Counseling Services

SpiriTrust Lutheran® Counseling Services is here for you when you have difficulties on your journey through life. Within a Christian context that honors diversity and autonomy, we work with you to explore what choices are available and the effects each choice may have. We will help you look at the physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual aspects of your life.

Types of Counseling

SpiriTrust Lutheran® Counseling Services offers many different session-types and areas of focus. Counseling Services are offered in Franklin and Fulton counties as well as the State College area. Individuals from surrounding areas also are eligible for counseling services through SpiriTrust Lutheran.

Couples

Marriage counseling helps couples of all types recognize and resolve conflicts and improve their relationships. Through couples therapy you can make thoughtful decisions about rebuilding your relationship.

Families

Family therapy helps family members improve communication and resolve conflicts. Family therapy is designed to teach skills which deepen family connections and assist with stressful times, even after formal therapy sessions have concluded. Treatment plans are developed specifically to meet the needs of the family. SpiriTrust Lutheran Counseling Services staff is committed to working with all family members until issues are resolved to their satisfaction.

Individuals

Individual counseling provides an opportunity to talk confidentially with a counselor about personal concerns to facilitate personal growth. In this type of therapy, the counselor and the client work together to define and discuss personal issues and reach mutually agreed upon goals.

School-Based

School-based counseling services teach students in kindergarten through grade 12 how to identify thoughts related to anxiety, depression, anger and other concerns, as well as provide the necessary skills to cope with these feelings both in school and at home. The program includes weekly individual therapy sessions for students throughout the school year, including summer sessions, if needed.

Counseling Topics

Adjustment to Life Stressors

Unexpected changes at work or home, illness, death, or a new baby can cause stress, anxiety or depression, sometimes making normal routines feel overwhelming. Most people adjust to these types of changes in a few months, but sometimes the adjustment is more difficult and can lead to feelings of lethargy, sadness or self-destruction or poor decision-making. Seeking help from a licensed counselor can help you regain your emotional control and move forward with your life.

Anxiety

Feelings of worry, nervousness or unease are all signs of anxiety and typically are associated with an imminent event or an occasion with an uncertain outcome. You may feel like you need to do something, or have an uncertainty about what that action should be. More severe cases of anxiety can be described as excessive apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior and panic attacks. SpiriTrust Lutheran Counseling Services can help you overcome minor or severe anxiety through a variety of methods.

Couple and Family Issues

Family therapists treat a wide variety of psychological, emotional and relational problems related to individuals, couples, families and community groups. Family therapists share the premise that human behavior occurs within family, social, and cultural contexts.

Depression

The National Institute of Mental Health recognizes several types of depression disorders.

  • Major Depression: Characterized by severe symptoms that interfere with your ability to work, sleep, study, eat and enjoy life. An episode can occur only once in a person’s lifetime, but more often a person has several episodes.
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder: Symptoms include a depressed mood that lasts for at least two years. A person diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder may have episodes of major depression or less severe symptoms, but symptoms must last for two years.
  • Psychotic Depression: A type of depression which occurs when a person has severe depression in addition to some form of psychosis, such as having disturbing false beliefs or a break with reality (delusions) or hearing or seeing upsetting things that others cannot hear or see (hallucinations).

Loss and Grief

Grief is something everyone experiences at some point in their lives.  The most intense grief typically comes after the death of a loved one. Feeling empty or numb is common, as are deep feelings of sadness and sorrow. Guilt, regret, anxiety, fear, ambivalence or helplessness are other common feelings associated with death and loss. There is no timetable for the grieving process, although experts generally agree on five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Each individual needs to find his or her own way to heal after a loss.  Some people find it beneficial to have an impartial person there to listen.  Others need help navigating the road back to normalcy.  Whatever your need, SpiriTrust Lutheran Counseling Services is here to help you with feelings of loss or grief.

Marriage Preparation

Once you and your partner have made the decision to marry, marriage preparation can help the two of you identify relationship strengths as well as potential issues prior to saying your vows. SpiriTrust Lutheran Counseling Services can help you and your partner enter the next stage of your lives confident that you have the resources to help overcome life’s challenges together.

