Adult and Family Therapist

The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center, a well-established nonprofit organization, is seeking a full-time licensed counselor to join our team of multi-disciplinary clinicians, who are committed to a mind/body/spirit therapeutic approach. We are seeking a licensed psychologist, social worker, mental health counselor, or marriage and family counselor, experienced in working with adults, couples and families. Computer proficiency is required.

Please send a letter of interest and resume to:
Kelli Hill, Ph.D., Director of Clinical Services, Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center, 8553 Urbandale Ave., Urbandale, IA 50322, or email

For more information about the Center, click here.

Insurance Coordinator

The Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center is seeking an Insurance Coordinator to be responsible for processing insurance claims and related accounts receivable activities. The qualified candidate must be experienced in medical/mental health billing, have extensive knowledge of insurance company practices and coding rules, be dependable, self-motivated and detail orientated. The primary duties of this position are to resolve denials, work rejections, and obtain benefits. There will be other duties assigned as needed. Only applicants with insurance experience will be contacted. Please send a cover letter along with your resume.


  • Verify client’s insurance coverage and obtain appropriate benefits for services.
  • Work closely with third party payers to resolve denials, rejections and keep outstanding claims to a minimum.
  • Process insurance claims.
  • Assist clients with any billing/ insurance questions or accounts receivable balances.
  • Daily posting of client/ insurance payments.
  • Various other duties as needed.


  • High school education, with some college preferred.
  • 2+ years of experience with medical insurance billing, ICD-10, CPT coding.
  • Advanced computer skills. Knowledge of Microsoft office.

Benefits: Competitive hourly wage at $15.00-$17.00 per hour, individual health insurance, and paid holiday, vacation, and sick leave. Collegial working environment. Training provided. Job Type: Full-time

Please send a letter of interest and resume to: Penny Heiss, Office Manager, Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center, 8553 Urbandale Ave., Urbandale, IA 50322, or email

For more information about the Center, click here.

Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center is a nonprofit, nonsectarian organization offering a broad range of mental health services, serving more than 4,000 individuals annually including 700 children. Although best known for its 48 years of quality, professional mental health therapy, the Center provides multi-faceted services, programs and classes through 30 multi-disciplinary clinicians. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Center has implemented a robust telehealth service delivery system. Key services include:

  • Counseling, including specialized services for children and adolescents
  • Psychological testing and assessment
  • Psychiatric consultation and care (medication management)
  • Spiritual Direction
  • Training for clinical professionals
  • Leadership and spiritual life programming
  • Career Counseling

COVID-19 Precaution(s):

  • Remote interview process
  • Personal protective equipment provided or required
  • Temperature screenings
  • Social distancing guidelines in place
  • Virtual meetings
  • Sanitizing, disinfecting, or cleaning procedures in place

Billie’s Blog – May 2021

Getting the Hang of Hair, Part 2

by Billie Wade, guest blogger

Read “Getting the Hang of Hair, Part 1” here

(May 2021) — The hair of Black people is malleable into an endless array of styles. So, we have the flexibility of sculpting our hair to fit our mood, a special occasion, a particular outfit, or for easy care. Hairstyling is an art form that plays a significant role in the identity and self-expression of Black people. Our hair shows our pride in our race and our zest for life. Black hairstyles are limited only by the imagination and creativity of the wearer or the wearer’s stylist. Black Americans spend upward of two and a half billion dollars—according to an August 2018 article by CNBC—to color, bleach, cut, grow, curl, straighten, shampoo, condition, tame, let loose, and arrange our hair.

Black-hair biases and prejudice are very real, as we saw last month, in “Getting the Hang of Hair: Part 1.” In slave times White women whacked off the hair of their Black female servants because it White men became “confused” about which women were free. Our hair and how we manage and care for it is suspect as dirty, unkempt, distracting, faddish, and audacious—and a source of pride of which we are to be denied.

I previously wore my hair dyed a deep auburn, in short spikes. None of my White coworkers said a word. When I returned to hot-comb-straightened hair, they profusely complimented my new style. Apparently, they did not like the spikes coming out of the natural base. On one occasion, my stylist did not have the color I wanted, so she used a substitute—which she swore would “look really cute” on me. What a hideous result! The only comment came from a White coworker who said, with all the earnestness she could muster, “Billie, your hair is purple.” My White coworkers deemed my hair acceptable when I conformed to their expectations.

I have worn my hair short and natural for the past twenty-one years after numerous failed attempts to find suitable styles and stylists. Ironically, my hair stylist of the past twenty-one years is White. An instructor asked her beauty school class, “Who wants to learn how to cut Black hair?” She raised her hand. She always confers with me before cutting and follows my directions. I tip her very well.

Black women are implored, to conform to White dictates, so we have tried everything to create “hair that moves.” Braids, dreadlocks—aka dreads—weaves, extensions, and “cold” perms allow Black people to experience hair that moves in a befitting style. Since the Civil Rights Movement of the sixties and seventies, Black people have become freer and more expressive with our hairstyles. As we saw last month we are routinely punished for our insolence.

