Guidance Center project under way

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Family Guidance Center tries to be just what the name says. From sports to driving to getting over trauma, the center has a wide variety of programs to help people of all ages.

“We’re just here because people need us,” said Ruth Langer, the center’s clinical program manager and program coordinator. “Our mission is to provide services to people in our community to empower them to feel better about themselves and more capable of interacting with the community in a positive manner.”

The program began in 1969 as a drug and alcohol program. In the 1990s, the center added mental health programs.

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The dual focus of drug and alcohol issues and mental health issues is a necessary one, Langer said.

“There really are people who have both problems and you can’t focus on one and ignore the other,” she said.

There are two ways the center serves the community, through prevention services and treatment programs.

Prevention isn’t always sitting down and talking to a counselor.

For the first time, the center is in the middle of its Ninth Street Park Project, which includes baseball and basketball games, an arts program, and a community week that deals with health and safety issues.

“Prevention is one of the most important services you can provide people, but it is also one with the least funding in the state,” Langer said. So the center is trying to do more with less money. The summer activities are funded by the Appalachian Family and Children First Council and focus on children and teenagers.

Langer said it was a matter of getting kids away from negative influences.

“You have to replace it with some things that are positive,” she said. “These are necessary for kids who drink or are depressed. But if you don’t have anything else to do or have the skills to avoid self-medicating, you might not know how to avoid a bad situation.”

Other school related programs for teens include Circle of Friends, which is a group for girls; an after school program; and a healthy relationship program.

Treatment programs include counseling and case management on an outpatient basis for people with mental health or substance abuse problems. That can be either getting help with lifestyle issues or substance abuse issues in either group sessions or individual meetings.

The center works with doctors and other agencies to get people medical help.

People who have been found guilty of driving under the influence are sometimes sentenced to the center and their partner, Country Hearts, for 72 hours of treatment.

“They get intensive treatment, they don’t do anything but eat, sleep, and be counseled,” Langer said.

And for people who have lost points off their driver’s licenses, they can take an eight-hour class held in conjunction with AAA.

There is also a group called Dealing with Feelings, for women who have been traumatized.

“We have a little bit of everything because there is a wide variety of need,” Langer said. “We’re here because there is a need for our services.”

For more information about the full range of services offered by the Family Guidance Center, their office is located at 1518 South 3rd Street in Ironton. The phone number is (740) 532-7855.

Another office that has counseling services is located at the Chesapeake Family Medical Center at 1717 Third Ave.