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Monday, April 25, 2016

Handling life’s stresses

Samaritan Counseling: After 30 years, center continues to see positive change

Samaritan Counseling:

After 30 years, center continues to see positive change

In April 1986, Samaritan Counseling Center in Shreveport officially opened its doors and for the last 30 years has been helping persons of all ages through the stresses of life as one of the few faith-based organizations in the area.

Ann Inabnet is a licensed professional counselor and marriage and family therapist, who has been on staff with the center since 1991. Her specialties include life transitions through the ages, from adolescence to seniors; stress reduction; relationship issues; anxiety; depression; grief and loss; women’s issues; and infertility.

In her opinion, counseling and therapy are much more accepted now than they were when she first attained her license.

“At one time, there was a stigma attached to therapy,” Inabnet said. “If people needed help, they were perceived as weak.”

That is no longer the case and, Inabnet believes, as a faith-based organization, SCC is unique.

SCC was founded when a local group of religious and counseling professionals recognized the need for a counseling center where the staff could draw on their clinical tools of psychology and psychiatry and simultaneously integrate ministerial skills in a faith-based setting. They used the model of the Samaritan Institute of Denver, which focuses on mind, body and spirit, a holistic approach.

At the Shreveport center, there are seven counselors who provide these services to the public. 

Inabnet said their therapists work with children as young as age 8, but most of their clients are ages 30 to 50.

“That’s an age where people may begin to realize they are not handling life’s stresses well,” she said. “That could be for any number of reasons, including the way they were raised.”

And people need their services for different reasons.

“We’ve learned that even the seasons can affect the way a person is dealing with stress,” she said. “Many things – including the weather – make a difference.”

Since its inception, the center has devoted itself to helping people of all economic, religious, ethnic/racial and age groups while providing education and consultation for the community at large.

Services are provided on a sliding-fee scale.

Insurance is accepted, as well as support from individuals, businesses, foundations and congregations.

Belinda Roberson, executive director of marketing and finance, has been with SCC since 2007. From her point of view, things have changed through the years from a technology standpoint.

“We have gone digital with most of our paperwork,” she said. “And now, insurance is more accepting of counseling. Research has made that possible.”

The Shreveport office is located at 1525 Stephens Ave. For the future, Roberson sees a possible satellite office in Bossier City.

We’ve learned that even the seasons can affect the way a person is dealing with stress.

–Ann Inabnet

Accredited by the Samaritan Institute, SCC is part of the international network of Samaritan centers serving in more than 400 offices in 35 states and Japan. Each center is owned and operated by its own local board of directors as a not-for-profit organization.

Fund-raising events help cover the cost of operating the center.

“We are involved with events in the community,” Roberson said. “We are available to speak at schools, clubs, churches. I am available to speak to organizations about leadership and management, while our counselors speak about other services.”

–Bonnie Culverhouse

About SAmAritAn:

Programs and services include the following:

• Counseling for individuals, families and groups.

• Educational programs for congregations and organizations.

• Leadership training for congregations and organizations.

• Consultations, trainings and retreats for professionals, congregations, organizations and businesses.

• Expanded services include: divorce and custody mediation, PTSD and substance abuse.

To have SCC speak to a group or for more information, call 221-6121. 

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