Category Archives: Women Helping Women #18WHW

Media Release

2019 Women Helping Women speaker, Gina Skinner-Thebo, and honoree, Susan Voss inspired a crowd of more than 600 people. Click photo to link to full photo album. Credit: Whitney Warne, Ivory House Photography

For Immediate Release

 

For more information contact: 

Terri Speirs, Director of Development and Marketing, 515-251-6670 or email tspeirs@dmpcc.org

 

Women Helping Women event raises $210,000 to provide mental health services for women and girls in need

May 20, 2019, Des Moines, IA – More than 600 people attended the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center’s 21st annual Women Helping Women Luncheon on May 17th which raised $210,000 to provide mental health counseling and education to underserved women and girls, helping to address the acute mental health issues in Central Iowa and beyond. This is the most money raised in the event’s history with the proceeds used to increase access to vitally important mental health services.

Young professional and keynote speaker, Gina Skinner-Thebo spoke poignantly of her personal experience with suicide, prompting her to transform her grief into positive action related to awareness and prevention of suicide. Gina founded the Atwood Center for Women, an organization to empower and connect women and help end isolation and self-doubt. The Atwood Center is best known for its Incredible Women Parties held throughout the metro area on a quarterly basis.

Community leader and mental health advocate, Susan Voss, was this year’s event honoree. Susan has given more than ten years of service to the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center as both a Board member and Board President and is passionate about ensuring access and quality mental health care is available to all persons in need.

“This remarkable outpouring of generosity from the community will help provide critically important counseling sessions for vulnerable women and girls who would otherwise lack access to services,” said Terri Speirs, the Center’s director of development and marketing. “We are tremendously grateful to our sponsors, donors, attendees and volunteers who gave so much to make the event beautiful and meaningful.” 

Since 1998 the Center’s Women Helping Women luncheon 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 levels.

Founded in 1972, the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center is a nonprofit organization with a mission to bring hope and healing to people of all ages through counseling and education. The Center served more than 5,000 persons in 2018 including nearly 700 children and adolescents.

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There’s still time to give. Your donation means so much to so many.DonateNow

Thank you to our 2018 Women Helping Women Sponsors and Donors

last updated: 6/4/18                      

 

Presenting Sponsors  $10,000

American Enterprise Group

Mary and Doug Bruce

 

Leadership Sponsors  $5,000

Susan and Bill Knapp

Connie Wimer

 

Supporting Sponsors   $2,500

Pamela Bass-Bookey and Harry Bookey

Angela Connolly, Polk County Board of Supervisors

Carol Hallquist, Claudia Peyton, Ann Lyons in honor of their mother, Joy Corning

Hy-Vee

Wells Fargo

Amy Wimer, Carey Wimer, Annabel Wimer in honor of their mother, Connie Wimer

Kathleen and Larry Zimpleman

 

Contributing Sponsors  $1,500

Blond Genius
Borgen Systems
Beth and Tim Coonan
Cultivating Compassion: The Dr. Richard Deming Foundation
Des Moines University
Foster Group
Full Court Press/Iowa Taproom
Gateway Market
Sharon Goldford, in honor and memory of Connie Wimer and Joy Corning
Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines
Trudy Holman Hurd
The IMT Group
The Iowa Clinic
Iowa Radiology
Prairie Meadows
Mary Riche, in honor of Joy Corning
Salon Spa W
Silver Fox
Susan and Carl Voss
West Bank
Sally Wood
Zanzibar’s Coffee Adventure

Media Sponsors            

Business Publications Corporation, Inc.

Des Moines Radio Group

 

Special Friends  $1,000        

Teresa Adams-Tomka
Roxanne Barton Conlin
Barbara Beatty
Patty Cownie
Teresa Danos
Paula Duncan
Kathy Fehrman
Judith Flapan
Ann Flood
Jann Freed and John Fisher
Barbara and Michael Gartner
Elizabeth A. Goodwin
Mary Gottschalk
Diane Hedden
Harry and Starr Hinrichs
Linda Koehn
Charlotte Hubbell
Ellen Hubbell
Rusty Hubbell
Mary Kramer
Virginia Lauridsen
LaDonna Matthes
Brenda Mouw
D.J. Newlin
Jill Oman
Mary and John Pappajohn
Stephanie Pearl
Shirley Poertner
Ann Richards
Kay Riley
Kelle Rolfes, in honor of Diane McClanahan and Suzanne Stout
Janis Ruan
Jackie Saunders
Mary Seidler
Rebecca Shaw
Kathy and Ted Stuart
Nanette D. Stubbs
Marsha Ternus
Toni Urban
Marti Wade
Alan Zuckert

