• Program for Psychology & Religion

    Intensive Programs

    The Program for Psychology at St Louis Behavioral Medicine Institute understands the joys and strains of religious ministry and know that it has become demanding and complex. Through the intensive outpatient programs of St. Louis Behavioral Medicine Institute we address the psychological, psychiatric and spiritual elements of health to support optimal balance as ministers continue to live out vocations rooted in the call and gifts of God and expressed in service.

    Traditionally, our intensive behavioral health program for clergy and religious has admitted Roman Catholic priests, deacons, men religious (Friars/Brothers), and women religious (Nuns/Sisters) who are struggling in some way. 

We have also had the honor of helping clergy from Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, United Church of Christ, and other Protestant denominations. 

The Program for Psychology and Religion’s Intensive Outpatient Services are available to ministers of any denomination.

    We have helped many ministers heal from, and overcome, such concerns as depression, anxiety, mood disorders, burnout, relational and interpersonal problems, addictions, and health concerns related to obesity and weight management.

    Comprehensive Assessment:iStock_9322822_Priest_Small

    All potential clients participate in a comprehensive psychological, social, spiritual and behavioral health assessment. The results of the assessment inform treatment recommendations, which are individualized to suit both the needs of the client, and the needs of their religious community, diocese, and/or denomination.

    Our Brief Intensive Programs:

    Paths for symptom resolution or growth are considered according to the needs of each client’s unique situation without sacrificing quality or comprehensiveness. Each path generally includes:

    • Individual Psychotherapy
    • Psychiatric Care
    • Group Therapy
    • Spiritual Direction
    • Psychiatric Consultations

    The Program has never taken a “one size fits all” approach to treatment, and we have remained responsive not only to the individual client but to the dynamics of ministry in our day and time.  As a result, we offer different paths for healing and restoration, as well as personal and spiritual growth. Each path can be personalized, tailored, and even combined with other treatment offerings of the Behavioral Medicine Institute, to best fit the needs identified through the Comprehensive Assessment.

    A Path for Healing & Restoration:

    Treating Anxiety & Depression, Mood Disorders, Personality Disorders


    As the demands of ministry become more complex, clergy, religious, and other ministers are more vulnerable to “burnout,” and other symptoms of anxiety and/or depression.  Yet, it is not always possible for a minister to take a six month leave to participate in an extended wellness sabbatical. In response to these realities, we offer a brief outpatient treatment program for religious professionals that draws from the best evidence based treatment protocols. This path toward healing and restoration offers brief treatment with the goal of returning clergy, religious, and other ministers to psychological and spiritual health.

    Treatment plans are personalized, intensive and closely supervised with the goal of resolving acute or chronic forms of anxiety, depression, and/or mood and behavior fluctuations that are hurting the minister socially or professionally. The treatment team is multidisciplinary and includes team members from SLBMI’s Psychology and Religion Program, the Center for OCD and Anxiety Related Disorders (COARD) and/or the Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) services team. 

    The goal of our brief intensive program for clergy, religious, and other ministers is to eliminate the painful, disabling symptoms of depression and/or anxiety and teach skills for managing moods and interpersonal relationships. The length of treatment is quite brief, usually no more than 4 to 10 weeks.

    The sharp, clinical focus makes it more likely that insurance coverage will apply, resulting in lower costs without sacrificing sensitivity to the unique concerns of clergy and religious.

    Various forms of aftercare are available to assist clients in maintaining and building on the gains achieved.

    If you are a Protestant pastor, Catholic priest, or Catholic vowed sister or brother, suffering from depression or anxiety, call 314-289-9407 for more information on our outpatient treatment programs to get on a path for healing and restoration of spiritual and mental wellness.

    Feedback Sessions:

    We provide clear reviews of progress and needs at four critical junctures: After the initial assessment, at the mid-point of treatment, at the end of intensive treatment, and during aftercare.  Feedback sessions include the clinical director, key staff members involved in treatment, the client, and a support person or leader from the client’s community, diocese, or denomination.iStock_16796420_Sen_Woman_Med


    We have provided help to clients from all over the United States and even to international clients. Individuals attending our program from outside the St. Louis metro region typically reside locally while in the program. We are happy to assist clients and their religious community, diocese, or denomination to find appropriate and comfortable accommodations.

    Who Benefits From Our Services?

    Here are a few common examples:

    • A pastor who has had a few anger outbursts and struggles to maintain healthy, intimate relationships in his life.
    • A Sister who is suffering from depression and anxiety which is creating difficulties in her ministry functioning and relationships.
    • A Brother who demonstrates obsessive hording behavior
    • A Sister who is having interpersonal difficulties in her religious community
    • A pastor who is engaging in frequent internet pornography.
    • A Brother who has been abusing alcohol and is withdrawn from community.
    • A pastor who feels deep despair and has contemplated suicide
    • A Sister who has cuts her arms or legs when she feels tense, hurt or sad.

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

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