as well as for experienced clinicians who want to become more adept using the R-PAS. The interactive content will include lecture, video and hands on practice. 

The conference will be facilitated by the Center's own Rorschach expert  Dr. Eva Christiansen,
a clinician with the Center's psychological testing team.

Deadline to register: August 18, 2017

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register now rising

Rising Strong: Cultivating a Spiritual Practice with Courage, Creativity and Compassion
one day workshop based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown

nature scene

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Rising Strong™ is a one-day workshop based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown. The simple physics of vulnerability is if we are brave enough, often enough, we will fall. This workshop is about what it takes to get back up and how owning our stories of struggle give us the power to write a brave new ending. Struggle can be our greatest call to courage and the clearest path to a wholehearted life. 
  • CEUs for counselors and clergy available. Others please inquire.
  • Thursday, October 26, 2017 / 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
  • Facilitated by two Daring Way certified instructors

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register now wisdom

Wisdom Stories: writing your own story
a program from the Center's series on Redefining Aging
paper and pen

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Have you ever thought about writing your personal story? Perhaps as a process of gaining greater clarity, leaving a legacy for family members or making connections with friends and peers? This six-week class will explore the process of personal autobiography. Through writing prompts, creativity exercises and personal sharing, we will discover together the wisdom that may be found in our own life experience. This class is part of the Redefining Aging initiative of the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center. 
  • Wednesdays, September 6 - October 1, 2017
  • 5 - 6:30 p.m.
  • $150 for six weeks
  • register here:
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register now mindfulness

MBSR™ Intensive Mindfulness Training

The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center is pleased to offer MBSR™ Intensive Mindfulness Training, an 8-week course that is backed by 37 years of research, proven to reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety. Utilizing curriculum developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, the course is designed to teach mind-body awareness and work with the effects of toxic stress. Learn to tap into your inner resources and discover the healing power of mindfulness through MBSR™.
LAST CALL - register now Specialist

Pastoral Care Specialist training

Classes Begin this Fall.  This two-year course is designed for clergy, parish nurses, Stephen ministers, chaplains and others involved in pastoral care ministries. Meeting monthly, participants learn about areas critical to effective pastoral care, and receive support, encouragement and consultation on their work. Participants will reinforce what they already do well and integrate new knowledge and skills into their ministries.



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 GiveGive the gift of hope and healing


As a nonprofit mental health organization, the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center serves children, adolescents and adults including those who are underinsured and uninsured. Thirty five percent of our clients are eligible for counseling assistance or a sliding fee scale due to limited household resources.

Your gift makes a difference helps others gain access to quality mental health counseling. 

PrincipalsWe are committed to the Principals and Practices for Charitable Nonprofit Excellence

The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center is proud to be listed in the The Iowa Register of Accountability, a voluntary listing of charitable nonprofits that have committed themselves to continuous improvement by implementing Principles and Practices for Charitable Nonprofit Excellence as general guidelines for operation.  The purpose of the Register is to show Iowa and the nation that Iowa nonprofits make a concerted effort to operate efficiently, effectively and ethically. The Register was recommended by The Governor's Task Force on the Role of Charitable Nonprofit Organizations in Iowa.
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:

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pastoralWhat 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.


missionOur 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 organization  serving more than 3,700 individuals in 2016 including children, adolescents, adults, couples and families. The Center is not aligned with a particular religious group and respects the values of all.  Although best known for its 45 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
  • Psychiatry
  • Psychological testing and assessment
  • Training for clinical professionals
  • Spiritual direction
  • Community education including suicide prevention training
  • Leadership and spiritual life programming 
  • Career Coaching
  • Conflict transformation and strategic planning services for congregations, nonprofits and businesses   / 515-274-4006
In gratitude,

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