Phoenix Center Celebrates Grand Opening of State-of-the-Art Counseling Center | The Highlander


(Horseshoe Bay, TX, November 22, 2022) – Phoenix Center celebrated the grand opening of their 8,000 square foot state-of-the-art counseling center located in Horseshoe Bay, TX. Phoenix Center – a local nonprofit organization providing trauma-informed counseling and mental health care for children and families – began serving clients in their new home on November 14th. Founded in 2007, Phoenix Center serves children ages birth to eighteen, who have experienced trauma or have unmet mental health needs, and their families. Phoenix Center’s new counseling center will help to meet the growing need for mental health care in rural Central Texas. All the counties Phoenix Center serves are designated as National Mental Health Professional Shortage Areas. Furthermore, these counties rate of confirmed cases of child abuse is twice as high as the statewide average.

Sarah Garrett, Founder and CEO of Phoenix Center, reports that “The need for mental health care both nationally and locally has increased dramatically in the last ten years. In 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association joined together to declare a National State of Emergency in Children’s Mental Health. Suicide is now the 2nd leading cause of death among children between the ages of 10-14 (needs citation or footnote / numbered citation for an stats). Children who do not receive any mental health intervention are at risk of failing at school, substance use, self-harm, and are more likely to commit suicide. The ripple effects are far more reaching and impact the child’s life, family, teachers, and community. We are thankful for the community’s support of building our new center which will provide the expanded space needed to serve more children and families in crisis. Phoenix Center is expanding our services to include a Walk-In Clinic (launching in early 2023), bilingual services, infant and maternal mental health, as well as expanded programs for parents, caregivers, children, and teens.”

Phoenix Center partnered with local Nash Builders, Seaux+Pierce Architecture, Nikki Steele (who generously donated all interior design), and Paul Brady, Volunteer Project Manager, to construct a counseling center designed to feel like a safe and welcoming home. The architectural design includes natural light and soothing colors, wraparound porches, and landscaping butterflies and wildflowers to flourish on the 77-acre ranch. Upon entry, the stained-glass door symbolizes growth, hope, inspiration, and rising from adversity – like a phoenix. The one-of-a-kind stained glass was designed by an artist who overcame trauma in childhood.

Features of the Phoenix Center expanded facilities include:

Inside the entry, large colorful butterflies hang from the ceiling, and a child-friendly indoor treehouse invites children to play, grow, and shine.

Therapy rooms specifically designed to meet the needs of children and families who have experienced trauma, such as abuse or neglect, and the Center also serves local children and adolescents with any emotional or mental health need.

Therapy rooms are each designed for different therapies and ages of children, including early childhood (2 play therapy rooms for young children), music therapy (soundproofed), art therapy, rooms for teens, and a family therapy room.

Circle Therapy – The Circle Therapy room’s interior was intentionally designed for the needs of groups. Circular seating promotes belonging, community, and inclusion among group members. Phoenix Center will use this room for parenting groups, music therapy groups, grief groups, support groups, and other groups for parents, caregivers, teens, and children.

Family Therapy – Our family therapy room is a healing space designed for parents, caregivers, and families. This room will be used for family therapy sessions, parenting consultations, as well as for our future Walk-In Clinic – launching in early 2023.

Art Therapy – Our Art Therapy room is a safe space for children and adolescents. Art Therapy helps “children release and contain a range of emotions. Image making allows for the externalization of both painful and terrifying feelings, as well as hopeful ones and eventual transformation.”

Pop’s Place – Pop’s Place is a therapy room and safe space for older children and adolescents. Therapeutic materials for art therapy and sand tray therapy can be found in this welcoming and engaging therapy room.

Play Therapy – Two play therapy rooms designed for early childhood and children as young as 2 years old. Play therapy is an evidence-based treatment for young children with mental health needs, such as local children in foster care who have experienced trauma. Play Therapy helps decrease symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, and depression, and improves self-esteem and overall well-being.

Music Therapy – Music and rhythm regulate the nervous system and help the brain heal, grow, and reorganize after experiencing trauma. “When words fail, music speaks.”

Hope Room is a large training classroom for trauma-informed trainings, therapeutic parenting groups, groups for youth, and therapeutic camp sessions.

