e-Newsletter / 9.18.19
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Thank you Carol!

Chances are, if you called the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center at some point in the past 12 years, you talked with Carol Leonard. Chances are, you felt her calm and compassion right through the phone line. Chances are, you felt better already simply with this first phone call.

Serving for 12 years at the Center, Carol has been the primary "listening ear" to clients and potential clients as they made their first, brave step to literally call for help by scheduling an appointment. As the Center's intake coordinator / credentialing coordinator, Carol has served the Center with professionalism, compassion and a lot of plain-old-hard-work. (Think annual paperwork for 30+ clinicians to keep licenses current.)

Carol has made a decision to retire and last week our staff bid Carol heartfelt thanks with words, gifts, and - of course - cake.

Carol is beloved among colleagues and we know that Carol also meant a lot to many of our guests. If you would like to offer your word of thanks to Carol and wish her well on her retirement, cards or letters may be sent to:
Carol Leonard
c/o The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center
8553 Urbandale Ave.
Urbandale, IA 50322
A culture of learning

One of the Center's operating principles is cultivating a culture of learning. Who are the students? We all are! Staff, clients, board, community. The following photos offer a small sample of recent opportunities for professional growth, which we believe translates to better serve to our clients.


Three of the Center's team of ten psychologists, Dr. Scott Young, Dr. Shannon Welch-Groves, and Dr. Eva Christiansen, present at the Center's board of directors, answering many questions including: What exactly does a psychologist do? And, how are psychologists alike and different from other clinicians?


One Iowa training
The Center's entire staff of clinicians and administrators participated in a One Iowa LGBTQ Safe Zone designation training. This opportunity was made possible through a generosity of a Center donor.


Dr. Hiills
Dr. Geoffrey Hills, staff psychiatrist, provides a consultation to the Center's staff on the neurology of dementia and care for clients. The Center's in-house psychiatry team consults with clinicians regarding medical management of their clients on a regular basis.
The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center is awarded $5,000 grant from West Bancorporation Foundation

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photo: Geoffrey Gade, West Bank vice president; Jim Hayes, executive director, Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center; and Laurie Betts Sloterdyk, director of development, Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center

"Thank you to West Bank for this generous gift that will benefit the whole community," said Laurie Betts Sloterdyk, the Center's director of development. "As a nonprofit organization we are deeply grateful to our steadfast donors who help us make our services not only excellent, but also accessible to the underinsured and uninsured."

D iscover Your Why!  
A One-Day Workshop - October 8, 2019

"How will I go on now that this change has happened in my life?" In this workshop, participants will work together to ask and answer a different question.  "Why?" 

Discovering your personal "why" will bring clarity and impact to everything you do because it will enable you to walk in and toward your purpose.  Adapting the Simon Sinek process called Find Your Why, participants will take the journey to discover what makes them feel fulfilled and what drives their behavior when at our natural best. READ MORE.

The Healing Journal - 5 Week Course
With Billie Wade, guest writer and PrairieFire graduate

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The Healing Journal supports you as you recover from life's  challenges, even trauma. Journaling is one of the best ways to explore emotions and feelings, sort through events and relationships, and strengthen self-awareness and problem-solving. Journaling is a useful tool whether or not used in tandem with professional counseling.

Tuesdays  1-3 PM /  October 15 - November 12, 2019

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction - MBSR™

Taught by Allison Peet - Qualified UMass MBSR Instructor
Winter 2020 Cycle:
Orientation is February 3
Class begins February 10

Mondays 9 - 11:30 a.m. or  1 - 3:30 p.m.

MBSR™ is an 8-week intensive course, backed by 40 years of research, proven to reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety. Utilizing curriculum developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD at UMASS Center for Mindfulness, this non-clinical (i.e. not group therapy) course is designed to teach mind-body awareness, recognize and put to use our inner psychological resources to respond to toxic stress.  READ MORE.