Even Black people debate about hairstyles, especially those who support assimilation. They believe we must do everything we can to conform to White demands and standards. From my vantage point, this approach does not work. Emulation attempts are doomed self-attacks on one’s intrinsic humanity. No matter what we do to our hair, our skin color remains under assault. Other Black people defend the liberation of the full range of articulation of who we are collectively and individually.

White people scrutinize Black people for evidence of the tiniest violation of whatever rule they are “interpreting” at the moment, any signs of behavior which does not please them, which is often. They set us up to fail by creating lose-lose circumstances. The underlying intentionality of control and annihilation is based in unfounded hatred that results in the myriad tendrils of racism. We are a proud, quiet, gentle people but not according to the stereotypes. We have never asked for more than equal opportunity.

I, along with other people, long for the day when all people are free to live and to be and to showcase their hair.


For more blog posts by Billie Wade:

5/5/21 Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month

James E. Hayes, D. Min., M. Div., Executive Director, Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center

I want to take advantage of the calendar to remind us all that May is National Mental Health Awareness month. If you’re not aware of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), I encourage you to subscribe to their newsletter. NAMI Iowa does a great job of keeping us all up to date on mental health issues. Here are some suggestions they make to keep mental health front of mind during May: 

While mental health is important every day, take some time to reflect and grow this Mental Health Month. In May, we encourage you to push yourself. Learn something new about mental health. Share your experiences with loved ones. Take the leap into getting help. Support someone you know is in need.

The Center’s 23rd annual Women Helping Women event is an opportunity to recognize the special month while also making it possible for those who are underinsured to have access to mental health services. The Center is pleased to honor and celebrate Angela Connolly who has done so much for our community and mental health awareness — and feature keynote speaker Tiffany Johnson who calls our community to greater understanding through theater. Please join us! 

Other suggestions include:

MAY 20 | Wear Green for Mental Health: Dust off your St. Patrick’s Day green as we join our friends at Make It OK Iowa in wearing green. Green is the official color for mental-health awareness, so don’t forget to go green May 20th!

Share your favorite photos on social media using the hashtags #MakeItOk and #Iamstigmafree 

I appreciate all the suggestions offered by NAMI and others to help us work together on our mental wellness. I wonder what other opportunities we might find in order to spark conversations around mental health. I find that when I meet people and they ask what I do, it almost always leads to conversations about mental health. Surprise, huh?  That says to me that all of us have work to do when it comes to our mental wellness—our own, that of our families, and even of strangers who might be looking for an opening in conversation to talk.

I’d like to challenge all of us to consider how we might bring up the subject in the coming weeks. Here’s an option to consider: When in a regular conversation with someone, mention that you just read something about it being mental health awareness month. You could even tell them you read this blog! Then you could float an inviting question to see if it goes anywhere. Example, “It seems to me that stigma seems to be improving and more people are willing to talk about their mental health or that seeing a counselor seems as normal as going to your doctor. Does it seem that way to you?”

Awareness is an important step when it comes to seeking help. I hope you’ll join us in this effort to increase awareness of the Center in the month of May and beyond. We are here to walk with people on the path to hope and healing. Thanks for all you do to make this mission possible.

To read more of Jim’s blogs, click HERE

Chris’ blog – April 2021

What is faith?

by Chris Waddle, Director of Leadership and Spiritual Life

April 2021 — What is faith? I have heard faith described as “believing things you don’t really believe.” I’ve also heard faith defined as “believing things you cannot ultimately prove.” I like the latter better than the former. Still, it misses a bit of the point of faith to me. It seems to me faith is not primarily about believing beliefs. Beliefs matter. By this I mean core beliefs. Beliefs that relate to ultimate meeting and our relationships with God, creation, each other, and our selves. Still, faith is more than belief — it is about actions. It is about investing ourselves, being vulnerable, and taking risks. Faith is not a passive act of believing beliefs but a courageous act of risking ourselves based on those beliefs.

One day, when I was a pastor, I was visiting someone in his office. He was a collector of antiques and he invited me to sit down on this flimsy looking antique chair. I was honestly not sure whether or not it would support my weight. I considered just hovering over it and not putting my full weight on the chair. However, that was impossible since the chair had no arms, and I did not want to spend the whole meeting looking like I was sitting on the toilet. So I took a leap of faith and sat down. Thankfully, the chair did support me. This story is both an example of simple faith and a metaphor for all acts of faith.

Sitting on ancient chairs is easy compared with other leaps of faith in my life. One of the biggest leaps of faith that I ever made felt more to me like an abandonment of faith at the time. It came right on time. I was in my first year of college when another campus ministry invited our campus ministry to participate in a discussion about creation and evolution. We agreed to a discussion. However, what they had planned was more of a lecture.

