New River Valley Community Services
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New River Valley Community Services


The Basics

Founded in 1969, New River Valley Community Services (NRVCS) is a public behavioral health organization in Blacksburg, Virginia. Its mission is to provide affordable treatment for those who suffer from developmental disorders, mental illness and substance abuse.

NRVCS offers an Intensive Outpatient Therapy Program (IOP) for drug and alcohol abuse called Stepping Stones. The program follows evidence-based practices with an introduction to 12-step and other self-help programs. No psychiatric treatment or medication management is offered.

Treatment and Staff

Clients receive an initial assessment that covers their addiction and psychological history. Though the therapeutic approach may change slightly from client to client, the overall treatment plan is very structured, with clients participating in a set amount of sessions on various topics.

The IOP is divided into three phases over the course of 118 weeks, with individual counseling sessions once per week in addition to groups. Group therapy is based on the Living in Balance model. The first 16 weeks is made up of 36 different sessions and topics include relapse prevention, drug education and 12-step education. Psychosocial groups address attitudes and belief systems, negative emotions, anger, communication, sexuality, spirituality and how to formulate and maintain healthy relationships.

Relapse prevention based on the Matrix Model is a major part of treatment at NRVCS. Groups are educated about relapse prevention and develop coping tools for avoiding relapses. Some key premises of the relapse prevention groups include recognizing that relapses don’t come out of nowhere—there are thoughts, behaviors and signs leading up to them. Clients are guided to pay attention to their peers to help identify warning signs that a relapse may be around the corner.

In Phase One of Stepping Stones, groups meet three times a week—Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays—from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm. Phase II meets two times a week—Thursdays and Fridays—from 5:3o pm to 7:30 pm. Phase III, which focuses mostly on relapse prevention, meets once a week for one hour of group therapy. In addition, clients have up to three individual sessions.

Four staff members are assigned to Stepping Stones at NRVCS, including CSACs and an LCSW. The number of clients varies throughout the year, but groups are typically kept to no more than 10 participants.


In addition to assisting recovery from substance abuse, NRVCS promotes physical wellness through classes on nutrition, sexually transmitted diseases, insomnia and dental hygiene.

Life skills sessions teach clients how to manage money, get an education and advance their professional lives. Family programming is also offered in a weekly two-hour session that follows the Matrix Model. Staff members recommend that clients bring supportive family members to the group so they, too, can be educated about addiction and the process of recovery.

In Summary

For those interested in a long-term and structured outpatient program that uses evidence-based practices, the Stepping Stones program at New River Valley Community Services may be a good fit. For those who go through all phases, the program offers a firm foundation for recovery and insurance against relapse.

New River Valley Community Services
700 University City Blvd
Blacksburg, VA  24060

New River Valley Community Services Cost: Sliding scale. Reach New River Valley Community Services by phone at (540) 961-8300 or by email at Find New River Valley Community Services on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn 

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