Category Archives: Stories

Thanks to you, Mikey smiles again

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You made a difference for one child.

Thanks to you, Mikey smiles again.

Pandemic. Divorce. Sadness. Some things seem impossible to explain to a seven-year-old, but Mikey is OK because you gave him the gift of counseling.

Through telehealth mental health therapy, Mikey has learned he is loved. His parents have learned to co-parent in two households. It isn’t easy but it is possible, thanks to you.

On #givingtuesday — we give thanks for you!

Did you know?

  • 700 children and teens plus their families are served annually through the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center’s specialized services called C.O.O.L. (Children Overcoming the Obstacles of Life).
  • The Center is a non profit organization serving more than 4,000 individuals annually through counseling and education — including psychiatry, psychological testing, renewal programs, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and other services.
  • The Center is one of the only mental health providers in Central Iowa who serves people from all walks of life, including those from low-income households who are uninsured or underinsured.
  • 40 percent of the Center’s services are subsidized, with thanks to a generous base of community support.

You can make a difference for another child.

DonateNow

Learn how Bank of America cares for their employees!

The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center recently partnered with Bank of America to offer wellness services to BOA employees.

October 2020 – It’s called preventative maintenance, an upstream approach to health and well-being.

Corporations and organizations are very aware of the many difficulties and challenges employees are facing during the pandemic and the chronic, long-term stress it is causing. One of the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center’s generous donors, Bank of America, is taking a proactive approach.

Bank of America staff in Iowa have launched a series of physical and emotional wellness opportunities for their teammates called Get Iowa Moving.  They are running four different activities every other week from September through October. Activities include, walking outdoors, guided mindfulness meditation, chair yoga, and desk exercises. All sessions begin with a reminder of the benefits and programs the bank offers and how to take advantage of them, especially though their employee networks. Bank of America knows that members of their employee networks feel more connected and engaged at work, which is an important component of overall wellness.

Annie Brandt

“I was talking with my market president about ways we can connect with our team in this virtual world, and she reminded me of her often repeated mantra, ‘Move your body, heal your mind.’  I thought of the things Bank of America is offering teammates across the country like chair yoga and guided mindfulness meditation. I thought it could be a fun way to further engage our Iowa teammates if we made it local and special for us.”  Says, Annie Brandt, Bank of America Senior Vice President and Market Manager for Iowa.  Annie is also a long-time supporter of the Center, 2019 Women Helping Women co-chair and volunteer.

Would you like to get your team involved in preventative healthcare? Learn more about the Center’s mindfulness offerings HERE.

Allison Peet

Written by Allison Peet, certified Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction instructor.

Kathy Reardon made the Center better

(back to the Kathy Reardon tribute home page)

by James E. Hayes, D.Min., executive director and spiritual director at the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center

Kathy Reardon has made the Center better in many ways since she joined us in 2001. That’s why it was difficult for me to hear when she asked for some time last month to inform me that she planned to retire from the Center at the end of July 2020. Difficult to hear and yet I’m happy for her as this pandemic has helped her to discern the next chapter of her life and how she can continue to make a difference in the lives of others. She is already missed. Though she is retiring from the Center, she remains energized by her spiritual direction practice. She has found virtual meetings from her home cloister to be fruitful and she looks forward to continuing that practice. We look forward to her staying connected to the Center and being a resource for future inspirational offerings.

In typical Kathy fashion, she didn’t want to make a big deal about her retirement. Those who know her understand that she’s a contemplative at heart—and an introvert. Being the center of attention causes discomfort. Those who know her and how much she’s contributed to the Center also know that she has been a big deal in making a difference. She changed the way we serve by bringing her breadth of skills to the service of our mission. She created new services; changed our vocabulary as she helped us to understand words like “healing touch;” brought the heart of a prophet to our systems so that all might be treated with equal shares of love. I was privileged to experience many of her gifts in our short three years of working together. She helped me to understand this place as she asserted her leadership skills and gave me sound advice on issues that needed tending as I started my time as an executive director. She was a confidant when I needed advice on difficult decisions. She helped me to understand better what holistic healing means in our work. Most importantly, she helped me to grow in my own understanding of ultimate mystery through formal workshops and simple daily comments in the workplace that alerted us all to the depth of each moment in the context of the everlasting now. Thank you Kathy!

