Jennifer Glasscock on Creating a Church Assistance Program | FP 77

Jennifer Glasscock on Creating a Church Assistance Program


Would you like to set up a connection between your practice and the local church? How can you connect to the church pastor in a professional and authentic way? What can you do in session to increase the power of the Holy Spirit?

In this podcast episode, Whitney Owens speaks with Jennifer Glasscock about creating a church assistance program.

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Meet Jennifer Glasscock

Jennifer Glasscock on Creating a Church Assistance ProgramI am a LCSW with an overwhelming passion to be a sojourner with others through their healing journeys. Being a witness to what the Holy Spirit does in the counseling process is an incredibly humbling experience. I own Harmony House Counseling, LLC, located in Eunice, LA. It is a private group practice of 5 clinicians. We offer faith-based counseling using intervention strategies that target the root causes of mental illness symptoms rather than only offering help to manage the symptoms. I enjoy family time with my husband and our two adult children. I have been happily married for 33 years. Balancing work and home life has been a challenge, but I believe on most days, I get there.

Visit her website or connect on Facebook.

In This Podcast

  • What is a church assistance program?
  • How can you create a connection between your practice and a church?
  • Payment methods

What is a church assistance program?

I’ve based it off of what an EAP does: when we have an EAP that we contract with, they will pay for X sessions and then the insurance company may pick up the continued sessions from there so basically the concept of EAP [was transformed] into how it would fit with a church and partnering with a church in the same way as you would with an employee. (Jennifer Glasscock)

The CAP is a program that partners with the church where pastors or staff are already providing pastoral counseling for couples, individuals, and families who then get to a point where they want to transition from pastoral counseling to psychological and clinical therapeutic counseling.

My approach has been to meet with the pastors and to first educate them on the need and the limitation that the church has with the need beyond their skillset so with the brochure I even ask those questions, such as “why would your church be interested and how could your church benefit from a CAP?” (Jennifer Glasscock)

With the CAP, Jennifer will meet with the pastors to see where they are and what they would like to do. Through their experience they are of course very skilled, however, when it comes to clinical counseling, their expertise is not necessarily in that area. Jennifer will also show them that clinical counseling is not always separate from or denounces religion and can often incorporate it into someone’s healing journey.

In order to provide the best service possible to clients, group practices will work with the church and navigate who to help and when and to what extent.

How can you create a connection between your practice and a church?

Jennifer recommends calling the church secretary to set up a meeting to state that there are mental health concerns in your community, and that you would like to meet with the pastors to see how the church is meeting the needs of the community, and to state that you would like to stand alongside them.

I think the approach and the terminology [is important] and saying: “I just want to meet with you to see how you are doing” and “if there is anything I can do to help” and “these are ways that we can help” and that “we would love to be able to partner with you”. (Jennifer Glasscock)

A collaborative and partnership-based approach is the best way to create a successful CAP.

Payment methods

Only people who receive a pastor or church referral can be a part of the CAP, at which point the counseling practice enters into a contract with the church when they receive the referred person.

Different churches agree on different payment methods or specified amounts of paid sessions.

Beyond those set sessions that the church has agreed to pay 100% for, then it is up to the client to continue services at our regular rate. (Jennifer Glasscock)

For example in Jennifer’s handout, one of the CAP contracts states that a referred person can see a counselor for a 15% discount of the going rate.

4 – 7 May 2021 Conference LPCA over at www.lpcaga.org/Convention

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Meet Whitney Owens

Photo of Christian therapist Whitney Owens. Whitney helps other christian counselors grow faith based private practices!Whitney is a licensed professional counselor and owns a growing group practice in Savannah, Georgia. Along with a wealth of experience managing a practice, she also has an extensive history working in a variety of clinical and religious settings, allowing her to specialize in consulting for faith-based practices and those wanting to connect with religious organizations.

Knowing the pains and difficulties surrounding building a private practice, she started this podcast to help clinicians start, grow, and scale a faith-based practice. She has learned how to start and grow a successful practice that adheres to her own faith and values. And as a private practice consultant, she has helped many clinicians do the same.

Thanks For Listening!

