an interview by DR. CHRIS ARDUESER
Family Counseling Service was founded in 1942 by the Community Chest (now known as the United Way) to aid families that were still dealing with the effects of The Great Depression. At that time, Family Counseling Service provided financial counseling. Programs now include mental health counseling and services to assist victims of violent crime. Services are available through locations in Corpus Christi, Aransas Pass, and Kingsville.
The mission of Family Counseling Service is to strengthen children, individuals, and families by providing professional therapy, education, advocacy, and other supportive services in response to community needs.
The greatest strength of Family Counseling Service has always been responding to the needs of the community. This has resulted in longevity, and in having a reputation as a trusted resource for mental health and for victim services in the community. Family Counseling Service has a team of highly qualified, experienced, licensed mental health professionals who are capable of treating a wide variety of clients.
Family Counseling Service provides mental health counseling for those ages 3 years old and older. This includes Play Therapy, Family Therapy, Couples Therapy, and Individual Therapy for all ages.
Therapy is designed to address issues including trauma, anxiety, depression, stress, adjustment, family conflict, relationship stress, co-parenting, divorce adjustment, child behavior issues, self-esteem, self-harm, and parenting.
Family Counseling Service has multiple bilingual clinical staff. Their Crime Victim Services program assists victims of violent crime in order to help them restore stability. Crime Victim Services provides crisis intervention, assessment, information and referral, advocacy, and case management. All Crime Victim Services are free of charge.
There were several major milestones on the Family Counseling Service journey. An Employee Assistance Program was established in 1986. The Crime Victim Services program was established in 1993. Family Counseling Service opened an outreach office in Kingsville in 2004, and an outreach office in Aransas Pass in 2015.
Most recently, Family Counseling Service responded to COVID-19 by transitioning to telehealth for adults, and maintaining in-person services for children.
There were several challenges that Family Counseling Service had to overcome. They rely heavily on grants, foundations, and donations. Family Counseling Service has had to respond to the changes in funding availability that are often a result of changes in the economy. Also, during the pandemic, they overcame the challenges associated with a new platform for providing mental health. Family Counseling Service transitioned to telehealth for adults, and had to overcome clients’ reluctance by focusing on strategies to use this platform to enhance clinical services.
When asked who inspires Family Counseling Service, their answer was, “Our clients inspire us! They seek services while dealing with extraordinary circumstances and/or difficult life events, yet they have the courage to face their challenges in order to grow and become stronger. The resiliency we witness in our clients is inspiring!”
By fulfilling their mission, Family Counseling Service is impacting the community. They are strengthening individuals, kids, and families. Family Counseling Service is the only local mental health agency that provides a wide range of services and options for accessing mental health care. They focus on providing services regardless of a client’s ability to pay. Receiving counseling has a significant impact on an individuals ability to reach their potential, build strong families, and create a stronger community.
The community is invited to participate in Family Counseling Service’s annual fundraiser, the Monster Mash Cupcake Dash 5k Run/2mi Walk on October 23, 2021. This fun family event supports the programs at Family Counseling Service, and makes it possible to provide access to mental health care for those who are uninsured and underinsured. Come out and enjoy a beautiful run on our city’s bay-front and get a cupcake at the finish! Participants can register at www.athleteguild.com.