In 1964 the Rev. Dr. Donald Hargrave Gross, the Rev. Dr. Everett I. Campbell, and Dr. Richard L. Russell together founded Pittsburgh Pastoral Institute to provide education for faith leaders who desired to increase their understanding of the relationship between religion and mental health. Over time it became apparent that pastors needed not only education but also a place where they could refer parishioners for more extensive mental health services. As a result, Pittsburgh Pastoral Institute expanded its function, becoming the longest-lived interfaith counseling center in Southwestern PA.
Over the decades Pittsburgh Pastoral Institute partnered with increasing numbers of churches across Allegheny and the surrounding counties to provide accessible branch offices.
In 1989, changes in state law brought Licensed Social Workers, Licensed Professional Counselors, and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists to the fore as the legal providers of counseling. Thus, a gradual transition from what had been a staff of primarily pastors to licensed practitioners occurred. Pittsburgh Pastoral Institute has continued to employ many licensed therapists with formal theological education. The organization has always maintained its commitment to the importance of spirituality in the healing process while integrating the resources of a client’s faith and beliefs to the extent so desired.
In recent years, Pittsburgh Pastoral Institute’s roots in education and training have revitalized primarily through a Speaker’s Bureau providing many forms of seminars on topics of mutual interest to clergy and counselors. Continuing to provide unique services for faith leaders in the form of support groups, on location educational workshops, psychological assessment for ordination candidates, topic-specific consultation, and an accredited Clinical Pastoral Education Program.
• Counseling and psychotherapy for individuals, couples, families and groups
• CAD – the Career Assessment and Development Program designed to provide a psychological assessment of ordination candidates
• CPE – the Clinical Pastoral Education Program, an interfaith model of training in pastoral care for faith leaders, seminary and rabbinic students, and qualified laypeople
• Spiritual Direction on an individual, group, retreat, and workshop basis
• Continuing Education through the Institute’s Speaker’s Bureau, staff leadership presenters, and co-sponsorship across multiple community partners
While every counseling experience is unique, our therapists seek to provide an empathic relationship in which the client can safely and freely discuss their concerns in a faith-friendly context. The main goal for clients and clinicians is to work together to reduce distress while seeking to promote personal growth, self-awareness, and meaningful relationships with those who are significant in one’s life. This is a person-centered process in which the client determines the areas of discussion and exploration in each session. All persons, from all walks of life, can benefit from counseling services and are accepted without discrimination based on age, color, ethnic origin, gender, disability, race, religious affiliation, or sexual orientation.
Pittsburgh Pastoral Institute seeks to serve the diverse faith community of Pittsburgh. Services are provided free of discrimination according to age, color, ethnic origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, or disability. Most insurances are accepted to include UPMC, UPMC for You, Highmark, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Gateway, Aetna, CHIP, Cigna, Health America, MHN, Magellan Behavioral Health, Medical Assistance, Medicare, Tricare, UBH – Optum, Value Behavioral Health and ValueOptions.