Pastoral Counseling

We are dedicated to providing compassionate pastoral counseling services to support your spiritual and emotional well-being. Our experienced team of licensed professionals is here to help you navigate life’s challenges and find inner strength, resilience, and growth in your relationship with self, others, and God.


Services Offered

  • Individual Counseling: Tailored one-on-one sessions to address your unique needs and goals, fostering personal growth and self-awareness.
  • Couples Counseling: Strengthen your relationships, improve communication, and resolve conflicts with the guidance of one of our skilled therapists.
  • Family/Children/Teen Counseling: Find help in navigating the unique challenges of childhood/adolescence with the guidance of one of our skilled therapists. Children and adolescents can find a safe and supportive environment for self-expression and growth.
  • Spiritual Direction: A trained guide accompanies individuals on their spiritual journey, offering support, insight, and encouragement.

We charge a fee for services and can adjust our fee based on income. (See FAQs for more information).

Our Approach

  • Personalized approach: We understand that each person or couple’s journey is unique, so we tailor our counseling sessions to meet your specific goals and needs.  We work collaboratively with you to create a safe and supportive environment for your personal growth.
  • Confidentiality and privacy: Your privacy is of utmost importance to us.  We maintain strict confidentiality and adhere to ethical guidelines to ensure your information is protected.
  • We take your spiritual perspective seriously and work to help you integrate your faith into the issues of your life.

Dr. John Lepper has a passion for helping people integrate faith and life as they find their way in turbulent times. He has provided Pastoral Counseling through St. Matthews Pastoral Counseling Center for more than two decades. He is a Kentucky Licensed Pastoral Counselor and is a Spiritually Integrated Psychotherapist with ACPE.

He has authored several books and numerous articles to help individuals, families, and
congregations chart the difficult area of crisis and transitions.

Gretchen Watson is a Licensed Pastoral Counselor and Marriage and Family Therapy Associate. She has 12 years of experience as a therapist working with individuals, couples and families. Gretchen takes a relational approach to counseling, seeking to build a positive connection with individual clients and working to strengthen relationships within families. Gretchen believes growth occurs holistically and pays attention to emotional, mental, spiritual, physical and relational health. Gretchen uses Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Emotion Focused Couples Therapy and Attachment Focused Family Therapy to help clients reach their goals. She has joined with clients facing grief and loss, anxiety and depression and clients with a history of abuse. Gretchen has years of experience/ training working with children and adolescents but enjoys working with people of all ages.

“I believe we are all in the process of growing and becoming the people God created us to be. As a therapist, I will walk alongside you on your path toward growth and healing. Pain and obstacles are inevitable parts of life. And it is possible to regulate painful emotions and embrace obstacles as opportunities for growth. You cannot go back and change the past, but you can start right now and make a brand-new ending. Are you ready to start the journey?”  -Gretchen

Glenn Williams provides spiritual direction exclusively after decades as a pastoral psychotherapist, supervisor, and educator.  Fees are negotiable and limited scholarships are available.   

Spiritual Direction

Your innermost being, that quiet and sure part of yourself, nudges ever so slightly yet persistently, that something fundamentally is out of sync.  You know you are experiencing less than what was intended.  At times the soul pays a visit, calls to you, that your true home lies elsewhere.

A trusted experienced companion proves valuable for those in search of soul, God as God is, and a grounded well-being.  In the Christian tradition this companioning has been called spiritual direction, spiritual formation, or spiritual guidance.  The Spirit draws us to matters of ultimate concern in our personhood and our living.  Guidance describes this movement and leadership overtime, alhough discernment in the moments prove challenging.  Glenn enlists no ready-made maps to follow or determine the ultimate in your life.  The Creator uses no masterpiece duplicates or molds.  You have a way, God has a way, Glenn has a way of working with folk.  When the relationship works well, these three ways harmonize.  This takes time.  Most of Glenn’s clients tend towards once or twice a month appointments and typically remain in direction for years.   Times away from active spiritual direction are encouraged and expected.

Glenn is an ordained minister, KY Licensed Pastoral Counselor, Bible study leader, and has spent over 10 years in spiritual direction as a directee.   He has been practicing meditation-contemplation for 20 years.  During 2021-2022 Glenn spent a year in a core community of international contemplatives for an intensive experience of entering the silence and stillness.

He would be honored to walk with you on this most incredible adventure to know ourselves as we are and God as God is.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is pastoral counseling different than regular counseling?

At SMPCC our goal is to provide support and guidance as you grow toward wholeness.  We bring a distinctive form of counseling where we draw from the behavioral sciences and theological traditions to help those we serve to grow in relationship with ourselves, others, and God.  We have provided counseling for the past 25 years.

