“The closing left the majority of uninsured or underinsured individuals seeking mental health services in WNC with nowhere to turn for individual therapy…ASCC began serving clients in two donated rooms in The Cathedral of All Souls in Asheville. Demand for those services quickly began to grow, the Center obtained its 501(c)(3) status and moved to a new location with more space.”
Today, All Souls Counseling Center is located on Arlington Street in downtown Asheville with seven staff members and 18 licensed therapists.
Check out our full Q&A with All Souls below…
Tell us about your business and the role you play in it.
All Souls Counseling Center is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to serve as a leading provider and community partner for quality mental health counseling, outreach, and education with a focus on adults who are underinsured and uninsured in Western North Carolina. We have 18 experienced, licensed therapists who offer both in-person and virtual counseling sessions for individuals, couples and families. Therapy fees are on a sliding scale with no one turned away for an inability to pay.
Where did your vision begin? How has it grown?
ASCC was started in September 2000 by two local visionary therapists who identified a gap in mental health care for the uninsured and underinsured in our region that occurred with the closure of Charter Hospital and Family Services, a state-funded community mental health center. The closing left the majority of uninsured or underinsured individuals seeking mental health services in WNC with nowhere to turn for individual therapy.
ASCC began serving clients in two donated rooms in The Cathedral of All Souls in Asheville. Demand for those services quickly began to grow, and ASCC obtained its 501(c)(3) status and moved the Center to a new location with more space. In 2010, we established a permanent Center on Arlington Street in downtown Asheville, operating out of a warm, welcoming historic home.
Today, All Souls Counseling Center has grown to 7 staff members and 18 licensed therapists, who are trained and experienced in Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and trauma-informed therapy. Several of our therapists also have Clinical Addiction Specialist credentials. Our therapists also offer group therapy options based on expressed needs or specific modalities. In Fiscal Year 2022 we provided 2,937 counseling sessions to 291 clients and are planning for 10-15% growth over the next two years.
What made you choose the Asheville area?
Mental health has long been a key public health issue in WNC, and for those without insurance, access to mental health care can be prohibitively expensive. In most parts of the country, an hour-long therapy session costs between $100-$200 without insurance, according to the therapist directory GoodTherapy.org. In Buncombe County, where we are located, nearly 30,000 people are uninsured, or 14.6% of the population, according to 2019 US Census data.
Who are your key partners?
ASCC maintains partnerships with a number of service providers in Buncombe County that both send client referrals to us and receive referrals from us. These partners are essential to our ability to link clients to needed services and resources beyond what we provide. Some of those partners include Helpmate, Our Voice, Pisgah Legal Services, Homeward Bound, Haywood Street Congregation, Sunrise Community for Recovery and Wellness, Church of the Advocate, YWCA Asheville, and Western Carolina Medical Society’s Project Access.
In order to better meet the psychiatric needs of our clients, we launched a referral partnership with the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) in Fall 2022 whereby our clients can receive direct psychiatric services without going through MAHEC’s internal intake process, ensuring that they can be seen more quickly. We will in turn provide counseling to MAHEC’s clients that are referred to us and are eligible for our services.
What has been your greatest challenge? Your greatest victory?
One of the greatest challenges we face is ending the stigma surrounding seeking mental health services. There are so many people who experience mental health challenges and don’t receive help for their struggles due to concerns about being treated differently, fear of appearing sick or weak, or the lack of support from friends and family. Stigma, prejudice and discrimination against people with mental health issues is still very much a problem, and we work to alleviate this through awareness and education, normalizing conversations around mental wellness, and showing compassion to those experiencing mental illness.
In addition to our continued success offering our core services to the community for over 22 years, one of our greatest achievements has been the overhaul of our Outreach and Community Engagement program to better understand and serve the mental health needs of communities of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and low-income individuals in WNC. This started with the recent hiring of our full-time Outreach and Community Manager Victoria Hensley in Fall 2022, who will meet with key community partners, groups, and faith communities to spread the word about not only our own services, but all the other mental health resources in the community.
What is a little-known fact about your organization?
Anything else you’d like to share?
We are accepting new clients and our current waitlist is around 2 weeks! To schedule your first appointment, please call (828)-259-3369 and our Clinical Manager will do an intake screening with you to connect you with the appropriate therapist for your needs.
ASCC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and we rely on the generosity of our donors to support our mission of providing affordable counseling services to those we are uninsured. To make a donation, please visit our website at www.allsoulscounseling.org.
For more information about our organization, mental wellness tips, and upcoming events follow us on social media @allsoulscounseling.