About Charis

The word CHARIS (pronounced “care us”) is Greek for grace. Grace is undeserved support or acts of kindness. In brief, it means that God desires the best for us so He unconditionally provides what we do not have and cannot supply for ourselves. The word CHARIS is the inspiration for CHARIS Counseling Associates.

CHARIS is a professional counseling service that is passionate about facilitating growth in people and helping them experience the hope, peace and joy God desires for them. As an innovative, collaborative and compassionate group of Christian professionals, we want each person to experience the highest quality of affordable counseling, support services and resources. We utilize evidence-based psychotherapy approaches and sound psychological theory consistent with Biblical truth to promote emotional health, improve quality of life, supporting healthy goals & growth, and reconcile relationships.
Christian Counseling
We offer services to all people regardless of age, color, culture, disability, ethnicity, national origin, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, or socioeconomic status. We respect the dignity and worth of all people, and your rights to privacy, your own beliefs and to make your own decisions. We will work with you from your own perspective because no client need to hold to our beliefs to receive the best professional service we can provide. Nor do we impose our beliefs on clients. At CHARIS, we treat all people with respect, grace and understanding.

Our History
CHARIS Counseling Associates was founded in 1997 as an independent, nonprofit Christian, professional counseling center. CHARIS was born as an outgrowth of a Legal and Ethical Issues class of the Western Seminary counseling program in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Kay Bruce and her students began to envision a faith-based counseling center that would uphold Christian principles, professional ethics and standards, state and federal laws, and serve as a major resource to area churches, schools, and the whole community.

The center initially opened for business in the basement of a rural historic church building. The first three years of business resulted in a doubling of growth each year. We added new counselors and quickly outgrew the facilities. In 1999, CHARIS moved into the parsonage owned by Brush Prairie Baptist Church, Vancouver, Washington. Many people donated materials, money, and time to repair and remodel the interior to make it conducive to a counseling center. Presently, we have five counselors who serve a wide variety of clients and ages.

Since 1997, our mission is to extend God’s grace through our gifting and skills as related to counseling (1 Peter 4:10). As a ministry, we have provided over one million dollars of pro bono services to over 3,100 needy children, adolescents, adults, marriages and families..
Statement of Faith
Everyone has a worldview–a philosophy of life–that guides their personal, social and professional lives. These core beliefs determine values, ethics and life decisions. All perceptions, conceptions, knowledge, and actions are derived from a person's worldview. Therefore, a counselor's worldview is as important as their counseling theory. We want clients to be aware of our philosophy of life–our Statement of Faith and the Core Values that guide our mission:

We believe that the Bible is God’s inspired Word. There is one and only one living and true God existing as three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God eternal and equal with the Father. Human beings were created in the image of God, but became sinners by nature and deed, and therefore hopelessly lost. Salvation, restoration to membership in God’s family, is by grace through faith alone for those who trust in the saving work of Christ at the Cross.

Core Values:
  • We wholeheartedly believe and commit to our Statement of Faith. All counseling theory and techniques utilized will be consistent with our Statement of Faith.
  • We are committed to demonstrating respect for all clients.
  • We are committed to providing professional counseling services in accordance with local, state, federal, and organizational laws, statutes, and ethical guidelines.
  • We are committed to addressing the holistic development of our clients—physical, emotional, cognitive, social, and spiritual. We are also quick to refer those issues that are primarily pastoral in nature to a church pastor or pastoral counselor and those that are primarily physical in nature to a physician.
  • We are committed to being a counseling resource for local churches.
  • We are committed to benefiting our local community.
  • We are committed to making every attempt to be affordable to clients in need.
  • We are committed to ensuring that all clients are afforded the right to a counselor with whom they have no other ongoing relationship, and who is competent to treat their issues.
  • We are committed to ongoing personal, professional, and organizational growth (physically, emotionally, cognitively, and spiritually).
Board of Directors


Bart J. Fowler, Psy.D.
Executive Director

Board of Directors (All volunteers)
  • Dr. Bart J. Fowler
  • Pastor Stephen Harrier
  • Pastor Dwane Shockley
  • Gary Talboy