Gulf Bend Center addresses gap in services with new counseling facility

JR Ortega By JR Ortega

Nov. 9, 2010 at 5:09 a.m.

Barbara Bohman

Barbara Bohman

Gulf Bend Regional Plaza has a new counseling center.

Before the opening of the facility in Suite 104 late last week, Gulf Bend's services only covered about 6 percent of the population who suffered from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression, the three most severe and persistent mental disorders, said Don Polzin, executive director.

All other clients seeking assistance would be referred to other providers, but that will soon change.

"It's a different venture for us," Polzin said. "It would be addressing a broader group of folks."

A community needs assessment concluded general counseling was missing from the center's services, Polzin added.

Area residents, other mental health agencies and elected officials participated in the assessment, he said.

"It will be available to that group of folks and help address the gap in services," he said.

The facility, called Place4, serves Victoria, Calhoun, Jackson, Refugio, DeWitt, Goliad and Lavaca counties and offers individual, couples, and family psychotherapy for adults and children and psycho-educational services and group sessions, said Barbara Bohman, director of counseling for Place4.

More specifically, Place4 will concentrate on issues of phobias, anxiety, depression, grief and loss, mid-life crises and marriage and relationship problems.

The facility will accept private insurance, Medicaid and self-pay and a client does not have to qualify for services through Gulf Bend to use Place4, the facility is open to everyone.

"If they need counseling, they are given a list of providers in the area. Place4 is now one of those referral providers," she said.

Being located in the regional plaza is an added convenience for those who aren't able to receive assistance through Gulf Bend, she said.

One of Bohman's goals is to make the assistance as affordable as possible by eventually having a sliding ability-to-pay scale, she said.

"I'm hoping to see it really expand as far as providing all the needed services," she said. "There is so many people in the community that need services."

Bohman along with Lane Johnson, a licensed professional counselor and director of clinical services, will work with the clients.

Bohman expects six to seven clients per day per counselor.

The plan is to eventually hire a third licensed professional counselor, she said.

"It has come at a time when it's needed," Polzin said about the facility.



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