Mosaic Counseling Center of East Texas, formally known as Samaritan Counseling Center, wants East Texans to know they have a new name, but their commitment to their clients remains the same.
As the largest nonprofit counseling agency in East Texas, Mosaic’s mission is to build a healthier community by uniting mind, body and spirit through therapy, education and research while honoring individual beliefs and practices.
Since 2011, Samaritan has been Tyler’s hub for individualized mental health and counseling. They provide therapy options including adult and children’s therapy, group and classes therapy and couple’s counseling.
Chris Taylor, Mosaic’s executive director, said while the name Samaritan has served the organization for over a decade, they needed a name to fit their style of care.
“We felt that because the community is itself a mosaic of diverse and unique people, the counseling process works best when we bring all of our own colorful pieces into the space, and because our staff is so individually talented, Mosaic was a clear description of all of this,” said Taylor.
Taylor said the organization’s staff and board of directors went through an intentional process of asking questions, listening and evaluating whether or not the former name best represented the uniqueness of the counseling experience.
Director of Mission Impact Dr. Lance Bolay said the original name, Samaritan, was often confused with other organizations with the same moniker.
Bolay said there are a few other reasons why the name change occurred. “…it was easy for people to think that the name Samaritan meant a Christian-based counseling center,” Bolay said.
“We value spiritual integration and try to honor each person’s unique religious experiences, whether Christian or not.”
Olivia Bodiford, a licensed professional counselor at Mosaic, said the name Samaritan could come across as exclusive to Christian beliefs.
“We do include spirituality and religion in counseling, but only if that’s someone’s interest and it’s not only Christianity. We serve any religious or spiritual beliefs.
“I liked the idea of a mosaic because everyone’s been broken, and a mosaic is those beautiful, broken pieces being put back together in a new way,” said Bodiford.
“We are happy to integrate a person’s Christian beliefs into their time in counseling,” Director of Clinical Operations Brittany Gayetsky said. “We are equally happy to integrate other religious or non-religious sources of strength and meaning into the counseling relationship.”
Taylor explains what the name change means.
“It signifies the need the community has for us to grow and serve in newer and bigger ways,” said Taylor. “Mosaic will be a community-forward organization, which means we want the community involved in how we serve,” said Taylor. “Our new logo has three key words – counseling, connection and community.”
Taylor said some things will not change. “…the community has come to expect high-quality and affordable mental health care from Samaritan. This focus will not change even though our name has.”
“We want to listen when people say they prefer a type of therapy; need weekend or after hours; prefer video-based care; wish to attend groups or classes on particular subjects; and so much more. “The important thing is that we ask, we listen and then we respond,” said Taylor.
A name change can be a little bit scary, and clients could think it signifies a change in their services, said Bodiford.
“We’re still committed to reaching out to the community and making it known that mental health is something worth donor money, worth time and energy.”
Bolay feels the new name better reflects what the counseling services have been providing all along. “The new name does not mean we are changing who we are or what we do. Instead, the new name better describes who we are, what we do,” said Bolay. “It captures better how we envision our commitment to the community.”
Mosaic announced its name change to the community Saturday, Oct. 2, at Family Fun Day at Bergfeld Park. Mosaic’s staff mingled with residents who circulated booths, a bounce house, food trucks, yoga, face painting and craft stations.
Attendees included Celeste Smith of East Texas Eating Disorder Specialists.
Some mental health conditions, such as eating disorders, can’t be seen and often hide, said Smith.
“You have to ask questions to know. You can’t just look at someone and tell whether they have an eating disorder,” she said.
Smith said prevention and early detection of eating disorders save lives.
The first age in a kid’s life where eating disorders begin to form is in adolescence, when it’s normal for young people to gain weight, said Smith. “You actually have to gain 40% of your body weight to start puberty. And so kids start to see that weight gain, and they may be comparing themselves with their friends.
“Thoughts like this can make a kid ask, ‘What’s wrong with my body?’ said Smith.
Smith wants the community to know they’re not alone. “Many people suffer alongside you.
“You don’t even have to have the diagnostic criteria of an eating disorder to get help. If you have a problem, like relating with your body or relating with food and it’s bringing up tension or struggle in your life, I think that deserves treatment as well,” said Smith.
Of Mosaic’s new name, Smith is pleased. “I think it’s such a positive change. I really think it encompasses what they are to me. As a clinician in private practice in the community, we’ve referred to Samaritan — now Mosaic — for years,” she said.
Ana Lyne Powell, an instructor at flow.Yoga, helped lead yoga sessions during Mosaic’s Family Fun Day.
“I think [yoga and mental health] go together a whole lot, and I don’t think we realize it until we start appreciating that and get to experience it firsthand,” said Powell.
“When you can physically find strength and the abilities of your body mentally, it’s so good for you.”
Powell said at flow.Yoga, “We speak a lot of breath and the importance of breath and just having a mindset that celebrates you and those around you.”
She said she encourages everyone to try yoga for the physical and mental benefits and the community it can bring. “People need good people around, and that’s what I feel like our yoga studio is creating.”
Of self care, Taylor said it is vital to our relationships. “If we cannot love ourselves enough to invest in our own wellbeing, what value are we to others?”
Gayetsky said, “Far too common is the idea that therapy or counseling services are sought only when something is seriously wrong.”
“While we certainly help those who are suffering, you don’t have to wait until you are struggling with functioning in your life and relationships to get counseling,” said Gayetsky.
“Many times, the biggest hurdle is reaching out for the first time or attending an initial appointment.” Once people start, it’s not uncommon to feel a sense of relief and hope.”
Taylor said the time has come to eliminate the stigma around mental health and wellness. “It’s time that we focus on building strong mental health across the spectrum.”
He said Mosaic aspires to become an organization that responds to the world around it, growing and changing as the community needs it to.
“The old adage ‘if you aren’t growing, you’re dying’ has withstood the test of time,” said Taylor.
“We may not always look the same, but we want the community to witness the consistency they receive in care and treatment while they are with us.”
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