As my time with Kathy was not decades in length, I asked colleagues who had such tenure to share some thoughts about Kathy’s contributions.

From Susan Ackelson, former Center counselor who also retired recently:

Kathy brought a focus on the body and spirituality with her holistic nursing, healing touch and spiritual direction along with her training in mental health.  The body aspect was completely new for the Center and her work in helping us integrate this new aspect of holistic treatment was critical.  She helped us expand our knowledge of other therapeutic body practices by inviting practitioners of alternative health modalities to meet the staff.  She then initiated community education forums for our clients and community members to educate on alternative health modalities.  She also developed a holistic assessment tool for therapists to use in evaluating their clients. Kathy led a weekly meditation group for our staff for years. 

From Ellery Duke, licensed psychologist and former executive director:

I recall the breakfast meeting at Village Inn in 2001when Jeff, Eileen and I met with Kathy about the prospect of her joining the Center’s staff, doing spiritual direction and Healing Touch.  We of course wanted her to bring spiritual direction and Healing Touch to the Center’s growing interest in the integration of mind, body, and spirit healing.  Kathy brought her understanding of, and expression of healing based in her nursing and spiritual direction backgrounds.  Through the ideas of Kathy, Jeff Means, Kay Riley, and others, the highly regarded PrairieFire program was launched.  Over 100 have been trained through PrairieFire.  It was through Kathy’s ground-breaking work in spirituality at the Center that Diane McClanahan came on board to further expand the Center’s offerings in spirituality and ministry.  Kathy’s spirit-based, mindful approach to life has certainly shaped how the Center expresses its mission.  Thank you.

As the pandemic precludes any formal gathering, we hope to gather more such thoughts to celebrate Kathy’s contributions to our mission. Feel free to send your recollections and notes of gratitude to her directly. If you send them to the Center, we’ll make sure she gets those. At some point we hope to have an appropriate celebration for any who have retired in this age of pandemic.

If you are interested in honoring Kathy with a donation to the PrairieFire fund,  you may donate here.

With gratitude for the many people touched by Kathy’s work, we ask that she be blessed with abundant life as she begins this next chapter of her life’s story.

Jim

Heartfelt thank you to Kathy Reardon – pioneer and educator

Kathy Reardon, R.N., M.S., Spiritual Director, Holistic Healer

Kathy Reardon retired from the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center in August 2020 after 17 years of innovative leadership and service in holistic healing — integrating mind, body and spirit into the therapeutic process.

As one beloved by many, we are pleased to honor Kathy with reflections from her long-time colleagues, and also by offering a way for you to join in the tributes.

Tributes to Kathy Reardon

How you can thank and honor Kathy Reardon

  • Send Kathy a note or letter via the Center:

Attn: Kathy Reardon

Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center

8553 Urbandale Ave.

Urbandale, IA 50322

  • Donate to the PraireFire fund in honor of Kathy Reardon:

DonateNow

 

Kathy Reardon and Kay Riley, co-founders of the Center’s PriaireFire spiritual renewal program were honored in 2016 with a concert by singer/songwriter Sara Thomsen.

Blessing Practice for a Pandemic

Dr. Christine Dietz

By Dr. Christine Dietz, counselor, spiritual director, and training director at the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center

I have often thought of Jewish observance as an ancient mindfulness practice. The rituals, prayers, blessings and practices that Jews engage in offer multiple opportunities to move from mochin d’katnut (small mind, the ego) to mochin d’gadlut (expansive mind, a more universal perspective) every day. One way to understand halakhah, often translated as law or observance, is as a way of walking, as the root of the word may be translated as “to go” or “to walk.” Judaism is how we walk our walk, and blessings can be part of this walk.