Pastoral Counseling is collaborative in nature; it’s a two-way street between the person (or couple) seeking help and the counselor.  Clients are encouraged to participate in setting the agenda for the sessions as well as the treatment goals. The task of a counselor is to enable you to ask more open and honest questions of yourself, to mirror to you your thoughts, feelings, behavior, and way of being.  This process will enable you to see your blind spots, which we all have, more clearly.   Therapy is a process that grows awareness of ourselves, others, and God.   The latter is not imposed but mutually discovered.  As pastoral counselors, we respect the sacred path of every individual and work within the religious tradition or non-tradition of each client.

How much does an appointment cost?

We will discuss fees in your initial session.  The standard fee for our licensed counselors ranges from $105 to $125 based on his/her education level.  If you are unable to pay the standard fee, we can make an adjustment based on your income.  The SMPCC sliding scale for fees is $1 per thousand of annual household income.  If a family makes $50,000/yr., for example, the counseling session fee would be $50.

You are responsible for paying your fees at the time of your session.   Payments can be made by check, cash, or credit/debit card.   Checks can be made out to SMPCC.  If you choose to pay with credit or debit card an additional 4% fee will be added to the agreed upon fee to cover bank fees.

How long does an appointment last? How do you handle appointment cancellations?

Appointments will be 50-55 minutes in duration.   The time scheduled for your appointment is assigned to you and you alone.  If you need to cancel or reschedule a session you may do so without payment penalty with 24-hour notice.  Failure to cancel without 24-hour notice will require full payment of your hourly fee, unless you and your therapist both agree that you were unable to attend due to circumstances beyond your control.

What do the first few appointments look like? What should I expect?

The first 2-4 sessions will involve an evaluation of your needs. By the end of the evaluation, your counselor will be able to offer you some initial impressions of what our work might include. At that point, we will discuss your treatment goals and create an initial treatment plan. You should evaluate this information and make your own assessment about whether you feel comfortable working with your counselor. If you have questions about your counselor’s procedures, which is normal, you can discuss this with your counselor. If your doubts persist, we will be happy to help you set up a meeting with another licensed mental health professional for a second opinion.

Can I contact my counselor between sessions?

Counselors are not immediately available by telephone and are generally unavailable outside of office hours.  When calling outside of office hours you may leave a voice message on the office phone and your call will be returned as soon as possible.  It may take a day or two for non-urgent matters.   If you feel you cannot wait for a return call or if you feel unable to keep yourself safe, go to your local Hospital Emergency Room, or call 911.

What are the risks and benefits of counseling?

Counseling has both benefits and risks. Risks may include experiencing uncomfortable feelings, such as sadness, guilt, anxiety, anger, frustration, loneliness, and helplessness, because the process of counseling often requires discussing the unpleasant aspects of your life.  Counseling can enable you to make personal changes.

Counseling has been shown to have benefits for individuals who undertake it.  It often leads to a significant reduction in feelings of distress, increased satisfaction in interpersonal relationships, greater personal awareness and insight, increased skills for managing stress and resolutions to specific problems.  Counseling requires a very active effort on your part.  You will need to practice what you’ve learned in our sessions in your day-to-day living.

How do you handle confidentiality?

It is agreed that all information about the counseling relationship will be used responsibly by both parties.  Confidentiality is maintained between the counselor and the client except in the case of threat of self-harm or harm to others. It is agreed that information concerning the counseling relationship—with appropriate attention to confidentiality—may be used by the counselor in consultation with colleagues at

St. Matthews Pastoral Counseling Center, Inc. for the benefit of the counselee.

We are required to keep appropriate records of the services provided. Your records are maintained in a secure location in the office.  SMPCC will keep your records for six years following termination or your last appointment.  After six years your records will be destroyed.

Do you take insurance of any kind?

No, we do not take insurance at all. We also do not file insurance claims for you. Full payment of the counseling fee is the client’s responsibility.  We will supply you with a receipt of payment for services, which you can submit to your insurance company for potential reimbursement.

We suggest that you call your insurance company to ask and understand the answers to the following questions:

  • Does my health insurance plan include mental health benefits and does my insurance specifically cover Licensed Pastoral Counselors?
  • Do I have a deductible? If so, what is it and have I met it yet?
  • Does my plan limit how many sessions per calendar year I can have? If so, what is the limit?
  • Do I need written approval from my primary care physician in order for services to be covered?
Where are you located?

Our street address is 3515 Grandview Avenue, Louisville, KY. If you enter this address into your GPS, you will arrive at the wrong side of the building.

We are located inside St. Matthews Baptist Church near the church offices.  Enter the building via Entrance D on Macon Street.  Walk up the steps under the covered drive. The counseling center receptionist is the 5th door on the left.