TCC Recovery

The Counseling Center at Ohio’s 2017 Opiate Conference

June 21, 2017


Scioto County, Ohio- Employees and the President of the Board of Directors at The Counseling Center, Inc. (TCC) attended Ohio’s 2017 Opiate Conference on June 12th and 13th, 2017. The Ohio 2017 Opiate Conference is an opportunity for treatment providers, law enforcement, and other concerned individuals to provide and gain information on the industry trends and best practices. Two employees of The Counseling Center were invited to present information on treatment practices utilized at TCC.

MIrwin Presentation.jpgMary Irwin, Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer, presented Stepping Stones: Working with Pregnant Moms as well as Their Children. Specifically, on how the formation of a maternity work group has allowed for notable outcomes regarding pregnant women who are in addiction treatment, the impact of coordination of care and occupational therapy for children in services, as well as identifying how TCC clients make an impact in the community and how the community impacts TCC clients.

RLooney PresentationRobin Looney, Director of Day One Admission Center and Family Services, presented on progressive efforts to revitalize TCC’s admissions and orientation process. With the input of Performance Improvement committee meetings and feedback from clients, changes were made to more efficiently serve new clients. Within a welcoming environment, the Day One Admission Center works to increase access and respond urgently to clients presenting for care. Looney stated that she hopes audience members left with new ideas about changes in process, staffing, and a physical plan which could enable providers to improve services.

Ohio’s 2017 Opiate Conference was also a platform for showing the importance of Medicaid Expansion. Andy Albrecht, Chief Executive Officer for The Counseling Center, spoke at a press conference held during the event. Albrecht spoke about key outcomes that directly relate to Medicaid Expansion as demonstrated at TCC such as, the creation of 67 full time jobs, 2.3 million dollars added to payroll, 1100 men obtaining treatment services, 400 men diverted from regional county jails, as well as the development of integrated services for physical and behavioral health. He noted, “Medicaid expansion has been the single biggest thing that has happened to our agency and local communities to help individuals in need of addiction treatment.”

During the last group session of the conference, the hashtag campaign #WhatHappensTomorrow rolled out as a way to reach out to legislators around the state and share stories of how Medicaid Expansion is beneficial to the field of behavioral health.

About The Counseling Center

Since 1984, The Counseling Center Inc. has served the southeastern Ohio region as a behavioral health, alcohol and addiction treatment facility. Currently, The Counseling Center serves approximately 200 clients annually, employs 264 people and operates locations in both Adams County and Scioto County. Programs of The Counseling Center include the Stepping Stone program for addicted mothers and expectant mothers, the Marsh House for Men, the Second Chance Center, St. Lucy’s program for Women, The Loved Ones Group for families of addicted loved ones, youth prevention services, a job training program called Clean Hire, primary health care and recovery housing through affiliated agencies, and other supportive services. Online at

For follow up or additional comment, please contact:

Andy Albrecht, CEO The Counseling Center,, office phone (740) 353-6685 ext. 8000

Gina Collinsworth, Chief Public Relations Officer The Counseling Center,, office phone: (740) 351-2706

Ohio State Legal Services Association awarded grant to partner with The Counseling Center

It took five years to create and fund, but the first known partnership in the United States between a legal aid law firm and a drug/alcohol addiction treatment center has begun work in Portsmouth, Ohio.  Ohio State Legal Services Association (also known locally as SEOLS or Southeastern Ohio Legal Services) and The Counseling Center (TCC) initiated a partnership in December, with the help of a grant from the Ohio State Bar Foundation (OSBF).  Enhancing the likelihood of long-term, addiction recovery is the simple goal driving the collaboration Read more…

9th Annual Celebrity Chef Dinner & Silent Auction


The Counseling Center’s 9th Annual Celebrity Chef Dinner and Silent Auction is Tuesday, March 14th at 6:00 pm at the SOMC Friends Community Center, 1202 18th Street, Portsmouth, Ohio. Tickets are on sale now and going fast! 

Tickets are $50.00 each and includes Celebrity Chef appetizers, dinner buffet, delicious desserts, silent auction, raffles and live entertainment.  For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Melissa Whitt at 740-351-2707.