Leaders Plus $500      

Christine Bening
Bonnie Campbell
Sondra Eddings
Rosalie Gallagher
Barbara Graham
Sarah Hayes
Norma J. Hirsch
Kathleen M. Hoegh
Ann and Tom Holme
Diane and Roger Jones
Kate Juelfs
Anne M. Kelly
Barbara Nish
Lynsey Oster
Debra Pulver
Janet and Mark Rosenbury
Sarah Sullivan Bigelow
Char Vukovich
Kathy and Steve Zumbach

Leaders $250 

Robin Ahnen-Cacciatore
Linda Anderson
Becky Anothony
Anonymous
Stephanie Asklof
Sandy Axness
Barb Bachman
Susan M. Ballard
Mary Ann Beard
Connie Beasley
Kris Benge
Sandy Benson Johnson / Benson Family Foundation
Jan Berg
Jan Berlin
Kathryn Bernau
Christie Boesen
Meredith Boesen
Nancy Bone
Margaret Borgen
Mary Boote Roth
Mary Brooks
Michele Brown
Jamie Buelt
Phyllis Cacciatore
Randi Carr
Polly Clark
Alicia Claypool
Margaret-Ann Comito
Connie Cook and Joe Jongewaard, in memory of Joy Corning
Julie Ann Connolly
M.J. Dolan
Marge Doyle
Marsha and Ellery Duke
Kevin Carroll
Joyce and Rick Chapman
LaNae Ceryanec
David J. Egleston
Karen Engman
Denise Essman, in honor of Eleanor Bricker
Lois and Rhonda Fingerman
Peggy Fisher
Frances S. Fleck
Allison Fleming
Mary Susan Gibson
Kathy Giles
Shawna Gisi
Deborah Gitchell
Suzie Glazer Burt
Linda Goeldner
Judy Goodwin
Patricia (Patsy) L. Goetz
Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger
Gina Graham
Bonnie Green
Jill D. Greiner
Renee Hardman
Lori and Larry Hartsook
Sarah Hayes
Lynn Heggen
Cara Heiden
Barbara L. Hein, in memory of Joy Corning
Trudie Higgs
Jill Hittner
Dixie Hoekman
Michelle Hogan
Debbie Hubbell
Peggy Huppert
Bev Hutney
Connie Isaacson
Marian Jacobs
Martha James
Karen Jeske
Linda Johnson
Susan Judkins
Suzan Kelsey Brooks
Maureen Keehnle
Sue Kenny
Kathi Koenig
Becky Knudson
Mary F. Kunkel
Jennie Legates
Caroline Levine
Chris Lewis
Jennifer Lock Oman
Kristi Lund Lozier
Marian Lyddon
Robbie G. Malm
Cyril Mandelbaum
Kathleen M. Massop
Claudette McDonald
Rachel McDonough
Andy McQuire
Ann Michelson
Lisa Minear
Jana Montgomery
Diane H. Morain
Terri Mork Speirs
Debra J. Moyer
Pauline Niebur
Liz Neumann
Nancy Nunn
Mary Nilsen
Charlotte Noble
Sandy O’Brien
Jo Oldson
Jeanne O’Halloran
Donna L. Paulsen
Gail Pearl
Sally Pederson
Rita Perea
Virginia Petersen
Judy Proksa
Lynette Rasmussen
Dixie Rhiner
Dawn and Steve Roberts
Helen Robinson
Priscilla Ruhe
Kathy Safris
Christine Sand
Lou Ann Sandburg
Patrice M. Sayre
Renee Schaaf
Pam Schoffner
Judith Sheldon
Laurie Sloterdyk
A. Joyce Smith
Mary Kay Shanley
Jen Stanbrough
Joan Stark
Rachel Stauffer
Beth Stelle Jones
Randi Stern
Ellen Strachota
Mary H. Stuart
Gail Stubbs
Cheryl Sypal
April Talbot
Joyce and Harold Templeman
Deb Tharnish
Rev. Rachel Thorson Mithelman
Ashley Tollakson
Karen Unrau
Susan Vujnovich McRoberts
Terri Vaughan
Marilyn Warling
Michele Whitty
JoEllen Whitney
Linda Weidmaier
Karrie W. Weinhardt
Malinda Wiesner
Deb Wiley, in memory of Joy Corning
Jean M. Williams
Emily Williams-Bouska
Dr. Judy Winkelpleck
Kyrie Wong
Christine Woods
Roberta Yoder

