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Counseling Center Opens

Northern Virginia Counseling Group re-opens in town.

The Northern Virginia Counseling Group, Inc. — a mental health and substance abuse outpatient treatment center — is opening in Herndon to better service its clients in the area.

At its inception in 1993 the organization was in Herndon, but because of rising real estate prices they had to relocate the facilities to other neighborhoods, said Thomas Minnick, owner and founder of the group.

"We did some research in the area and a number of our clients we have worked with in the past are out in Herndon, Reston, Loudoun and Leesburg," said Patrick Slifka, clinical social worker for the group, adding with increasing developments and traffic, people had a hard time getting to their offices in Annandale and Manassas.

"We want to better service our clients," said Minnick about the new location at 108 Elden Street. "Loudoun is basically exploding, and now with the population out here we realistically need a site in each county."

Founded 12-years ago, the Northern Virginia Counseling Group, Inc. (NVCG, Inc.) offers a variety of outpatient services that bridges the gaps between traditional mental health therapies and substance abuse treatment.

"This group was started at a time when there was a need for integrated treatment," said Slifka about the prior separation in treatment for mental health and substance abuse. "There's always been a gap between the two."

Minnick said he created NVCG, Inc. because of that gap.

"After working in two major agencies, it became clear to me that many clients that seek help have a variety of problems," said Minnick. "There's a high correlation between mental health and substance abuse problems."

Minnick said this combination counseling separates the group from other treatment agencies.

"Our reason for using [NVCG, Inc.] is they have a very strong family component," said Dr. Peter Robbins, child and adolescent psychiatrist in Oakton. "They inform and educate the family and get the family involved in long-term treatment."

Along with the family education, the group also keeps the counselors in his medical group up to date on the progress of their clients, Robbins said.

"It's a phenomenon," he said, of the increasing number of children he refers to NVCG, Inc. with substance abuse problems. "I think being able to put a location up in Herndon is a big advantage."

NVCG offers services for adolescents, young adults, adults and family members as well as community education, increased response time to those in need as well as a public-private partnership with the Fairfax County school system.

The Herndon location will replicate the six other locations in the region while also being the only location to offer the professional therapeutic supervised visitation program where parents required by law, due to divorce or other reasons, have supervised visitation with their children.

"We try to add something special to our organization where we can provide services ourselves and connect to the local community," said Minnick.

To help connect to the Herndon community, the group is holding a community barbecue this Friday, Oct. 22 from noon to 2 p.m.

"It's an opportunity to come and meet the staff, see the site, ask questions, eat food and meet us," said Slifka.