Peace Room is a self-care sanctuary is a safe and healing haven for our therapists. Phoenix Center’s Board of Directors and CEO believe investing in the well-being of our therapists is investing in the well-being of children and families in our community.

Creative Play is an engaging and inclusive outdoor play area designed for children that presents endless opportunities for children to create, imagine, and heal through sensory play and inclusive, sensory play structures.

Children enter the River of Hope through a child-sized 4-foot arched door. The River of Hope is the hallway leading to the therapy rooms. It is an engaging and uplifting sensory experience for children to hop, jump, or skip down the hallway (using lily pads and the shoreline) and search for hidden treasures among the larger rocks on the river’s shore. Above the river hang handblown glass spheres to encourage one to look up and imagine all that is possible. This art installation and design includes multiple layers of colored concrete work (local Element 7 Concrete), as well as large rocks from the Phoenix Center Ranch, gems, handblown glass spheres (hanging from the ceiling), and natural elements.

Rooms and the Center’s outdoor play area were donated and made possible by numerous local individuals, some of whom wish to remain anonymous. The overall building is named in honor of supporters Michael and Cheryl Foster.

Cheryl Foster expressed why they were led to support this project. “We are parents of three children who always knew they were tremendously loved and given many opportunities in life. They are the reason we are so honored to be partners with Phoenix Center where deserving children and families can find hope and understanding through their state-of-the-art mental health therapy.”

Horseshoe Bay Mayor Clinesmith added, “From the moment I stepped in, passed the sanctuary tree [the tree behind the indoor treehouse for children in the waiting area], and entered the ‘River of Hope’ – I felt genuine joy that children who have experienced trauma would have this safe place to experience therapy through art, music, play, and counseling in learning coping strategies. What a blessing that will help these children re-enter society equipped to lead purposeful, productive lives. So proud of the citizens who have generously supported making this vision a reality….and the staff who make it a place of healing.”

Sarah Garrett, the Founder and CEO of Phoenix Center, reports that “Because over 81% of our families are considered low income, and no child is ever turned away due to inability to pay, we are incredibly grateful for each donation and pledge that has made our services and growth possible. Our realized dream has only been possible because of the generosity of local individuals who are making a life-changing difference for local children and families in our community.”

Although the building is funded, Phoenix Center is currently in need of additional funds to hire more licensed therapists to provide the highest quality of mental health care for local children as the need for mental health care continues to increase locally, regionally, and nationally. The Center is also working on Phase 2 of their capital campaign on their 77-acre ranch – constructing a trauma-informed equine therapy center and there is a current matching funds grant challenge. To make a gift to support Phoenix Center’s mission and local children in need, please visit their website:, email [email protected], or mail your gift to P.O. Box 732, Marble Falls, TX 78654.

About Phoenix Center:

Founded in 2007 as a local 501(c)3 non-profit organization, the mission of the Phoenix Center is to inspire hope, health, and healing by providing the highest level of mental health care to every child and family through innovative trauma-informed therapy and education. No child or family is ever turned away due to inability to pay.

Phoenix Center services include:

Phoenix Counseling: Research-based critical mental health care for children ages, birth to 18, and their families in rural Blanco, Burnet, Lampasas, Llano, Mason, and San Saba counties.

Children’s Groups: Therapy groups are offered throughout the week for children and adolescents at the Phoenix Center and in local Burnet and Marble Falls ISD schools and Head Start centers. Innovative groups include music therapy, art therapy, equine therapy, outdoor therapy, animal-assisted therapy (Assistance Dog, Mabel) & yoga programs which promote coping skills, increase regulation, and improve mental health symptoms.

Parenting Groups: Therapeutic parenting programs utilize research-based curricula with documented results. Parenting programs are all provided at no cost with childcare. Recordings are also available on the Phoenix Center’s website.

Camp Phoenix: Therapeutic camp sessions using our own innovative model found nowhere else.

Community Outreach & Collaborations: Innovative trauma-informed trainings & community partnerships to best meet the complex needs of children and families who have experienced trauma.

For additional information, visit To learn more about Phase 2 of the capital campaign, their Equine Therapy Center, and current matching funds challenge, please visit

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