Mission and Vision

The Center for Psychological and Family Services is committed to clinical practice that is theologically and psychologically integrated. As such, therapy is viewed as a dynamic relational process out of which change can occur. It is our vision that the work of the therapist not begin and end in the therapy room, but that it involve working with the Christian community to create a larger and more effective context of healing for the person(s) in need.

Traditionally, psychotherapeutic practices have been a place where churches refer congregants in the greatest emotional pain, but even people who function well experience guilt and pain which cause them to hide from God's love. Emotional deficits are barriers which occupy their family's energy, inhibit their confidence and outreach to others, and ultimately contribute to the self-absorption that is characteristic of our modern "therapeutic culture." Even the church can be characterized at times by this self-absorption. Growth toward maturity and personal responsibility involves understanding the complex nature of anxiety, accepting oneself and one's history, and receiving God's love through others.

While professional therapists meet varying levels of needs through consultation, counseling and support, we believe the role of the Christian therapist should not be confined to the outpatient clinic. We see our role also as helping pastors and laity understand their own emotional needs, helping churches train their laity to minister to the needs of others, and helping churches think about how their various care ministries can work together to create a more effective context of healing. Such a vision involves imparting specific skills to lay leaders. These skills may involve active listening, knowing how to maintain proper boundaries in helping relationships, knowledge of what scripture says about helping hurting people, and understanding some of the familial and cultural factors of a person's pain. The Center also envisions creating a place of dialogue for pastors about the unique pressures they experience emotionally, spiritually, and theologically. We hope that the fulfillment of this vision ultimately will improve the quality of a community's relationships with God, their families, and their workplace. This is what is intended by the Center's by-line "Counseling in a Christian Context."

A distinctive quality of our group that makes the fulfillment of this vision possible is that most of our staff has graduate level theological as well as psychological training. We are committed to applying psychological insights within the church in a manner that involves critical theological reflection. We value the integration of psychology and theology and view it as a complex process that necessitates consistent personal study that is strengthened by a community of other professionals who are committed to the same integrative journey. Our Center is itself such a community. It maintains a context for integrative dialogue by meeting regularly to discuss current and historic theological and psychological literature. This discussion always has an eye on the practical application of theory to clinical practice.

©2006 CPFS