I was reminded of this perspective last Friday night when Rabbi Barton reminded us that, traditionally, Jews are supposed to say 100 blessings a day. While I aspire to being able to do that, I am not there yet. At the same time, the idea of pausing and tuning in to a larger perspective multiple times a day does appeal to me, especially at this time, when we are in both a pandemic of illness and a pandemic of fear, as Rabbi Sacks observed (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LDJDxY-5Rk). As a psychotherapist and spiritual director, I witness the pandemic of fear every day. Since I don’t know all of the traditional blessings and don’t yet have the awareness or discipline to recite 100 of them every day, I decided to try saying blessings for 100 people each day during this time of self-isolation and fear. I offer some ideas about how I might do that below and invite you to think about your own ways of offering blessings to the world at this time.

First, I would like to share a Jewish version of the metta meditation, a traditional Buddhist lovingkindness meditation, that I learned from Shaye Cohen and Bahira Sugarman. It is traditional to offer the blessings first for yourself, then for others:

  • May you be blessed with shalom (peace, wholeness)
  • May you be blessed with ahavah (love)
  • May you be blessed with refuah (healing)
  • May you be blessed with simcha (joy)
  • May you be blessed with kol tov (whatever is best)

Next, you might bless those who are most affected by the virus. For me, one of the hardest things about this pandemic is the isolation that can result from shelter in place orders, or when affected people are quarantined.

I am acutely aware from personal experience of how this affects both the affected individual and their loved ones. In 2018, my 95-year-old father was quarantined after acquiring MERSA in the hospital where he went for surgery after a fall. He had been in good health prior to the infection but rapidly declined. Visitors were limited and required to take extreme protective measures. He died alone in isolation while my mother and sister were ordered to evacuate due to a flood that same day. My mother is still haunted by the thought of him dying alone and not being able to say goodbye.  As a psychotherapist, I am also aware of how many people live alone with their anxiety about themselves or their loved ones becoming ill and being unable to be together.

Bless Those Affected by The Virus

 

  • The sick
  • The lonely and those who are distant from loved ones
  • Children who are ill or separated from their parents
  • The poor
  • The homeless
  • Immigrants and refugees
  • Prisoners
  • Asylum seekers
  • Those who are confined at home with abusers or unsafe people
  • Those who tested positive and are in hospitals
  • Those who tested positive and are in quarantine at home
  • Those who can’t get tested
  • Those who are or may have been exposed to the virus and are waiting to see if they develop symptoms
  • Those who have lost their jobs
  • Those whose incomes have been or will be reduced
  • Those whose businesses are affected
  • Those who need mental health services and don’t have access to care
  • Those who need other kinds of health care that is being pre-empted by this virus
  • Those (all of us) who are anxious
  • Those who are depressed and in despair
  • Those who are mourning or will be mourning without the in person support of their communities
  • There are many others – please add your own

 

Mister Rogers has been quoted a lot these days: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news,” Rogers said to his television neighbors, “my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping’” (Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, October 29, 2018). Mr. Bogost worries that this may be bad advice for adults if it leads to complacency or passivity. For me, “looking for the helpers” gives me hope and leads me to consider how I, too, can be a helper. I can also be mindful of who is helping and offer blessings for them. See Mr. Bogost’s article here: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/10/look-for-the-helpers-mr-rogers-is-bad-for-adults/574210/

