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Meet Cheryl Rayl of Grace Counseling Center in Lewisville

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cheryl Rayl.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Cheryl. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I have worked in Behavioral Health my entire career. The last several years of employment as Chief Executive Officer of several different hospitals. In the back of my mind, I always planned to start a small counseling center when I retired. My vision is that it would be a center of excellence for training interns because I had observed that many counselors didn’t appear to be well-trained in working with chronic mental illness or substance abuse. In addition, many counselors did not understand the business aspect of running a private practice. It was also important to me that there was someone to answer the phone since I know that it takes a lot of courage to make that first call on the path to changing your life. In 2012, I was approached by an intern and decided to launch my dream early. Two years later I left my career as a hospital CEO behind and since then Grace Counseling Center has added a Substance Abuse Treatment Facility to its menu of services as well as EMDR, Play Therapy and Integrated Wellness that integrates yoga and nutritional services into our approach to behavioral health treatment. We have grown to a roster of 20 different clinicians and are currently in the process of expanding into Ft. Worth.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
In the beginning, all I had was interns and a receptionist. I was supporting the business with income from my hospital job which my husband started referring to as my “volunteer job.” I was also relying on hired staff to oversee day to day operations and no one was marketing. It took a couple of years before we began to see positive cash flow and it was around that time that I decided to quit my job and devote all of my energy to growing the business. Even then, there were a few times that my husband would take some relief jobs as a pharmacist to be sure we didn’t miss a payroll during the slower summer or holiday months.

Another challenge was building a team of like-minded individuals which I am happy to say we have accomplished with very few casualties along the way.

Grace Counseling Center – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Grace Counseling Center is a full-service substance abuse/mental health treatment facility. We provide quality, evidence-based programming in our Intensive Outpatient Programs that address Adult and Adolescent Substance Use, Binge Eating, Mood Disorders and Women’s Issues. Yoga and Nutrition Services are integrated throughout all of our programming and also offered as stand-alone services. Our diverse group of therapists allow us to offer a variety of treatment modalities including Play Therapy, EMDR, CBT, DBT and treat a variety of disorders including supportive counseling for coping with day to day life problems to working with Autism, Chronic Mental Illness, Substance Use, Eating Disorders, LGBT with a specialization in Gender Identity Disorders, Depression, Anxiety and Trauma. What sets us apart is our integrated approach of addressing Mind, Body and Spirit and our inclusiveness.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I define success as making a difference. Reading stories of how our counselors are impacting the lives of the people who seek our services is what motivates me. My grandmother, Grace Thomas, dedicated her life to helping others and that is why I named Grace Counseling after her. Of course, we have financial goals as well but the endgame has been and always will be to make an impact in the lives of those we serve.

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageDallas is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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