‘The Workshop’ Counseling Center

The counseling ministry of The Workshop is an arm of Church of Ascension’s congregational care. There can be seasons in our lives where we are stuck or hurting—individually and/or relationally. It can be a gift to have someone intentionally process, guide and walk with us in these seasons of struggle. Jesus meets us in this journey, and, in fact, it is often in the very face of suffering that we get to know him as “the God of all comfort” (II Cor. 1:3). Many of us limp around, dragging or attempting to conceal the parts of ourselves that don’t work very well. It is “for freedom that Christ has set us free.” The ministry of The Workshop hopes to play a role in helping people discover this freedom and live into it more fully.

The Workshop has three counselors all of whom have sliding scales for payment, some of whom accept insurance:

Mari Stout
Mari grew up as one of six kids in Japan, a daughter of missionaries. After graduating from college, she went to work with adjudicated youth and families in Colorado Springs, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Her experience in the social services led her to seek a better understanding of how people change and encounter hope. She pursued her training at Westminster Theological Seminary, where she received a Masters of Divinity with an emphasis in counseling. Mari’s counseling is greatly influenced by the interweaving of human stories and God’s story. Her areas of interest include: depression, trauma, anxiety, pre-marital and marital counseling. Mari, her husband, and their three children attend Church of the Ascension. She can be reached at macstout@gmail.com.

Camden Bianco
Camden is a graduate of Covenant Seminary. She loves working with children, teens, and young adults. She is very insightful and connects quickly and deeply with her clients. She comes to us with an art therapy background. Camden worships at City Reformed Church in Oakland, where her husband is the Assistant Pastor. Those interested in contacting Camden can email her at camdenbianco@gmail.com. She primarily works Fridays at Ascension.

Jim Stout
Jim came to the counseling profession via an eclectic career path.  After graduating from Brown University, he spent 10 years with the Coalition for Christian Outreach, a campus ministry organization. He held a variety of positions, ranging from leading wilderness trips that focused on leadership and discipleship to supervising campus staff and pioneering the CCO’s growth to new regions.  After his time  with the CCO, Jim spent 10 years in corporate business development, first as an entrepreneur in a venture that focused on neighborhood transformation through homeownership and later as a regional sales director for Provident.  Most recently, before becoming a counselor, he was the fourth president of the Pittsburgh Leadership Foundation. Jim is grateful for this varied journey, as it has given him a deep appreciation for the expansive ways that God forms us in different seasons of life and work.

Jim works from a holistic approach incorporating many theories and techniques integrating mind, body and soul including the following modalities: Gestalt, Internal Family Systems, Mindfulness, Body Awareness, Neuroscience in Psychotherapy, Trauma Therapy, Christian Spiritual Formation, Attachment Theory, and Biblical Counseling. He works in a manner that integrates faith into therapy, and respects and honors where his clients are in their faith journey.  Jim completed a Master’s of Arts Degree in Professional Counseling from Liberty University in December of 2019. He intends to pursue licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Jim can be reached at jmstouts@gmail.com.