Christian Center for Family Counseling
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
The Christian Center for Family Counseling (CECAF) is an ecumenical, not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping Dominican and Caribbean families. CECAF was founded by a group of professionals in 1990 who set in motion an integrated therapeutic program directed at families and their unique needs.
During the past year, CECAF has identified several areas of achievement. These include:
- The re-opening of the Clinical Internship Project through which students in the Masters in Family Therapy program can complete their clinical hours while being supervised by a CECAF professional
- The opening of the Grassroots Therapy Project which allows CECAF to provide services to poor families.
- The putting into process the systematization of findings about Dominican family dynamics found in CECAF’s clinical practice.
- Continuation of the weekly programs addressing the mental and physical health of women at various stages of life.
- Continuation of the weekly radio program for women.
CECAF also reports that they have treated 150 new families and have trained 60 family therapists and community facilitators attached to the Master of Family Therapy Program at the University Autónoma de Santo Domingo. Moreover, CECAF continues to support ongoing government initiatives from the Office of First Lady, the Women’s Bureau, and the District Attorney’s Office against violence. CECAF also does evaluations of prospective parents seeking to adopt a child through the National Council of Children.
CECAF staff present talks and lectures at businesses, churches, and various institutions. They conduct psychometric assessments of students and members for schools and colleges. CECAF provides psychiatric care for trauma victims and personality disorders, and they work with pastors and congregations in crisis situations.
CECAF faced many challenges in the past year, exacerbated by the continuation of the economic crisis that has affected the entire world. In the Dominican Republic, the economic downturn has resulted in less access to training programs and therapy. CECAF struggles to keep fees for their services at a level that will sustain the institution and not pose too great a burden on their clients. The high cost of advertising the program and acquiring the necessary technological equipment continues to be a problem.
The plans for CECAF’s future include establishing a Diploma program in Pastoral Family Network, training facilitators in family counseling throughout the churches. They also will implement staff training in mental health for families of gang members through the National Police, and will create an online therapy project. CECAF also plans to launch a media campaign to promote family values and to offer their therapeutic services and support programs in order to reach more households. Other plans for the future include:
- Completing their Website
- Acquiring a computerized testing program
- Continuing education of their clinical and administrative staff
- Incorporating CECAF as a service provider of psychological/psychiatric services in the National Social Security System
- Funding for social projects
Down the road, CECAF hopes to launch their own radio and TV programs as well as a magazine dealing with family issues.