What is it?
The Lay Counseling Ministry exists for the purpose of providing both our congregation and the community at large with trained Christian helpers. It is designed to meet the problem situations of those persons in need of para-professional level counseling. We seek to serve people with special needs in times of concern, conflict, or crisis.
How did it come into being?
In 1976, the counseling needs of our church were stretching our staff beyond its capacity to meet them. Our former Senior Pastor, Dr. Gary Demarest, and Dr. David Bock, a Clinical Psychologist and Elder, concurred with the Session (our church governing board) that many of these counseling needs could be met by trained lay persons from our own congregation. An intensive training program developed by Dr. Bock was utilized in teaching basic counseling skills to ten people who, after completing the training, became “Lay Counselors.”
How is it related to our church?
The Lay Counseling Ministry is responsible to the Session of our church through the Congregational Care Committee.
Who are we?
The Lay Counselors are members of our congregation drawn from a wide variety of backgrounds and occupations who have gifts, skills and experience in supportive helping. Licensed mental health professionals train and supervise our counselors. Since 1976, over 120 counselors have been trained in effective helping skills.
What kinds of counseling needs do we meet?
Personal, relational, marital, divorce, family, grief, vocational, alcohol, other. What kinds of counseling needs do we not meet? Professional level psychopathologies (psychoses, schizophrenia, etc.,) or needs requiring medical intervention or in-depth psychological testing will be referred as soon as recognized to appropriate agencies or professionals.
What does it cost?
There is no mandatory fee. Our counseling is made possible by the people of the La Cañada Presbyterian Church and the contributions of the counselees who share in the cost of this ministry by voluntary donations.
When and where is the counseling done?
Generally at regularly scheduled appointment times determined by the counselors’ availability. Meetings are held at the church’s counseling offices. According to the problem situation, individual, conjoint or group counseling may be recommended.
Is the counseling confidential?
Are the Lay Counselors supervised?
The Lay Counselors have an overall Supervising Consultant who is a licensed mental health professional. In addition, in regular on-going group training and supervision, they receive individual supervision from other professional clinicians.
How may a counseling appointment be arranged?
A person who desires counseling should call the Counseling Office at (818) 790-6758 x430. The Lay Counseling Intake Administrator will contact him/her and answer any questions about the program and attempt to assess the person’s need so as to provide the best available counselor to work with the situation. The assigned Lay Counselor will then contact the person and arrange a time to begin the counseling process. Again, should it be determined that the person’s need is beyond the level of expertise of the Lay Counseling Ministry, a referral will be made to an appropriate professional or agency.
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