Young Leaders $100   

Katie Bradshaw
Annie S. Brandt
Rachel Bruns
Rachel Dahlen
Katherine Gamble
Alexandra Hubbell
Kelly Isaacson
Tessa Isaacson
Onnalee Kelley
Emily Kessinger
Jenna Knox, in honor of Mary Riche
Ali Makris
Melissa Poley
Anne E. Roth
Erica Shannon Stueve
Amanda Speirs
Ann-Charlotte Wade
Dania Wilson

 Table Sponsors           

Carol Bodensteiner and Diane Glass
Borgen Sytems
Consortium Breakfast Club
Hubbell Realty
Ann Flood
Davis Brown Law Firm
Deniz Franke
Kading Properties
Mary Gottschalk
Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines
Robyn Mills
Thrivent Financial
West Bank
Willis Auto Campus
Sally Wood

Corporate Friends $250 – $1,000            

Accents + Interiors
Josephs Jewelers
Laden and Pearson, PC
Kemin Industries
Meredith Corporation
Ellen Nelson – Funding Solutions, Inc., in honor of Claudette McDonald
Stamatelos and Tollakson
UnityPoint – Des Moines
Veridian Credit Union

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Media Release

For Immediate Release

Women Helping Women event raises $145,000 to provide mental health counseling for women and girls in need

Des Moines, IA (May 22, 2017) – More than 500 persons attended the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center’s 19th annual Women Helping Women Luncheon on May 19th which raised $145,000 to provide counseling services to underserved women and girls. This is the most money raised in the event’s history, exceeding the previous year by $25,000. The event’s proceeds will increase access to vitally important mental health services and will provide nearly 1,300 hours of quality counseling services to underserved and uninsured women and girls.

Social activist, professor and artist Tilly Woodward captivated the audience with her stories of individuals and groups who experienced discrimination and trauma from racism, sexual assault or AIDS, and who were able to heal, in part, because of the power of art. This year’s event honoree was community leader and philanthropist Pamela Bass-Bookey, founding member of the Des Moines Public Art Foundation who has helped to make Des Moines a world class destination for public art.

The Center’s new executive director, Jim Hayes, said, “This was my first time to attend the Women Helping Women luncheon and it was truly as meaningful and inspirational as I had been told it would be. The $145,000 raised will allow us to continue our important mission of providing hope and healing to those in need, especially to vulnerable women and girls.”

Since 1998 the Center’s Women Helping Women luncheon has raised almost $700,000, providing access and care to thousands of women and girls in need.

The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center, founded in 1972 with just two counselors, now employs 26 licensed mental health professionals and serves more than 3,700 persons annually, including nearly 700 children and adolescents. The Center is committed to its mission of bringing understanding, hope and healing to people of all ages through mental health counseling and education.

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Related photos – high resolution

Social activist, professor and artist Tilly Woodward captivated the audience with her stories of individuals and groups who experienced discrimination and trauma from racism, sexual assault or AIDS, and who were able to heal, in part, because of the power of art. ~ 19th Annual Women Helping Women Luncheon, hosted by the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center (photo credit: Christopher Maharry)

Event honoree was community leader and philanthropist Pamela Bass-Bookey (center), founding member of the Des Moines Public Art Foundation who has helped to make Des Moines a world class destination for public art. She received a standing ovation for her contributions to the community. ~ 19th Annual Women Helping Women Luncheon, hosted by the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center (Photo credit: Christopher Maharry)

Media Release

The community is invited to the 19th Annual Women Helping Women luncheon, benefitting vulnerable women and girls who need mental health counseling

Click image to launch printer friendly version

(Des Moines, Iowa) May 2, 2017 – The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center is hosting its 19th Annual Women Helping Women Luncheon, benefitting vulnerable women and girls who need quality mental health services. The luncheon will take place on Friday, May 19, 2017 at the Embassy Suites in downtown Des Moines. To make reservations, please visit www.dmpcc.org or call 515-251-6670.

