Thriving Couples Blog

Counseling individuals, families and couples in the Des Moines and Ames area -

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Ames Counseling Office            Des Moines Counseling Office

Heart to Heart Is Looking for New Therapists!

now-hiringDue to more people wanting our services, we are happy to announce we are looking for 2 competent part-time counselors (to the right person could become full-time) for the Des Monies (Urbandale) and Ames, IA area.

Send us your resume, a cover letter and a 2-3 page essay pointing out how your training, therapy theory and life experiences would qualify you to be a part of Heart to Heart Communication.

If you know of a possible candidate that would be a fit with Heart to Heart Communication, share with them a link to this blog.  Thanks.

See below for more details:

Qualifications include:

We are only considering applications from people who are licensed or working toward licensure in marriage and family therapy or who have finished another qualifying counselor graduate program that would enable you to be a therapist in Iowa under WellMark Blue Cross Blue Shield as a provider.  You must have finished your graduate degree and are able to receive insurance payments form BCBS.  Ninety percent of our clientele have this type of insurance so you would need to be on their panel or be able to be on their panel on your own accord.  We provide supervision as part of your support with Heart to Heart, so you don’t have to pay for that service.  If you have your license and are already on the Wellmark panel, so much the better.

While we do more than couple work, we are known as specializing in this area and most of our clients are looking for help in their marriage specifically or in relationships in general.  In order to succeed in working with couples you need to have values and a skill set consistent with working and specializing in this unique field:

1) Integrity: One of the primary aspects of marriage counseling is helping people establish integrity in their lives.  A lack of integrity leads to a myriad of marital problems.  We believe their counselor must be a model of integrity in his or her own life.  You can’t help people rise much above where you are in maturity.  You can’t mature above your level of integrity.  The word integrity means whole and that implies your private and public persona are consistent.  Clients can tell if you are a phoney and just talk the talk.  We need someone who walks the walk.

2) Systemic thinker: Counselors who only embrace an individual model of counseling fail at couple work, because they are looking for fault.  This is one of the major problems couples have!  They blame each other.  You cannot be a successful couples’ counselor unless you can step outside of your clients’ stuff and give them an objective perspective. We are not interested in labels.  “He needs anger management” or “She has a poor self-image” or “She’s bi-polar” or “He’s narcissistic” are typical comments from counselors who have no idea how couples interact.  The interaction is what drives the couple.  You have to help them see that both of them need to be the better person.  If they can only be nice to each other when the other is nice to them, they will self-destruct.  That is what they are doing when they come in your office!  Commitment, trust, accountability, communication, problem solving, affection, sex, even fun and friendship are all interaction effects.  You can’t help people with these things unless they are working together, and if you can help them work together, the anger and self image most of the time problems go away!  It’s a pretty mysterious and humbling thing and if you don’t understand it you will fail in couple work.

3) A Gentle Guide: In today’s educational for training counselors being an expert is scorned.  The client is proclaimed as right.  There are no values.  You can’t be directive, because that takes people’s choices away.  These educators mean well.  They are rightly reacting to counselors and ministers being too dogmatic.  Okay.  We get that.  But let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.  Countless clients have told me they went to other counselors before seeing us and their old counselor just sat and listened and gave no advice at all except maybe to say “either you have to learn to accept it or divorce.”  Or the counselor let them argue in the session and didn’t even give them any guidelines on how to talk about issues without animosity.  Are you kidding me?!  If that’s all you have to offer, you will never be blessing to couples.  At Heart to Heart Communication we believe there are certain things that work and certain things that don’t work and we are happy to share those things with our clients.  Our clients are PLEADING with us to help them envision what could get them out of the mess they are in.  Certainly we help them tap into their collective wisdom and make it their own and we aren’t mean about it, but giving someone a road map when they are lost is an act of kindness!  Your clients will thank you for it.  You have to have a little finesse.  You can’t bulldoze  people with it.  But giving them some insight and perspective and ideas that actually work?  You bet.  Consider: many of your clients have never even seen a successful couple before!  They may have both grown up in homes of divorce or even no marriage with siblings from multiple parents.  How are they supposed to know what works and what doesn’t?  That’s where you come it.  If you are uncomfortable mentoring clients and just want to nod your head and be supportive, you wouldn’t be a fit for us.