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Podcast Transcription

[WHITNEY OWENS]: Is managing your practice stressing you out? Try Therapy Notes. It makes notes, billing, scheduling, and tele-health a whole lot easier. Check it out and you will quickly see why it’s the highest rated EHR on Trustpilot with over a thousand verified customer views and an average customer rating of 4.9 out of five stars. You’ll notice the difference from the first day you sign up for a trial. They offer live phone support seven days a week so when you have questions, you can quickly reach out to someone who can help. You are never wasting your time looking for answers. If you’re coming from another EHR, they make the transition really easy. Therapy Notes will import your clients’ demographic data free of charge during your trial so you can get going right away. Use the promo code [JOE] to get three free months of trying out Therapy Notes for free, no strings attached, including their very reliable tele-health platform. Make 2021 best year yet with Therapy Notes.
As you know, one of my biggest passions is educating people, not only counselors, but also those in the community about mental health and building profit practices. So I’m often looking for opportunities to be able to publicly speak on these issues and I’m excited to tell you that I’ve been accepted as a speaker at the LPC Conference for Georgia. We call it the LPCA, the Licensed Professional Counselors Association of Georgia. So their conference is actually going to be here in Savannah at the beginning of May. I know that’s soon, but I am excited about the opportunity and wanted to let you guys know about it in case any of you are in Georgia or close by, or want to jump on a plane and meet with me. And so if you’re able to make it to that conference, it’s going to be May 4th through the 7th. The 4th is like a pre-conference day, so the main conference is the 5th through the 7th. You can get tons of continuing education, including those ethics hours that you need.
As far as topics, I’m going to be speaking on two different topics at that conference. The first one is on how to go from a solo to a group practice. So I’ll give all the details about how do you know if you should start a group practice, what are the benefits and what are the negatives and how do you actually start adding clinicians to your practice? And that covers a lot as far as W2’s, 1099s, those types of issues. And then the other talk I’m going to be giving is on the Enneagram. So it’s how do we use the Enneagram in our private practice. So how do we understand the Enneagram with ourselves, with our clients, and then as group practice owners? Honestly, I use the Enneagram all the time with my clinicians in understanding the best ways to meet their needs. So would love to hang out with you guys at the conference. We could grab dinner or just get a coffee, whatever, while you’re there. So head on over to the LPCA of Georgia website, you can just Google that and it’ll pop right up and you can register for that conference. And like I said, not only could we hang out, but you also get lots of good continuing education credits. So it’s all good stuff. And plus Savannah is just awesome. I love living here. People come here on vacation all the time. So it’s a great place to visit.
Welcome to the Faith in Practice podcast. I’m your host Whitney Owens recording live from Savannah, Georgia. I’m a licensed professional counselor, group practice owner, and private practice consultant. Each week through personal story or amazing interviews, I will help you learn how to start, grow and scale your practice from a faith-based perspective. I will show you how to have an awesome faith-based practice without being cheesy or fake. You too can have a successful practice, make lots of money, and be true to yourself.
[WHITNEY]: Well today on the Faith in Practice podcast, I am interviewing Jennifer Classcock. She is an LCSW with an overwhelming passion to be a Sojourner with others through their healing journey. She’s a witness to the holy spirit and what He does in the counseling process and finds it to be an incredibly humbling experience. She owns Harmony House Counseling located in Eunice, Louisiana. It’s a private group practice of five clinicians. She offers faith-based counseling at the practice using intervention strategies that target the root causes of mental illness symptoms rather than offering help to manage the symptoms. She enjoys family time with her husband and her two adult children. She’s been happily married for 33 years. Balancing work and home life is a challenge, but she believes that she can get there on most days. Thanks for coming on the show, Jennifer.
[JENNIFER CLASSCOCK]: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for having me.
[WHITNEY]: Yes. Did I say the name of that town, right? Eunice?
[JENNIFER]: Eunice. Yes, just like a female name.
[WHITNEY]: Yes, where is that located?
[JENNIFER]: It’s in South Central Louisiana, so right in the heart of Acadiana or the area which is known mostly for where the Acadians migrated from, from Nova Scotia. So the Cajun area of Louisiana.
[WHITNEY]: That’s interesting.
[JENNIFER]: Yes. That’s why we have all that good food, good culture, fun for living. It’s a great place to live.
[WHITNEY]: Awesome. Well, share with us a little bit about your practice, how did you get into private practice and then kind of, how did you go from a solo to a group practice?
