Author Archives: Terri Speirs

Care and Concern in the time of Coronavirus – Women Helping Women

COVID-19 and your safety:

2020 Women Helping Women Luncheon – a special announcement

  • For the safety of our community, the 2020 Women Helping Women luncheon will transition to an online experience.  While we will not be physically together in a ballroom, we will gather “virtually” to support women and children – and provide a balm for one another as we seek creative ways to build community during a time of social isolation. We have contracted with a professional production company to help ensure a high quality experience.
  • Sponsors and donors will continue to be recognized through 4,000 printed and electronic invitations, website, newsletter and social media. Additionally, sponsor visibility will be expanded by adding logos to all communications related to Women Helping Women.
  • The date and time remain the same:  Friday, May 15 at 11:30 a.m.  We will still be able to experience the wisdom of our speaker, Jackie Servellon, and honor community leader, Mary Riche.  And most importantly, your support will allow us to continue the event’s mission of providing hope and healing to those who experience depression, anxiety and other mental health issues.  In fact, those needs are increasing during this unprecedented time.
  • As of 3/28/20 the Center is offering mental health services exclusively through telehealth services. The building is closed to promote the safety of our clients, staff and community.
  • Thank you for your care and compassion for women, children and families who need high quality mental health services but are uninsured or underinsured.
  • For up to date information and coping resources, please visit our website often:
  • We will get through this together. Thank you.

Back to Women Helping Women home page:

Care and concern in the time of Covid-19 / Corona Virus – RESOURCES


The Center’s clinicians are vetting resources with useful information to help cope with anxiety around Covid-19 / Corona Virus .

Please check back often for updates and more resources.

Coping with corona related anxiety

C.O.O.L. Resources for Children and Families

Online Substance Use Recovery Groups

Learning about Covid-19

For more recent updates on the Center’s services:

Thank you to our 2020 Women Helping Women donors

as of 3/17/20

Presenting Sponsor – $10,000
Mary Kay Bruce, In Honor of Mary Riche

Leadership Sponsor – $5,000
Susan and Bill Knapp

Supporting Sponsor – $2,500
American Enterprise
Pamela Bass-Bookey
Polk County Board of Supervisors
Shirley Poertner
Marti Wade
West Bank
Sally Wood
Kathleen and Larry Zimpleman

Contributing Sponsor – $1,500
Barbara Beatty
Delta Dental
Des Moines University
Jann Freed and John Fisher
Foster Group, Inc.
Iowa Radiology
Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines
Kate and Andy Juelfs
MidAmerican Energy
Mary M. Riche
Salon Spa W
Silver Fox / Mary Langen
Susan and Carl Voss

Media Sponsor
Business Publications Corporation

Special Friend – $1,000
Roxanne Barton Conlin
Patty Cownie
Deb and Bob Pulver Foundation
Barbara and Michael Gartner
Sharon Goldford, In Honor of Mary Riche
Randall H. Hamilton and Bruce L. Hughes
Starr and Harry Hinrichs
Ellen Hubbell
Claudette McDonald
Cynthia O’Brien
Allison and Timothy Peet, In Honor of Mary Riche
David Shaw
Rebecca Shaw, M.D.
Rachel Stauffer and Jim Lawson
Dr. Teri Wahlig
Alan Zuckert and Joyce Dainty

Leader Plus – $500
Mollie Baker
Kristen Benge
Carol Bodensteiner
Beth Coonan
Bonnie Green
Leslie Heimbach
Ann and Tom Holme
Anne Kelly
Jennifer Lock Oman
Lynsey Oster
Kay Riley
Anne Roth
Patrice Sayre
Marti Sivi
Deb Wiley and John Schmidt

