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For Families

Family & Child Counseling

We offer a wide range of mental health services for children and families.
We offer a wide range of mental health services for children and families.

Our Program

About the Program

The Up Center offers trauma-informed, evidenced based mental health outpatient counseling to help children, individuals and families manage the stresses of life. Individual, family and group services are offered to people of all ages dealing with a variety of life’s challenges, including:

  • Grief and loss
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Divorce and separation
  • Relationship conflicts
  • Child and adolescent behavioral problems
  • School and work difficulties
  • Trauma and abuse
  • Interpersonal violence
  • Substance use, and
  • Other psychiatric issues.
We also offer a variety of groups for children, adolescents and adults that address specific topics that provide information and skill-building activities to improve participants’ level of functioning.

Our Clients

We provide trauma informed services to children as young as two years old, adolescents, adults and their families, as well as active duty military and their dependents and veterans. We provide short-term evidenced based treatment to employees from a variety of Hampton Road area companies through their Employee Assistance Programs (EAP). Services are also available to individuals who are referred by the court to participate in anger management, batterers intervention groups or a co-parenting class. We accept most health insurances and offer a sliding scale for those individuals who are uninsured.
Two Young Boys at Event

What Makes Us Different

Our team of counselors are trained in a variety of brief, short-term evidenced-based interventions, including:

  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Solution Focused treatments
  • Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) – a specially designed therapy to help children, adolescents and families overcome the negative effects of a traumatic experience
  • Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) – a specialized behavior management program designed for families with young children experiencing behavioral and/or emotional difficulties, and
  • Play and Art Therapy

Our Impact

In 2020, we provided:

More than 15,000 hours
of mental health counseling
2,207 counseling sessions
to individuals and families
4,000 hours
of group counseling

True Stories

“The Up Center didn’t give up on me even in trying circumstances such as the pandemic. They made resources to still see clients via video conferencing. They really care.”

—Mr. S., Outpatient Mental Health Counseling client

“We have noticed drastic changes in the home and his teacher asked what we have been doing differently.”

—Mrs G., PCIT counseling

“I am surprised how much I have improved over a short period of time.”

—Mr. F., Individual and Family Counseling

Meet the Team

Kelly Andrews

Kelly is a Clinical Services Supervisor and a Licensed Professional Counselor. She earned a Master’s degree in Art Therapy from Eastern Virginia Medical School in 2006 and is also a Registered Play Therapist (RPT). She completed her training for Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR) through the EMDR Institute, Inc and is certified in Parent Child Interactive Therapy (PCIT). Kelly provides a wide range of counseling therapies including Art Therapy, Play Therapy, EMDR, PCIT, and Gestalt. She also sees clients who have experienced sexual and/or domestic violence, posttraumatic stress disorder, and grief. She is passionate about addressing each client as a whole; the physical, emotional and spiritual self.

Heather Arnett

Heather serves as the lead outpatient clinician at The Up Center in Suffolk. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Substance Abuse Treatment Practitioner, and Certified Substance Abuse Counselor. Heather graduated from Old Dominion University with a Master’s Degree in School Counseling (1994) and Educational Specialist degree in Mental Health Counseling (2015). After an 18-year career as a school counselor, Heather became a Licensed Professional Counselor to expand her clinical mental health services to adults, children, and families. She specializes in substance use recovery, trauma, grief, depression, anxiety, and autism and is a Navy veteran, Navy wife, and Navy mom.
Pamela Whiteside

Pamela Whiteside

Pamela serves as an Outpatient Clinician. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC), Pamela received a Master’s Degree in Education from Old Dominion University in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She specializes in trauma, grief and loss, and substance use disorders. Pamela has provided counseling services to adults, adolescents, veterans and active duty service members. In her spare time, she enjoys taking long scenic walks, traveling and spending time with family. One of her favorite motivational quotes is by author and public speaker, Tony Robbins: “If I change nothing, nothing will change.”

Christina Jones

Christina is a Clinical Service supervisor, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Registered Play Therapy Supervisor. She has been working with individuals, children, and families for 15 years. She is a graduate of Norfolk State University where she received a Master’s Degree in Social Work and Christopher Newport University where she received a Bachelor’s Degree. Prior to joining The Up Center she worked with the Navy as a Child Counselor. She uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Solution Focused Therapy to address treatment goals with families. Christina is certified in Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) with children between the ages of 2-6 years old and their parents/caregivers.

Aieja Davis

Aieja serves as Intake Coordinator and the first point of contact for individuals interested in outpatient counseling services. She joined The Up Center in 2019, first as an undergraduate intern and then in her current role. Aieja has a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services from Old Dominion University. She loves to learn and “is proud to be a part of an agency that has the same values and goals as she does.”
Kasey Sokol

Kasey Sokol

Kasey is a Resident in Counseling, working towards her Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) licensure. She holds a Master’s Degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Florida Atlantic University and a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from The University of the Cumberlands. She provides counseling services to individuals, couples, and families of all ages and backgrounds. Kasey believes in taking a person – centered, strengths – based approach to counseling. Kasey has a passion for working with survivors of trauma and also specializes in working with members of the LGBTQ+ population.

Info Sessions

Some group sessions are currently being held via telehealth. Please check our calendar for availability. Groups include:

For Children’s Sake

For Children’s Sake is a co-parenting workshop designed to provide parents with the necessary skills to protect and shield their children from parents with the necessary skills to protect and shield their children from the conflict of a separation or divorce.

Anger Management & Batterer’s Intervention Groups

Anger Management and Batterer’s Intervention Groups help inhibit violent behavior by improving social skills and impulse control while teaching empathy and compassion for others.  Both groups are offered in the evenings at our Norfolk and Portsmouth offices.  Fees range from $20-$25 per group depending on the number of sessions.

Substance Use Recovery Groups

The Up Center provides a free substance use recovery group counseling to adolescents and adults and addresses prevention, addiction, and recovery. The goal of these groups is to reduce problematic use of substances through a psychoeducational counseling approach.

Seeking Safety Group

Seeking Safety Groups provide research-based support for men and women who may have experienced substance abuse and trauma including those who have been abused, victimized by crime, or distressed by war or natural disasters.  Participants learn positive coping skills. This group is free.

Women’s Assertiveness Group

This eight-week class is free and open to any woman 18 and older who wants to learn to be more assertive in relationships.

Social Skills for Children Diagnosed with Autism/Parent Support Group

A skill building for children with normal-to-high IQ and verbal skills will practice improving their social interactions in a group of their peers.  While the children are working on these skills, the parents will participate in a support group to share experiences, give and receive practical feedback and enhance parenting skills to further respond to the unique needs of their children.

Contact Us

Location: Telehealth appointments are available as well as in-person appointments at these locations:

  • Portsmouth: 1805 Airline Blvd, Portsmouth, VA 23707
  • Norfolk: 222 W 19th St, Norfolk, VA 23517
  • Suffolk: 109.5 Clay St, Suffolk, VA 23434

Phone: (757) 965-8622


If you are a veteran, service member or a military family member, please call our Military Family Clinic at (757) 965-8686 to schedule an appointment. Click here for more information.

Our Mission

We are committed to partnering with children, families, and communities to improve lives and outcomes through prevention, intervention, and support services.