[JENNIFER]: Well, it really happened over several decades. I completed my schooling and worked for a few years in the profession. Then we had our first daughter, we had our first child, our daughter, and then our son and then I really was a stay at home mom for 13 years. So I was out of the profession and not really looking to go back into the profession, but as God works things out, lo and behold I was led back into it and worked for a year and a half with a private practice, enjoyed it and then got my license where I wasn’t expecting to get my license because the work I had done before with children I didn’t need it until I had to go into, had done all my clinical hours, but had to go into the licensing process. So the Lord then called me to our hometown to open up a private practice. So I was so low for about a year and a half and then brought another clinician on and then now we have five including myself, so it’s expanded to a group practice.
[WHITNEY]: Oh, that’s so awesome. Could you talk to people for just a second. When you say like your practice is faith-based, can you talk a little bit about the culture and what you mean by faith-based counseling in your area?
[JENNIFER]: Well, that’s a good question because a lot of people ask, well do you have to be a Christian to receive counseling from where we are? What we do is we offer the fundamental values and beliefs of the Bible and integrate that into the principles of psychology. And so we offer that faith-based counseling. Now, there are several clients who come, who are not interested in that offering, in that component of what we can do. So as always, we meet them where they are and we don’t bring that up unless they are looking for it. So we always ask permission before we bring Christ into the process, but for the most part, that is how we integrate all of our therapeutic techniques with the guidance and the leaning upon the Holy Spirit.
[WHITNEY]: I love that. Well, thank you for that explanation. I love how you talked about just bringing faith in the psychological principles together. And I think that’s a great balance in what we do. Actually I went to graduate school at a school that we did just that. It had the psychology component and we learned all that and then we took theology courses alongside, and then we talked about faith and some of the psychology classes and we talked about psychology and some of the faith classes. So it was a really neat experience to be able to learn how to put those things together.
[JENNIFER]: Yes. It’s so helpful. It’s such a more effective therapeutic process, I believe.
[WHITNEY]: Yes, definitely. Okay. So what we wanted to talk about today was you have basically like an EAP sort of program, but you call it CAP, Church Assistance Program. So you could share with the audience first, what does that mean, a church assistance program?
[JENNIFER]: Well, I’ve based it off of pretty much what an EAP does. When we have an EAP that we contract with they will pay for so many sessions and then the insurance company may pick up the continued sessions from there. So basically the concept of EAP, I’ve just I guess, transformed it into how it would fit with a church, partnering with a church in the same way as you would an employee. So the CAP is a church assistance program and what we do really is partner with the church for pastors or staff who are already maybe providing pastoral counseling for couples, for individuals, for children, adolescents, whether it’s a youth pastor or a senior pastor or anybody else on staff. And they get to a point where they have, with their level of skill, they have offered and brought the person to the place where they can bring them and then they’re done, but then the person still needs more, needs really professional counseling.
And so that’s where, as I came up with this concept, there were so many people who do receive pastoral counseling and good pastoral counseling, but it’s limited when you have the need for a psychological component and the therapeutic interventions that professional counseling offers. And so I just found that this program and conceptualizing it filled in the gap.
[WHITNEY]: So I’m going to ask you some questions about this, because I get questions about this a lot and we especially see this, I mean, Louisiana, is that considered Bible Belt still? Okay. Yes.
[JENNIFER]: No, not really. Not really. We have a variety of different religions, but it’s predominantly Catholic.
[WHITNEY]: Okay. In South, Georgia, we are Bible Belt USA. So I get this a lot and actually have struggled with some churches locally that we’ve tried to partner with because they will tell me, “We don’t need to refer out for counseling. We do all of our counseling in-house with our own pastor.” You’ve heard this?
[JENNIFER]: Yes.
[WHITNEY]: And so how do you address that with people to help them understand that like a pastor only has so much education on this? How do you talk to them about that?
[JENNIFER]: Well, my approach has really been to meet with the pastors and be able to first educate them on the need and the limitation that the church has, but the need beyond their skillset. And so with the the brochure that I created, I even kind of asked some of those questions. Why would your church be interested? How could your church benefit from a CAP? And so some of it is really being able to meet the pastor as we do with clients, meet the pastor where they are. Sometimes we want to make sure that they’re not feeling that we’re giving them the impression that they are inadequate in what they’re doing, because they’re very anointed and very skilled in what they’re doing. They just don’t have the background for the professional counseling.
