The Greater Buffalo Counseling Centers, Inc., has served countless thousands of WNYers since its founding more than 50 years ago. And although our region has changed much in that time, one thing has not: GBCC’s commitment to its core principles of acceptance, confidentiality and compassion.
Fulfilling a Need
In the early 1960s, a group of clergy working in the inner city of Buffalo came together to address concerns over the lack of mental health resources available to their communities. They saw first-hand the many individuals who simply could not afford the help and support they so desperately needed.
Taking on the daunting task themselves, the pastors sought to improve their counseling skills. They got in touch with the local chapter of the national Psychological Association of WNY, looking for someone to train them and found Dr. Joseph House, a well-known clinical psychologist. Dr. House supported the idea of training volunteers to be peer counselors, and, in October of 1962, an organization called the East Side Counseling Center was created, offering services at a church on Northampton Street in Buffalo.
Reception to the idea was so good that, within a few years, the organization had grown to include sites on the West and the South Side (both opened their doors in 1970). Soon after, the agency changed its name to The Greater Buffalo Counseling Centers, Inc.
Yesterday & Today
In those years of rapid growth, GBCC added two important fixtures that remain with the agency today. In 1970, Dr. Charles A Weiss joined Dr. House as a consulting psychologist. And, in 1974, GBCC moved into its current site, the University Presbyterian Church on Main Street in Buffalo (across from the University at Buffalo’s South Campus).
Although the organization runs out of a single location today, it is no less vibrant. The average number of clients served per year has held steady.
The above photo was taken from a 1970 Buffalo Courier Express article and depicts GBCC’s Dr. Charles Weiss (third from the left) speaking with local religious leaders in regard to an interfaith partnership with the counseling center.