Our History

The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center has a long and respected history in the Des Moines community.  It is one of the largest counseling groups in central Iowa.  The Center was established in 1972. It is an independent, not-for-profit, community-based organization, and has no affiliation to a faith group or any other organization.

In 1972, Dr. Ray Martin, an associate pastor at First United Methodist Church, had an idea for an expression of ministry that was developing across the country, yet new to our community – a spiritually-sensitive counseling ministry. He and a board of directors took the vision of this specialized ministry, incorporated it into a nonprofit community-based organization, and the result was the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center. Because Dr. Martin pursued his vision and fostered widespread enthusiasm for it, over 60,000 lives have been touched by this pastoral counseling movement in our community over the past 40 years.

  • Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center began: 1972
  • Originally an outreach ministry of First United Methodist Church, Des Moines
  • April 1973: Incorporated as 501(c)3  independent not-for-profit organization
    with no continuing affiliation with First UMC or any particular faith group
  • 1977: Ellery Duke, Ph.D., second counselor to join DMPCC
  • 1979: Ellery Duke named executive director
  • 1980: Pastoral counseling and psychotherapy training program developed
  • 1981: Accredited by American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC)
  • 1984: Moved to Ingersoll location (plus a suite of 4 offices in West Des Moines beginning 1996)
  • 1999: Launched C.O.O.L. (Children Overcoming the Obstacles of Life) program for children and adolescents
  • 1999: Hosted the first Women Helping Women luncheon event
  • 2003: Re-accreditation by the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC)
  • 2005: Affiliated with the Samaritan Institute of Denver, CO, which operates as a trade association for counseling centers, providing administrative, consultative, educational, and organizational services
  • 2005: Moved to 2929 Westown Parkway location (sublease)
  • 2006: Received the AAPC’s Distinguished Program Leadership Award
  • 2007: Accredited by The Samaritan Institute
  • June 23, 2010: Broke ground for new 14,200 sq.ft. facility, culminating $2.8 million capital Campaign for Hope and Healing
  • December 17, 2010: Moved into new facility at 8553 Urbandale Ave., Urbandale
  • June 30, 2011: Ribbon Cutting, Donor Recognition, and Open House celebrating new facility
  • November 2011: Center is reaccredited by AAPC and The Samaritan Institute