When Selah Counseling Services reached our 10th anniversary, I was asked to write a letter as the Founder and Executive Director. I thought about what to write. What I thought important for others to know is, although we started this fabulous journey 10 years ago, we had our beginning decades ago.
First of all, you might ask why any wife of one and mother of four in her right mind would found a nonprofit counseling center. and I might answer, “It was a matter of destiny — of giving back.” Trust me, there have been many days that I would have chosen to do something a little different had it not been for the encouragement and support of my husband, Bob!
And so, to understand the roots and calling of Selah Counseling Services, you would have to understand Mrs. Miriam Uphouse and her calling.
I grew up in a small farming community a lot like the rural community I live in now. My parents were wonderful, loving Christian parents and we did what families like ours did. we went to Bible memory camp, vacations across the Midwest, roller skating, hiking, etc. We had a lovely, fun time growing up on a 20 acre property with a rustic cabin in the woods with all of my extended family living around us. However, the quaint lifestyle we led gradually changed one season. My older brother got involved in drugs, alcohol, and illegal activities that sometimes go with that lifestyle. He was sent to prison in 1976 and was released on “shock probation” about a year later. He soon became involved in drugs and alcohol again. My parents were overwhelmed. They were loving parents who were not trained in addiction and how it affects a family. They had no idea of what to do to help my brother. Nor did they have any idea how to protect me from the damage that was being done to me emotionally, physically and socially due to my brother’s actions. through the emotional chaos and physical violence by my brother, I chose to leave my home.
Enter Mrs. Uphouse: I moved to a different town and attended a different high school, where I lived with a friend’s family for a semester of school. My pastor’s wife, Mrs. Uphouse, who was also the Dean of Women at Grace College, knew there were problems in my family, but she also respected my parents and did not want to undermine them in any way. When she learned of my move, she began driving the 25 miles to where I was staying and taking me out to lunch on a regular basis. Her husband and she suggested I consider going to Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, rather than Indiana University, the state college I had been accepted to.
Chicago and Moody Bible Institute opened up a whole new world to me. My life was simply changed through God’s working in me and through the wonderful help I received from a counselor there. The Uphouse’s financially supported me through college. I asked Reverend and Mrs. Uphouse during one of their visits with me why they had done so much for me. I also asked them how I could ever repay them. I will never forget the answer Mrs. Uphouse gave me. She said, “Kathy, when it is your turn to give and do for someone else, all we ask is that you do the same.” My calling was set. The roots of Selah Counseling Services began to sprout.
At our wedding, the pastor announced to the attendees our intention of one day opening a nonprofit counseling center. Bob and I agreed this was a goal we both desired to see accomplished. So many times, parents, teens and individuals are wonderful people who are simply “over their heads.” Life has dealt them circumstances they were never prepared to cope with. We wanted a safe place for people to come and get the help they might need.
Selah Counseling Services has truly become an exciting place to minister to people who need help beyond the pastoral care the church might provide. We have a team philosophy that we have held for the past 10 years. Our own families are a priority to the team and we work in a collaborative way with each other that I am blessed as a professional to have developed.
Often we see families who need a multifaceted approach. The husband and wife may benefit from seeing one therapist, while the children may need to see another person on our team. We work together to provide the most efficient and effective plan to meet the individual’s and family’s needs. In addition, throughout the years, we have provided children’s anger management groups, parenting classes, men’s groups, women’s groups, and seminars for several organizations in the community.
Our group is ever growing and learning. I can truly say I am privileged to work with such a wonderful team of professionals and staff. I am encouraged to see how the work we have done has helped to provide for our community.
Thank you, Lord….
…and thank you, Mrs. Uphouse!
Kate Pieper, LMFT