Tender Shepherd: A Ministry of Soul Care.

We seek to provide a safe and loving environment where individuals and communities can experience the restoration of hope and healing. This healing is experienced physically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually.

The purpose of Tender Shepherd: A Ministry of Soul Care is:

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Our Services

Marriage Counseling

Depression and Anxiety


Conflict Church and Christian ministry Assessment, and Resolution.

Our Team

Dr. Laura Hamilton

Co-Founder and Director

Co-Founder and Director of Tender Shepherd: A Ministry of Soul Care. I hold a Master of Arts in Clinical Pastoral Counseling through Ashland Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry in Formational Counseling also through Ashland Theological Seminary. I have been privileged to facilitate numerous groups on inner healing prayer and Spiritual Formation. Dr. Hamilton serves as an advisor for the Institute of Formational Counseling and an advisor for the Doctor of Ministry students through Ashland Seminary. I serve as a Spiritual Director and have served as a guest speaker for various retreats and seminars. My passion is for others to experience the healing of Jesus Christ and through that healing grow in their walk with God and love him more each and every day.

Andrew Hamilton


I am a Co-Founder of Tender Shepherd: A Ministry of Soul Care. I am an ordained Pastor in the Church of the Brethren. I hold a Master of Divinity through Ashland Seminary in Ashland Ohio and a Master of Philosophy from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. I have served as an adjunct instructor for 12 years teaching a variety of theology and church history courses. I have been a guest lecturer and seminar speaker. I have published several papers, am currently a general editor for a Brethren theology series, and am currently finishing my Doctoral THD program. 

Douglas Hamilton


I am a Partner in Tender Shepherd ministries. I am also a Board-certified Christian counselor. I have worked as the C,O,O of the Keystone Mission in Wilkes Barre and Scranton Pa. with the hurting and the homeless, as well as churches in organizing ministries and building healthy working environments. As someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety for most of my life, I understand the importance of mental health and the hope for a better tomorrow. My goal and passion is to see people and organizations become the best version of themselves so that they may serve God more effectively.

Need to Know

~ Ministry of Caregiving: Formational Counseling is rooted in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, founded upon His example of wounded healer ministry, faithful to the concept of sacrificial service that Jesus modeled and then commanded His followers to practice. It is far more of a calling than a career. *
~ Pastoral Care: Formational Counseling is founded on the Biblical principle that the God of all comfort touches and transforms broken people, then moves through the wounded healer (caregiver) to bring comfort to others who are hurt. As such, the formational counselor is a person who has personally embraced the journey to well-being and out of the experience Jesus Christ, seeks to be an instrument of care and support to those in need. *
~ Spiritual Direction: Scripture teaches that God seeks to form people into the likeness of Jesus Christ and that He is present in every moment to accomplish that purpose, using all of life toward that end. Formational Counseling integrates the discipline of spiritual direction equipping the formational counselor to help hurting people discover God in the sacrament of the present moment and respond appropriately. *
~ Spirit Directed Counseling: The formational counselor views the presence and power of the Holy Spirit as the agent of transformation for the broken. He directs the process as the formational counselor submits to His ministry in the context of caregiving. The counselor’s personal journey, knowledge of behavioral sciences, and spiritual gifts become the tools the Holy Spirit uses to bring freedom and deliverance. The Holy Spirit is not a part of the healing process but is the Power of Christ moving through the surrendered caregiver.*

