Mental health and counseling

Please see our answers to readers’ questions about mental health and counseling below. If you’d like to improve one of our answers about mental health and counseling or ask one of your own, please do, using the form below.

I don’t have insurance that covers counseling, and I’m not eligible for services at MHMR. Where can I get affordable or free counseling in the Waco area?

Local therapist and Amberley Collaborative board member Jaja Chen, LCSW, CDWF, offers this answer:

There are quite a few places in the Greater Waco area that provide free or reduced-fee counseling options, depending on what type of counseling you are looking for.

The Advocacy Center has a 24-hour hotline (888-867-7233) and provides free counseling services for individuals, children, and families who have experienced sexual assault or other crimes against them. Spanish-speaking services are available. Their office phone number is 254-752-9330, and they are located at 3312 Hillcrest Drive.

The Family Abuse Center (FAC) provides free counseling services for individuals and children who have experienced domestic violence, whether currently or in the past. To access services, call the 24-hour hotline at 800-283-8401. Domestic violence includes physical, sexual, financial, and emotional or psychological abuse. Family Abuse Center provides services to clients living in the community as well as those staying at the domestic violence shelter. Spanish-speaking services are available.

The Family Health Center has a counseling center for individuals, children, couples, and families at their main site. The Center accepts Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP, and most major health insurance. It can also provide a Good Health Card for discounted medical, dental, counseling, and other services for individuals and families without insurance who meet the income requirements to qualify. You can reach the Family Health Center’s counseling services at 254-313-4500.

The Heart of Texas Counseling Center, at 2800 Lyle Avenue in Waco, provides shorter-term (6–9 months) outpatient adult mental health services to individuals who do not qualify for the main MHMR services but are needing support in mental health recovery. Sessions are provided on an income-based sliding scale. Medicaid, Medicare, and other insurance are accepted, but they are not required because the center seeks to not turn anyone away due to lack of insurance or income. Bilingual Spanish-speaking services are available. To access services, call 254-297-7100.

Dr. Jasmine Khan’s Professional Counseling Services is a group of therapists who provide insurance-based counseling services. Most major types of insurance and payment are accepted, including Medicaid and Crime Victim’s Compensation (CVC). Sliding-scale therapy is provided by Licensed Professional Counseling interns. Call 254-235-6542 to discuss options.

STARRY Counseling Waco serves McLennan, Bosque, and Hamilton counties and provides free family and individual counseling services to families with children ages 6–17 years old. Services are open to all families regardless of income level or insurance coverage. Common reasons families may pursue counseling at STARRY include divorce, grief, family conflict, behavioral issues, parenting support, and trauma. STARRY’s phone number is 254-399-6552.

Finally, some private practice therapists have sliding-scale and free counseling slots open. You can ask about this option when you inquire about counseling. If you do not have insurance, you can tell them that you are looking for sliding-scale or reduced-fee options for counseling. In addition to Dr. Jasmine Khan’s Professional Counseling Services, detailed above, you might try Get Out of Your Head Therapy.

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