There’s a poster on the Somerset Counseling Center website: a black-and-white Einstein, with the words “We Cannot Solve Our Problems With the Same Thinking We Used When We Created Them.” This is the same philosophy used in 12-step programs to describe why sponsorship and working a program is important; and indeed, Somerset Counseling is a 12-step oriented facility. Somerset Counseling Center has been offering outpatient treatment to adults and adolescents battling substance abuse and co-occurring disorders since December of 2000 when Gary and Cathy Somdahl founded it.
Somerset offers off-site services, but the main Counseling Center is deep in inland Washington: the town of Richland making a triangle with Seattle and Portland. Richland started out a small town and might have stayed that way, but in 1943 the Federal Government exiled Richland’s several hundred residents and set up the workers on the Manhattan Project with a new home. Now Richland is a town like any other—mall, Starbucks, a nuclear site—and also Somerset Counseling Center.
Treatment and Staff
Somerset Counseling Center, which opens at 9 am Monday through Thursday, offers intensive and regular outpatient counseling to adolescents and adults. The adolescent program is called ADAPT: Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program for Teens. There are specific groups for women as well. And although treatment and care plans are individualized at intake, the same basic methods are used with everyone. All clients are introduced to the 12 steps and encouraged to attend meetings as part of recovery. Evidence-based therapy led by trained counselors is done on an individual, group and family level according to the Matrix model, utilizing Motivational Interviewing (MI). Group therapy covers the gamut— from self-esteem, codependency and refusal skills to positive mental outlook, assertiveness building, goal planning and stress reduction.
There is no religious doctrine here, but some groups are focused on spirituality to help clients connect with the spiritual aspect of the 12-step program. In addition to therapy, clients receive education about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. They are educated on how to take care of themselves and coached on everything from anger management to proper nutrition. Smokers receive counseling and help with quitting smoking if they choose. After clients have completed their period of treatment, as determined by the Somerset clinical team, they’re still allowed to use the Center as a resource; graduates of the program return for weekly and monthly aftercare groups as they continue to reintegrate into their regular lives. The Center is open until 9 pm Monday through Wednesday and until 7 pm on Thursdays to accommodate those who can only come after work or school. Usually clients will choose to attend either morning groups from 9 am to noon or the evening groups from 6 to 9 pm.
Somerset Counseling Center is a family operation. Gary and Cathy are hands-on owners with 11 employees. A clinical and support staff of 13 means a high staff-to-client ratio; so potential clients can count on getting a lot of individual attention here. Want to know founders Gary and Cathy Somdahl a bit better? Gary’s specialty is teen addiction and Cathy’s is co-occurring disorders. Gary has written three books: Interview with Addiction, Drugs & Kids, and Marijuana Drug Dangers. Cathy is a self- described “energetic and serious clinician.” She takes this energy with her into the community, to schools and civic groups where she promotes awareness about addiction. She also has a Mixcloud profile where she writes that she’s been working in the field of chemical dependency for over 20 years.
Somerset Counseling Center is about the founders—how they have committed their lives to the recovery cause and built this place around their reputations—and there is ample evidence that they know what they’re doing. Evidence-based treatment? A 12-step foundation? Family and aftercare programming? They’re all here. And if a client legitimately has no steady income, each group can end up costing as little as $2.
Somerset Counseling Center
1305 Mansfield St, Ste 6
Richland, WA 99352
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