So a lot of it is just really educating the pastors on what professional counseling offers and how can we integrate the biblical principles into the counseling. Because a lot of them think that they’re such a, the two are so worlds apart that counseling psychology is so worldly, that they don’t want to refer out because they don’t trust and believe the counsel that’s going to be given. So I think first off is meeting with the pastors and kind of just having conversations, that’s going to ask kind of what are your beliefs about counseling and just kind of see what their understanding is, and then bringing clarity to that. So that’s been a really helpful approach.
[WHITNEY]: I like that. So even before that, I guess I should have asked, but how do you set up those meetings? Because I’m finding with people I’m consulting with, they’re having a hard time getting in the door. They email the pastor, they don’t get a response. So do you have any suggestions for that?
[JENNIFER]: Well, I think do call the church secretary and oftentimes just setting up a meeting stating that there are mental health concerns in the community and you’d like to meet with a pastor to see how the church is meeting those needs and how can we come alongside them to help support that. So I think the approach and the terminology, and even just saying, “I just want to meet with you to see how you’re doing, and if there’s anything that I can do to help, and these are ways that we can help. We’d love to be able to partner with you.”
[WHITNEY]: I really like that approach. Yes, and just that idea that you’re always thinking about the other person.
[JENNIFER]: Yes you have to.
[WHITNEY]: Yes, that’s the best way to do any kind of marketing or any kind of sharing about our practice, because honestly, that’s why we do this.
[JENNIFER]: Yes. Well you know, Whitney, one thing that I’ve learned through meeting with the different churches and actually having, we have right now four churches that we partner with the CAP. What I find is if you can help the pastor know that even when they’re meeting with couples or with different individual members of their congregation and they’re struggling with, “I just don’t know what to do in this situation,” even being able to offer some consulting is so helpful because what I’ve learned is that pastors don’t have that kind of support. They really don’t. They are flying so low a lot of times. And the biggest stress for pastors is pastoral counseling and the reason why it’s one of the biggest stress and it takes up so much of their energy is because they’re ill-equipped and so they’re struggling.
They’re drowning with trying to provide what’s necessary, but not seeing the fruit of what they’re hoping to bring their members to a place of freedom, of healing, because they’re just not equipped for it. That’s so true. You know, I went and visited a seminary when my husband was going to seminary and I actually attended the counseling course. Like they have a one, it was an endive and he was getting, they have a one course on pastoral counseling, three hours. And I mean, they were doing a fine job I’m sure but as a therapist who had a master’s degree, I was sitting there going, “This is what y’all are teaching for, like counseling?” And like, but they don’t need to know all that. They need to know enough to listen, to care and refer out but yes, they don’t learn all that. And the same for us as therapists. Like if the client comes in and I can’t answer a theological question, we refer to the pastor.
[JENNIFER]: Exactly. And that’s one of the things that we do make sure the pastors understand that if we get to a place where there’s needing to be some theological clarity for the client, we do collaborate with the pastor. And we do tell them, please make an appointment with your pastor to discuss this further, because there are some blocks that you have here that he’s more equipped or she’s more equipped to walk you through. And so even giving the pastors that reassurance, that we’re here to collaborate with you, because I’ll tell you for some examples, with some of my clients that come to us from the CAP program. There are, we meet with the clients once a week, and so there are, let’s say if it’s a couple, if there are crisis that occur within marriage, within families, within individual lives, that the pastors are more available for.
And so I do offer people, “If you have something that goes on in between sessions, please call your pastor. They’re there for the support and they can walk you through.” And then talking with mass, getting of course a release of information sign, but talking with the pastor and say, “Hey, you really handled that beautifully and let me tell you the results of that.” Man, it’s that kind of boosting for them because it’s encouraging for them. It’s supportive for them and it’s helping them to even feel confident in their skills. And then they’re able to say, “Well you know, I’ve gotten to this place where I’m stuck with them. What would you recommend? How could I handle that differently?” So when they start asking you those questions, you’re in a consulting relationship and in a collaborative relationship. And that’s what the beauty of the result of a good CAP is —