Bless the Helpers

  • Health care workers in the front lines, risking exposure, working long hours without personal protective equipment, fearful of exposing family and friends to the virus: doctors, nurses, CNAs, technicians and other medical personnel.
  • People who work behind the scenes in health care institutions, including cleaners, food service workers, administrative staff and assistants, who face many of the same risks as those above.
  • Religious and spiritual care providers in hospitals and other health care facilities: clergy, chaplains and others.
  • Volunteers and any others working in health care institutions.
  • Workers in long-term care facilities and hospice, who face the same risks as those in hospitals as well as the expectation that most of those exposed to the virus will die. These include nurses, social workers, physicians, chaplains, bereavement counselors and others.
  • Workers in government agencies, including Departments of Public Health, research facilities, Departments of Mental Health, Departments of Human Services, CDC, WHO and many more, who are doing research, issuing guidelines, making decisions without adequate information, and working long hours.
  • Scientists and researchers working frantically to develop treatments and vaccines.
  • Policy makers at all levels of government.
  • School personnel, from administrators to teachers, who are trying to keep children safe, healthy, fed and educated without much to support them except their dedication and creativity.
  • Mental health workers at all levels and in all types of facilities, who are trying to provide hope and healing, either directly or from a distance, in a confused landscape of conflicting regulations, payment restrictions and limitations while trying to keep their organizations running.
  • The Boards of Directors and administrators of non-profit organizations, religious institutions and government services who are trying to offer their services at a distance and without certainty of compensation.
  • Religious and spiritual leaders and care providers: clergy, chaplains, spiritual directors, teachers of all types, who are working locally, nationally and globally to provide hope, inspiration and comfort.
  • Local emergency services whose work does not end during a pandemic: police, fire fighters, EMTs, dispatchers, etc.
  • Those who provide food and supplies despite risks to themselves and low wages: stockers, drivers, food service workers, cashiers, store managers and others.
  • Employees of necessary services who keep things running: sanitation, utilities, technology providers, repair people.
  • There are many others. Please add your own.

This is not meant to be an exhaustive list – it is just what I came up with this morning. I plan to add to it daily, creating an ever longer list of people to bless. I also hope that this practice, rather than making me complacent, will lead me to find tangible ways to support these people, whether through contact by phone or video chat, donations, letters of encouragement or other creative ways.

During Purim this year, I was particularly drawn to Mordechai’s words to Esther (Esther 4:14): “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows but that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” I am asking myself, and I invite you to ask yourself, whether you, too, are in this time and place to offer what you, uniquely, can and how you will do it. In the words of Psalm 69:14, as translated by Rabbi Yael Levy, (Directing the Heart: Weekly Mindfulness Teachings and Practices from the Torah. (2019) Philadelphia, PA: A Way In).

“I am my prayer to you,

Aligned with the Highest Will in this very moment.

With great love and generosity,

Receive me with the truth of your presence.”

How will you be your prayer?

 

Christine Dietz, Ph.D., L.I.S.W., is a licensed independent social worker, spiritual director and Reiki Master. She is the Center’s Director of Clinical Training. She received her M.S.W. from the University of Iowa and her Ph.D. in Sociology from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She is a graduate of the Lev Shomea Training Program for Spiritual Direction in the Jewish Tradition. Christine’s focus in counseling is on helping people reconnect to their innate wholeness and renew their sense of hope and possibility. She works with people experiencing anxiety, depression, OCD, trauma, life transitions, chronic illness, grief and loss, and relationship issues. She also offers individual and group spiritual direction to people from all faith traditions. She is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and Spiritual Directors International.

Carlos’ story

To demonstrate the power of counseling, we share the story of Carlos. We have changed the name and identifying details to preserve privacy.

“Sometimes it feels like my life is a roller coaster and counseling is my seat belt.” ~ Carlos

Carlos has experienced great hardship in his young life. He came to the United States five years ago at age three. He came with his mother, who migrated from Mexico to search for a job and security. But it hasn’t been easy for Carlos or his mother. Sadly, there has been much heartbreak. Carlos experienced abuse by another adult, and he witnessed violence upon his mother. Trauma has long-lasting effects on people, especially when it happens in childhood.

Carlos’ mother did not know where to turn for help. She works the nightshift at a low-wage job and has very little household resources, yet she found her way to a bilingual children’s counselor, Alicia Krpan, at the Center’s through it’s specialized services for children and adolescents, C.O.O.L. (Children Overcoming the Obstacles in Life). COOL is an experienctial approach to therapy, integrating art, play, food, sports, nature and music into the counseling process. Alicia provides services at the Center’s home facility and also at a satellite center in the Drake neighborhood. Both locations provide the a safe, welcoming place for children like Carlos to find hope and healing.