The keynote speaker will be artist, professor and social activist Tilly Woodward. The honoree will be Pamela Bass-Bookey, whose leadership as a founding member and first President of the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation has helped to make Des Moines a world class destination for public art.

Women Helping Women has built a strong reputation as an event that provides stimulating, motivational speakers, creates an exceptional opportunity for networking, and, most importantly, supports women in need. Last year nearly 500 people attended the event and the funds raised helped provide over one thousand counseling sessions for women and girls who otherwise would not have had access to counseling.

“It is deeply moving to see how people respond to Women Helping Women with great generosity in spirit and support,” said Terri Mork Speirs, Director of Marketing at the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center. “Many of us have personal experience with depression, anxiety, abuse, trauma, loss and other emotional challenges – and we want to help others. The luncheon is a chance to enjoy a lovely time with friends for a great cause while being inspired by two amazing women.”

Mental health is an important issue for all. For women and girls the needs are further complicated because of their overrepresentation in populations that experience poverty and crime. Lone mothers can be the most vulnerable and often have little to no access to resources, including counseling and psychiatry.

Since 1999, the Center’s Women Helping Women annual luncheon has raised almost $700,000 to provide counseling assistance so that those who need professional help may access it, including those who are underinsured or live in low-income households.

For more information and to make reservations, please visit www.dmpcc.org or contact Terri Speirs at tspeirs@dmpcc.org or 515-251-6670.

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More about the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center:

The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center is a nonprofit, nonsectarian organization serving more than 3,700 individuals annually including 645 children and adolescents. The Center is not affiliated with a particular religious group and respects the values of all. Although best known for its 45 years of providing professional mental health therapy, the Center is a multi-faceted organization providing a range of services to promote education and understanding:

  • Counseling, including specialized services for children and adolescents
  • Psychiatry
  • Psychological testing and assessment
  • Training for clinical professionals
  • Leadership and spiritual life programming
  • Career Coaching
  • Conflict transformation and strategic planning services for congregations, nonprofits and businesses

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Media contact:

Terri Speirs, Director of Marketing and Communications

Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center

8553 Urbandale Ave., Urbandale, IA 50322

515-251-6670 / tspeirs@dmpcc.org / www.dmpcc.org / YouTube Channel

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Related photos

Event speaker, Tilly Woodward, click for high resolution image

 

We’re expecting 500 attendees. Click image for high resolution image.

Women Helping Women logo

 

Thank you to the 2017 women helping women sponsors and donors

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. 

Updated 5/2/17

Leadership Sponsors

American Enterprise Group

Pamela Bass-Bookey and Harry Bookey

Jordan Lloyd Bookey and Felix Brandon Lloyd, Blaine Bookey and Richard T. Walker, Natalie Bookey Baker and Mike Baker

Susan and William C. Knapp

 

Supporting Sponsor

Hy-Vee

 

Contributing Sponsors

Bankers Trust

Borgen Systems

Cultivating Compassion: The Dr. Richard Deming Foundation

Davis Brown Law Firm

Des Moines University

Foster Group

Holmes Murphy

Iowa Radiology

Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines

Kitchen Collage

Meredith Corporation

Angela Connolly, Polk County Board of Supervisors

The Iowa Clinic Women’s Center

UnityPoint Health – Des Moines

West Bank

Zanzibars Coffee Adventure

 

Media Sponsors

Business Publications Corporation, Inc.

More 104.1 (KMYR-FM)

 

Individuals

The following individuals have made generous donations to assist in providing counseling services for low-income and underserved women and girls. Thank you to this amazing group for this remarkable support.

Special Friends – $1,000

Barbara Beatty, M.D.

