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Mental Health Program

Our Multicultural Mental Health Program offers a culturally-sensitive counseling model that meets the unique needs of foreign born survivors of human rights abuses. The program assists our clients in overcoming trauma and increasing emotional health and well-being.

The first goal of therapy is to establish a safe, accepting, nonjudgmental, and genuine therapeutic relationship. When you feel emotionally safe, you are free to explore, gain access to, process, and integrate unresolved losses, complexes, painful memories, and self-defeating beliefs and behaviors. We also provide culturally sensitive counseling model that meets the needs of immigrants and refugees.



ADHD • Adjustment • Anger Management • Anti-Social Behavioral Disorder • Anxiety •
Behavioral Issues • Bi-polar Disorder • Borderline Personality • Bullying • Career/Work
challenges • Child Abuse • Conduct Disorder • Coping Skills • Developmental Delays •
Depression • Divorce • Domestic Violence • Eating Disorders • Emotional Regulation •
Entitlement • Family Conflict • Grief and Loss • Obsessive – Compulsive Disorder •
Parenting • Peer Relationships • PTSD/Trauma • Self-Esteem • Self-harm • Sexuality •
Social Skills • Sexual Abuse

Individual and Group Therapy
Couples Counseling
Play Therapy
Sand Tray Therapy
Art Therapy
Grief Counseling
Parenting Classes
Crisis Intervention
EMDR Intervention.


Melissa Gutierrez, LPC
Melissa is a Licensed Professional Counselor and an honors graduate from Texas Wesleyan University, where she received her Masters of Science in Professional Counseling. She completed her undergraduate degree from The University of Texas in Arlington in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. Melissa has been with Mosaic since May of 2016.

Melissa believes in unconditional acceptance of self and others in order to work through a range of emotional and behavioral issues that may manifest into unhealthy negative symptoms. She offers an approach tailored to each client’s individual needs with a foundation in rational emotive behavioral therapy. She works with a variety of populations and conducts culturally sensitive services. Melissa is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), which is proved beneficial for PTSD and complex trauma. She also works with children as young as 3 or 4 years of age and provides play therapy as well as working with Children, Adolescents, Adults, Family, Individual, Depression and/or Anxiety, PTSD, and Complex Trauma, Grief, Family/Domestic Violence, Intimate Partner Violence, LGBTQ, Crisis Stabilization, Geriatrics and is also bilingual in Spanish.

Amy Carr, LCSW
Amy has been a member of the Mosaic team since 2017 and has been working with children and families, specifically within the Child Welfare System, since 2008. She received her Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin, and has since earned status as a Board Approved Supervisor.

Amy works therapeutically with children and adolescents ages 2-16, and incorporates individual, sibling and family therapy into her work at Mosaic. Amy specializes in trauma focused counseling, and has been trained in Child Centered Play Therapy, Child Parent Relationship Therapy, EMDR, TF-CBT and Sand Tray. Amy is also a Registered Yoga Teacher.

Brittany Mumford, LPC-I
Brittany is a Licensed Professional Counselor Intern currently under supervision with Brandi M. Smith, LPC-S. Brittany holds her Masters of Arts from Texas Wesleyan University, where she graduated with honors. She also received her Bachelors of Science in Psychology from Texas Wesleyan University in 2013.

Brittany has been with Mosaic since January and uses approaches such as Solution Focused Brief Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy depending on the needs of the individuals. She also has training in play therapy and sand tray. Brittany has a vast amount of experience working with newborns to age 15 and adults. She has extensive training in working with mental health diagnosis and developmental delays. Brittany’s experience also includes grief counseling, crisis intervention, trauma, foster care, attachment concerns, developmental delays, behavioral interventions and parenting support. Brittany also volunteers her time to support children and their families in their grief journey after the death of a loved one.

Jaclyn Contreras, M.S., LPC-I
Jaclyn Contreras is a Licensed Professional Counselor- Intern currently under the supervision of Bret Menassa, Ph.D., LPC-S. Jaclyn holds her Masters of Science from Southern Methodist University. She also received her Bachelors of Science in Psychology, Behavior Analysis, and Development and Family Studies, with a minor in Spanish from the University of North Texas in 2015.