I can sum up the whole presentation in three sentences:

  • The Genesis creation story is scientifically accurate and historically true.
  • If you believe in evolutionary theory you cannot be a Christian.
  • We have biblically accurate dinosaur coloring books for sale at the table in the back.

I remember thinking to myself, “This is not science! This is The Flintstones! If this is where taking the Bible seriously is going to lead me, then I cannot be a Christian! Wait a minute! Why should I believe ANYTHING anyone taught me in church?”

I began questioning everything I had ever believed about God, Jesus, and my United Methodist Christian tradition. I also questioned every religious experience I’d ever had. I believed it was entirely possible, and most likely probable, that my religious experiences were just a combination of wishful thinking and emotion.

It was a gut wrenching experience. However, I was determined that I was not going to trust the full weight of my life on anything that could not stand up to my most rigorous questions. Just like that antique chair, I figured my Christian tradition, rooted in an unscientific world-view would crumble beneath the weight of my reason and I did not know where that would leave me. My whole world view and my most significant relationships were rooted in my church culture. However, I wanted to know the truth, even if it meant discarding my whole belief system.

Since this leap of faith, I have let go of some beliefs. Other beliefs I hold more loosely. Still, most of my core beliefs remain and I can tell you why I hold them and why I believe them to be rational and compelling. However, the truth that I found was not quite the truth I was seeking.

The truth I was seeking was a knock down drag out argument for the existence of God, the divinity of Jesus, and the loving, forgiving nature of God. What I discovered was that faith, by its very definition, can never have the kind of lock-down drag-out kind of proof I wanted. However, most of what makes life good and meaningful is a matter of faith and not ultimately testable and provable. I began to see that there is no life without faith even If I did let go of my belief in God. I also learned that the core beliefs of my United Methodist Christian tradition actually did take seriously the integration of science, reason, and experience. In taking the leap of faith to challenge my tradition I discovered an intellectual rigor to my tradition that I did not know was there. It welcomed and was even able to engage my most challenging questions. This allowed me to be more open to the possibility that my spiritual experiences were more than just wishful thinking and emotion. Of course, they could be. But that is the nature of faith and I am ok with that now.

I hesitate to say this because it seems that when I feel at peace with my beliefs is also when I have an experience that challenges me to grow once more. Still, there is a difference in me now. I just don’t get as worked up about it as I once did. I now have more perspective and, I dare say even faith, in the midst of my doubt. I’m not sure I even understand what I mean when I say this. However, let me share how I have experienced it.

I remember one morning, while in seminary, thinking to myself. “I’m not sure I really believe in God today.” Then I chuckled when I sensed God saying to me. “That’s OK Chris, I still believe in you.” and I went on with my day as usual. My freshman college “me” would not have found this compelling at all. . . but it is so very compelling to me now.

Back to my original point. Core beliefs matter but they are not the same as faith. Faith happens when I invest in and risk are when I am vulnerable based on my core beliefs. Faith is not a noun, it is a verb. Faith is not something we have. Faith is something we do, exercise, and practice. It always involves risk and it always involves vulnerability.

Dr. Brené Brown is an expert on courage and vulnerability. She is very quick to correct people when they say “I understand what you are saying, if I am vulnerable and live courageously, I might fail.”

“No,” she says, “I am saying if you are committed to a life of courage it will require you to be vulnerable and if you consistently live this way, you WILL fail many times.” While I know I am paraphrasing a bit, this is the spirit of her words and she is talking about the life of faith.

Since I was a young child I have sought to live prayerfully. As I have grown I have tried not to make decisions based on fear and have tried to listen and respond to what I believe the spirit of God is guiding me to be and do. However, things do not always work out. I have lost a job, I have lost money, I have lost friends, I have made mistakes, and, I have been an ass at times when I thought I was being faithful or prophetic. Faith has not always protected me from pain and loss, even when I have been prayerful and courageous. Still, living prayerfully and courageously has often helped me sense and avoid danger, endure pain and difficulty, and drawn me into life-giving relationships and experiences. I believe that most of what is best about me has come from big and small acts of faith.

If you have taken enough time to read this far then my guess is that you are somewhere on an intentional journey of faith. My question is “Who is on this journey with you?” Churches synagogues, mosques, temples, and other communities of faith can often be these kinds of communities. However, I find that we also need communities within and outside of these communities. We need a smaller circle of people with whom we can develop deep trust.

If you are looking for this kind of community, one option is the PrairieFire community at the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center. It has been a place where many people have discovered and rediscovered genuine courageous faith. If you’ve read this far, perhaps you might want to learn more about our next two-year community that begins this fall? Make no mistake, it will cost you something. You will not come out of the experience the same as you entered. However, I believe you will find that change a welcome one. If you would like to know more about this community of courageous faith please go to

Your partner in hope and healing.