Alicia Krpan, t.L.M.H.C., bilingual counselor

“It has been such a privilege to help Carlos to know that the trauma he and his mother experienced was not his fault,” said his counselor Alicia. “He now knows that he did nothing wrong. In his counseling sessions I can remind him he is brave and beautiful and awesome.”

Alicia employed the use of a therapeutic sand table (more info here) to help Carlos communicate his concerns, and to help Carlos to understand that he can heal and become whole again.

Carlos and his counselor Alicia communicate in English, but his mother only speaks Spanish. It is scary for a parent to sign up their child for a service in a language they don’t understand. It could put the child in an awkward position of translating their own counseling sessions for their parents. However, counselor Alicia is able to speak with Carlos’ mother in Spanish and help her to understand the process. Carlos only needs to think about his own healing, and not how to explain it to his mother. Carlos can stay focused on being a child.

Sand Therapy

Sand therapy is a powerful therapeutic technique used by counselors at the Center to help clients process their trauma. It is especially useful to help children to find ways to communicate their experiences. Clients choose small objects that describe, say, their family or home. The skilled clinician will help the child explore their fears and experiences by asking questions about their choices of objects. The counselors helps the child to learn that healing is possible. (See last photo.)

Children learn that it is possible to heal. Sand objects in this photo represent a broken heart, a repaired heart and a patched heart.

For more information about C.O.O.L. (Children Overcoming the Obstacles of Life) www.dmpcc.org/COOL

What is Calling You in 2018?

Billie Wade, writer

special to the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center, January 2018

by Billie Wade

We’ve survived the holidays. We made it through January 1. 2018 has arrived. Each new year holds possibilities that life will be somehow different than in the past.

We now face the blank slate between New Year’s Day and Memorial Day. Most of nature is dormant. The excitement of the holidays is over, and life has resumed at a less frenetic pace. We may feel bored, unusually tired, or just a bit out of sorts. Some people made epic New Year’s resolutions that seem daunting as life or second thoughts get in the way or perhaps they’ve lost their appeal. The shine has worn off. The grand letdown happens every year. We may feel a sense of dread as we envision weather-related confinement.

Despite the long five-month stretch, each month has moments of distinction that help ease the transition. January and February are perhaps the most desolate, but the two months combined are only nine weeks, and the time passes quickly. March brings the beginning of Daylight Savings Time and the first day of Spring. Trees and plants bud in April and herald the welcome return of songbirds. May shows off huge blooms of peonies—pink, white, and deep red—and fills the air with the fragrant blossoms of lilacs. Life is stretching itself awake after a long winter snooze. When I look at the stretch and remember what each month offers, the time passes easier as I’m less restless, less anxious, and less depressed.

The transition from winter into spring is a time for refreshing, recuperating, rejuvenating and transforming. On the surface, everything is drab, brown, and gray. Underneath, however, new life is resting until the warm rains of Spring signal that it’s time to come forth. We may look out our windows and see drifts of sparkling snow and icy sidewalks. Or, we may have escaped to a warm climate. We may have plenty to do to ward off cabin fever. Or, we may wonder what we can do to occupy the time. We have a stellar opportunity to create new practices and habits that serve us, an ideal time to ask the deeper questions about what matters most and how we want our lives to unfold over the next twelve months. What is calling us?

I’ve made plans to improve two big areas of my life in 2018, my health and my writing. There is so much more I want to accomplish, but I take care not to overwhelm myself and invite shutdown.

Early in 2017, I created a list of forty-eight life questions to explore. I spend time contemplating the state of my life now, and what I want from life moving forward. I then delve into identifying the steps to turn each into a manageable goal with realistic action steps. What follows are variations of some of the questions.

