Counseling Service sees results (Dallas Morning News - 1/25/04)

25th January 2004

In The News / News and Events

BY ROBERT MILLER/ Dallas Morning News
[email protected]

12:00 AM CDT on Sunday, January 25, 2022

Galaxy Counseling Center Service in Garland knows it can help the troubled clientele in the area it serves, which si roughly the northeastern quadrant of Dallas County.

The records bear this out, says Dr.Elaine Ply, executive director of this United Way partner agency.

“We’re currently compiling figures for 2003, which should be completed any day, and we find that 75 percent of adults counseled by Galaxy have shown significant clinical improvement.”

The year before, she said, 72 percent of adults and 66 percent of the children whom Galaxy served showed significant clinical improvement.

Galaxy schedules around 4,500 sessions each year for individuals, families and groups, just a fraction of the people who need it, Dr. Ply said.

“Our community is filled with children, adolescents and adults who have been physically or emotionally abused or neglected; struggle with conflict, anger and violence; are dealing with separation, divorce and single parenting; suffer from depression and chronic mental illness; and experience relationship problems and isolation.

“Approximately 560,000 adults and 199,000 children in North Texas currently suffer from mental disorders, “she said.

Galaxy and other nonprofit agencies are stretching their funding to the limits, Dr. Ply said, and there is more bad news to come.

“As a result of the 78th legislative session, the Dallas area is expected to lose more that $2 million in funding for community mental health service for the 2004-05 biennium.

Economic Stress

Dr. Ply blames the economy for many of the problems she sees.

“We’ve seen the income of our clientele dropping 10 to 20 percent a year, along with an increase in the unemployed and the underemployed, which means that even some of those with jobs have no insurance but can’t qualify for Medicaid,” she said.

“Some 67 percent of Galaxy’s clients report total household incomes of less than $25,000,” and job-related stress affects the whole family, Dr. Ply said. “Folks may have problems with child rearing because there is more stress on the kinds.”

But, she emphasized, “I don’t think the future is bleak. I see part of the hope for families and children.

“We can teach families to cope with greater stress, we can teach parents to do a better hob of parenting, and I’ve seen a snowball effect in the right direction.”

Her agency is hobbled by limited resources, but Dr. Ply is upbeat.

For one thing, she said, Galaxy is creative with its funding, volunteers and resources.

“We have set up Galaxy’s Truancy Intervention &Prevention Program, the only program in North Texas working with elementary age truancy from kindergarten and up.

“This four-week program teaches children and their families to better manage time, stress and responsibility, thus decreasing truancy violations.”

The agency also offers Teen & Adult Anger Management Programs — 12 weeks for adults and 15 weeks for teens — that teach people to manage anger by emphasizing individual choice and responsibility.

And galaxy’s Sexual Abuse Treatment Program provides ongoing therapy for survivors and offenders. “Te adult survivors program works to promote healing from childhood sexual abuse, including the aftereffects of post traumatic stress syndrome, disturbed relationships and depression,” Dr. Ply said.

“The perpetrators program works to uncover the personal cycle of offending behavior and prevent future sexual abuse.

Good Move

Galaxy was created in 1975 by Soroptimist International, an all-women nonprofit organization.

It has eight full-time staff members and 25 part-time therapists on contract, including one who speaks Spanish and another who speaks Vietnamese.

To maximize access, services are provided six days a week in both daytime and evening in three languages - English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

The agency gets help from five or six student interns per year and the master’s and doctoral level, and two psychology interns come from a consortium that includes Southern Methodist University and University of North Texas at Dallas.

Amy Walton, director of development, says galaxy got good advice from United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, which provided $169,000 in funding last year.

United Way helped Galaxy decide to move four years ago to 1025 S. Jupiter Road in Garland. The new location is accessible to DART bus routes and the DART light-rail line.

Galaxy’s feed are on a sliding scale, and it offers scholarships for services. It also relies on Medicare, Medicaid, the state’s NorthStar financial aid program, the United Way’s annual grant and good friends.

Those include Lynn Erikson who has been the title sponsor of its program the last several years, donating $15,000 annually.

Others are the Hillcrest Foundations, $20,000; the Harold Simmons Foundations, $10,000; Morgan and Lena Jones/American Pawn Superstores, $6,000; State Farm Insurance Cos., $5,000; and Ecolab Foundation and Speedway Children’s Charities, $2,500 each.

For more information, call Amy Walton at 972-272-4429, Ext 232, fax 972-494, 2812 or visit