Local counseling center announces plans for growth

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Debrah R. Udom
Debra Smart
Christina Benefield
Cherilyn Wright

Branches Counseling Center of Murfreesboro, TN, a non-profit, faith based counseling center founded in 2006 by Dr. Mike Courtney, and his wife Doris, announces growth plans for the center. Located in rented facilities at 1450 Battleground Drive for the past six years, the center's board of directors agreed at the March board meeting to launch a capital campaign with a target goal to raise $200,000 in contributions with hopes of purchasing a permanent building with adequate parking space within the next six months.

Capital Campaign

"Doris and I founded Branches in the fall of 2006 with the hope of providing faith based counseling at an affordable fee with the mission to never turn anyone away because of their inability to pay," stated Mike Courtney, founder and current Executive Director. "Having started with me as the only counselor in a rented building on Armory Drive in 2006, God has blessed Branches in our growth with eighteen quality counselors operating in five locations in Tennessee and Florida. We see over eight hundred counseling hours per month and provided over $385,000 in counseling scholarships last year. We have outgrown our main office facility on Battleground Drive in both office space and parking space. Branches has not had a major fundraising event in our nine year existence. Our board has decided the time is right to begin this capital campaign. In support of the capital campaign, a Go Fund Me Building Fund has been created and may be accessed by going to www.GoFundMe.com/Branches or by going to our home page, www.branchescounselingcenter.com and donating there," concluded Courtney.

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The Big Pay Back Day Promotion

In addition to the capital campaign and The Go Fund Me Building Fund targeted specifically for the new building, Branches is participating in The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee's annual Big Pay Back Day promotion scheduled for the 24 hour period on Tuesday, May 5th. This annual event, promoted by The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee in support of non-profit organizations in middle Tennessee, will provide Branches the opportunity to raise sufficient funds to purchase a much needed computer system for the new office. A goal of $25,000 has been set for this one day event with a multitude of events planned from 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday morning, May 5, continuing through midnight, Tuesday, May 5. Food will be available for individuals dropping by the 1450 Battleground address to make donations that day along with prizes for children participating in special events planned for that afternoon after school. The hope is that individuals desiring to contribute in support of the new computer system will make their donation on line or in person on the day of the event, Tuesday, May 5. Debi Russell, a counselor at Branches is the coordinator for this event and may be reached at drussell@branchescounselingcenter.com or calling 615-904-7170.

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Three New Counselors Added at Branches Counseling Center-Murfreesboro

Because of the continued growth and need for the services provided by Branches Counseling Center in Middle Tennessee, Mike Courtney, founder and Executive Director of Branches, is pleased to announce the addition of three new counselors in the Murfreesboro office and the opening of a new office in Robertson County and the addition of a new counselor there.

New counselors in Murfreesboro are:

Christina Benefield, National Certified Counselor, Masters of Education in Professional Counseling, MTSU. Christina earned a Masters of Education in Professional Counseling with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Middle Tennessee State University. She is a National Certified Counselor and is working towards licensure to be a Licensed Professional Counselor with a Mental Health Service Provider designation. Christina enjoys helping individuals of all ages struggling with depression, anxiety, abuse, and transitions of life. "The love and grace of God can be felt as soon as you walk into Branches. I'm grateful to be a part of all that is happening at Branches Counseling Center," Benefield stated.

Debra Smart, , BS, MA, MS, OTR/L, LPC/MHSP, BS in Occupational Therapy, Indian- Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI); MS in Occupational Therapy, Eastern Kentucky University; MA in Counseling, Trevecca Nazarene University. Debra works with clients who have experienced substance abuse, incarceration, domestic violence, anger management, severe hair loss, life transitional stress, depression, chronic illness, and challenges navigating the health care system with disabled children. Her primary foci are in mental health and geriatric rehabilitation. Debra works as an assistant professor at TSU in the Department of Occupational Therapy teaching mainly the mental health content of the graduate curriculum. Additionally, she works as a group facilitator at a batterer's intervention program on weekends. "I am grateful to have been given a chance to serve as a counselor with Branches Counseling Center where we strive to put Christ first while serving humanity," Smart stated.

Debrah R. Udom, MA, LCSW, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Masters in Social Work, University of Tennessee; Undergraduate Degree, Taylor University. Debrah earned a Masters in social work and is a licensed clinical social worker. She specializes in individual therapy with all ages and has extensive experience with addiction. 'Branches is a wonderful place to work and has brought me a renewed purpose. The opportunity to share God's word and Love with hurting people has been an awesome blessing," stated Udom.

Branches Opens New Robertson County Location

Cherilyn Wright, Ph.D., M.A., B.S.N., has been named Pastoral Counselor for Branches at The Grove Church in Greenbrier, TN, Robertson County. Branches' business model allows churches in middle Tennessee to use the services of one of Branches' certified counselors to provide counseling services to their congregation as well as a mission outreach service to the community in which the church serves. Branches at The Grove is the third such model Branches has launched. The first model was with The Bridge Church in Lebanon, TN, and the second was with Family Worship Center in Murfreesboro, TN.

Cherilyn Wright earned her Ph.D. and M.A. in Clinical Christian Counseling, Cornerstone University; B.S. in Nursing, University of Tennessee; Ordained Minister of Pastoral Care, National Conservative Christian Church. Cherilyn believes our experiences, both good and bad, are not our identity; they are simply a part of our story. Many people struggle with allowing an experience to take its place in their story. "When I finally said yes to get my counseling degree, it was like coming home. This is the call that has been on my life since I was a young child. Partnering with Branches is like icing on the cake!" Wright concluded. Cherilyn enjoys assisting in this process. Isaiah 58 is a defining passage for her counseling ministry. She loves seeing people walk in the freedom Christ gives them.

About Branches Counseling Center

Founded in 2006 by Mike Courtney, Ph.D. and his wife, Doris, with offices in Murfreesboro, Lebanon, and Springfield, TN and St. Augustine, FL, Branches Counseling Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, faith based counseling center offering healing and hope for those struggling with family or emotional issues both adult and children, anxiety, depression or addiction regardless of ability to pay. The dedicated and well-trained staff of both state licensed therapists and pastoral counselors work with couples, individuals, children, and teens to bring the very best of traditional counseling and Biblical principles to personal, family, and relational issues to help bring meaning and wholeness to everyone the center serves. Branches accepts most major insurance plans. For more information about services or to make a donation, contact Branches Counseling Center, 1450 Battleground Drive, Murfreesboro, TN 37129; phone 615-904-7170; or email from the "contact us' page at www.branchescounselingcenter.com

About The Grove Church

Established in 1998, The Grove Church is located at 2122 Tom Austin Hwy (Hwy 431), Greenbrier, TN 37073. The church provides contemporary, God centered worship and teaching to Robertson and surrounding county communities. Situated on a seventeen acre campus in southern Robertson County, the church offers Sunday morning small groups at 9:00a.m., corporate worship at 10:00a.m., and Wednesday evening programs at 6:30p.m.. There is a strong emphasis on Children, Youth, and Families in each of those hours. The Grove Church is a loving and growing body of Christ. Matt Warren is the Teaching Pastor. Warren received his undergraduate degree from Bryan College in Christian Education and earned a Master of Divinity from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. You may contact the church by calling 615-382-1522 or visit the website at www.TheGrove431.com.

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Branches, Branches Recovery, Christian counseling, counseling, Courtney, Dr. Courtney, Mike Courtney, Murfreesboro counseling, Murfreesboro rehab, Murfreesboro rehabilitation
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