There’s a new doctor in town. William Gale, a lifelong educator and counselor, recently started offering his services in south coastal Delaware in the hopes of helping more people.
“What initially drew me to the field was education,” he said. “When I was teaching, I was never just a teacher-teacher. I had the empathy and the compassion. I found that it’s tending to the student. “
Gale was born and raised in Rehoboth Beach, as one of six children. Although he moved north in adulthood, he still has family in the area.
“I still drive by our house on Munson Street,” he said with a smile.
Gale is a licensed professional counselor of mental health with 20 years of clinical experience in the behavioral health field. He has worked with diverse populations in the delivery of psychotherapy.
Having had his practice in Dover, Gale recently decided to start offering his services in Bethany Beach on Monday mornings.
“I’m down in the area Monday mornings, but I hope to be treating all day on Mondays in the near future.”
Gale holds a master’s degree in counseling from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. His focus is on using a varied of modalities to treat behavioral and mental health. He also holds certification in treating drug and alcohol addiction.
Gale grew up in Rehoboth Beach and was a lifeguard in the area. In 1962, he voluntarily joined the Army. Following his service, he used his G.I. Bill to attend Delaware State University, where he received his undergraduate degree in education and psychology.
In 1978, Gale joined the Air Force Reserves, and stayed in for 21 years as a human relations specialist, teaching classes on sensitivity training, sexual harassment prevention and more.
“I would investigate complaints of sexual harassment, allegations of discrimination, and I would go to different Air Force bases,” he explained.
He also worked for the Cesar Rodney School District as a teacher and principal.
“I also coached football,” noted Gale. “Then I went on to get my master’s in counseling and became a crisis counselor… Once I received my master’s, I worked for Delaware Guidance — an outpatient treatment facility for children, adolescents and families.”
After five years at Delaware Guidance, Gale went on to receive his drug and alcohol certification.
“I worked for Kent County Counseling Service, outpatient treatment facility specific to drug and alcohol abuse and addiction,” he said, noting he offered individual and group treatment at the facility, which also had a methadone clinic. “I stayed in that for a long time.”
Gals said that, although he has no personal addiction history, he has always been interested in drug and addiction treatment.
“I’ve seen it in so many patients — a lot of times it’ll start with an injury. Then it gets into an unfortunate dependence on it. It’s sad there are so many kids affected,” he said. “I just felt it was an area where there’s a lot of suffering.”
Gale said he has experience with treating patients with medications, including Suboxone, and said it can be appropriate when necessary.
“I’m not an advocate of medication; however, there are times when medication is absolutely essential. Sometimes it’s short term.”
He then went on to work at Middletown Counseling in Middletown.
“Then, a gal by the name of Sandy Knauer said, ‘Gee, Bill — I really like how you do treatment. I just think you’d be a valuable asset in the practice.’”
While there, Gale decided to open his own practice, Choices First in Dover.
“It just took off,” he said. “I really bring to the community a résumé of experience.”
Those who wish to see Gale must set up an appointment and complete a HIPPA-compliant patient information packet.
“The first session is initial assessment,” explained Gale, adding that his goal is to make his patients feel safe and comfortable in sessions. “There’s some inherent anxiety coming into a situation like this, so I try to be sensitive to that. If they’re not comfortable with me, that prevents them from trusting me. You’ve got to have trust — it’s no different than going to a medical doctor. If they trust, they’re more willing to open up and share.”
A deep level of mutual respect must be attained, according to Gale, in order for treatment to be successful.
“I don’t care what they come in with, they’re still precious. They’re still worth respecting. To establish that makes them feel worthy. Just that in itself is therapeutic to some extent.”
Gale offers individual, family, couples and premarital counseling, as well as mental health and drug abuse treatment. He added that he will do scriptural counseling if requested by a client.
“I have a passion for it,” he said of counseling.
Gale said that his ultimate goal is to help those in need who are suffering in some way.
“When they leave, when treatment is over, my goal is that they say to themselves that they feel relief as far as suffering, that they have got what they came in for. That’s crucial.”
Gale said he will work with patients with almost any type of insurance and go out of his way to help those who do not have insurance.
Having been raised to help people through the example of his parents, Gale said he loves working in psychology, simply to help those in need.
“It’s a blessing… It’s a gift. I love what I do. How could I not, if I help relieve suffering?”
For more information on Gale, or to set up an appointment, visit choicesfirstllc.com, or call (302) 233-4178. Gale may also be reached via email, at email@example.com.