When the unfairness of life began weaving a tapestry of credentials, Melinda Gossett embraced life and vowed to help others who suffer with scars of emotional and sexual abuse. She endured years of therapy for her trauma, only to be told she'd never get better and would need to file for social security benefits.

Finally, Melinda met a therapist who said, “You really do have a mental disorder from your trauma, but you can heal.” Having dropped out of school in the 8th grade, Melinda went back to school at age 48. She received her GED and enrolled in Western Texas College in Snyder. Gossett had a deep desire to work with other people who had suffered from abuse, but she was told at WTC that her education level was too low to choose that career path.

Determination and multiple tutors helped Melinda to learn to take notes, write essays, and utilize the library. Eventually, she earned her associate degree at WTC. From there, she earned her bachelor's degree from Texas A&M Commerce and her master's degree from Texas A&M Corpus Christi.

Today, Melinda Gossett is a Licensed Professional Counselor, a Licensed Marriage & Family Counselor, and a Regular Play Therapist. She is one of 10 therapists at the Child & Family Guidance Center of Texoma in Sherman.

The Child & Family Guidance Center of Texoma offers outpatient mental health care services to hurting Texoma children, teens, adults and families struggling with life challenges such as crisis, abuse, divorce, grief, emotional and behavioral problems, or other serious issues. In 2017, CFGC adopted a fully integrated trauma informed care model.

Sessions are designed to provide a safe and confidential environment that allows clients to comfortably talk about their concerns and feelings. Play therapy is offered for children starting at age 3. Several evidenced-based treatment models are used. Play rooms in the facility are colorful, happy, and kid friendly. Melinda Gossett beamed with pride as she pointed out the dress-up play clothes, baby dolls, puppets, and play kitchen. Children also have the opportunity to display their creative arts in painting, play dough, paper art, and wood art. The giant red punching bag is named Bo Bo. It's a great release for children with anger issues.

The Child & Family Guidance Center of Texoma is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency that receives financial support from generous community partners. Because of this generous support, no uninsured client is refused treatment because of financial limitations.

Kids Hurt Too seminars are designed to assist parents of divorce to help their children through the process and to learn how to be a co-parent. Other programs are Anger Management, Parent Empowerment, Parent Support, Family Empowerment for caregivers of child/teen clients, Women's Empowerment, and Mental Health Professional Training.

The Center proudly supports the Okay to Say (www.okaytosay.org) campaign to end the stigma around mental health. The public is invited to the CFG Center's 7th annual Starfish Benefit at 7 p.m. on Saturday, September 22, 2018, in the Sherman Municipal Ballroom. The Winner's Choice Raffle will feature five prizes: Five nights & airfare for two at Cancun Westin Resort, Six-night getaway to Ireland, Three-night stay and airfare for two to Lake Tahoe, three-night stay and airfare for two to Napa Valley, and three nights and airfare for two to Las Vegas for an Exotic Supercar Driving Experience. Tickets are $100 each.

Gossett said the 52-year-old agency can boast of its satisfied clients, who are not identified here for privacy reasons.

One parent said, “We get first quality skilled professional help and they can be trusted 100 percent. It has given my son the ability to begin working through what is troubling him. I have seen major improvements in his behavior.”

Another client wrote: “I'm very thankful for coming here. They have helped me feel like I have hope again and I couldn't be more grateful. Thank you so much for all you've done for me.”

With a serving heart and an ability to relate to the sad cases like no one else, Gossett invests herself into the lives of all of her clients, no matter how challenging the situation.

As the saying goes: “She's been there, done that.”