The Center for Pastoral Counseling of Virginia

Pastoral Care and Counseling Seminar


If you are a pastor, you probably frequently find yourself ministering to people in the middle of life-crises, or seeking to be present and helpful to people who are struggling with difficult mental and emotional challenges.  Or perhaps you are in the counseling profession already and wish to be able to enhance this work with more competence in the use of theological and religious values and understanding. The Center for Pastoral Counseling of Virginia offers a training program in Pastoral Care and Counseling that enables participants to more effectively integrate the values of emotional healing and personal wholeness inherent in faith traditions with the principles and techniques of sound clinical practice in psychotherapy.  This program is open to a variety of persons including:

– Clergy and lay professionals involved in congregational or other specialized ministries,

– Persons who have completed a master’s degree in counseling or clinical social work, and

– Clinicians (licensed and otherwise) who are currently practicing but wish to further develop the ability to integrate spirituality and issues of faith into the practice of psychotherapy.


The program consists of 18 seminars of two hours each held from September 2017 through May 2018.  With a few noted exceptions, the seminars will be conducted on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month from 9:30-11:30 am in the CPC counseling center at Fairfax Presbyterian Church, Fairfax, Virginia.

In general, the first meeting of each month will be a didactic session focused on an issue of concern for congregants/clients, including grief and loss, premarital and marital counseling, anxiety and depression, family and parenting issues, abuse and trauma, and addiction concerns. These sessions will include insights into the dynamics of each problem; best clinical practice in addressing the issue; and focused theological reflection by participants seeking to integrate the teachings of their faith tradition with the task of being effective caregiver/healers in the lives of others.

The second meeting of each month will be a case conference focused on a case which exemplifies the clinical issue dealt with in the first session. This could be a case presented by one of the participants or a case “borrowed” from elsewhere to enhance learning on the issue. In addition to clinical reflection, the second session will also involve significant theological reflection and insights on the dynamics of the case. The program will also incorporate outside reading materials and/or other reflections to further enhance the learning of the program.

The program will be led by Rev. Catherine McCollough, LCSW and Dr. Erin Swenson-Reinhold, D.Min, LCSW with occasional help from other Center for Pastoral Counseling of Virginia counselors or visiting professionals. In addition to the didactic and case conference aspects of this program, time will be given regularly to group process among participants and leaders.  Attention to the quality of relationships within the group will serve to enhance the learning experience.

If you are interested in knowing more about the program, or receiving an application, please contact Catherine McCollough, who is a Teaching Elder in NCP and a counselor at Center for Pastoral Counseling of Virginia, at 703-903-9696, ext. 202, or email at  You can find out more about the Seminar and find the application on the Center for Pastoral Counseling of Virginia website at

The deadline for 2017-2018 applications is May 1, 2017