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For Mental Health

Military Family Clinic

The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at The Up Center
The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at The Up Center

The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at The Up Center provides high quality, time sensitive mental health services to post-9/11 veterans and their families, regardless of the veteran’s role while in uniform, discharge status, or combat experience. Services are also available for all active-duty family members.

We offer confidential, client-centered therapy for a variety of short-to-medium term mental health issues including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, adjustment issues, anger, grief and loss, family issues, transition challenges, relationship problems, and children’s behavioral problems. Our care is centered on quality interventions that work and current best practices available based on research.

In 2016, philanthropist Steven A. Cohen recognized the need for high quality, accessible mental health care for our nation’s service men and women and their loved ones. In that year, he made a long-term commitment to provide that care by establishing the Cohen Veterans Network (CVN); a national network of Cohen Clinics dedicated to ensuring veterans and their families receive the support they need to lead fulfilling and productive lives.

In 2019, CVN partnered with The Up Center, South Hampton Roads’ largest and oldest human services agency, to establish the country’s 12th Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic in Virginia Beach, VA. For more than 135 years, The Up Center has offered programs and services that change people’s lives by providing comprehensive, integrated behavioral health services for children and families. Now, by joining forces, The Up Center and CVN are on a mission to provide Virginia’s large veteran and family member population with compassionate and effective care to help heal the invisible wounds of war.

Kyle White

“I admitted I needed help -and here I am today, and everything is OK…if I can do it, they can do it.”

—Kyle White, Army Veteran

About the Program

We offer high-quality, customized therapy for a variety of mental health issues including anxiety, depression, PTSD, transitional issues and relationship issues. Our skilled clinicians and staff are culturally competent and aware of the issues faced by veterans and their families. If a veteran or family member is in crisis, we will see them the same day.
Our care is confidential and private. We will not share your information with any public, private or government entities unless required by law.

All post-9/11 veterans, their families, and military family members are eligible for treatment. The Cohen Clinic at The Up Center accepts most major insurances and will work with clients on a case-by-case basis to ensure that any barriers to care are addressed. For those with no insurance, care may be available at no cost. CVN is also contracted with DoD TRICARE and VA as part of the VA community Care Network of providers under the VA Mission Act.

Portrait of Matt

Emotional Wellness

The highly-skilled clinicians at the Cohen Clinic treat a variety of behavioral health challenges, including:
  • Depression
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress
  • Substance misuse
  • Sleep problems
  • Hyper-vigilance (being on high alert)
  • Anger
  • Grief and loss
  • Transitional challenges
  • Relationship and family difficulties
Portrait of Darcel

Treatments

Our evidenced based therapies include:
  • Cognitive processing therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Problem solving therapy
  • Integrative behavioral couples therapy
  • Prolonged exposure therapy
  • Psychiatric medication management
  • Integrated case management
  • EMDR: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
Other treatments are also available based on the individual needs of each client.
Portrait of Joshua

Case Management

We focus on meeting your needs and improving your quality of life through brief case management and resource connection.

Typical resource connections include:
  • Caregiver Support
  • Child Care
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Housing
  • Legal Assistance
  • Military Transitions
  • Peer Support
  • Personal Finances
  • Recreation
  • Rehabilitation, Occupation and/or Physical Therapies
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Transportation
  • Wellness, Health, Nutrition, Exercise
  • Other life circumstances

Our Clients

Soldier with Wife and Daughter

Veterans

Post-9/11 veterans who have served in the United States Armed Forces, regardless of role while in uniform, discharge status or combat experience. This includes the National Guard and Reserves. All sexual orientations and gender identities are welcome.

Military Families

We serve the families of both veterans and active-duty service members, including their spouse or partner, children, parents, siblings, caregivers and other family members as defined by the veteran. Military families of same sex partners and families of choice are welcome.

Connecting to The Steven A. Cohen Clinic at The Up Center

Clients who are new to the clinic will take part in an initial screening. This screening will take biographical information, reasons for seeking treatment and follow up questions to better serve the needs of the client.

Initial Assessment

At the first appointment, our intake coordinator will match the client with the best clinician based on his/her specific needs and preferences. Next, the clinician will sit down with the client to discuss the initial screening process as well as any background information the client chooses to share. This intake process helps the clinician to establish a personalized treatment plan with the client.

Case Management

Couple talking to family counselor
Case managers offer connections to additional support for assistance with issues like unemployment, benefits, housing, finances, and education.

Telehealth

Telehealth is used to deliver face to face therapy online. The Cohen Clinic at The Up Center provides this service over the computer, phone and tablet. Veterans and Military families are provided the same quality of care in the privacy of their own homes through this service.

Who is eligible?

