Counseling Center Tackles
'Triple Whammy' of Stress
NOVEMBER 27, 1986 / MONTROSE VOICE 3
By Sheri Cohen Darbonne
The AIDS crisis, a sagging city economy and an increasingly conservative
political environment are hitting Houston's gay community with a "triple
whammy" of stress, according to the
directors of the Montrose Counseling
At an administrative meeting Monday. Nov. 24, the directors said stress
and anxiety affected both client load
and program focus in 1986, but some
positive results were noted.
The center currently sees a total of
about 600 people in an average month,
executive director Kenneth K. Vance
"Houston has been hit by a triple
whammy, compared to some other
areas," Bill Scott, the center's clinical
director, said. Here, in addition to a bad
economy, gays have faced political
defeats at the state (21.06) and local
(gay rights referendum) levels, he
And, in spite of an overwhelming public health problem, AIDS programs here
have received little support from
government agencies and grant programs. AIDS-related issues have comprised the community's mosl urgent
needs this year, and have changed the
way gay people look at themselves, the
"There has been a total, overall
bereavement overload in every depart
ment of the Montrose Counseling ('en
ter," Scott said. "This overload
sometimes tears down roping mechanisms."
For this reason, the center has support groups for staff as well as clients to
deal with AIDS and the grid and tensions associated with it. The staff support group meets weekly.
For the community, the center offers a
total of 10 separate AIDS support
groups, according to Miles Glaspy,
AIDS program coordinator. Six new
groups were added this year, including
support groups for survivors, parents,
lovers and the worried well. The center
also offers a risk reudction workshop
and two support groups for AIDS
But anxieties associated with AIDS
and death have resulted in some trends
that can have positive effects in (he long
run, the counselors said.
"I've noticed more emphasis on internal gratification, as opposed to external," Glaspy said.
Bob Hodge, director of MORE, the
center's alcohol and drug abuse program, agreed.
"There's a new emphasis on the quality of life," Hodge said. "People are saying, 'why should I delay my happiness?
Why not start now?'"
Publicity about the effects of alcohol
and drugs on the immune system have
increased community concern about
substance abuse, Hodge said. While the
holiday season is traditionally a bad
time for participation in such programs,
Hodge reported his group has a "full
MORK is also getting more inquiries
from IV drug abusers. Hodge said. He
said he planned to attend a national
networking conference on AIDS and IV
drug abuse in December.
Diana Sturm, the center's women's
director, said newer problems being discussed in women's therapy groups and
individual counseling are largely
related to the economy.
"One of the main things that's different now is that many of these people
don't have jobs. They are facing career
changes, financial losses ... some are
having to move back home with their
parents even though they're in their
twenties and thirties," Storm said.
The career and domicile problems in
turn create stress on relationships,
Storm said. Women are also impacted
by the AIDS crisis, since many are
reacting to the loss or illness of friends
and relatives, she said.
Among her male clients. Storm said
she is seeing an increased interest in the
meaning of life and establishing meaningful relationships. She called the turn
away from compulsive behavior toward
inward contemplation "a healthy
growth ... that has come out of the
Over a Year Away
By Sheri Cohen Darbonne
Although retail businesses are already
opening in the Monlrose Branch
Library complex, the library itself probably will not open until some time in
1988. The delays are due to a change in
the planned location ofthe library and
extensive renovat ions needed to convert
the present building, according to Joyce
Claypool, public information director
lor the Houston Public Library system.
Claypool said the building is being
converted from a church to a library setting.
"It's a time consuming process , , .
We'll be doing it in about half the
expected time as it is." she said.
"I venture to say, off the top of my
head, it will be 1988 before the library
opens." Claypool said.
Carol Brown, assistant chief of
library branch services, said terms of an
agreement with developer John
Hansen, who donated the building,
specify completion of the project by
March of 19H8. Construction is to begin
no later than March. 1987. according to
Hansen's donation stipulated that
ihe properly be used for t he library. This
complicated plans, because the city had
previously purchased land :it Richmond
and Mandell for the library.
The city decided this summer to
accept (he donation and is "just now"
finishing the design phase ofthe library
project, Brown said. A preliminary
design submitted by architect Ray Bailey lias yet to lie reviewed by (he city,
The city Real Estate Department will
decide the f'ale of the properly originally
purchased as ■the library site.
We're still hoping to have the branch
open before the (March 19H8) deadline."
Brown said. However, construction
involved will he extensive.
"Some demolition work needs to be
dune." Brown said. Some of the building's foundation will need to be changed
because the church has a sloped floor.
Other planned renovations include
transformation of the shell-type building to a two-story structure. On the first
floor will be children's services and an
adult "browsing section" with best-
selling books and audiovisual materials, Brown said. More extensive- adult
services will be located on (he second
The materials collection at the library
will take (he character of the Montrose
community into consideration, as do all
community branch collections. Brown
"For example, there's a high level of
education in Montrose, so we'll he sealing our collection to that," she said
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