Our Story

Pastoral Counseling Services was founded as Samaritan Counseling Services in 1971 and has served the Jacksonville community through a wide range of outpatient pastoral counseling and psychotherapeutic services. These services have met and continue to meet the needs of individuals, couples, families, adolescents and children. 

Our independent Board represents a cross-section of the community. Charitable financial support is provided by local congregations, foundations, business and private donations.

REmembering Essentials

Rev. David Verner, Ph.D

Former Interim Director of Training

     "Pastoral Counseling as a distinct specialization of ministry and formal discipline came into being in the early 1960's. The group of pioneers who formed the American Association of Pastoral Counselors in 1963 no doubt were influenced by many factors. However, in their writings and reflections one thing stands out in particular. They were motivated by vision of relational healing. They saw the basic human predicament as a thicket of broken and wounded relationships in need of restoration. They were searching for ways to foster the healing of relationships. They held the common convictions that to be engaged in such healing work was to be engaged in the work of God....

     In the current climate of psychotherapy human beings are increasingly treated as problems to be solved-quickly. Daniel Day Williams reminds us that this is a woefully misguided approach to the human struggles and agonies that bring people into counseling; and that there is no substitute for relational authenticity in the healing of wounded souls."

     The preceding quotation was written in the summer of 1996 yet eloquently depicts the essences of Pastoral Counseling Services still serving the community of Northeast Florida in the 21st century.