We make it a priority to see post-9/11 veterans and will assess all clients based on their specific needs. Our clinic makes every effort to see pre-9/11 veterans based on clinician availability. We can also connect you to other resources you may be eligible for to best support your needs.

We prioritize serving post-9/11 veterans, which we define as any person who has served in the United States Armed Services (including the National Guard and Reserves) after September 11, 2001, regardless of role while in uniform, discharge status or combat experience. We define family members as parents, siblings, spouses or partners, children, caretakers and others. Although we make a priority of serving post- 9/11 veterans whose period of service included Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and/or Operation New Dawn, we assess all veterans based on their specific needs and our ability to serve the veteran well.

CVN has a complementary relationship with government agencies but receives no funding from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or the Department of Defense. Our clinic does not share confidential patient information with the VA unless required by law or with written consent from the client. We comply with federal guidelines set by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Services and Treatment

We strive to ensure the shortest possible wait time between first contact and first appointment. If you are in crisis, our clinic will make a first appointment available on the same day you contact us. If you are in crisis, please call the Cohen Clinic at The Up Center at 757-965-8686, the National Veterans Crisis Hotline: (800) 273-8255, or the National Women Veterans Hotline: (855) 829-6636.

We provide short and medium term outpatient mental health care support.

The Cohen Clinic at The Up Center is a not-for-profit philanthropic organization. All post-9/11 veterans and their families are eligible for treatment. We accept most major insurances and will work with clients on a case-by-case basis to ensure that any barriers to care are addressed. All funds collected from insurance go right back into providing care for clients to ensure sustainability and growth.

We will follow up with you every few months for the first year to make sure you are still doing well and to help you connect with any additional resources you may need. You are always welcome to reach out to the clinic. Our team is dedicated to ensuring our military community continues on the path to wellness.

Tonya Bennett

Tonya Bennett, LCSW

Tonya Bennett is a Clinician at the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at The Up Center, specializing in evidence-based treatment for children, adolescents, and their families.
A Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Tonya holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Landscape Architecture at SUNY ESF and a Masters of Social Work from Norfolk State University. Before her role at the Cohen Clinic, she worked at the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker serving as a medical social worker and outpatient mental health clinician in the neurology department.
Tonya’s interest in working with veterans and the military was sparked by an internship at the Vet Center along with her family ties to the military. She is the daughter of an Army Veteran and granddaughter of an Air Force Veteran.
Tonya is passionate about working with children, adolescents, and parents. She strives to provide a nurturing environment so that clients can grow, change, and reconnect to their dreams and strengths. Her practice is Inspired by Jim Valvano’s quote, “Never give up, don’t ever give up.”
Tonya has a special clinical interest in obsessive-compulsive and related disorders, somatic symptom disorders, and autism. In her off time, she enjoys spending time with her family, being outdoors, enjoys yoga, gardening, and raising chickens.
Janel Cisneros

Janel Cisneros

Janel Cisneros is the Practice Manager at the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at The Up Center, providing oversight of the daily operations of the clinic. Janel has over 23 years’ experience in the healthcare field, including clinical, logistical, and managerial. She worked as the Director of Operations in Healthcare Human Resource Solutions after retiring from the United States Navy in 2012.

Janel is a retired Navy corpsman who served in a variety of assignments including administrative, operational, shipboard, and joint military operations overseas. She is the spouse of an active-duty servicemember who has served over 20 years and includes multiple combat deployments. This dual relationship with the diversity of the military community has fueled her passion to continue to serve and advocate for veterans, the military, and their families.
Janel believes in the adage “do what is right, not what is easy” and that this includes taking care of your health, physically and mentally, while understanding that this can be especially difficult for veterans who sacrifice as a way of life.
Janel and her family share a love for travel, history, food, warm beaches, and finding unique ways to spend time together – every day is an adventure!
Julissa Corona

Julissa Corona

Julissa Corona serves as the intake coordinator of the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at The Up Center. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from Methodist University and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from The University of Texas at El Paso. She gained practical experience at the William Beaumont Army Medical Center – Inpatient Behavioral Health Unit where she provided clinical services to active duty personnel, veterans and family members.
A military spouse, Julissa’s husband has served in the Army as a military musician for 16 years. Her brother served in the National Guard for 6 years as a mechanic. She loves supporting the military community by providing high quality care, informing research, and influencing change.
Julissa is originally from Panama, moving to Virginia Beach from El Paso, TX due to military relocation. Outside of the Cohen Clinic at The Up Center, she enjoys spending time with her family, running, cycling and camping.
Edica Gonzalez

Edica Gonzalez

Edica Gonzalez serves as the case manager at the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at The Up Center. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Argosy University and is currently attending Our Lady of the Lake University to earn her Master’s degree in Social Work. She has gained her experience as an intern at the Up Center working in outpatient services, co-facilitating for the Batterers Intervention group, assisting with the Social Skill building group and the Women’s Assertiveness group. Other background work includes crisis counseling for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault which continues to be a growing passion of hers.