What do I want my attitude to be in 2018? This is possibly the most important and the most difficult question to ask. Attitude is one area of my life where I have control. How I approach life’s drawbacks can mean the difference between peace and serenity, and hopelessness and despair. I adjust my attitude by getting as much information about my situation as possible, journaling, and talking to people I trust.

What do I want to affirm in 2018? I reflect on 2017 and think about epiphanies and insights that brought focus and clarity to my life. I’m learning to ask for help and to be vulnerable with the people in my life who love and care about me. In the process, I’m affirming that I’m worth the time and attention of other people.

How do I want to spend my time in 2018? Every year has 525,600 minutes, 1,440 minutes per day. Those minutes tick away whether I notice them, or they pass by without getting my attention. I want to engage in activities that are important to me, that bring me joy and peace and evoke a sense of awe and wonder. I want to invite experiences into my life that transform me emotionally and spiritually. I want to invite more play and recreation into my life.

Who are the people I want in my life? I look at the relationships in my life and determine whether they support or cause me pain. Relationships are complex, and I can’t always create a desirable distance between another person and me. I take care to ensure that I am safe before making drastic changes to my relationships. I consider such factors as how much the relationship means to me and how I can deal with the situation in ways that maintain dignity for everyone involved.

What do I want to do differently in 2018? I turn my attention to my intentions, goals, and dreams and choose with care activities that nurture me. I map out doable steps to help me attain my definition of success in my endeavors.

The winter months with the shortened amount of daylight can put the strongest emotional resolve to the test. Dark days and cloudy skies can contribute to a host of emotional issues. Living with emotional upheaval or pain and chronic issues can mean just getting through the day is progress. I try to remember that, back on December 21, the beginning of Winter and the shortest day of the year, meant that subsequent days would become increasingly longer and that sunlight in abundance would return. I know that the darkness and time of dormancy are temporary.

We can look forward to this time of year with a spirit of appreciating and celebrating the seasonal changes. We can welcome each change as an unfolding of the ever-flowing energy of life. We can participate in the transitions and match the rhythm of nature with our own. May 2018 be a year of renewal for you.

Billie Wade is a gregarious introvert whose primary interests are writing, lifelong learning, personal development, and how we all are affected by life’s vagaries. Issues facing black people, women, the LGBTQ community, and aging adults are of particular concern to her. She enjoys open-hearted dialogue with diverse people. The opinions expressed here are her own.

It’s been a great year

James E. Hayes, D. Min., M. Div., Executive Director, Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center

December 2017 – A reflection by Jim Hayes, Executive Director, Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center.

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It’s been a great year.

December 5, 2016 I began my tenure at the executive director of the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center (DMPCC). I had the privilege of two weeks of sitting at the feet of Ellery Duke who served this institution for forty years. He didn’t quite impart all his wisdom in that time, but had a plane ticket, so had to depart for warmer climes on December 23, 2016. The way I see it, my tenure really began once everyone returned from holiday break on January 3, 2017.

It’s been a great year.

How do I capture all that is good about this place? It’s been a whirlwind for me personally and professionally, so putting my thoughts into a tidy box of memories hardly seems fair. One construct that works for me is all that we learned undergoing a strategic planning process ably led by our consultant Sheri Vohs, thanks to a generous grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines. During the process, we explored the “Value Proposition” of our work here at the Center. Let me reflect a bit on how I have witnessed one of those values lived out in the day to day lives of the many people connected to our organization.

People. It is clear to me on a daily basis that this place is special because of the people involved in our organization. It starts with our clients. They are courageous. They accept the responsibility of vulnerability in order to face whatever it takes to work on hope and healing in their lives. There are often stigmas to our work. These folks testify to the brokenness that is a part of each of us and that it’s ok to own the limitations and contingency of our lives and that by doing so in the context of a safe environment, we can all live more fully. Wow, that was a long sentence, read it again! One comment that came up during the planning process is that we meet people where they are and not as a problem that needs to be fixed–as a person who just needs someone to walk with them. We respect the people who come through our door and the values they bring with them. We love them rather than manage their issues. That’s a high bar and an important value added to our community.