Leader – $250
Anonymous Donor (2)
Sandy Axness
Benson Family Foundation, Sandy Benson Johnson
Beth Bishop
Connie Boesen
Nancy Bone
Katie Bradshaw
Mary C. Brooks, In Honor of Mary Kay Bruce
Suzan Kelsey Brooks
Phyllis Cacciatore
Kevin and Julie Carroll
Joyce Chapman
Julie Ann Connolly
Chris Conyers
Diane Cutler
Marsha and Ellery Duke
Peggy Fisher
Fran Fleck
Julie Fleming
Robin Fortney
Beth Gaul
Judy Gilbert
Deborah Gitchell
Suzie Glazer Burt
Shawna Gisi
Linda Goeldner
Rachel Hardin
Sarah Hayes
Lynn Heggen
Jill Hittner
Michelle Hogan
Kathy Giles
Barb Hirsh-Giller
Michelle Hogan
Beverly Hutney
Connie Isaacson, In Honor of Mary Riche
Linda L. Jennings
Mary Ellen Kimball
Kathi Koenig
Mary F. Kunkel
Caroline Levine
Deb Madison-Levi
Julie Linn
Cyril Mandelbaum
Kate Massop
Kristin Medhurst
Ann Michelson
Jana Montgomery
Cheryl Morton
Jill Musin
Greg Nichols
Charlotte Noble
Jackie Norris
Jeanne O’Halloran
John and Mary Pappajohn
Donna Paulsen
Gail Pearl
Sally Pederson
Diann M. Peyton
Melissa Poley, Serendipity Spa
Judy Ralston-Hansen
Artis Reis
Helen Robinson
Katherine Safris
Mary Kay Shanley
Judy Sheldon
Laurie Betts Sloterdyk
Kelly Sparks
Terri Mork Speirs
Ellen Strachota
Cheryl Sypal
April Talbot
Joyce Templeman
Karen Unrau
Sally Wallace
Jean Williams
Dr. Judy Winkelpleck
Roberta Yoder

Young Leader – $125
Morgan Baumert
Rachel Bruns
Mary Beth Drey-Buechel
Mollie Giller
Megan Kading
Onnalee Kelley
Emily Susanin Kessinger
Sharon and Susan Malheiro
Meghan Malloy
Anna Mason
Kate Mead
Jessica Nelsen
Leigh Nelson
Erica Schaefer
Kendra Simmons
Gina Skinner-Thebo
Amanda Speirs
Ann-Charlotte Wade
Emily Webb
Andrea Woodard

Table Host – $750 / 10 reservations
Stephanie Asklof
Ann Flood
Foster Group, Inc.
L.U.N.A. (Latinas United for a New Dawn) hosted by Sharon Goldford
Robyn Mills
Kim and Rich Willis


back to

The Spiritual Journey of Aging

As of 3-19-2020, all classes and groups will be offered online until further notice. Please consult the instructor or leader for more information. If you are currently enrolled in a class or group, please consult with your instructor for guidance on changes in meeting venue or schedule.

click image to launch printer-friendly flyer

Career Opportunity: Director of Leadership and Spiritual Life

The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center, a well-established nonprofit organization, is seeking a full-time director to join our team of multi-disciplinary colleagues who are committed to a mind/body/spirit approach and serving all ages of people seeking hope and healing. The position directs spiritual growth programming, including PrairieFire and educational offerings, as well as managing collaborative relationships with regional and local interfaith leaders. We are seeking a candidate with a graduate degree in theological studies, spiritual formation or a related discipline. Preference given to candidates with experience in program development, pastoral care or spiritual direction training.  Administrative proficiency required.

Please send a letter of interest and vita to: Dr. James Hayes, Executive Director, Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center, 8553 Urbandale Avenue, Urbandale, IA  50322, or email Applications accepted until the position is filled. Anticipated start date is mid May 2020.

The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center is a nonprofit, nonsectarian organization offering a broad range of mental health services, serving 2,500 individuals annually through clinical services (including 700 children plus their families), and 2,500 individuals annually through education, leadership development and spiritual life programs. Although best known for its 48 years of quality, professional mental health therapy, the Center provides multi-faceted services, programs and classes:

  • Counseling, including specialized services for children and adolescents
  • Psychiatry (medication management)
  • Psychological testing and assessment
  • Training for graduate students, clinical professionals and the community
  • Holistic approaches such as biofeedback
  • Spiritual direction
  • Career coaching
  • Leadership and spiritual life programming
  • Conflict transformation and strategic planning services for congregations, nonprofits and businesses

For more information about the Center, visit our website


Thank you to the Viking Foundation of Lincoln

“Young people are the world’s greatest resource.”

Thank you to the Viking Foundation of Lincoln for providing generous, critical support for the children and adolescents who need high quality mental health services and are served through the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center’s C.O.O.L. clinic (Children Overcoming the Obstacles in Life).

The Viking Foundation is guided by a set of core values including “Young people are the world’s greatest resource.” We see that value come alive with the resources made available to help children heal from abuse and trauma, and learn to manage their depression, anxiety and other life challenges.

Since 2012 the Viking Foundation has supported the C.O.O.L. clinic with grants totaling $16,000 — providing critical support to thousands of young people plus their families. Funds have helped C.O.O.L. clinicians to build a premier treatment approach for children in Central Iowa to find hope and healing. Over the years, the Viking Foundation has provided art supplies, therapeutic toys, outdoor play equipment, children’s psychological testing materials, medical technology, clinical training and other accessories needed for COOL’s innovative, experiential approach to treating children and teens.