An appropriate way to explain why the need for formational counseling can be best understood from reading Genesis. In Genesis 2 God created Adam and Eve. He created them in his image and they were perfect. He created in them specific core longings. These core longings are security, significance, purpose, belonging, understanding and unconditional love. Those core longings were met through their relationship with God.
Genesis chapter 3 tells of the decision that Adam and Eve made which broke the covenant of life relationship they had with God. Even though their relationship with God was broken, the core longings remained. This is apparent in the recognition of their nakedness. Once they recognized they were naked, they hid from God and each other. They were ashamed and afraid.
Today, humanity suffers from the same shame and brokenness as Adam and Eve experienced in the garden. God desires that people will have those core longings met through their relationship with him. Instead we satisfy our core longings through dysfunctional behaviors. For example, some of us struggle with the longing to feel that we belong. So we bounce from one relationship or job to another until we feel like we belong. Some people have the longing to feel significant. In order to fill this need they find their significance by trying to please others, or to attain a certain level of status. Some have never felt loved unconditionally so they kill the pain by some addiction–drugs, alcohol, food, constantly working, etc. These dysfunctional behaviors are sinful because they hurt us and others. God wants to be the one to satisfy our core longings. Unfortunately, we often fulfill them in ways that are wrong and hurtful.
During the counseling relationship, each of these will become clearer. The bottom line is, we are all wounded. Moreover, in our woundedness, we hurt others. It is important for us to receive the healing that Jesus offers so that we might live and experience a whole relationship with God and others.
(Taken from Dr. Terry Wardle, Institute of Formational Counseling at Ashland Theological Seminary in Ashland Ohio.)
  • Tender Shepherd’s ministry includes strict confidentiality. Conversations between the client and counselor are confidential. The counselor will not release anyinformation provided by a client without prior written consent unless mandated by law.
  • Other exceptions to this confidentiality include;
    • Court-compelled testimony
    • Consultation with other counseling professionals, (even in this, the client signs a consent form providing permission to consult with other professionals).
    • Duty to warn (ACA Code of Ethics)
      • When it is determined that a clear and imminent danger, (physical and/or emotional) exists to the client and/or third person. The law mandates that the counselor must warn the person in danger, report it to the local law enforcement, and medical personnel.
    • Child (sexual or physical) abuse
    • Abuse of the elderly or disabled
Even though the formational counselors at Tender Shepherd are not licensed, they will work to maintain the highest ethical standards that would be expected of licensed counselors.
Many people, for various reasons, do not feel safe. In fact, many do not feel safe in their own homes. It is important for us at Tender Shepherd that those who come for formational counseling feel safe. We will work diligently and deliberately to provide an atmosphere and a relationship where people feel safe. This means building trust and confidence with those to whom we minister. During the formational counseling relationship, we will check in with you to inquire about your level of safety and security. Many times, ones lack of feeling secure and safe reaches beyond the counseling relationship. For this reason we are intentionally attentive to where each person is (safety and security wise) when we meet.
Because Formational Counseling is not clinical counseling, and because the nature of the work it entails, each session could last for two hours. This varies from person to person and the nature of the work. Though some sessions may be shorter, we want each individual to understand that whenever you are scheduled for an appointment, two hours is set aside for you.
Formational Counseling does not require meetings twice a week. Usually, the individual or couple will have scheduled appointments as agreed upon by counselor and client. Scheduled appointments will be discussed throughout formational counseling relationship and scheduled as needed.
The price of the session is due at the time of visit. Prices may vary. Please call to request the price of your session. Cash or Venmo are accepted. We do not accept credit cards, checks, or insurance (at this time). Tender Shepherd desires to provide healing care ministry to all people regardless of financial ability. Therefore alternative payment options are available. Please let us know this before the first session.
We realize life happens and situations may arise where an individual will need to cancel or reschedule. Please cancel your appointment at least 24 hours in advance. If we recognize that you are canceling sessions too often, we will discuss the problem and move from there.
You are always welcome to contact your formational counselor if the need arises. However, the counselor may not be immediately available to you. It is important that when you call, leave your name, number and a brief explanation of what you need and are experiencing. In most cases, the counselor will contact you that same day or the next day depending upon time and availability.

Our counselors have a group of colleagues that they refer to on a bi-weekly basis. They discuss various issues that perhaps our clients are experiencing. This group of colleagues reside in other states. Your name will never be mentioned. The purpose of this practice is for accountability, and to assure that you are provided the best care possible.

Tender Shepherd does not provide clinical counseling. Although our counselors may hold degrees in clinical counseling or related fields or are board-certified, they are not licensed. They do not diagnose mental health issues or prescribe medications. However, because they are trained in the area of mental health, they will recognize certain possible disorders (which they will not talk to you about), but will refer you see to a mental health provider. Tender Shepherd will have a referral list for you in the event this need arises.

Tender Shepherd holds to the premise that “You cannot give to others what you, yourself do not possess.” Being in a formational counseling relationship with our counselors means that you are on an inner healing and spiritual journey with them. It is important for you to know as a prospective client, that we too are on a journey towards inner healing and spiritual transformation. We are on the same journey as you, seeking healing and spiritual transformation through Jesus Christ.
We hope that we have answered most of your questions. We look forward to the opportunity to work with you. Moreover, we look forward to witnessing the healing that will take place in your life through the power of Jesus Christ!

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