Current Status: Alumni
Graduation Year: 2012
As Dr. Wes Beavis (MA ’12) began working toward his Marriage & Family Therapy degree, he learned about the troubles that motivated people to seek therapy. Having served in church ministry for more than 20 years, Beavis knew that ministers were not immune to those same troubles.
“Pastors often feel like they should know all the answers and be ‘good examples.’ If pastors are struggling in their own lives, they can feel a sense of shame or guilt. As a consequence, many church ministry leaders suffer in silence. As a pastor, I know I did,” Beavis shares. “I struggled with many of the symptoms of ministry burnout.”
Having experienced ministry burnout personally, Beavis was inspired to further research this important issue. He discovered that when ministers are burning out, they tend to isolate themselves. They just don't want to be around people…which is a very real problem in the role of a pastor!
“One of the essential tips for the wellbeing of pastors is for them to recognize that isolation is an indicator that they are on a burnout trajectory. It is essential for pastors to talk to someone, but not just anyone,” says Beavis. “Often burnout is the result of personal issues that have not been dealt with in a healthy way. A trained clinician can help a pastor effectively identify the root cause and reverse the burnout trajectory.”
“I firmly believe that we cannot adequately address the reality of pastor mental health if we don't talk about it,” he states emphatically.
Dr. Beavis recently authored and published his new book, Let’s Talk About Ministry Burnout. He currently shares his findings in his private practice and via seminars called “Leading with Wellbeing,” during which he presents his research on the six-stages of ministry burnout with church and ministry leaders.
“Many of the skills that I employ in my clinical practice, I received from my training at HIU. At every step of my journey, HIU staff and faculty supported me in the development of my specialization.” Professor Beavis also teaches courses for the College of Psychology & Counseling at HIU.
Wes and his wife, Ellie, also a Marriage and Family Therapist, each have private practices in Newport Beach, California. They raised two sons: David and Zack.