Graduate Clinical Training Program – Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center a “Christian Counseling Center?” or a counseling center for pastors? 

The Center is a multidisciplinary, non-sectarian, not-for-profit, mental health clinic that embraces a holistic mind-body-spirit approach to mental health.  Our staff have religious and spiritual identities ranging from spiritual but not religious to mainline Protestant to Jewish to Catholic to Buddhist; we are not a “Christian Counseling Center” or a clinic that serves only pastors.

What does “Pastoral” in your name mean? 

Our counselors and clients come from diverse backgrounds and our services are designed to respond to the individual needs of each person we walk alongside. Pastoral Counseling is a tradition within psychotherapy that reflects a commitment to respecting and integrating a client’s whole person, including any religious or spiritual identity that is important to them.  At the Center, we believe in caring for each individual as a whole person: mind, body and spirit.  Spirituality or faith are important to many clients and can be incorporated into a client’s experience to the degree the client and counselor agree it would be helpful. The Center is not affiliated with any religion, denomination or faith tradition, and all exploration of faith and spirituality is client-driven.

When does the Center’s Training Program begin?

The Center’s Training Program runs from September through May. On occasion, trainees may petition for additional time to complete their required clinical hours.

May trainees begin their training year at other times during the year?

No. Because the Center offers an intensive, structured group training experience we do not accept trainees mid-year.

What qualities does the Center seek in its trainees?

Candidates will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Successful completion of all graduate coursework to date
  • Good verbal and written communication skills
  • Openness to learning about clinical practice
  • Self-awareness and willingness to learn about themselves as developing clinicians
  • Ability to articulate their educational and professional goals
  • Ability to articulate their current clinical approach and learning goals
  • Personal and professional maturity
  • Ability to articulate the ways in which their personal values and goals interface with the Center’s mission

What are the Center’s expectations of trainees?

  • Trainees will participate in a 10-hour orientation process prior to beginning their placements
  • Trainees will participate in at least 1 hour of individual supervision and 1 hour of group supervision weekly.
  • Trainees are required to participate in 1-2 hours of group case discussions with the Center’s clinical staff weekly and participate in a Professional Formation Group
  • Trainees are required to present all intakes to supervisory staff, whether in individual or group supervision or in intake staffing groups
  • Trainees are required to present at least one case conference and one Spiritual Connections presentation
  • Trainees will participate in three didactic seminars, an assessment seminar and an integrative seminar during the year
  • Attendance is mandatory at all the above supervisory experiences, seminars and groups for all graduate trainees unless exceptions are approved in consultation with the trainee’s supervisor and the training director

For further information, please contact:
Dr. Christine Dietz ( and
Dr. Shannon Welch-Groves (

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