Her appreciation for the military stems from being the daughter of a Marine, the wife of a Navy corpsman for 15 years and a very proud mother of an Airmen. The military holds a special a place in her heart and working at the Cohen Clinic at The Up Center gives her the opportunity to give back to those who have sacrificed so much for our country.

Edica is a mother to four beautiful children, one dog and one bearded dragon. On her down time she enjoys cooking, trying new foods, shopping and traveling. Her favorite quote is by Jimmy Dean – “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination”.
Brian Helm

Brian Helm, LPC

Brian Helm is a clinician at the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at The Up Center. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education from UNC Wilmington and a Master’s Degree in Community and Addictions Counseling from the College of William and Mary.
An Army veteran, Brian served one tour with the 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He is driven to support those who have defended our country, and seeks to help clients complete the loop from service and sacrifice in military life to success in the civilian world.
Among his mottos is a quote by Maya Angelou, “You may not control all the events that happened to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” Outside of the clinic Brian stays active with his family by surfing, biking, hiking and camping.
Sharon

Sharon Lockaby, LPC

Sharon Lockaby is a clinician at the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at The Up Center. A Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from James Madison University. She also holds a Master’s degree and Educational Specialist degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from James Madison University. Throughout her career, She has provided counseling to the military community through the college, inpatient, and outpatient counseling settings.
As the daughter of a Retired Navy Chief and wife of a Navy veteran, She has been inspired to serve all military populations including active duty military, veterans, spouses/partners, couples, and children. With many generations of family ties to the military, Sharon admires the bravery and deep commitment to service these individuals have to their family, each other, their service, and their country. Working with the military has and always will be a passion of Sharon’s.
When not working at the clinic, Sharon, her husband, and her dogs enjoy the outdoors and spending time with loved ones. Her other interests include baking, eating, and reading.
Cindy Paauw

Cindy Paauw, LCSW

Cindy Paauw is a clinician with the The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at The Up Center. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in both Psychology and International Relations from the University of Rochester and a Master of Science Degree in Social Work from Columbia University with a focus on military personnel and families. She joins the Cohen Clinic at The Up Center from The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Endeavors in Killeen, Texas where she also served as a clinician. Prior to that, Cindy worked at Ft. Hood in Fort Hood, Texas where she provided counseling to active duty children and families.
Cindy’s husband is an active duty service member who was commissioned into the Army in 2010. Her firsthand experience within the military community has inspired her to serve those who have selflessly served our country. She wholeheartedly respects the resilience, strengths and unique experiences of this particular population. Her practice is guided by the idea from Carl Jung, “I am not what has happened to me, I am what I choose to become.”
Cindy and her husband have a young daughter who keeps them on the go. Together, they go hiking, biking and backpacking. Cindy is both an artist and a yogi.
Sarah Pitzen

Sarah Pitzen, LPC, ATR

Sarah Pitzen serves as the lead clinician of the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at The Up Center. A Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Registered Art Therapist (ATR), Sarah received a Master of Science Degree in Art Therapy and Counseling from Eastern Virginia Medical School. Over the course of her career, she has provided counseling and art therapy to veterans in a nursing home and hospice setting, to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in a woman’s shelter and to high schoolers in a day treatment program. In 2010, she joined The Up Center most recently serving as the assistant director of Clinical Services.
Sarah is the proud granddaughter of a WWII veteran and recipient of The Purple Heart. Her parents met while her father was serving in the Army, stationed at Fort Benning in Georgia. With family ties to the military, Sarah admires the loyalty and deep commitment service members have to each other and to their country. She is moved by the opportunity to give back to those who sacrifice so much.
Sarah and her husband have 3 children. Together, they enjoy going to the beach as well as hiking and camping in the mountains of Northern Virginia. Her other interests include painting, playing the piano and cooking.
Danielle Rogers

Danielle Rogers

Danielle Rogers serves as the receptionist for the The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at The Up Center. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Norfolk State University. Danielle gained practical experience in the field of mental health as a therapeutic day treatment counselor in which she participated in the resolution of problems and crisis interventions.
Born and raised in Norfolk, Danielle is honored to serve the military community in her hometown. She is the proud niece of an aunt who is active duty in the Navy and a cousin who is active duty in the Army.
She lives by the motto, “You only have one life to live, choose a happy one.” Outside of the clinic she plays with her children, shops, paints, dances and travels.
Anne Marie Seda

Anne Marie Seda, PMHNP-BC

Anne Marie Seda is the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at The Up Center, providing psychiatric mental health evaluations and medication management when indicated. She earned her degree from Stony Brook University in 2002, which included a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner as well as a Clinical Nurse Specialist (child and adolescent focus).
She is trained in evidence-based trauma treatment modalities including Prolonged Exposure, Cognitive Processing Therapy, and EMDR level II. She is also trained in CBT-I.