For more information on the Center’s C.O.O.L. clinic:


News — Mary Riche and Jackie Servellon to headline the 22nd annual Women Helping Women luncheon

The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center announces the honoree and speaker for the 22nd annual Women Helping Women luncheon

December 10, 2019, Des Moines, IA — Two highly respected community advocates will headline the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center’s 22nd annual Women Helping Women luncheon on May 15, 2020 in Des Moines.

Mary Riche, Honoree, 2020 Women Helping Women (high resolution image)

Proceeds support counseling, education, trainings and other services that impact women, children and families who are underinsured or from low income households.

Mary Riche, retired therapist and marketing professional, will be honored as an effective leader in many sectors including mental health, women’s issues, and civic engagement. Mary is a longtime supporter of the Center as a past member of the board of directors and more recently as a co-chair of the 2018 WHW event.

Jackie Servellon, local business owner and human services provider, will deliver the keynote address – sharing her personal story of hope and healing as a survivor of domestic violence. Jackie will speak on this devastating reality for many women and girls, and how the power of counseling changed her.

Jackie Servellon, Speaker, 2020 Women Helping Women (hi resolution image)

“Jackie and Mary are strong, giving and amazing women who will bring much meaning to our luncheon,” said Laurie Betts Sloterdyk, the Center’s director of development. “On behalf of the many women who seek to heal from heartbreaking life challenges – thank you to Jackie and Mary for saying ‘yes’ to serving the community in this way.”

The luncheon will be held on May 15, 2020 at the Embassy Suites by the river in downtown Des Moines. The Center expects to host 600 guests and raise more than $200,000. Since 1998 the event has raised more than $1.2 million, providing access and care to thousands of women and girls – a population who experience poverty, crime and abuse at disproportionately high rates. To follow news on the 2020 Women Helping Women luncheon and learn how you can be involved, please visit #

Related news:

The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center is a nonprofit organization with a mission to walk with people through counseling and education to find hope and healing, and to live a fulfilling life. Annually, the Center serves more than 2,600 individuals (including nearly 700 children and adolescents) through holistic counseling and other clinical services. Additionally, the Center serves more than 2,400 individuals annually through mental health education and training services.

For more information contact:
Terri Speirs, director of community relations
Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center
515-251-6670 or email

Training the next generation of mental health counselors

Training the next generation of mental health counselors

By Terri Speirs, Director of Community Relations

October 14, 2019 – The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center is pleased to welcome two new graduate practicum students for the 2019-2020 academic year. Erin Moskal is a graduate student in the clinical mental health program at Drake University. Emily Yen is a graduate student in the social work program at the University of Iowa. Erin and Emily form the latest cohort in a unique professional formation program that offers an intensive, structured group training experience.

“We are thrilled to welcome Erin and Emily,” said Dr. Christine Dietz, who directs the training program and is also a licensed clinical social worker and spiritual director at the Center. “The training program adds another layer of richness to the Center’s culture of learning as we all learn from one other.”

The Center’s Graduate Training Program was founded in 1980 to help address a mental health workforce need in the state of Iowa, and since then has graduated more than 125 mental health providers with an expanded knowledge base.

But the program isn’t for the faint of heart! The students are embedded into the very heart of the Center’s work through the following expectations:
• Ten-hour orientation process prior to beginning their placements.
• One-hour weekly of individual supervision and 1 hour of group supervision.
• One to two hours weekly of group case discussions with Center clinical staff.
• Required to present all intakes to supervisory staff.
• Required to present at least one case conference to the entire body of clinical staff.
• Required to participate in three didactic seminars (becoming a therapist, trauma-informed counseling, and LGBTQ-affirmative counseling) as well as , an assessment seminar and an integrative seminar.

“The Center takes seriously a responsibility to do our part to prepare the next generation of counselors,” said Jim Hayes, executive director. “With Iowa being in almost last place in terms of mental health workforce availability, we are extremely grateful to our donors who make it possible to offer our unique training program to graduate students seeking a rigorous educational experience.”

The Center’s training program has earned a reputation as one of very best, and one-of-a-kind in terms of the quality and depth of the learning. The Center invests more than $50,000 annually into the program. It is only possible due to the Center’s broad-base of community support as the students do not pay tuition, and their respective academic institutions do not reimburse the Center for the costs associated with the training.

For more information about the Center’s training program:

The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center is a nonprofit organization with a mission to walk with people through counseling and education to find hope and healing, and live a fulfilling life. Annually, the Center serves more than 2,600 individuals through holistic mental health counseling and other clinical services (including nearly 700 children and adolescents). Additionally, the Center serves more than 2,400 individuals annually through mental health education and training services.