Personal issues affecting clergy competency: Barriers to resolution and resources available


  • Jim Oraker MDiv, PhD,

    1. University of the Rockies
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    • Jim Oraker, MDiv, PhD, in addition to being core clinical faculty at the University of the Rockies, is an ordained Presbyterian minister and licensed psychologist. His specialty practice and research is impaired professionals. Jim may be reached at

  • Frederick Malmstrom PhD,

    1. University of the Rockies
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    • Frederick Malmstrom, PhD, a licensed psychologist, is adjunct professor at the University of the Rockies School of Professional Psychology and visiting scholar at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He may be reached at

  • Emily Roby PsyD

    1. Colorado
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    • Emily Roby, PsyD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and professional counselor in the state of Colorado. Currently in private practice, she specializes in the treatment of trauma, professional distress, and sleep disorders. She may be reached at


This article draws from a survey of pastors regarding their careers as healers. The purpose was to identify personal and health issues affecting clergy competency and their barriers to seeking help and to help develop resources to assist them. An earlier survey of psychologists with personal and health issues threatening their competency was modified to better serve pastors, while keeping the content consistent to the purpose of the research. Both pastors and psychologists provide help in time of trouble, work with belief systems, and provide intervention. Both rely on interpersonal helping skills and acknowledge the importance of ethical principles. Finally, a training program is suggested, designed to train senior ministry-partners to serve as resources for pastors in need of help.