Gloria Burnett, in memoriam

Patty and Mary Cownie

Paula Duncan

Lois and Rhonda Fingerman

John Fisher and Jann Freed

Judith Flapan

Barbara Gartner

Suzie Glazer Burt

Mary Gottschalk

Norma Hirsch, M.D.

Trudy Holman Hurd

Charlotte Hubbell

Ellen Hubbell

Rusty Hubbell

LaDonna Matthes

Brenda Mouw

Doris Jean Newlin

Jill Oman

Stephanie Pearl

Shirley Poertner

Ann Richards

Kay Riley

Janis Ruan

Jackie Saunders

Mary Seidler

Rebecca Shaw, M.D.

Kathy and Ted Stuart

Marsha Ternus

Nanette Tollakson

Toni Urban

Susan Voss

Sally Wood

Kathi Zimpleman

Alan Zuckert

 

Leaders Plus – $500

Shelly Brody

Sondra Eddings

Rosalie Gallagher

Sharon Goldford

Anne Kelly

Jeanne Levitt

Liz Neumann

Barbara Nish

Cynthia O’Brien

Deb Pulver

Barb Sherman

 

Leaders – $250

Robin Ahnen-Cacciatore

Anonymous

Linda Anderson

Stephanie Asklof

Sandra L. Axness

Barbara Bachman

Connie Beasley

Sandy Benson Johnson

Jan Berg Kruse

Jan Berlin

Connie Boesen

Carol Bodensteiner

Nancy Bone

Margaret Borgen

Anne Broderick

Eileen Burtle

Phyllis Cacciatore

Teree Caldwell-Johnson

Randi Carr

Kevin Carroll

LaNae Ceryanec

Nancy Cheeseman

Polly Clark

Alicia Claypool

Julius S. Conner, M.D.

Julie Ann Connolly

Chris Conyers

Beth Coonan

Joy Corning

Charlie Day

M.J. Dolan

Amy and Tom Donnelly

Marsha and Ellery Duke

Dave Egleston

Kathy Elsner

Karen Engman

Denise Essman

Jeff Fleming

Peggy Fisher

Allison Fleming

Julie Fleming

Mary Susan Gibson

Kathleen T. Giles

Debbie Gitchell

Diane Glass

Linda Goeldner

Bonnie Green

Renee Hardman

Sarah Hayes, M.D.

Lynn Heggen

Barbara Hein

Trudie and Hal Higgs

Starr Hinrichs

Dixie Hoekman

Denise J.A. Holck

Debbie Hubbell

Bev Hutney

Connie Isaacson

Marian Jacobs

Kate Juelfs

Mary Kelly

Suzan Kelsey Brooks

Sue Kenny

Nancy Knapp

Mary Kramer

Diane Krell

Mary F. Kunkel

Jennie Legates

Caroline Levine

Christine Lewis

Marian Lyddon

Robbie Malm

Lorraine May

Robbie G. Malm

Claudette McDonald

Rachel and Bill McDonough

Andrea McGuire, M.D.

Terri Mork Speirs

Diane Morain

Debra Moyer

Cindy Mumm

Katherine Murphy

Pauline Niebur

Mary Y. Nilsen

Charlotte Noble

Paula O’Brien

Jeanne O’Halloran

Dixie Hoekman

Representative Jo Oldson

Lynsey Oster

Gail Pearl

Sally Pederson

Senator Janet Petersen

Mary Jo Pomerantz

Deanna Questad, M.D.

Lynette Rasmussen

Elizabeth Raymond

Mary Riche

Karen Ritchie

Helen Robinson

Kelle Rolfes

Janet Rosenbury

M. Jessica Rowe

Patrice Sayre

Jan Schellhammer

Rose Mary Shira

Patricia Schneider

Pam Schoffner

Marti Sivi

Mary Kay Shanley

Judith Sheldon

Patsy Shors

Laurie Betts Sloterdyk

Heather Soener

Barbara Stennes

Sheila Starkovich Lingwall

Rachel Stauffer

Beth Stelle Jones

Ellen Strachota

Mary Stuart

Gail Stubbs

Christy Sullivan

Harold and Joyce Templeman

Rachel Thorson Mithelman

Ashley Tollakson

Karen Unrau

Terri Vaughan

Susan Vujnovich McRoberts

Virginia Wangerin

Linda Weidmaier

Michele Whitty

Malinda Wiesner Hammerstrom

Jean Williams

Connie Wimer

Karen Worth

Roberta Yoder

Kent Zimmerman

Kathy Zumbach

 