Jaclyn started her journey at Mosaic January of 2018 as a student intern and has now transitioned as a part-time Counselor. She uses Choice Theory and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy depending on the needs of her clients. Jaclyn has a vast amount of experience working with adolescents. She has training in play therapy, sand tray, adolescent counseling, therapeutic parenting, and affirmative therapy.  Jaclyn has a tremendous amount of volunteer and charity work under her belt and has been chosen as an outstanding member for the Psi Chi Psychology Honor Society.

Claudia R. D’Avila, M.S, LCSW, ACSW, CCTP
Claudia D’Avila is a bilingual counselor, Licensed Clinical social worker, Academy certified social worker, Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, EMDR trained (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) and is CBT certified (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). She completed her undergraduate work at University of Texas at Arlington, and earned a Master of Science in Clinical Social Work from UTA and a Master of Counseling degree from Texas A&M. Claudia is a doctoral student in Counseling at Texas A&M University-‐Commerce.

She utilizes a humanistic approach to therapy that incorporates modalities such as expressive arts and sand tray therapy. Claudia has experience working with adults, adolescents, children, couples, and families. Areas of specialty include Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Complex Trauma, Parenting, Domestic Violence, Trauma, Physical, Sexual, and Emotional Abuse, Trafficking, Self Esteem, Family Relationships, Depression, Anxiety. She has done extensive work with immigrants and refugees and victims of human rights abuses. Claudia is a member of the American Psychological Association, the National Association of Social Workers and the International Association of Trauma Professionals.


What is Play Therapy?
Today play therapy refers to a large number of developmentally appropriate treatment methods, all applying the therapeutic benefits of play. Play therapy differs from regular play in that the therapist strategically utilizes play to help children express and resolve deep feelings and inner conflicts, gain insight, develop problem-solving skills, resolve dysfunctional thinking patterns, and learn a variety of ways to relate to others. In play therapy, toys are like the child’s words and play is the child’s language.

How Will Play Therapy Benefit My Child?
Often, children have used up their own problem solving tools, and they misbehave, or may act out at home, with friends, and at school. Play therapy allows trained mental health practitioners who specialize in play therapy, to assess and understand children’s play. By confronting problems in the clinical play therapy setting, children find healthier solutions. Play therapy allows children to change the way they think about, feel toward, and resolve their concerns. Even the most troubling problems can be confronted in play therapy and lasting resolutions can be discovered, rehearsed, mastered and adapted into lifelong strategies.


Counseling 101

When you think of counseling do you envision yourself lying down on a sofa and saying random thoughts to man in glasses while he writes down what you say? Or do you imagine someone trying to extricate every truth from you leaving you a former shell of who you are? Well, you are not alone in this perception of therapy, but it is my hope by the end of this piece to give you a clearer image of what counseling and therapy can be and what it can do for your mental well-being.

  1. Finding the right counselor can feel like dating. Maybe the first counselor you went to gave you some negative vibes, or you feel they wouldn’t understand your story. That’s okay, just keep trying until you find a therapist who understands your story and can help you achieve your counseling goals.
  2. Your first session could be a little awkward or life changing. The first time you meet with a counselor they usually have you fill out forms about yourself, and it’s a time to get to know each other. However, sometimes you go into your first session and tell them everything that is happening in your life and what you need help with. It’s okay to open to this stranger, and sometimes it may be even easier than talking to your friends and family as you are in a judgement free zone.
  3. Being in therapy can mean experiencing small changes over a period of time before realizing you are feeling better than you did before counseling.
  4. There will be some sessions where everything is great, and you feel better right after your session. Then, there will be some sessions where you tackle a really hard topic and are emotionally drained. Counseling can feel like a rollercoaster, but your counselor is there to help you.
  5. You get to decide how counseling goes. If you need a time to vent, your counselor is there for you. If you’re ready to work on the problem and get your hands dirty, your counselor is there for you too. Some weeks you may feel you want to look at the bigger picture in your life and what could be in store for your future, other sessions you may just want to talk about something that is causing you trouble that same day.
  6. Never be afraid to ask your counselor questions about the therapeutic process. They are there to help, and want to be on the same page as you.


What is Toxic Masculinity?

As a person who probably uses the internet daily or watches the news you may have been introduced into a new term, that you might not know what it is about. TOXIC MASCULINITY. From those two words one can assume a very negative connotation, but what does it truly mean, and how does it affect mental health?

