Below is a transcript of an interview between Victoria Alesi, Development Manager and Abbey Wollschleger, Programs and Clinical Director, and Erica Schnitz, Family Support Manager.

Victoria – Why is Huckleberry House expanding their counseling services to different paying audiences?

Abbey – I am regularly asked by friends, family members, when I run into people in the community, for choices on where is the best place to send my teen or young adult for counseling.  I always think it is Huckleberry House. but if they don’t have the right insurance then we haven’t been able to serve them. We want to be able to serve anyone in the community regardless of their insurance or their pay.

Victoria – Before making this change, who was the only audience that Huckleberry House could serve?

Abbey – Historically, we’ve only served people that have a form of Medicaid or no insurance at all.

Victoria – What are the changes that are happening now and to happen soon? Who will be served by the new forms of payments accepted?

Abbey – We are in the process of being able to accept private insurance. We will be able to accept Ohio insurance providers, but we are first expanding to accept private pay. For folks that don’t have insurance, we have a private pay rate or a sliding fee scale. For people that don’t want to use their insurance or don’t have mental benefits as part of their insurance can come see a therapist at The Counseling Center at Huckleberry House.

Victoria: What ages does The Counseling Center serve?

Erica: We serve young people age 12-23 and we offer individual and family counseling.

Victoria – How would someone make an appointment with The Counseling Center? How would they become a new client?

Erica – They would call into our main line and speak to Tiffany, our administrative assistant. New clients would give her their basic information like their name, age, what kind of insurance they have, if they don’t have insurance, and what they are wanting to seek help for. Tiffany would then write a referral, I’ll look at it, give it back to her, and she will call them to set up an initial intake appointment. The new client will come in, we gather a lot of information during that appointment just to figure out how to best assist them while they’re in the program. Then they would be linked with their individual clinician and they would get started in the counseling process.

Victoria: What kind of training do the therapists and clinician have here?

Erica: The majority of our therapists have their Master’s degree in social work. Those who do not have their masters have gone also through training and degrees in similar fields to social work. Clients can expect highly trained individuals within the mental health background. Many of our clinicians have had years in the mental health field and four of our clinicians are trained in EMDR therapy.

Abbey: Which is a very specialized form of therapy for people who have had negative past life experiences or trauma, as we often say.

Victoria – What makes The Counseling Center unique to everyone in the community? Why should they come to Huckleberry House?

Abbey – They should come to us because we are the only agency that solely focuses on teenagers and young adults and the issues and problems that they face not only individually, but as a family unit, and in their everyday life. We have been doing it since 1970.

Victoria – So when people come to The Counseling Center, what can they expect from the organization?

Erica: We are a very young, person-friendly environment, welcoming to teenagers and young adults. It is a safe space. Whenever clients come in, whatever they talk about it, is kept confidential. And our therapists are friendly and helpful. We really want to partner with you to help you move forward.

Victoria: What is your goal for The Counseling Center at Huckleberry House?

Erica: My goal is to serve the community and not just the limited audience we have been able to serve historically. When people call and need help, we can help them. We don’t have to send them somewhere else.