Mark Gelis, PhD, LCPC
Theologian - Clinical Pastoral Counselor - Philosopher
credentials & Education
- Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor, National Christian Counselors Association, 2012
- Trauma Model Therapy Certification, Colin A. Ross Institute for Psychological Trauma
- Professional Clinical Member of the National Christian Counselors Association
- Board Certified in Temperament Counseling
- Board Certified in Integrated Marriage and Family Therapy
- Board Certified in Substance Abuse and Addiction Counseling
- Board Certified in Crisis and Abuse Therapy
- Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Clinical Christian Counseling, International Institute of Christian Counseling, USA, 2013
- Post-Graduate Licentiate Studies in Theological Anthropology, Pontifical Lateran University, Rome Italy, 2009
- Master's Degree in Theological Studies, Summa cum Laude, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome Italy, 2000
- Bachelors Degree in Sacred Theology, Summa cum Laude, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome Italy, 1993
- Bachelors Degree in Philosophy, Summa cum Laude, Pontifical University of St.Thomas Aquinas, Rome Italy, 1989
At the early age of 15, after experiencing the premature death of his brother due to cancer, Mark felt the first stirrings within himself to dedicate his life to relieving the sufferings of others. He began pursuing the dream of becoming a medical doctor and discovering a new lifesaving medicine. With this goal in mind he graduated from high school with honors in just three years in 1980 while already taking university level courses. He was accepted to study pre-medicine at LSU.
Just a few months after receiving the sacrament of confirmation he had a profound life changing experience of God in which he understood that God was asking him to center his life on Him. God was proposing to Mark a greater plan for his life. Although it wasn't clear what that meant, Mark believed and trusted in God. He left his own plans behind and followed God.
This new found friendship and intimacy with God ultimately led Mark on a 30 year odyssey at the service of God and humanity in over a dozen countries. From social service to the Navajo Indians of New Mexico to a Nationwide youth leadership ministry throughout the US. He worked with delinquent youth in Spain where he also promoted youth evangelization in many major cities. He co-founded historical/cultural foundations in England and Spain to help foster the Christian renewal of society. Rome, Italy became home for Mark for over 20 years. Over a period of fifteen years he helped set up homes for orphaned and abandoned children in the former USSR as well as organizing programs and centers to provide for the material, sociocultural, medical, educational and spiritual needs of these peoples who suffered under the yoke of atheistic communism for seventy years. He also did mission work in Africa and India.
In 2010, after spending almost a lifetime in the service of those in need around the globe culminating in a year dedicated to prayer and study, Mark returned to his native South Louisiana, to the familiar north shores of Lake Ponchartrain. Through his prayer for discernment, God revealed the new direction He wished for Mark's ministry – Pastoral Counseling. In many respects this counseling ministry is the ripened fruit of his many years of seasoned ministry carried out in a vast diversity of cultural experiences of humanity throughout the world. Coupled with his academic education in philosophy, theology and pastoral counseling, these rich life experiences afford him exceptional insight in his counseling approach.
Returning home has given Mark a sense of coming full circle. Reconnecting back to his teenage dream of finding a lifesaving cure, it has become clear that his ministry throughout the world has formed him with a deep experience of the universal brokenness of human life. It shaped particularly Mark's understanding of the profound and widespread personal alienation and fragmentation that is fomented through our fractured secular culture, not to mention the resulting difficulty in being able to understand and experience God's goodness, love and compassion in this broken state. Thus, it has given him special insight and perspective on what is perhaps the deepest ailment underlying the pervasive suffering and dysfunction which has become characteristic of our post-Christian culture. In pointing Mark to the ministry of pastoral counseling, God has shown him a powerful remedy to alleviate this suffering and an efficacious assistance to all who are seeking a fuller and healthier faith-filled life.