First toxic masculinity refers to stereotypical masculine gender roles that can restrict emotions that boys and men are allowed to express in today’s society. Common phrases that emphasize toxic masculinity are “Man up”, “Only Sissy’s cry”, and “You play like a girl”, each of these phrases emphasizing to young boys that their emotions or attitudes should only be confined to being masculine, emotionless, and even aggressive.

Secondly, how does this affect mental health? By young boys not being able to express common human emotions such as sadness, fear, and pain they are then confined to feelings of anger and containment. When young boys are not allowed to properly express their feelings and learn how to regulate themselves, they in turn may become prone to displaying behaviors for violence and anger later in life. This in turn inundates the mental health system, creating a larger need for one on one therapy and even anger management groups. Also, a counselor helping an adult male understand that feelings are okay and even welcomed, can take several months for him to believe so and to express himself willingly.

What can you do as a parent with a young boy? Firstly, accept any feeling your child is having, and help them learn to regulate. Sadness, happiness, anger, fear, and disgust are all part of being a human being. Secondly, never compare feelings as specifically for male or female, simply human emotions. Lastly, listen to your child and validate who they are in that very moment.

If you need any parenting tips or counseling services please reach out to Mosaic Family Services, Mental Health Program.


Realities of the Hispanic Community and Mental Health

Hispanics and Latinos are musicians, politicians, scholars, educators, writers, and so much more that cannot be contained in a box. The Hispanic community as a whole are expressive people whose life stories are entwined in the local culture. The Hispanic community has long been held in low esteem in America since the 19th century, and during all this turmoil the Hispanic community has held steadfast and proud, never asking for help of any kind.

There is a piece missing from the rich, colorful tapestry of the Hispanic community. However, as we step into the 21st century a revolution is beginning in the Hispanic community starting with mental health. Prominent Hispanic celebrities such as Demi Lovato, J Balvin and Selena Gomez are currently at the forefront of this movement to help the Hispanic community know that it is okay to have feelings, to express those feelings, and to ask for help when needed.

Statistically, the Hispanic community sees mental health providers less than any other culture or race in America, due to societal, cultural and financial barriers. American and Hispanic society continues to tell men to hide their feelings, and to “man up” when dealing with emotions. The bottling up of these emotions in young boys and men can lead to adults who handle their emotions incorrectly and end up hurting themselves or others.

According to the 2015 Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, suicide attempts for Hispanic Girls, grades 9-12, were 50% higher than for Caucasian Girls in the same age group illustrating the greater need for mental health care among this population. Hispanic families also, worry about pride and their family name, and do not want a family member to discuss private issues with an outsider that could possibly bring shame.

Culturally the Hispanic community views those who are open about their mental health as “loco” or “acomplejados”, and their mental health providers as “chismosos”, not understanding that the labels they have placed on those in their community may make someone stop getting the services they need.

Financially, the Hispanic community can view mental health care as a luxury instead of as a necessary part of your health upkeep, causing them to not devote their resources to see a counselor or psychologist. A large barrier financially to receiving mental health care is finding a counselor or psychologist who takes insurance or is willing to work with their clients’ financial needs. Another reality is that many Hispanics and Latinos in America work without having the benefit of health insurance to help mitigate costs and end up refusing help, as they cannot afford it.

What you as an individual can do: If a friend or family member appears to be struggling encourage them to share their feelings. Do not use hurtful labels, and help them feel safe. Encourage them to find resources where they can get help.


Anxiety – Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms
It’s normal to feel anxious when facing a challenging situation, such as a job interview, a tough exam, or a blind date. But if your worries and fears are preventing you from living your life the way you’d like to, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. There are many different types of anxiety disorders, as well as many effective treatments and self-help strategies. Once you understand your anxiety disorder, there are steps you can take to reduce your symptoms and regain control of your life.

When does anxiety become a disorder?
Anxiety is the body’s natural response to danger, an automatic alarm that goes off when you feel threatened, under pressure, or are facing a stressful situation. In moderation, anxiety isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, anxiety can help you stay alert and focused, spur you to action, and motivate you to solve problems. But when anxiety is constant or overwhelming, when it interferes with your relationships and activities, that’s when you’ve crossed the line from normal anxiety into the territory of anxiety disorders.