Young Leaders – $100

Emily Betts Susanin

Annie S. Brandt

Rachel Bruns

Rachel Dahlen

Courtney Erickson

Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel

Alex Hubbell

Kelly Isaacson

Tessa Isaacson

Ali Makris

Libby Moench

Anne Roth

Siobhan Spain

Kelly Sparks

Dania Wilson

 

Table Sponsors – $750

Aureon Staffing

Bank of the West

Hubbell Realty Company

Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines

Ann Flood

Robyn and Bret Mills

Nyemaster Goode, P.C.

Thrivent Financial – Laurie Gowdy

 

Corporate Friends – $500

Josephs Jewelers

Kemin Industries, Inc.

Laden and Pearson, P.C.

New Leaf Wellness

Veridian Credit Union

Wild Rose Entertainment

Willis Auto Campus

 

 

In-Kind Support

Boesen the Florist

Connie Wilson Design

Tandem CRM

 

 

2017 Women Helping Women Committee

Jann E. Freed, Co-Chair

Anne M. Kelly, Co-Chair

Robin Ahnen-Cacciatore

Jacki Askelson

Stephanie Asklof

Emily Betts Susanin

Carol Bodensteiner

Margaret Borgen

Annie S. Brandt

Beth Coonan

Paula Duncan

Kathy Giles

Sharon Goldford

Starr Hinrichs

Bev Hutney

Connie Isaacson

Kate Juelfs

Mary Kramer

Claudette McDonald

Robyn Mills

Terri Mork Speirs

Lynsey Oster

Laurie Sloterdyk

Kelly Sparks

Kathy Stuart

Karen Unrau

Susan Voss

Sally Wood

When you can’t do it alone

Carol Bodensteiner is an award winning author, and a member of the 2017 Women Helping Women committee.

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.

When my mother died in August 2007, it was a shock because she was healthy. Even though Mom was 91, her death seemed in the order of things. But when my sister died by suicide less than nine months later, I was knocked off balance. Within the following 18 months, two close cousins and my mother’s sister also passed away. Then my husband and I hit a rough spot in our marriage.

The magnitude of such significant losses in such a short time, as well as the threat to my marriage, shook the earth I stood on. Who was I without those people who raised and shaped me? How would I manage if my second marriage crumbled? I questioned everything and everyone, from my church, to the values I was raised with, to who I was and who I wanted to be.

Believe it or not, I thought I could still manage on my own. One foot in front of the other. Keep moving ahead. After all, what else can you do?

Except I wasn’t okay. When my husband lost his footing on a ladder and wound up in the emergency room with a broken ankle, I realized I was done. Life was ‘piling on,’ and I couldn’t take it anymore.

In a rare moment of open sharing, I unloaded my anxiety on a friend. She recommended the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center. Even though I’d known about the Center for years, counseling is never my first thought. It’s not the way I was raised.

Yet I had nothing left and I knew it. I made an appointment. Then another and another.

Soft spoken and caring, my counselor helped me walk through the present-day trials, even as she teased out relevant factors from my childhood, my relationship with my parents, and my first marriage that contributed to the pit I found myself in.

As a writer, I process things by writing about them. I approached the counseling sessions the same way. Notebook on my lap, pen in hand, I recorded thoughts and words to consider later.

It is difficult to hear, to think, to talk, to write when you’re crying, which is what I did throughout most sessions. I needed to let it all go, and my counselor let me. Without judgment. Mostly she asked questions, forcing me to examine my own self. Periodically she suggested ways to think about a point and possible ways to move forward.

Above all, she gave me an unbiased, non-judgmental perspective, which I desperately needed. Over time I arrived in a better place.

I am grateful to the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center for offering a safe haven with talented counselors to help me and others through the rough spots, those times when even the most independent of us, in spite of our training and will, can’t go it alone.