 The Celebrity Chef Dinner event is a benefit for The Counseling Center’s Summer Outreach Club, a free summer day-camp for kids ages 5-12.  This year is the ninth year and feature’s the theme, Travel the World and Be Back by Breakfast, taking you around the world sampling tastes of delicious appetizer’s made by our Celebrity Chefs, in addition to a breakfast-inspired dinner buffet of breakfast lasagna, rise and shine taco boats, quiche, fried rice, Spanish potatoes, scrambled tofu and delicious fresh fruits.  To finish the feast, delectable dessert cupcakes from ’83 Sweets and a variety of flavors of custard cups from Whit’s Frozen Custard for dessert.  There will be live Americana music performed by The Poverty String Band, our hometown favorite. Read more…

Loved Ones Group Newsletter

The Power of Denial by Ed Hughes

We frequently use the word “denial” in our description of a person’s inability to admit to their problem with drinking or drug use.  We might say a person is “in denial,” meaning they are being dishonest with themselves and others, or that for whatever reason they are unable to see the obvious.

          Denial is actually a very common human characteristic, not at all reserved for people with problems relating to addiction.  Denial is the common tendency to reject information that is contrary to the way we would prefer to view things.

The rejection of unwanted facts, so that we can keep thinking and behaving the way we want.  Sometimes these unwanted facts come from our minds, such as when we see something we really want to buy at a store, but then we hear our own minds say that we can’t afford it.  But rather than listen to this inner voice, we begin to argue with ourselves (rationalize) until we come up with an acceptable justification for moving ahead and doing what we want to do.

Have you ever heard of someone bringing home a boyfriend or girlfriend that mom and dad didn’t like?  I asked this question in a public meeting one time and a woman raised her hand and said, “I sure did, and I married him.  And mom and dad were right,” she joked, with her embarrassed husband sitting next to her.

What is the normal reaction of the person told by mom and dad that they don’t approve of the boyfriend?  The reaction is certainly not to agree with mom and dad and end the relationship.  No, it is usually an argument about how they are wrong (defending), and in cases where perhaps one is not able to argue with mom and dad, then maybe sneaking to see the boyfriend/girlfriend will be the choice.  In any case, we are not very accepting of information that flies in the face of what we really want.  This is part of being human.

Now, what happens when this normal human experience called denial comes in contact with something as powerful as drug addiction?  What happens is the addicted person becomes mentally blind to the reality of their situation and unable to see the destruction their disease is inflicting on them and others.  To the world the addicted person looks terribly selfish, inconsiderate, manipulative, and dishonest.  But these are only symptoms of the addicted person’s increasing disconnection with reality.  Addiction acts like a filter on the person’s brain, filtering out advice, logical suggestions, and truth.  The denial process eventually creates an inability for the addicted person to make reasoned choices, or accurate self-awareness in the form of insight into what is happening to their life.

All of this is very frustrating to family, friends and community.  It seems impossible to “talk any sense” to the addicted person.  Denial is a powerful barrier to admitting the presence of a problem and getting help.  In order to get well, there needs to be at least a small chip in the wall of denial.  This is usually created when the consequences of addiction are experienced by the addicted person, rather than others.  Consequences become the opportunity for helpful information to get through, making an impact which in turn can create the beginning of recovery.  Denial will begin to diminish if and when the person becomes abstinent from all drugs of addiction, and denial will continue to diminish as a recovery process is initiated.

It is also common for loved ones to experience denial.  It is very difficult for a parent, friend or spouse to fully accept the realities of someone’s addiction.  Most often this denial is removed in layers, with the first layer being recognition that your loved one is addicted and needs help beyond your own ability to help.  Breaking through denial also means breaking through our reluctance to ask for help.  This first step can be a powerful one on the road to recovery, if the loved ones continue to challenge themselves to deal with their own faulty thinking and need to accept the realities of addiction.


