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New Humanist Services Center  

The following article is from the Secular Humanist Bulletin, Volume 15, Number 1.

Beck, Joe.GIF (22782 bytes)The Center for Inquiry International, in Amherst, New York, has established a Humanist Counseling and Services Center. The Center will provide humanist counseling, hospital visiting, and secular celebrations for the Greater Buffalo area. It will also serve as a pilot for the development of similar programs across the U.S.A.

The Humanist Counseling and Services Center will be run by Joe Beck C.S.W. Joe brings to his new role over 25 years of mental health experience as a psychiatric social worker, family life educator, private practitioner, and director of employee assistance programs. As a single parent, Joe is especially interested in helping parents and children maintain their relationship and minimize the stresses that can arise during a divorce. Joe is available to humanists who desire assistance in resolving any of life's stresses - for example, divorce and parent-child issues.

Joe has already been recognized as a secular humanist counselor by Buffalo's largest system of hospitals (CGF Healthcare System). His "pastoral care privileges" enable him to visit patients requesting services from a humanist counselor at all Buffalo metropolitan hospitals, hospices, and nursing homes. Beck has even been officially accepted as a secular humanist counselor at all the Catholic hospitals in the Buffalo area.

The CGF Healthcare System will also add the choice "hum.," for humanism, under the "religious affiliation" section on its intake form. This is a great improvement from the "other" designation which was previously the only alternative for humanists entering hospitals. This recognition is a first in New York State and possibly the nation.

The Council for Secular Humanism aims eventually to make humanist counselors and hospital visitors available across the U.S.A. The secular humanist option will be an alternative to religious pastoral care. The Council's nonreligious alternative to Alcoholics Anonymous, SOS (Secular Organizations for Sobriety), is already widely available and has recently been adopted by the Texas prison system.

Joe Beck is available to help individuals and local groups wishing to develop humanist counseling and support services in their own area. He can be contacted by telephone at 716-648-7075; by mail at the Center for Inquiry, Amherst, New York, NY 14226-0664; or by e-mail at jbeck@buffnet.net.

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