Carol Bodensteiner is a writer who finds inspiration in the places, people, culture and history of the Midwest. After a successful career in public relations consulting, she turned to creative writing. She blogs about writing, her prairie, gardening, and whatever in life interests her at the moment. She published a memoir Growing Up Country: Memories of an Iowa Farm Girl in 2008. She indie published her debut novel Go Away Home in 2014. Go Away Home was acquired by Lake Union Publishing, an imprint of Amazon Publishing and re-launched in 2015.

 

Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center staff learn current issues in street narcotics

by Sara Miller, Intern at Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center

Laura Nydam (R)  Laura Nydam, L.I.S.W., C.A.D.C., M.S.W., a therapist at the Center, teaches as class for therapists to better understand the impact of addiction, "Understanding Substance Abuse 101." Also pictured here, Andrea Severson, a graduate student conducing her practicum at the Center.

Laura Nydam (R) Laura Nydam, L.I.S.W., C.A.D.C., M.S.W., a therapist at the Center, teaches as class for therapists to better understand the impact of addiction, “Understanding Substance Abuse 101.” Also pictured here, Andrea Severson, a graduate student conducing her practicum at the Center.

Brady Carney, Senior Police Officer at the Des Moines Police Department came to the Center on Friday, January 15, 2016, as a guest presenter for the “Understanding Substance Abuse Class 101.” The class is part of the curriculum for the Center’s graduate student training program, and is also offered as a professional development for clinicians in the community. Laura Nydam (photo right), L.I.S.W., C.A.D.C., M.S.W., a therapist at the Center, teaches the class and arranged for Officer Carney’s visit.

Officer Carney is an investigator with the Vice Narcotics Unit and he came to give a presentation to educate the staff about current issues in his field. He discussed stimulant drugs, depressant drugs, and how the use of various substances can affect the behavior of the user. Officer Carney educated the staff about signs that indicate potential drug use and which drugs are more common than others. He also spoke briefly about the human trafficking going on in the United States and how young girls find themselves far from home in Des Moines.

Officer Carney brought with him examples of items used to conceal illicit substances. Such containers could look like a can of Arizona tea but contain a secret compartment inside. Officer Carney also brought packaging from substances that used to be sold illegally in gas stations in order to show the ways these drugs were marketed. Along with these other items he also brought some of the substances themselves so the staff could learn exactly what the drugs look like. 

This information is important for staff to know. Being able to recognize when a client has erratic behavior consistent with drug abuse could be the catalyst to helping that client change their lifestyle. Knowing how certain substances can affect a person physically and emotionally may help staff to recognize a potentially dangerous situation before it occurs. Also, being able to recognize the terminology and paraphernalia associated with drug use can help staff realize that there is a potential problem. ~

IMG_2669 IMG_2673 (1)

Meet the board president

Susan Voss, Board Chair, Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center

Susan Voss, Board Chair, Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center

Name: Susan Voss
Connection with the Center: 
President of the Board of Directors, 2015 Women Helping Women Special Friend
Employment: 
VP/General Counsel of American Enterprise Group
What are your hobbies? 
I love to sew and quilt, read, sing, travel, attend theater.
How did you get involved with the Center’s board of directors? 
I knew about the Center for many years and their great work.  But Board Member Jo Oldson approached me about joining the board and it seemed like the right thing to do.
What do you find most inspiring about the Center’s mission? 
Mental health is as important as physical health. To see the quality of counseling/therapy provided by the staff to people of all walks of life, income levels and need is amazing and uplifting. It’s a unique view of the total person and helping them address issues and concerns. It takes truly gifted people to provide the services of the Center.

Why do you support the Center? 
We may never know when the needs of the Center would be beneficial to us, our family or friends.  We NEED in our community a place that treats the wholeness of a person in a caring and special way.  THAT is the Center.  And THAT is why I support the Center.

Dawn’s story, a child’s perspective of trauma

Dawn

Seven-year-old Dawn lost her parents to something possibly worse than death: abandonment. She was able to process her trauma through play therapy at the Center.

Dawn is 7-years-old. When she meets with her therapist at Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center, she plays at the rice table and in the sand tray, choosing a toy baby animal as her main character. During her play, she positions the figurine as locked away and not given any food. Sometimes she postures the plaything as breaking out to get food. Other times she pretends the toy baby animal is rescued by other animals and given food.