Parent Training

Becoming a parent can be an overwhelming experience. After your bundle of joy is finally sleeping through the night, another set of challenges comes into focus. SpiriTrust Lutheran Counseling Services staff can talk you through some of the questions you are facing to come up with the best possible solution.

Stress Management

Stress management starts with identifying the sources of stress in your life. The sources might not always be obvious, and it is all too easy to overlook thoughts, feelings and behaviors. SpiriTrust Lutheran Counseling Services staff can help walk you through the process of identifying stressors, even those you may overlook yourself, and addressing them with you. In time, you and your counselor can form a plan to de-stress your life and cope with stress that is a normal part of life.

Consultations

We offer general guidance at no cost to the following groups to assist them in helping individuals in difficult situations:

  • Community Organizations
  • Physicians/Health Care Professionals
  • Clergy
  • Educators
  • Veterans

Meet Our Licensed Counselors

Our counselors are doctoral- or master-trained and supervised by a licensed clinician. They receive ongoing professional training in providing behavioral health services.

Bob Skelly, PhD, Program Director

Bob is the program director of SpiriTrust Lutheran® Counseling Services and oversees the day-to-day operations for the Chambersburg and State College offices. He is a Licensed Psychologist in Pennsylvania and has nearly 35 years of experience providing behavioral health services.

He works with a variety of people aged 13 and older. Dr. Skelly has extensive experience working with couples and individuals treating a broad range of clinical issues. In addition, Dr. Skelly conducts psychological evaluations for individuals seeking to enter seminary and prepare for rostered ministry in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.

George Bennett, MA, MAMS, Counselor III

George is a licensed Professional Counselor in Pennsylvania and a Diaconal Minister in the Lower Susquehanna Synod of the ELCA.

He has more than 30 years of experience in behavioral health and works with a broad range of clinical issues. In addition, he is a trained leader of Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP), and provides Critical Incident Stress Debriefing.

Mary Rebert, MSW, LSW, Counselor II

Mary joined the SpiriTrust Lutheran Counseling Services team in May 2014 as a Licensed Social Worker. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Saint Vincent College, and then went on to earn a Master of Social Work degree from Shippensburg University. Mary works with individuals aged five and older. Mary has experience in a variety of settings including long-term residential mental health, hospital and school settings.

Crystal Kagarise, M.Ed., Counselor II

Crystal is a Master‘s-level counselor with a degree in school counseling. She has extensive experience within the school setting and various alternative educational settings. Crystal works with a variety of clients, both children and adults. Her areas of expertise include grief and loss, choice theory/reality therapy, and psychodynamic theory. She has been a counselor for nine years.

Donna Roland, MSS, LCSW, Counselor

Donna is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with experience in community mental health, school, inpatient substance abuse, private practice and non-profit agency settings. She works with a variety of individuals age three and older.

Specific areas of interest and experience include child centered play therapy, adoption, foster care, attachment issues and abuse issues. Donna also has extensive experience treating depression, anxiety and challenges of life issues.

Phyllis Knepper, Administrative Secretary

Phyllis is the administrative secretary for the Chambersburg and State College offices. Upon graduating business school in 1999, she was hired by SpiriTrust Lutheran Counseling Services.

Her duties include client scheduling, insurance correspondence, managing client accounts, answering the phone and numerous other responsibilities. Phyllis is dedicated to making clients feel comfortable and greets them in a friendly and compassionate manner.

Payment & Contact Information

Schedule an appointment today! SpiriTrust Lutheran® provides professional counseling services in Franklin and Fulton counties as well as the State College area.

Payment Information

The cost of counseling services may qualify for:

  • Private Health Insurance
  • Medicaid
  • Medicare
  • Employee Assistance Program

Self-pay is also available on a sliding fee scale.  SpiriTrust Lutheran® Counseling Services accepts cash and check. For more information, please contact the location nearest you.

Schedule an Appointment or Contact Us

SpiriTrust Lutheran Counseling Services may be recommended by your doctor, social worker, case manager, hospital discharge planner, employer or clergy.  In addition, you or a family member may request counseling services by contacting counseling directly through SpiriTrust Lutheran Counseling Serivces.

To schedule an appointment or request additional information, please call the location nearest you:

Chambersburg

717.263.9093 or 866.319.5137 (toll-free)

State College

814.238.1613 or 866.441.9883 (toll-free)