[WHITNEY]: I love your approach. Yes, that’s so good. You know, another thing that I have found, and you’ve probably seen this too, is sometimes getting that release and talking to the pastor, the pastor it’s like, they’d known the family for 40 years or whatever. So I’ve had times where I got information about the family that really helps me understand the individual or client that was coming in, things that he would have never shared with me, but the pastor was able to.
[JENNIFER]: Yes, yes, that’s great. Great history to get from them.
[WHITNEY]: Definitely. Definitely. Why don’t we talk a little bit about the details? So when you go to a church and let’s say, you’re meeting with the pastor and he’s like, “Oh, that’s awesome. We want to do this.” What are the steps kind of moving forward? And I just want to say here that Jennifer provided some really awesome handouts that are in the show notes you can go to get more details on this.
[JENNIFER]: Yes. So I meet with the pastor, do the initial call with the church secretary, meet with the pastor. I have a brochure and a handout that I created, really comes strictly from the brochure that I created. So I give them the brochure go into just kind of with the pastor small talk, kind of get to know them, research their website to kind of know, and even their reputation in the area and even, because we are a small rural community, I can even say that I have some members of your church who do come to our office for professional counseling. And so I do want to let them know some of the great things that I hear that they’re doing right and from there just being able to educate them on what we do in practice, our approach, so that they first hear from me what we do, how we do it, and even why we do it.
So, and all of that is Christ centered, and so that helps them to be able to trust in us and helps them to know that we’re not that typical counseling center that when we mean faith-based practice, this is exactly what it looks like. And so we just start that conversation and then being able to ask them questions such as, “What is one of your biggest stressors as you pastor and provide pastoral counseling? What do you have most struggle with, or what is the hardest part of it for you?” Or even asking, “What percentage of your time do you find that you are doing pastoral counseling and how do you and your church leaders meet the mental health needs of your community?”
And so it is just asking those questions before I even tell them what we can offer, because again I want to understand what may be their gaps are so that I could speak to that and help them to feel more comfortable with me and be able to brag about their church and how they lead a little bit. And then it just kind of generates some curiosity as to, “Well we do struggle with this. We need more parenting classes, we need more something to help our couples. Our teenagers are really struggling with depression.” So then they start talking about what their needs are, what they’re seeing as the needs of their congregation. Then we can come in and say, “Well, we can help with that. And let me explain how we may be able to help.”
So I even go me into kind of what our vision is for the program and it really is simply to partner. It’s not to take away from what they’re doing, but to partner with them and to collaborate. So if we use those terms, it helps them have a bigger idea that they’re going to be part of it as well, that we’re not excluding them, but that they have a valued part in the process. And so it’s just helping them understand that sometimes people have emotional and spiritual woundings that require professional attention. And so how our approach is different in that, not only is it faith-based, but we do go to the root cause of what are the symptoms that are manifesting on the surface, whether it’s behavior or whether it’s just a lifestyle. Whatever it is happening within the person, we go to the root causes that created that.
So whether it’s depression, addiction, anxiety, whatever we’re seeing on the surface, going through the root cause. So explaining to them our approach, how do we go to the root cause? Well, our way is to go through kind of doing a timeline of a person’s life, what traumatic memories do they have that stay with them, that kind of replay. And if we understand trauma as therapists, we can help them understand trauma and why just salvation alone, doesn’t bring the healing because a lot of church people and pastors as well believe that what salvation is there, then a person is healed and hope. Well, we know that to be a little bit more complicated than that. Surely salvation is the first step, because then the person is positioned to be open and submissive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. And then we can go in and go to the root causes and the woundings of what is beneath the anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, all of that. And so just being able to educate them through that. So we do that —
[WHITNEY]: Yes.
[JENNIFER]: Yes, so we have that conversation and then even being able to explain that when you offer the church assistance program, it sends two messages to your congregation. It sends that you’re caring and compassionate and that you understand the more complexities of our emotional makeup and our psychological needs. And so that sends a very good message because then it allows people to know that their pastor cares and that it’s more than just a a behaviorally driven approach. If you’re a good Christian, you won’t sin or you won’t do these things, but people find themselves still repeating same as Paul. I do what I don’t want to do. I don’t do what I want to do. And so we have to understand that that’s where people are and that’s where we’re ministering to people and pastors understand that they just don’t necessarily have the skillset to bring them when there’s, especially when there’s complex trauma to bring them to the place of peace and hope.
