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by Sylvia B. Bodell
| Counseling, Adults, Families, Trauma, PACT

Planting seeds of hope at Buckner Hope Centers: A look back with The Center’s first PACT partner

Mother daughter hug kis


Sandra I. Martinez, LMSW, a Family Coach with Buckner Children & Family Services vividly remembers the day she got an email out of the blue from Dr. Brad Schwall, President and CEO of The Center for Integrative Counseling and Psychology, to discuss how The Center could provide counseling for those being served by Buckner Family Hope Center at Wynnewood.

“I had previously met with a client who had been crying nonstop saying, I can’t do this anymore,” recalled Sandra.

"Linda,* my client, had been assaulted walking home several months earlier. She had received counseling from another counseling partner, but didn’t continue. At the same time, her relationship with her husband and children was suffering, and she was barely able to work.

“It wasn’t a coincidence that Brad emailed me. It was an answered prayer. That was a Tuesday. We met on Thursday, along with my supervisor, stressing the need for free counseling services for the community we serve. Within 30 minutes of us leaving, he had someone from The Center for Linda to see.”

“Linda was used to running away from her feelings. It was hard for her to open up and trust, but she did. Her counseling planted a seed confirming we needed this service at our Hope Centers,” continued Sandra. “Linda later referred her sister for marriage and individual counseling. Then that sister referred their brother and sister-in-law for marriage and individual counseling. We watched the ripple effect. Their families grew stronger and healthier. She also joined our Jobs for Life class and blossomed."

That meeting in 2014 was the genesis of The Center’s Partnerships for Accessible Counseling and Training (PACT) program. With PACT, The Center teams up with established nonprofits whose clients would not have access to mental health care. PACT removes barriers and makes professional counseling and psychological assessments accessible to all. Today there are 10 nonprofits in 13 locations. Thousands of individuals and families living in impoverished communities have benefited thanks to the generous support of donors and foundations.

"Sandra cares deeply for those she serves. She is a fantastic partner, just as Buckner is a wonderful collaborator," said Brad. "Our missions align in helping to empower families to obtain stability, well-being and hope in their lives. We appreciate the opportunity to provide therapy within each of Buckner‘s three Family Hope Centers in the Dallas area. Together we can do more than we can do separately. Anyone can experience trauma or mental health challenges. It is inspiring and encouraging to have organizations like Buckner with whom we can make a collective impact. We are impacting both families and communities by providing counseling and services that address the physical, spiritual and emotional needs of those we are serving together."

Sandra agrees, “We want to be a place where the community can find hope by offering effective programs and passionate people to help families that are experiencing crisis and family issues. The Center's therapists are so caring and compassionate to our team as well as those we are serving.

“I know the impact of counseling – it’s such a blessing. We benefit from therapists who work with children and have facilitated groups with our School-Age Program. We’ve been able to host Marriage workshops, Family Coaching Christmas events, and other groups with the help of The Center’s therapists. There’s never been a no.

“By providing families with critical services, aid and coaching to keep them strong, it decreases the likelihood of abuse, neglect and removal of children.

“Especially during the pandemic, we’ve been able to provide counseling to our families who didn’t live nearby when they were isolated and needed it the most. The Center meets the mental health needs and we meet the other holistic needs of the family to be healthy overall. It’s a great partnership and important safety net during these challenging times.”

*Linda's name was changed.


PACT - making a generational impact across North Texas

By collaborating and co-locating with established nonprofits, counseling is provided onsite in communities meeting an unmet need, in a safe and comfortable environment, where people already receive services such as food, clothing and after-school care. With counselors at multiple nonprofit locations, barriers such as geography, transportation and financial constraints are removed. Learn more - click here.

Therapy and Assessments at The Center
To schedule an appointment for therapy or an assessment at The Center’s Central Office or one of its Network Offices across North and Central Texas, call 214-526-4525 or go to TEAM to learn more.

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