• Program for Psychology & Religion


    The Program for Psychology and Religion at St Louis Behavioral Medicine Institute takes pride in offering unique treatment programs specifically for clergy and religious. We address the mental, physical, and spiritual elements of health to support optimal well-being of mind, body, and spirit. Rather than a “one size fits all” approach, we utilize a comprehensive assessment process to develop treatment plans that address the individual’s specific needs. We offer spiritual direction, along side traditional psychotherapy/counseling and medical care, indicative of our emphasis on holistic care.  

    We offer intensive outpatient programs, as well as general outpatient psychotherapy/counseling. In addition to our programs for clergy and vowed religious, we offer separate programs for laity and people of faith who desire a mind-body-spirit approach and want to see a psychologist or counselor who is competent to address religious and spiritual concerns in therapy.

    Our expert staff at the St. Louis Behavioral Medicine Institute treats mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, OCD, addiction, trauma, and bi-polar and other mood disorders. We also treat interpersonal and relational problems, and personality disorders.  We have an obesity and weight management program for clergy and religious to help them achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle.  Use the links below to find out more about our services and areas of special focus.

    Assessment & Evaluation:

    We offer comprehensive assessments for clergy and religious, as well as developmental assessments for religious and ministerial candidates.

    Intensive Programs:

    We offer both brief and extended programs.  Paths for symptom resolution or growth are considered according to the needs of each minister’s unique situation. Our services can be personalized, tailored, and even combined with other treatment offerings at SLBMI.

    General Outpatient Services for Laity & People of Faith

    Psychologists, counselors, spiritual directors and other clinicians of the Program for Psychology and Religion are available to any person of faith who values the integration of respect for his or her religious faith, attention to the spiritual dimension of psychological issues and scientifically based treatment.

    Program for Psychology & Religion Special Focus

    Areas of Special Focus
    The Program has developed many areas of particular expertise. The treatment plans have been developed from scientific research and the clinical experience of faculty and staff, past and present. Examples of the issues that have been assessed and treated successfully are listed below.

    General Mental Health and Medical Issues

    • Loneliness and Isolation
    • Impulse Control
    • Anger Management
    • Grief and Loss
    • Interpersonal Problems
    • Chronic Pain
    • Terminal Illness
    • Excessive Guilt and/or Shame
    • Codependency
    • Scrupulosity
    • Hoarding
    • Physical and Sexual Abuse
    • Family of Origin Issues


    Specific Mental Health and Medical Disorders

    • Addictions: sex, alcohol, prescription drugs, gambling, food, internet
    • Depression and Bipolar Disorder
    • Anxiety and Worry
    • Panic Attacks, Agoraphobia, Social Anxiety
    • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
    • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
    • Psychosomatic Disorders
    • Eating Disorders
    • Personality Disorders (Borderline, Narcissistic, Antisocial, Dependent)


    Issues of Health Promotion and Personal Growth

    • Physical Disorders (Obesity, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Migraines, Hypertension,
    • Diabetes, Recovery from Heart Surgery/Cancer Remission)
    • Healthy Aging
    • Ministry Transition
    • Vocational Discernment
    • Community Life
    • Diminishment
    • Celibacy
    • Difficult Community Members
    • Over-Working and Burnout
    • Over-eating
    • Poor money management
    • Resistance to Change
    • Relapse Prevention
    • End of Life Issues

    For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call Sue Mertens at (314) 289-9407.

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