Loved Ones Newsletter vol 1 no 1 and vol 1 no 2

To sign up for this newsletter email Robin Looney, Director of the Day One Admissions Center  [ ]


Ed Hughes is one of the originators of the Loved Ones Group. He is a  licensed, Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor for the State of Ohio, and served as Executive Director of The Counseling Center, Inc., from 1989-2013. He also served as CEO of Compass Community Health from 2013-2016.  Mr. Hughes earned a B.A. in Sociology from Ohio University and a Master’s of Public Service Counseling from Western Kentucky University, and has written a companion book titled Baffled by Addiction.

TCC Employees Promoted

The Counseling Center would like to announce the recent promotion of several employees within the company.

Eva Gitome has recently been promoted to Chief Financial Officer. Eva began her employment with The Counseling Center in September 2013, and took a brief leave of absence to obtain her Master of Business Administration at Bowling Green State University.  Since returning as an accountant, Eva has received multiple promotions including Asst. Controller, Controller, and finally CFO.  She has been instrumental in significantly advancing financial operations within the company including a major accounting software implementation as well as improvements to fiscal controls and financial management.  During her tenure, the financial health of the organization has improved substantially, allowing us to expand access and provide additional resources to the clients we serve.

Tonya Berry has been promoted to Controller. Tonya has been employed with TCC since July of 2014 and has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from University of Kentucky.  Most recently she served as Accountant in the Finance Department.

Robin Looney has been promoted to the Director of the Day One Center, a new family and customer service center and stand alone Admissions and Orientation Center. She is a Marshall University graduate, with a Master of Arts degree in Community Agency Counseling and is a licensed social worker and independent chemical dependency counselor.  Early in her career, Robin worked in a community mental health agency and in residential treatment with youth experiencing emotional and behavioral disorders.  After referring many of these youth to substance use services, she entered the field where she has remained the past 25 years.   Robin has been an Adjunct Faculty with Ohio University Southern the past ten years and employed with The Counseling Center in a number of roles for over 15 years.  She has been particularly involved in providing information and support to families impacted by addiction.  Robin and her husband, Brett, reside in Lawrence County, Ohio with their two children, Paige and Garrett.

Dustin Holbrook has recently accepted the position of Outpatient Treatment Director. He is a Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor and a Licensed Social Worker in the state of Ohio.  Dustin obtained his Associate and Bachelor of Arts degrees from Shawnee State University and holds a Master of Social Administration degree from Case Western Reserve University.  He began working in the addiction treatment field in 2001 and has spent the last 11 years working at Scioto Paint Valley Mental Health Center (SPVMHC) in Waverly.  During his time there he was promoted to team leader/assistant clinic director.  He developed an Integrated Dual Disorder Treatment Program and a Juvenile Drug Court Program while working in Pike County.  He oversaw all of the AOD clinical programming at SPVMHC’s Pike County Clinic.  Dustin was also a founder of the Pike County Drug Prevention and Reentry Coalition, serving as the chairperson for a period of time.  Dustin currently lives in Lucasville with his family; he and his wife Cassandra have two daughters attending school in the Valley District.

Nick Montavon has recently accepted the promotion of Director of Transportation. Nick has been employed with The Counseling Center for four years and has also served in the Food Service Department as Supervisor.  He then progressed to the manager of both Transportation and Food Service.   He has been a vital part of working with Job and Family Services in renewing our Transportation Grant, and has implemented new processes in the Transportation Department to make services more efficient. He was recently promoted to Director because of the great improvements he has contributed to the organization and his exemplary management of staff.  Nick holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Shawnee State University.


Stepping Stones Program, Celebrating 200 Recovery Babies

SSOP 200 Recovery Babies Logo-01.jpg

In the fight for recovery, there is no greater success than healthy babies born to mothers in addiction treatment and working to get their lives back on track. Join us in celebrating a number of the greatest significance – since 2009, there have been over 200+ recovery babies born to the mothers of our Stepping Stone program.  We would like to encourage the community to join in our campaign by sharing our message of hope and success.  In the coming months, watch for our inspirational posters, billboards and much more throughout the community.  We believe in recovery, we believe in miracles!

2016 River Days Festival parade float celebrating our clients and babies born in the Stepping Stones Program.