[WHITNEY]: Okay. Beautiful. Could you talk a little bit about the details of the CAP and how you set it up? First of all, are you a cash pay practice or insurance-based?
[JENNIFER]: We’re insurance, primarily insurance.
[WHITNEY]: Okay. And so I guess I want to know some of the logistics, if they refer somebody who has insurance, they use that or cash pay, or what’s the fee and how does that all work?
[JENNIFER]: Yes. Well, I do have in the handout our contract that we present. So in the contract, it really offers the church some payment options. So the payment, the churches that I have, the four churches that we have agreements with right now, the churches find that it’s easier to say, “We will pay four…” some churches pay for four, some churches pay for six. Some, depending on if it’s a staff member, then they really have like an indefinite amount because they want that person to journey through the healing process and knowing that there’s more complicated traumatic issues that is going to take a little longer than four to six sessions.
So the churches, that’s a benefit that they have offered to their staff. So on the handout for the contract, you see that we give a 15% discount to churches. And so this is really specifically to the members that the pastor or leaders of the church or staff of the church are providing pastoral counseling already to those numbers. And so it comes as a referral from the church. So it’s not necessarily just any member of the church who goes, is able to participate in the CAP. So it’s a pastoral referral, a church referral, and then we enter into a contract with the church. So they have a set number. Like we know the specific churches, that we know this one church pays for as many as 12 sessions. And so we bill monthly and then there are some churches that will pay for four sessions.
Then after the four sessions, the payment agreement is that the client is responsible for within that timeframe of, let’s say the four to 12 sessions, if there’s a no-show or a late cancellation, the client is responsible for that payment. The church is not. And so we have them sign the agreement and explain that, but beyond those set sessions of the churches agreeing to pay 100% for, then it is up to the client to continue services at our regular rate. So all that is spelled out and I have that in the handout as a template that your listeners can use as a guide.
[WHITNEY]: Yes. I like that. So it’s 15% off whatever that therapist’s rate is, right?
[JENNIFER]: Yes.
[WHITNEY]: Okay, so if a client came in and was referred by the church, but also had insurance, how would y’all handle a situation like that?
[JENNIFER]: Well we could do it several different ways and I find the churches really don’t have a preference. So let’s say if a church is willing to pay for four sessions, well, that would be X amount of dollars. If the client has insurance, then we could apply that amount to their account and it would go toward their co-pay or their deductible. So then the client would have way more sessions with no out-of-pocket. You see? So it’s only beneficial for the client. So really if the church is willing to pay a certain amount, they really don’t have a preference how it’s being used.
[WHITNEY]: Yes. It’s almost kind of like a second payer for a client. Like they use their insurance and then whatever they, the rest, the church covers.
[JENNIFER]: Exactly.
[WHITNEY]: That’s so great. I love this. Any other details about it that we haven’t covered that you want to make sure people know about?
[JENNIFER]: Well, I think it’s to be able to, when you meet with a pastor, be able to explain how they could benefit from the CAP. So we’ve offered other services such as, of course the pastoral consultation. As they are meeting with people they can simply call and say, “Hey, I have this going on. What would you recommend?” We also do parenting seminars, marriage seminars. I put together a life group training. I don’t know, many churches have life groups now, and they have leaders of life groups and in some of the life groups, you really go in deep with some people’s personal history and some real significant things surface. And a lot of the leaders don’t know how to approach that and how to manage that, or even how to lead, creating a safe environment because what they’re doing really is support group counseling in a sense with leading life groups.
So some things do come up and they don’t know how to handle it. So it’s being able to train the life group leader. So I’ve created a specific training for that. And so it’s just being able to offer whatever services you see that the church needs that you can fill in the gap and be that source for them. That has been very helpful.
[WHITNEY]: I like that. And when you do these trainings, do you bill based on your hourly rate or how, do you bill the church for the parenting training, or how do you handle that?