4) A Teachable Spirit:  I have worked with thousands of couples and individuals about their relationships and over the years have learned a few things that work and what doesn’t work.  You’ll note on this website I’ve shared a model for marriage (The Thriving Couples Model) that grew out of the insights my clients shared with me.  When things don’t work for people I ask why not.  When they succeed I ask what they did or thought.  Over time, this adds up to thousands of insights that take on a pattern.   Those patterns can be shared and tested with future clients and what works and doesn’t work ferreted out.  The end result is I have developed many unique interventions that help couples work through commitment issues, how to heal from an affair, how to deal with the pornography issue, how to reduce fighting and actually listen to each other, how to kick sexuality into gear, just to name a few.  Some of these insights I’ve gained from the research literature and my own education.  In my Ph.D. at Iowa State University I specialized in marriage relationships.  Some of the interventions I learned from the reservoir of my faith.  Some of them I learned after 39 years in a loving marriage and family.  Many of them I learned from my client’s experience.  These are interventions that have worked over and over and I’d be happy to share them with someone who works in our office.

5) Your Specialization is A PLUS:  Our office specializes in couple issues and issues facing adults.  Most of these are relationship issues.  If clients need family therapy or therapy for their children or teenager, we have been referring them out.  Some addiction counseling we also refer.  If you have a specialty with teens or children or families or addictions this could be a good foundation for learning couple work.  It would also mean we could self-refer.  It’d be nice to keep our clients in-house.  But as being part of Heart to Heart, we’d also like you to learn the couple aspect.  We can add to your expertise.  You could add to ours.  That’d be a win-win.

6) A Fit with Our Mission:  Please check out our website enough so you are familiar with our stated mission and what drives us as an organization.  If you see things on our website that you strongly disagree with, we probably aren’t a fit.  If you find what we have to say refreshing, we may be on the same page.  We definitely would like staff who have kindred spirits and who are not going to roll their eyes at our sense of calling to be a breath of fresh air in the counseling field.  You can check out this web page for a start, but please read a number of blogs on different topics to get a sense of our mission.

What We Offer:

1) Supervision and specific training in couple work and working with adults on life and relationship issues.  I am an Approved Supervisor with the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists.  There are not many of us in Iowa.  I also have a Ph.D. in the field and there’s not many of those either.  Plus I have seen thousands of couples and individuals on myriads of topics and learned a pointer or two in the process.  Your training includes one-on-one time with me, in-house audio and video recordings, written materials and handouts.

2) A Laid Back Environment:  As long as your files are up to speed, how you use your time is up to you.  If you have time between clients, your time is your own once your records and schedule are up to date.

3) Administration: We answer the phone, set your appointments with new clients, file your client’s insurance, pay your taxes, pay the rent and all business bills.  You only have to worry about being on time and being a blessing to your clientele.

4) Compensation: We can talk about this if we end up meeting face-to-face, but let’s just say it’s very competitive and includes a generous bonus at the end of the year if we continue to grow the business.  After one year we include retirement.

5) Possible Full-Time:  We’ve developed a niche in Central Iowa and you could tap into that reservoir.  We are intending to grow the business and, if interested beyond part-time, you could grow with us.

What We Need From You If You Want to Pursue This:

Send us your resume, a cover letter and a 2-3 page essay pointing out how your training, therapy theory and life experiences would qualify you to be a part of Heart to Heart Communication.  If you heard of this opening from a colleague or friend who read our blog or who knows about us, having them write a letter of reference would also be helpful.  Send these materials to the email: or by hard copy to: Heart to Heart Communication, PO Box 224, Ames, Iowa 50010.

Thanks for your interest.

Need Individual Or Couples Counseling? Call 888-233-4334 or email

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