Scripture always points to the mind’s importance to wholeness, from Proverbs 23:7 which suggests that we will be as we think in our hearts, to Romans 12:2 which suggest that we can be transformed by the renewing of our minds. John Wesley wrote on several occasions about the influence of the emotions on overall health. The wellness option to care for the mind and emotions through the wellness conversation and wellness education opportunities are offered to help care for the mental aspect of ourbeing.

THE WELLNESS CONVERSATION

What is a Wellness Conversation?

The “Wellness Conversation” is a conversation that a pastor can have with a professional counselor who will provide support to clergy by helping to increase “the awareness of wellness issues and encouraging positive action to change behaviors that will result in improved physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, and relational wellness.” The demands of professional ministry can often cause clergy to face a unique combination of stressors, which, if not managed properly can lead to lack of health and well-being. In putting others first, pastors can often overlook self needs. The wellness conversation is designed to encourage self-care by helping clergy remain in touch with personal, professional and spiritual resources which make happier, healthier pastors.

How do I set up a Wellness Conversation?

To select this option, complete the start-up questionnaire form and choose this option from the mental/emotional wellness pull-down list. Clergy can contact one of the following counseling centers and make your appointment. When calling, provide the code name: Rio Texas Wellness Program

  1. The Ecumenical Center, (Serving the San Antonio and the Rio Grande Valley and surrounding area), (210) 616-0885
  2. The Samaritan Center, (Serving the Austin and surrounding area), (512) 451-7337
  3. West Texas Counseling & Guidance, (Serving the San Angelo and surrounding area), (325) 944-2561

(For those living far from the located facilities, Video conferencing and bilingual services are available at most of the locations)

Completely Confidential
This wellness conversation is completely confidential. No information about the nature or content of your wellness conversation is to be requested or maintained. There are no records maintained of the nature of your conversation.
Upon completion of your conversation, you may go to: https://leadershipvitality.wufoo.com/code/clergy-wellness- conversation/ and complete the online form which only verifies that you participated so you can receive your incentive stipend.

Spouse/Buddy System Eligible with Conditions
The wellness conversation is eligible for the Spouse/Buddy system on the condition that it is approved by the Counseling Center being utilized and the Leadership Vitality office.

WELLNESS EDUCATION

Through our recent clergy wellness survey, clergy revealed they would be interested in learning more about wellness subjects such as burnout, stress management, finding balance, managing conflict, and so forth. Knowledge Clergy participating in a workshop, webinar, or training lasting a minimum of three hours designed to educate on care for mental and emotional wellness will qualify as an exercise to care for the mind. Any training event led by a licensed or certified facilitator that offers subject matter, instructions, strategies, skills or training for obtaining wellness will be accepted. Some examples would be workshops on subjects such as stress management, relaxation techniques, finding balance in life and ministry, dealing with anxiety and depression, healthy relationships, pastoral ethics, boundaries, etc.

To select this option, complete the start-up questionnaire form and choose this option from the mental/emotional wellness pull-down list. Then Select from the list of workshops presented in the website, or to verify if a workshop will qualify for mental wellness, please contact Eve Albert at 408-4500, ext. 551. Register and attend the workshop. Upon completion of the event, complete an evaluation form in which you will be asked to tell how the event has impacted your mental/emotional wellness and what you will do differently as a result of having participated. To request a scholarship, submit a receipt for your registration or show an invoice. To receive the $50.00 incentive for participation you must submit your proof of attendance. Once you complete your activity period, please complete the final reporting form to receive your incentive.

Recommended Resources:

The Ecumenical Center for Education Counseling & Health (San Antonio Area and Rio Grande Valley)
(Visit website for more details of available program offerings and dates http://www.ecrh.org/)

The Ecumenical Center collaborates with many organizations to provide quality, educational workshops designed to strengthen the community’s care providers. Laredo and Rio Grande Valley wellness resources are available (with bilingual options.) The Ecumenical Center offers the Specialty in Pastoral Counseling course and community- based workshops for clergy and lay leaders in the Rio Grande Valley. These programs were created especially with and for Latino and Latina pastors of South Texas. Pastors participating in any of these programs will receive credit for participation in the Wellness program. There are a variety of workshops offered throughout the year. The workshops offer CEU credit. Here are some of the programming offerings for the Ecumenical Center:

Monthly Speaker Series
A series of monthly workshops led by nationally-recognized speakers covering a range of topics of interest that offer education and techniques to help achieve mental and emotional care.

  • Play Therapy Interventions with Military Families: Understanding Culture, Lifestyle and Resiliency Play Therapy Interventions to Enhance Resilience – May 18, 2017
  • Play based interventions for use with children, families, adults and couples… – Feb. 16 and May 18
  • Practice in Ethics – March 2
  • Sheep before Wolves: Being Wise as Serpents and Gentle as Doves – Mar. 30th 2017
  • Trauma: What Our Brain, Nervous System, and Survivors Tell Us Matter Most – Oct. 12, 2017
  • Trauma: Regulated Reintegration and Resilience Practices – Oct. 13, 2017
  • Motivational Interviewing for Addictions – Sept. 19, 2017

The Open Arts Studio/Art Therapy Training Series
This offers wellness care for the mind emotions through art therapy. The “Art Heals Hearts” program is a celebration of the power of art to facilitate healing and impact the lives of artist and audiences. This includes arts, music, and poetry writing as approaches to healing for the mind and emotions.

Wu Ji Qi Gong and Mindfulness Meditation
Practice of the ancient Chinese are that cultivates vital energy and calms the mind. This is a gentle practice that aligns the body, breath, and mind.

Pastoral Counseling Assistance

The Ecumenical Center offers counseling assistance and training on pastoral counseling techniques. – 10 –

The Samaritan Center (Austin Area)
(Go to http://samaritan-center.org/services/ to see available dates and program offerings)

Wesley Nurse Ministries
These are some of the activities and wellness educational classes offered by the Wesley Nurses in the local UM churches: Zumba, Aerobics, Nutrition, Diabetes classes and much more. Contact the Wesley Nurse in your area to learn more of wellness education opportunities.

Contact the Leadership Vitality office if you have a question about a wellness education program that you want to participate in and how it may qualify for Clergy Wellness Program credit.