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Meeting the community's needs
In the pulpit
Suzanne and Dr. Alan Baroody - photo by Photo provided.
Helping people is a key goal for the Mary Lou Fraser Counseling Center in Hinesville.
The establishment of the center was the vision of the late Dr. Whit Fraser, a prominent physician who served Liberty County for many years.
Fraser believed in affordable, whole-person care for all, regardless of social standing, race, gender or ability to pay.
The center was established in 1986 in memory of Fraser’s late wife, Mary Lou.
Under the leadership and direction of Dr. Alan N. Baroody, executive director, the center has become a viable part of the community. It is a non-profit, non-denominational, faith-based counseling center that offers behavioral health services and education for individuals, families and community organizations.
Baroody is a Presbyterian minister as well as a pastoral counselor and licensed marriage and family therapist. He has been in the ministry for 30 years and has served in pastoral positions for 15 years and directed mental health and pastoral counseling centers for 15 years.
He has held positions in South Carolina, Georgia, Colorado, New York and San Diego.  
Prior to assuming the leadership of the Fraser Counseling Center, he served as the pastor of the Jekyll Island Presbyterian Community Church from 1996 to 2001.
“We believe the healing of body, mind and spirit is accomplished with the help of caring people. Our mission is to enrich the lives of all who come to us - individuals and families - by providing professional counseling, community education and emotional support within a Christian environment,” Baroody said.
“I love pastoring and counseling. The Fraser Counseling Center is ecumenical, but faith-based. We try to make healthy use of clients’ faith beliefs. We will consult with clients’ pastors if they give permission,” he said.
The center has a close connection with area churches, and staff members are available to come on-site to conduct classes for churches.  
The center provides assistance in the areas of low cost or subsidized services for parishioners who have financial need, clergy colleague support groups,
Individual-consultation services for clergy and congregations, speakers on various issues centered on the healing of mind and spirit, special events, quarterly programs, seminars; and workshops for clergy and laity based on the current and ever-changing demands and challenges of ministry.
“We have an employee assistance program, DUI-risk reduction school, a substance abuse program that is certified by the state, monthly divorce seminars (children coping with divorce) and domestic violence classes,” Baroody said.  
The center’s staff members also frequently counsels soldiers and their dependents. With the first deployment, there was an increase in counseling for the military.
The Fraser Center’s Military Families Initiative provides a variety of services for military personnel and their family members. These services include individual, family, and group counseling dealing with a wide variety of personal and family issues.
All of the counselors and therapists are CHAMPUS/TRICARE or Ceridian approved to provide counseling services for service members and their families.
Baroody holds a bachelor’s degree from Wofford College, a master of divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, a master of theology in pastoral counseling from Union Theological Seminary and a doctor of ministry in family systems from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary.  
He is an active member of Savannah Presbytery, serves on the board of the Georgia Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, and is a member of the Church World Service Spiritual and Emotional Care Resource Team.
A native of South Carolina, Baroody is married to Suzanne Baroody. She is a licensed associate professional counselor who works as a therapist at Focus by the Sea Psychiatric Hospital on St. Simons Island. They are the parents of four children and one granddaughter. The Baroodys live in Sunbury.
Baroody and his wife have had opportunities to lead clergy and clergy spouse support groups as well as the privilege of leading some national workshops for support of clergy spouses in the Presbyterian Church.
“If there is any group lonelier and more in need of self-care than clergy, it’s their spouses. We have also had the training as well as the opportunity to do pastoral care and mental health disaster work together,” Baroody said.
Baroody loves to sail.
“I have a sail boat, and I dream about sailing more than I sail,” he said.
He also loves to read and is an amateur radio operator.
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