As a nurse practitioner, Anne Marie has worked in remote areas of Alaska and other states. Before joining the Cohen Clinic at The Up Center, she worked with the Virginia Beach Community Service Board (CSB), treating people with substance use disorders and the severely mentally ill, utilizing medication management. She also worked with Naval Medical Center Portsmouth for more than a decade, where she worked within a trauma clinic as well as an outpatient military treatment facility.

A military spouse, Anne Marie’s husband served in the U.S. Coast Guard for 20 years as a flight engineer, which provided them with additional adventures all over the U.S. She also has several other family members who are veterans, including her father who served in the USMC for 37 years, ending his career as the Director of Intelligence.
Anne Marie currently resides with her husband in Virginia Beach, VA. They enjoy hiking (especially in a mountain range), spending time with friends and family, and photography.

As a prescriber, Anne Marie enjoys working at the Cohen Clinic at The Up Center because she knows of the quality of care all of her patients will receive if they continue in therapy with our highly-trained staff who are passionate about their work and motivated to go above and beyond for our patients.

Traci Whitley

Traci Whitley, LMFT

Traci Whitley is a clinician with the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at The Up Center. A Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), she received a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy at Argosy University, Honolulu in 2009. Traci married into the United States Marine Corps shortly before the events of 9/11, leaving her with a deep personal and professional appreciation of the unique experiences of the military population. Inspired to serve, she has provided counseling for active duty military, veterans, spouses, and couples for the past decade.

Traci has a passion for helping military couples repair and rediscover their connection using her advanced training in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT.) She specializes in working with trauma, grief, depression, anxiety, and anger management. Traci believes in a collaborative, strengths-based approach to counseling. She works with clients to identify and navigate through stuck places, creating meaningful change. Traci lives by the mantra of Gandhi, “We must be the change that we wish to see in the world.”
When not at the clinic, Traci and her husband share a love of the outdoors, traveling, and live music.
Heather Wilson

Heather Wilson

Heather is the outreach manager for The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at The Up Center. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from American International College and a Master’s Degree in Community Counseling from Norfolk State University. For 11 years, Heather served as the intake and recruitment manager for the Therapeutic Foster Care & Adoption Services at The Up Center where she provided clinical services to children and families in the South Hampton Roads area. Over the course of her career, she has touched the lives of countless foster youth and families and has counseled both military and civilian adolescents, adults, and families.

Heather is the daughter of an Air Force veteran and the wife of a Marine veteran who currently serves as a first responder. She works tirelessly to connect veterans and military families with various community resources. Heather is also the founder and executive director of Kennedy’s Angel Gowns, a non-profit that provides hand-crafted burial Angel Gowns made from donated wedding gowns to bereaved families who have suffered the loss of a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth or early infant death.

Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Heather moved to Virginia in 2004. She currently resides in Virginia Beach with her husband and children. In her spare time, she enjoys, traveling, sewing, and spending time with her family.

The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at The Up Center hosts ongoing events, classes, and support groups that are listed below.

Expresso Yourself

PTSD and Moral Injury Group

Adolescent Girls Coping Skills Group

Subscribe to the Military Family Newsletter

Contact Us

The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at The Up Center

828 Healthy Way, Suite 105, Virginia Beach, VA 23462

Phone: 757-965-8686

Email: cohenclinic@theupcenter.org

The MIlitary Family Clinic is conveniently located in Virginia Beach, near S Independence Blvd and S Plaza Trail.

Free Parking is available onsite. Transportation and childcare are available upon request.

Hours of Operation

Monday: 8:30am to 5:00pm

Tuesday: 8:30am to 5:00pm

Wednesday: 8:30am to 8:00pm

Thursday: 8:30am to 8:00pm

Friday: 8:30am to 1:00pm

Saturday: Closed

Sunday: Closed

Directions

From I-264

  • Take exit 17A to S Independence Blvd.
  • Continue on S Independence Blvd and turn right onto S Plaza Trail.
  • Turn right onto Healthy Way.
  • Turn right into the parking lot. We are located just inside the main entrance (facing Healthy Way) on the left.

From I-64

  • Take exit 286B to Indian River Rd.
  • Continue on Indian River Rd to Ferrell Pkwy.
  • Keep right at the fork, follow signs for Princess Anne Rd N/Salem Rd.
  • Turn left onto Salem Rd (signs for Princess Anne Rd).
  • Turn right onto S Plaza Trail.
  • Turn left onto Healthy Way.
    Turn right into the parking lot. We are located just inside the main entrance (facing Healthy Way) on the left.