Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship – 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 the “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.

Why should I come to Des Moines for  my postdoctoral fellowship training?

The Des Moines Metro continues to be the fastest growing Midwest metropolitan area, with a surprisingly rich variety of professional and recreational opportunities.  Forbes has named Des Moines the best city for business and careers, and TODAY designated Des Moines America’s Wealthiest City.  U.S. News and World Report has also repeated ranked Des Moines in the top cities to live affordably.  Yes, we do have corn fields…but just wait till you see what else we have!

OK, but why should I do my postdoc at DMPCC, specifically?

With about 50 years behind us, DMPCC has one of the best-known reputations for high-quality mental healthcare in Central Iowa.  We have a large group of psychologists, a multidisciplinary team, and specialty training areas you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.  We also have a dedicated children’s wing, with a unique youth service we call C.O.O.L. for a reason!  Plus, our building is almost as beautiful as the woods nearby…and the deer that regularly come to visit!

Your materials mention extensive consultation and seminar opportunities as a benefit. What does that mean?

Each week, the Center staff set aside at least 2 ½ hours for various professional development and consultation options.  To name a few, we have an hour per month of dedicated psychiatric consultation and training, two hours per month of psychologist consultation and program meetings, 1 ½ hours of S.E.R.T. (Spiritual, Existential, Religious, and Theological) consultation, 1 hour of E.M.D.R. consultation, three hours of youth-focused consultation, etc.  The Center also offers seminars for our master’s level trainees that can be attended by staff and fellows, along with a number of classes and CE trainings for clinicians, pastoral care providers, mindfulness practitioners, etc.  All this means that, while we want you to spend most of your time refining your clinical work, there’s plenty of formal and informal consultation and learning time as well.

What qualities does the Center seek in potential postdoc fellows? 

An idea candidate will have a breadth of clinical training experience, in a variety of settings and with a range of populations.  We value diversity, and would appreciate trainees who do likewise.  Intellectual and professional growth is a high priority for our staff, and a fellow who is curious and eager to learn would be quite comfortable in our setting.  Passion for specific foci of our postdoc program, for Iowa psychology, for our mission to help as many as we can regardless of insurance or means, and/or mind-body-spirit psychological care are all very important as well.  Fellows MUST be eligible for (or have received) the Iowa provisional psychologist licensure.

What is the fellowship selection process?

We encourage any interested predoctoral intern or recently graduated Ph.D. or Psy.D. to review our UPPD program listing, our main postdoctoral fellowship page, and to reach out to the Director of Psychological Services ( with any questions.  We see this as an important discernment process, on both the part of the potential fellow and the Center.  So get to know us as much as you can, and explore for a possible fit with your career goals and developmental needs.

If you find there’s a good fit, please submit all the required application materials so we can get to know you better!

Our psychology faculty will review the materials, and communicate with all fellows offers to interview or not.  The Director may reach out to candidates for individual phone or video interviews prior to extending offers for interviews with our faculty.  Interviews with psychology faculty can be in person or virtual.

After interviews are completed, we will reach out with an offer of a postdoc fellowship placement to the selected candidate(s), and will hold the offer for two business days.  Please note, that because this is a new program, we will not yet be following APPIC Selection Guidelines (including the Uniform Notification Date).

How is my supervisor selected?

Each fellow’s supervisor or supervisors are selected through the following considerations:  rotations the fellow has elected, availability of a given supervisor, and fellow’s preferences.

For further information, please contact:
Dr. Scott P. Young (