Do you want to partner with your local church to boost and improve the mental health services in your community? Have you noticed a need in your neighborhood that can be served by working with the local church? What is the vision you have for the future of your community?
In this podcast episode, LaToya Smith speaks about partnering with a faith-based community with Audra Dahl, LPC-S.
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Meet Audra Dahl, LPC-S
Audra loves being a counselor because it is so rewarding to help people, both individuals and couples, through difficult times, both past and present. Helping people work through issues of sexual abuse, depression, anxiety, forgiveness, relationships, and anger is her passion. She is also the Director of Rush Creek Counseling Center and is grateful to lead the best team of counselors! Her other roles in life include wife, mom, g-momma, daughter, sister, friend, and mentor. But most importantly, she is a beloved child of God.
In This Podcast
- Working in partnership with a local church
- The admin and finance logistics
- Approaching the pastor in your area
Working in partnership with a local church
Audra Dahl’s Rush Creek Counseling Center is connected to their local Rush Creek Church. Through their partnership, each center gains benefits from working together and allows them to provide more services to their shared community. There is some separation between the two services due to liability issues and concerns, but they do work together where possible.
The way [that the previous director] set up [the way] that we do business [is that] the church pays for all of the facilities. They provide us with facilities but then other than that, we are self-sustaining and fairly autonomous which is really a great thing also [because] it cuts a lot of red tape down, you know? (Audra Dahl)
The practice runs on 1099 contractors instead of church-based employees which also allows for a little less admin. These 1099s work for the counseling center and not the church itself.
We get a lot of referrals from other churches that don’t have counseling centers … we have many churches that trust us with their people and that is a high compliment to [us]. (Audra Dahl)
Being involved in the mental health field adjacent to the church is great for the community as well as for business because as Audra mentions, there are many referrals going around. People want help, and they sometimes want help in places that are already familiar to them.
There are absolutely times when we need psychology and counseling theories … to be able to help people more than just “bible-thumping” them … they understand that all truth is God’s truth and that there is [also] truth in counseling theories. There is truth in psychology, and God’s in that too … There’s no reason why you can’t mix the two. (Audra Dahl)
The admin and finance logistics
The counseling center is cash-based and intentionally keeps their rates low, within the lowest three counseling centers in their area. The Rush Creek Counseling Center doesn’t take insurance and keeps it cash pay and as low as possible while still being able to be successful.
The center is closed on Fridays with the church. Some counselors in the practice might see some clients online on Fridays, but most sessions are in person during days when the practice is open from Monday to Thursday.
Approaching the pastor in your area
If you want to connect with a church in your area for mental health counseling and a professional partnership, Audra recommends:
- Writing down a vision statement: what you see between your organizations going forward and how you can help one another and the community.
What need are you going to fulfill? … That’s gotta be something that God would put on your heart, but help them see that people are hurting now in greater numbers than ever before, and if you can’t clearly define what the need is in the community and why that need needs to be filled within the church, then it’s time to start consulting with people and [working] to voice that more clearly. (Audra Dahl)
- Having a business model in mind and creating a business mind for yourself, especially as a counselor.
- Thinking about how you will market yourself: what is your vision and mission statement? What are you doing to improve your skills in service of your clients and the issue that you want to resolve?
Useful links mentioned in this episode:
- Trust me, don’t waste any more of your time, and try TherapyNotes.
- Visit Rush Creek Counseling and connect on Facebook and Instagram.
Check out these additional resources:
- Culture Controls Environment with Chanel McCord | GP 187
- Practice of the Practice Network
- Group Practice Launch
- Group Practice Boss: www.practiceofthepractice.com/grouppracticeboss $149 a month
- PoP Group Practice Owners Facebook Group
- Free resources to help you start, grow, and scale
- Work with us
- Practice of the Practice Network
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.