One of the country’s foremost authorities on family dynamics and a leading proponent of family-based therapy, Dr. W. Robert Beavers has established a $1.3 million charitable remainder trust at Southwestern Medical Foundation. At the same time, the Family Studies Center of Dallas — a nonprofit counseling center he founded in 1973 — has come under The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center of Dallas umbrella as a new division of the Department of Psychiatry.

The board of directors of the Family Studies Center voted in December 2003 to transfer all its assets to Southwestern Medical Foundation to support the center at UT Southwestern. The $1.3 million gift will create a chair in his name to support future directors of the UT Southwestern Family Studies Center.

The center, which is devoted to advancing family approaches to treating mental disorders, will serve as a training facility for psychiatry residents, psychology graduate students and medical students. The clinical work at the center will extend not only to patients and their families, but also to affiliated hospitals and other community agencies, through which the center will promote the application of family interventions.

Dr. Beavers, who will continue to serve as director of the center in the interim, said, “Early in my career I recognized that there were many patients who were falling through the cracks —financially and emotionally. Their mental health needs, and the needs of their families, simply weren’t being met by traditional counseling. It became obvious to me that they needed something more and that we in the psychiatric community needed to find a way to better serve those in crisis. Out of that void came the Family Studies Center, which has made the complex interplay between clients and their families its focus.”

Dr. Beavers, who earned his medical degree from UT Southwestern in 1953, has been a volunteer clinical professor of psychiatry at the medical center since 1979. He now has joined the UT Southwestern faculty as professor of psychiatry.