What are the benefits to both counselors and pastors of being in partnership? Have you noticed that many of your clients are reporting similar struggles in your community? How can you reach out and connect with a local church to set up a mutually beneficial referral system?
In this podcast episode, LaToya Smith discusses a pastor’s perspective on partnering with a private practice with pastor Marty Collier.
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Meet Pastor Marty Collier
Marty surrendered to ministry as a 16-year-old in Ashdown, Arkansas. Through hard work and many answered prayers, he graduated from Ouachita Baptist University with a Bachelor’s in Biblical Studies. While at Ouachita, he met his wife, Stephanie, and they married in 1998.
Marty received a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He has had the privilege of serving the Lord in wonderful churches in Arkansas, Alabama, and Texas as a student pastor for 13 years. For the last 18 years, Marty has been serving as Co-Pastor and is now Lead Pastor of Rush Creek Church in Arlington, Texas.
In This Podcast
- Faith and therapy can go well together
- Faith and counseling partnerships
- Benefits of pastors and therapist partnerships
- Pastor Collier’s advice to practitioners
Faith and therapy can go well together
When it comes to mental health maintenance and looking for extra support, you don’t have to choose between your pastor or your mental health practitioner. In fact, a combination of the two is great.
I want people to understand that faith is paramount to their healing and wholeness, but there are some very real and practical exercises and things that a licensed professional can help them with that we just don’t have the skills to do, and so I love the partnership. (Marty Collier)
Faith itself can be healing as a source of divine love and a connection to a community, and seeing a therapist can provide you with a host of tools and techniques for everyday grounding, regulation, and healthy ways to cope with struggles in life.
Faith and counseling partnerships
Many pastors and churches go into partnerships with different counseling practices in their area so that their interested church-goers can trust the referral source.
This type of partnership benefits everyone; the counseling practice receives a client that they know they can help, the client receives practical tips alongside comfort in their faith, and the pastors get a weight removed from their shoulders.
Each professional is exceptional in their field, and no one has to wear all the hats. Having a pastor and a therapist doesn’t mean one is lacking, it means that the client knows where to seek help from depending on their circumstances.
Benefits of pastors and therapist partnerships
- Therapy offices on campuses
- Counseling often offered at a fair price in partnerships
- Between the church and the counseling center, some clients could receive discounted counseling for those who need it
There’s so much freedom in knowing that you’re really investing in people’s journey towards health and wholeness. (Marty Collier)
- An influx of clients referred to counseling directly from the church and the pastor
- A therapeutic space that welcomes a multicultural and religious approach to life
I really believe now looking back that our counselors and our counseling center really helped us retain a lot of our folks who might not have been able to deal with their emotions in a healthy way, and might’ve chosen to either give up on God or give up on church or to leave altogether, and they didn’t. (Marty Collier)
Pastor Collier’s advice to practitioners
Pastor Collier recommends to therapists that if they want to go into a partnership with one of their local churches, they:
- Use full confidentiality rules, sit down with their local pastor
- Discuss some of the prominent subjects that are coming up and out in the counseling world
- Ask if the pastors notice these same issues in their church
- Offer to set up a reciprocal system
Help the pastor see that … this partnership would actually not only be most beneficial for the people … but it would also free up their staff and their team to be able to meet with people and then quickly refer them to someone else who can walk with them for a longer journey. (Marty Collier)
Useful links mentioned in this episode:
- Trust me, don’t waste any more of your time, and try TherapyNotes.
- Visit Rush Creek and connect on LinkedIn.
Check out these additional resources:
- Group Practice Boss: www.practiceofthepractice.com/grouppracticeboss $149 a month
Meet LaToya Smith
LaToya is a consultant with Practice of the Practice and the owner of LCS Counseling and Consulting Agency in Fortworth Texas. She firmly believes that people don’t have to remain stuck in their pain or the place they became wounded. In addition to this, LaToya encourages her clients to be active in their treatment and work towards their desired outcomes.
She has also launched Strong Witness which is a platform designed to connect, transform, and heal communities through the power of storytelling.