Because anxiety disorders are a group of related conditions rather than a single disorder, they can look very different from person to person. One individual may suffer from intense anxiety attacks that strike without warning, while another gets panicky at the thought of mingling at a party. Someone else may struggle with a disabling fear of driving, or uncontrollable, intrusive thoughts. Yet another may live in a constant state of tension, worrying about anything and everything.

But despite their different forms, all anxiety disorders share one major symptom, persistent or severe fear or worry in situations where most people wouldn’t feel threatened.  In addition to the primary anxiety symptoms of irrational and excessive fear and worry, other common emotional symptoms include:

Feelings of apprehension or dread
Watching for signs of danger
Anticipating the worst
Trouble concentrating
Feeling tense and jumpy
Feeling like your mind’s gone blank
Pounding heart
Stomach upset
Frequent urination or diarrhea
Shortness of breath
Muscle tension or twitches
Shaking or trembling

Many people with anxiety disorders also suffer from depression at some point. Anxiety and depression are believed to stem from the same biological vulnerability, which may explain why they so often go hand-in-hand. Since depression makes anxiety worse (and vice versa), it’s important to seek treatment for both conditions.

Anxiety attacks
Anxiety attacks, also known as panic attacks, are episodes of intense panic or fear. Anxiety attacks usually occur suddenly and without warning. Sometimes there’s an obvious trigger, getting stuck in an elevator, for example, or thinking about the big speech you have to give, but in other cases, the attacks come out of the blue.

Anxiety attacks usually peak within 10 minutes, and they rarely last more than 30 minutes. But during that short time, the terror can be so severe that you feel as if you’re about to die or totally lose control. The physical symptoms of anxiety attacks are themselves so frightening that many people believe they’re having a heart attack. After an anxiety attack is over, you may be worried about having another one, particularly in a public place where help isn’t available or you can’t easily escape.  Symptoms include:

Surge of overwhelming panic
Feeling of losing control or going crazy
Heart palpitations or chest pain
Feeling like you’re going to pass out
Trouble breathing or choking sensation
Hot flashes or chills
Trembling or shaking
Nausea or stomach cramps
Feeling detached or unreal

Anxiety self-help tips
Connect with others. Loneliness and isolation set the stage for anxiety. Decrease your vulnerability by connecting face-to-face with people who are supportive, caring, and sympathetic. Make it a point to regularly meet up with friends, join a self-help or support group, or share your worries and concerns with a trusted loved one. If you don’t have anyone you can reach out to, it’s never too late to build new friendships and a support network.

Practice relaxation techniques. When practiced regularly relaxation techniques such as mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, and deep breathing can reduce anxiety symptoms and increase feelings of relaxation and emotional well-being.

Exercise regularly. Exercise is a natural stress buster and anxiety reliever. To achieve the maximum benefit, aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise on most days. Rhythmic activities that require moving both your arms and legs are especially effective. Try walking, running, swimming, martial arts, or dancing.

Get enough sleep. A lack of sleep can exacerbate anxious thoughts and feelings, so try to get seven to nine hours of quality sleep a night.

Be smart about caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. If you struggle with anxiety, you may want to consider reducing your caffeine intake, or cutting it out completely. Same with alcohol, which can make anxiety worse. And while it may seem like cigarettes are calming, nicotine is actually a powerful stimulant that leads to higher, not lower, levels of anxiety.

Train your brain to stay calm. Worrying is a mental habit you can learn how to break. Strategies such as creating a worry period, challenging anxious thoughts, and learning to accept uncertainty can significantly reduce anxiety and fear.

When to seek professional help for anxiety
While self-help coping strategies for anxiety can be very effective, if your worries, fears, or anxiety attacks have become so great that they’re causing extreme distress or disrupting your daily routine, it is important to seek professional help.


National Child Abuse Hotline: Child help – 1-800-4-A-CHILD
National Domestic Violence Helpline – 1-800-799-SAFE
National Eating Disorders Association – 1-800-931-2237
Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center – 972-641-RAPE


Program Director Mental Health Counseling Program 
12225 Greenville Avenue Suite 121 | Dallas, Texas 75243
w: 972-755-4421 x 105 | f: 214-821-0810
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