Art and play are key to the therapy approach in the Center’s C.O.O.L. program (Children Overcoming the Obstacles in Life). At her young age, Dawn’s traumatic experiences have far surpassed her vocabulary. Dawn had been removed from her home three times before she was five years old, through no fault of her own but due to her parents’ substance abuse and chronic mental illness. She awaits her permanency hearing during which the court will terminate parental rights, enabling Dawn to be adopted by the only real family she has ever know – the guardians who brought her to the Center for counseling.

Dawn’s playtime choices help her express themes of abandonment, abuse, neglect and rescue. Her selections also help her express anger. For example sometimes Dawn assigns a figurine to portray a “mean beast” who “wrecks everything and takes all the food.”

Of the Center's 26 licensed therapists, seven specialize in serving children and adolescents. Pictured below, L-R: Shannon Welch-Groves, Psy.D., Kelli Hill, Ph.D., Doug Auperle, Ph.D., Elaina Riley, M.S.W., Sarah McElhaney, L.M.F.T. The Center also has capacity to provide medication management to children and adults through our psychiatrist and psychiatry physician assistant.

Of the Center’s 28 licensed therapists, seven specialize in serving children and adolescents. Pictured below, L-R: Shannon Welch-Groves, Psy.D., Kelli Hill, Ph.D., Doug Auperle, Ph.D., Elaina Riley, M.S.W., Sarah McElhaney, L.M.F.T. The Center also has capacity to provide medication management to children and adults through our psychiatrist and psychiatry physician assistant.

The counselor interprets Dawn’s choices and creates a therapy plan. The counselor provides Dawn with a special drawer where the child collects and keeps things safely – a jar of glitter, a small doll with a blue cape, several toy baby wild cats, a picture of Dawn with her therapist. Dawn decorates her drawer with her name so that no one else can get into her special place. Dawn is learning what it means to feel safe.

The Center serves 700 children and adolescents annually through its innovative C.O.O.L. approach, which views most youth behavior as a meaningful attempt to communicate inner life. Thanks to generous donors, we will continue to help vulnerable children and adolescents access quality mental health services.

*Note: Dawn is a composite character created from real counseling scenarios at Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center. Dawn’s photo is a stock image.

More about C.O.O.L.

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C.O.O.L. (Children Overcoming the Obstacles of Life) is the Center’s innovative approach to counseling children and adolescents. C.O.O.L. counselors realize that kids have unique ways of viewing the world and expressing their emotions. We view most behavior as a meaningful attempt to communicate inner life. C.O.O.L.’s clients range in age from two to 20 years.
The Center has a separate waiting room for children and adolescents (photo left), plus a paint wall (photo above), a play room, a soft room and outdoor space to take walks and play basketball. Each therapy room is stocked  with bean bag chairs, puppets, crayons, games, paint, toy cars, wooden blocks and more. We are serious about play!
Additionally, the Center offers a full range of testing for children and adults, including assessment for IQ, learning disorders, developmental challenges, Austism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD and more.

 

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy

 

giving tuesday facebook_abigail

to read Abigail’s story, click image

In our story about Abigail’s recovery from a head injury resulting from domestic violence, Abigail said her treatment included Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy. We’d like to explain more about this treatment approach.

EMDR is an evidence-based treatment proven to be effective for the resolution of Post Traumatic Stress.

EMDR was originally developed as a technique useful in in relieving the after-effects of military combat, sexual and physical violence, car accidents and natural disasters. Over the past 25 years, EMDR has continued to evolve as it is used by practitioners around the world.  EMDR Therapy is being found to be effective with a number of issues, including  phobias, addictions, depression, and phantom limb pain.

Unresolved disturbing life events are stored in the  brain with the original feelings and perceptions as when the event occurred. The 8 phase treatment process accesses the person’s innate healing capacity. One of the unique aspects  of EMDR Therapy is the use of eye movements or tapping. This increases a person’s  mindfulness as it jump-starts the brain’s information processing system.  The disturbing feelings and sensations are cleaned away, and the client comes to a new understanding of the event, with a new, adaptive view of themselves in present time.

Presently, of the 26 therapists on staff at Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center, 10 are trained and practicing EMDR therapy, and three are certified.

Watch this public service announcement about Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy.

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