People in our organization are talented. Clinicians, spiritual directors and all our staff live out our mission to bring understanding hope and healing to others each day. The quality of our staff and the diversity of our services make this place hum with activity. There is a tremendous amount of intellectual curiosity around this place. Folks are always trying to figure out how to get better. Our value of trying to serve as many people as possible regardless of ability to pay requires great sacrifice of time and resources. I am inspired by the commitment of my colleagues and have learned much from them in my first year. I thank them for grace and patience as we all grow as leaders in this field.

The value of people in our organization stretches well beyond the confines of this building. There are many stakeholders that contribute to our success: volunteers, friends, donors, foundations, politicians and anyone who recommends to a friend or family member that we can help. I have enjoyed meeting many of you and look forward to meeting many more. Thank you!

All of you contribute to other values that we had a hard time naming. Words like peaceful, holistic, and spirit came up. When pushed to the limit of words, I often resort to stories. As I head out of this place for a meeting or engagement in the community, I often hold the door for someone entering the Center and say hello. I respect their privacy and don’t make much small talk. There is still a connection, at least for me. I know that regardless of why they are here, for counseling, spiritual direction, scheduling a future appointment, addressing a question about a bill,  a class, a prescription re-fill, or any other number of reasons, I know they will encounter someone who cares. I like to think they will leave this place with a stronger sense of peace; that whatever strategy for healing is necessary, their whole story (body, mind and spirit) will be taken into account; that their spirit will be lifted up as a result of their time with us.

Knowing that I work in a place that does that kind of work brings me great joy, along with a healthy dose of humility and privilege. Thank you, all of you, for all you do to make it possible to carry on this crucial mission.

It’s been a great year.

I can’t wait for an even better 2018.

Jim

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More blog posts from Jim Hayes here: www.dmpcc.org/Jim

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If you are still making end of year philanthropy decisions, please consider helping children, teens and adults who need access to mental health counseling and education.DonateNow

Meet board member Shirley Poertner

Shirley Poertner, a member of the Center’s Board of Directors

The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center is grateful for our volunteer, community-based board of directors. They give generously of their time, talents and treasures to advance the mission of understanding, hope and healing. Why? One board member, Shirley Poertner, agreed to share about herself and her motivations. Thank you, Shirley!

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What are your hobbies?  travel, mystery novels, gardening, walking with my dog, Cooper

What is your professional background? I worked in banking for ten years before taking corporate positions at Meredith Corporation and DuPont Pioneer. I formed a management consulting firm in 1994 and for twenty years, offered leadership development, executive coaching , and strategic planning services. The last ten years of my professional career, I was an Associate of VitalSmarts LLC in Provo, UT and marketed, sold and delivered workshops based on the New York Times bestselling book, Crucial Conversations.

Tell us about your educational background: I have a teaching degree from NE MO State University (…now Truman U) and a Master’s in adult education from Drake University.

How did you get involved with the Center’s Board of Directors? I had used the Center’s services over the last fifteen years, donated annually, and I knew a number of the Center’s staff and board members. I had always thought the Center would be a wonderful place to contribute by sharing some of my professional skills. When my name was mentioned as a potential board member and I was contacted, I immediately said, “Yes!”

What do you find most inspiring about the Center’s mission? The most inspiring aspect of the Center for me is its spiritually integrated counseling and its focus on holistic healing and self-discovery. The Center’s services that I tapped into in the early 2000’s literally changed my life, enriching my perspective on who I am and what I have to offer the world.

What would you like others to know about the Center? I’d like others to know what a unique place the Center is, its diversity of services, its inclusiveness and accessibility. We don’t turn anyone away who is in need of healing, offering a sliding fee schedule and assistance funds.

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If you are still making end of year philanthropy decisions, please consider helping children, teens and adults who need access to mental health counseling and education. DonateNow