Learning and Mental Disorders - An Experience
By Billie Wade, guest writer and PrairieFire graduate

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We usually think of children, K-12 and college-age, and school when we consider learning. However, learning affects everyone even into the senior years and in every facet of life. Many adults return to school to enhance or change careers; learn a hobby, interest or skill; meet new people; challenge themselves; or, fulfill a dream. The challenge of learning is exciting and good for us but can become problematic when we are faced with mental disorders....READ MORE.

You may find more of Billie's writing at www.dmpcc.org/billie and www.billiewade.com
The Center is hiring! 
join our team
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  • Adult Therapist
  • Psychiatrist, Physician Assistant or Nurse Practitioner
We are now happy and proud to be listed on GIVEdsm, a community-wide platform that highlights Central Iowa charities! We are proud to be included in such a caring and generous city. 

Check out our listing here: https://www.givedsm.org/
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Support group for survivors of suicide loss

The group meets every third Tuesday of the month and is facilitated by two professional counselors from the Center. All are welcome.

Mental Health First Aid 
Learning Opportunity

This class teaches you how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders.  Classes coming up in October, January and April 2020. 

Email Julie Baker with questions and to register: jbaker@iowapca.org.

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2018 Annual Report Summary

We gratefully acknowledge and thank all who so kindly contributed to the Center in 2018. This generosity brings hope and healing to children, teens and adults in need of high quality mental health services.


2018 service highlights include:

  • 24,000 sessions of counseling, psychiatry or psychological testing 
  • 651 children and adolescents plus their families served through C.O.O.L.™ (Children Overcoming the Obstacles in Life™)
  • 50 percent of presenting concerns include depression and anxiety
  • 1,164 hours of MBSR™ (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction™) classes 
  • 55 participants in PrairieFire™ renewal program
  • 753 hours of ASIST™ (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training)
  • 40 percent of clients access services through subsidies, thanks to generous community donors
  • 714 faith leaders participated in Clergy Boundary Trainings™
  • and more!
See our listing of generous donors, and service highlights here: www.dmpcc.org/2018AnnualReport
How to schedule a counseling appointment

To better serve our clients, we've added a new, secure online intake form.  The first step in scheduling an appointment is to help us understand your concerns by completing this brief form.
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More classes and groups at the Center:
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You can change lives all year with a recurring donation.

You can save lives. With thanks to your support, the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center provides holistic, high quality counseling and education to all who enter our doors -- including children and adults from low income households. For as little as $10 per month, you can make a big impact by setting up a recurring donation. Thank you!


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 5,800 individuals annually including children, adolescents, adults, couples and families through 31 multidisciplinary clinicians. Although best known for its 47 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
  • Psychiatry (medication management)
  • Biofeedback therapy, Healing Touch and other holistic approaches
  • Training for clinical professionals
  • Leadership and spiritual life programming 
  • Career Coaching
  • Conflict transformation and strategic planning services for congregations, nonprofits and businesses
  • And so much more!
 www.dmpcc.org   / 515-274-4006
Hello Dear Reader,

I hear the word "messy" used a lot. Such as "life is messy" or "relationships are messy" or "parenting is messy." While all that may be true, I am more apt to say my kitchen is messy (which it is, although we try).

The word "messy" is not my writer go-to word because I think it's overused. Like, the word messy itself is sloppy. Like, giving up on a better way to say it. Still, it came to me as I kept adding more and more to this newsletter. One might say it's messy here at the Center. That is not a reflection on our awesome office cleaning service. (Believe me, for which I am deeply grateful -- can they please come to my kitchen?) It's more about long to-do lists. So many ideas. Heartbreaking stories. Human beings. This messy newsletter is too long, for which I take responsibility -- and still here you are. Thank you!

I guess the lesson for me is that messy is over-used for a reason, because what is not messy? Anything? (I submit: nature and mandalas.)

Yet the mission we share is perfectly clear: hope and healing. And I cling to that. Not giving up yet on my dream for a tidy kitchen. Again, thank you for your interest.  

Terri Speirs
In gratitude,

Terri Mork Speirs, she/hers
Director of Community Relations
Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center

P.S. Chocolate to anyone who stops by my office to confess you read this. :-)