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Counseling & Supervision

*** We live in a world and a time when the only ‘constant’ is change.

*** Change often involves loss and grief.

*** These powerful feelings are best handled with the help of a caring friend.

John Mark Ministries offers a special confidential service to professionals – particularly clergy and managers – and others, to see them through times of transition.

Rev. Dr. Rowland Croucher is an experienced counselor, who has ‘been there’. He has been senior pastor of the Blackburn Baptist Church (25 people on the salaried staff, including nine on the pastoral team), was on the executive staff of World Vision (leadership enhancement), and has led seminars/ workshops on management and leadership in 35 countries.

Specialties: supervision (see short article below), professional development, relationships/marriage/ sexual counseling, self esteem & vocation, personal growth, stress/burnout, handling difficult emotions, spiritual/ theological issues.

Counseling is mainly about ‘creative listening to help solve problems’. Rowland’s style is interactive/non-directive (‘Glasserian’ if you want the professional counseling category). Sessions are the standard ’50-minute hour’ – mostly walking along forest trails near Rowland’s home in Heathmont. Often a one-hour diagnostic session is all that is needed. For some this is followed by subsequent sessions (say weekly) or a two-day intensive retreat.

Organisational audits are helpful ways pastors and church leaders can get precise, confidential feedback from their congregation. Interviews, or a simple questionnaire is completed by everyone – for Rowland’s eyes only. These are often supplemented by more personal and group interviews. Three separate reports are later sent to the pastor (quite frank), leaders (more general but also encouraging) and to the whole congregation (also encouraging).

Suggested Donation: Audits by negotiation. For counseling: whatever you can afford (usually $80 per session for wage/salary earners ) – either cash or a cheque made out to Well-Being Australia (or WBA) – they’re tax-deductible. Donations go to our mission-projects (most recent: a $130,000 guest-flat used as a retreat-centre for pastors, missionaries etc.)  I do not draw any salary/stipend.

Contact me by email ([email protected])  – or via a private message on Facebook – to make a first appointment.


Counselling feedback

Emails like this help to make pastoral counselling worthwhile.


Dear Rowland,

Thank you SO MUCH, for today. I owe my very life to you, and I just wish I could let you know how much all you are means to me! And thanks for coming to me – getting to you would have been very difficult as you would know.

I also know I touched on LOTS of issues today. I sensed really just to let you know where I’m at in several areas, so that now as you breathe and walk and hear from your inner Spirit, if anything comes to your mind in relation to any ONE or more of these things, that you will let me know what you sense is the direction I need to take.

I’m very affirmed that you resonate well with the idea and need for me to take more time in solitude, etc. with God. I really am experiencing a wonderful ‘parenting’ time with the Lord at present, where I know he is fathering me at times, and mothering me at other times. It is a most beautiful and emotional and overwhelming awesomeness which covers me while that is happening.

I have always known an emotional need for a father I never had, and a mother I never had, and in many ways I know I grew up as an orphan emotionally, physically, and in lots of other ways too. Long years ago I asked the Lord to provide me with two people in my life who could do that, and in many ways you met for me some of my ‘father’ needs, but the ‘mother’ needs have never been met in any way.

Now, in spending heaps of time with the Lord in silence, and in nature, in prayer, and the Scripture, and reading other authors etc too, and simply telling the Lord I am waiting and in an inner attitude prepared to receive from him whatever he would like to give me, I am finding that during that time, so often I begin to sense a cradling, of God himself rocking me and speaking and smiling and oh! Wow! It is just so INCREDIBLE! At other times I am being ‘toddled’ along a little path as he speaks to me and points out little birds and peeks under tiny rocks with me, etc.I could go on and on, but I am honestly being fathered and at other times mothered by God himself!!!

Can I believe that God could absolutely meet this huge human need? Yes! Yes! Yes! He himself is reaching deep down within, and building into me what I don’t believe really ANY human ever could.

To be so honored and cherished and loved that God would take this time to do the impossible in my life is something I could never express. Gratitude just overwhelms me.

Well, I don’t quite know why all this just stumbled out. But I really do feel blessed that you have said to do more solitude, because that is exactly what I WANT to do! But I was being told of being self-centred, etc in some circles and ‘should be out sharing with others’ etc, and I just needed a word one way or the other to let me know which ‘voice’ was God’s. So now I will enjoy lots more ‘growing up with God as my perfect Mummy and Daddy’ times. What a gracious, kind, tender God we have!

Blessings and peace be with you,

[Name of adult female client withheld. Reproduced here with her permission].


PROFESSIONAL SUPERVISION is guided reflection on the process and outcomes of leadership. The ‘process’ involves integrity, trust and compassion; ‘outcomes’ are measured by achievements in terms of the stated goals of the organization/community being served.

Integrity is related to the ethical/moral standards set down by the organization in their code of ethics or a similar document.

Trust is the mutual respect engendered in the processes of working together, and the respectful relationships formed in those encounters/processes.

Compassion or empathy is a concomitant of the acceptance of the uniqueness of all parties involved. 

Supervision conducted by Rowland Croucher is mostly in the context of a People-helping profession (psychiatrists, counselors, psychologists, clergy have been involved with him from time to time). Some of these ‘people helpers’ have undertaken a once-a-month/ten months a year commitment; others might meet with Rowland less frequently.

Issues addressed are many and varied, and include such dynamics as

* reflection on the processes/practice of people-helping, leading to increased intentionality, creativity and quality

* wholeness in affirming strengths and addressing and/or accepting weaknesses in both the people-helper and clients

* taking responsibility for failures or unexpected intrusions in work-place experiences, leading to a re-alignment of goals and priorities

* accountability in terms of adherence to ethical ideals and processes, and in relationships with superiors, colleagues, and clients: all of this includes cognizance of and adherence to appropriate professional/ personal/sexual boundaries with others

* issues of self-care, family responsibilities, balance between work and leisure

* self-development in terms of time-management, professional reading and development, skill-development, setting goals and priorities

* conflict management, understandings of racial/ethnic diversity, insights into a client’s family-of-origin experiences

Supervision encounters are dialogical, inter-active, and very rarely prescriptive. The process involves guided prompts which hopefully lead to the ‘supervisee’s’ better understanding of their situations. 

Supervision may be supplemented by the client’s conferring with a mentor, spiritual director or coach. In addition, it is incumbent upon the supervisor to submit regularly to another professional who may – with the client’s permission – listen to recordings or read transcripts of supervision sessions.  

The desired outcome of professional supervision is a continuing enhancement of the leadership/service we offer. Along with this can go increased self-respect, released potential, the capacity to see, feel and hear what we have tended not to see, feel and hear about ourselves and the exercise for our vocation, and the bonus of increased health and well-being.

There’s much more, and I suggest Googling ‘Professional Development Supervision’ for much more on this subject.

(Rev. Dr. Rowland Croucher)







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