[JENNIFER]: I do bill the church and it is a one set fee. So we already have it created and so it may be the church either pays the entire amount, and so that’s been, sometimes I’ve done a four hours, sometimes I’ve done a Friday evening into the Saturday. Sometimes it’s even been during vacation Bible school, during the summer where the kids have a vacation Bible school and then the parents are free. And so then there are parenting classes there. So churches have paid in different ways that work. So if you can be as creative as possible, churches are open because they are not thinking along those lines. And so, yes, that’s a separate service that’s offered and it’s paid separately.
[WHITNEY]: I love that you’re talking about creativity because it’s all about what works for your area and your people. I’ve talked about this on some on the podcasts before that my practice, we’ve done a couple of different things. We’re actually doing more individualized stuff now, which I probably need to create something a little bit more, what you’re talking about. I need some more structure instead of everyone has to remember the special relationship we have with each one because that gets crazy. One of the things we did that was so fun and effective, my home church actually here in Savannah’s downtown, we have a lot of young families with young children. Even before we got on the podcast, I was talking to you about how tired I am with my young children. So one of the things we started doing was date nights, once a month, for four months. It was like the first Saturday of every month and my practice would come in and do a teaching for the parents.
So like one year we did four sessions on communication within the family. Like one was how to communicate with your child and we broke it up into age groups or how to communicate with your spouse. What is communication? How do you communicate as a family, as a whole? And then they would, the parents would attend this one and a half hour seminar, we give them homework and they go on a one and a half hour date and they can walk there. So we’re downtown and then they would do the questions that we gave them and talk about those during the day. And the childcare was all included and the kids got fed there and I think parents paid $10 a session. Like nothing. And the church paid us for hosting it. It was awesome. So actually hopefully when COVID is over, we’ll get back into that, but yes.
[JENNIFER]: Yes. All of those things, churches are looking for ways to bring resources to their congregation. And so if we have that mindset, we won’t be as hesitant or shy about approaching. You’re really offering something that they are looking for. They just don’t always know that they’re looking for it or what the lack is or what the need is. So when conversations that we can generate, we can express that, we can even give examples of what we’ve done before or what has been done with other people. And then their light bulb goes off and like, “Oh yes, that would be a good thing that we, we’ve been looking for that, but we didn’t know how to do that ourselves.”
[WHITNEY]: Totally.
[JENNIFER]: And so, yes.
[WHITNEY]: Yes, Jennifer, this has been so good. You’ve got my mind going, I’m thinking about lots of ideas and I think it’s super helpful for people to hear this. So I do need to close it up here though and I’d love to ask you our final question that I ask everyone. What do you believe every Christian counselor needs to know?
[JENNIFER]: That’s such a hard question, but I think what every Christian counselor needs to know is to be mindful that we are sitting in the seat of power and authority in our sessions, but Christ is the marvelous counselor. And so if we are aware of how our leaning in to Him for His guidance and even in sessions, hearing His still small voice and silencing our own sometimes, I think that just gives us so much more effectiveness and we can actually witness what the Holy Spirit is doing with the person sitting in front of us. So in essence, it’s really not about us. It’s what we are and how we’re bridging the Holy Spirit and the person in front of us to actually have an encounter.
[WHITNEY]: That’s so true. Well, thank you so much for all the help that you’ve offered today and I’m really looking forward to this show going live.
[JENNIFER]: Good. Thank you so much for having me and I really hope that you guys find this useful and can actually put it into practice. It’s a wonderful relationship to collaborate and partner with churches. So good luck.
[WHITNEY]: Again, thank you so much to Therapy Notes for sponsoring the show. It makes notes, billing, scheduling, and tele-health a whole lot easier. And if you’re coming from another EHR, they make the transition really easy. Therapy Notes will import your client’s demographic data free of charge during your trials so that you can get going right away. Use promo code [JOE] to get three months to try out Therapy Notes for free.
Well, thank you for listening to the Faith in Practice podcast. Jennifer did a fantastic episode. I even looked through the handouts. They are so helpful. So I want to encourage you guys to check out the show notes. And then if you want to get in touch with her, you shoot her an email, that’s jennifer@harmonyhousecounseling.com. And then if you want to get in touch with me, or if you’re planning on going to the LPCA of Georgia conference, I want to hear from you. You could send me an email whitney@practiceofthepractice.com.
This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, Practice of the Practice, or the guests are providing legal, mental health, or other professional information. If you need a professional, you should find one.

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