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Independent counseling center for military now open locally

By Mitch Shaw, Standard-Examiner Staff - | Jan 7, 2015
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Melanie Squire

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LAYTON -- Counseling geared toward the unique challenges of the military but independent from the institution itself is typically hard to find.

But in the Top of Utah, locating that rare combination just got a little easier.

The Military and Veteran Counseling Center -- a facility dedicated to providing specialized counseling for veterans and active duty members of the military that is not affiliated with the Department of Defense or Department of Veterans Affairs -- is now operating in Layton.

The Layton office is located at 2621 Oak Hills Drive and the center also has a facility in Salt Lake County, at 254 S. 600 East, Salt Lake City.

Melanie Squire, a therapist at the new center, said the venture was born out of sheer necessity. From her work with veterans at a psychiatric hospital and at a homeless shelter, Squire said she's seen frustrations reach a boiling point as the VA struggles with an enormous backlog of disability compensation claims and veterans deal with a seemingly endless amount of paperwork and time spent on waiting lists.

Squire says there is not only a need to reduce the time it takes for veterans to receive care, but also to provide a counseling option that exists outside of the conventional and often bureaucratic system of government military health care.

"We owe more to our military members than what they're getting," Squire said. "Our mission is simple -- provide superior therapy for military, veterans and their families and offer a source outside of the (VA). It's confidentiality that won't go on your military record."

The MVCC specializes in a broad spectrum of counseling that deals with many of the issues that commonly afflict members of the military: Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, grief and loss, readjustment, injury and sexual trauma.

Even counseling items that aren't exclusive to the military -- things like addiction, depression and anxiety, domestic violence and family issues -- are delivered with a military focus.

"Our specialists have advanced education, specialized training and experience in working with the military," Squire said. "They are all combat trauma trained and have some kind of background dealing with military culture, which is an entirely different animal."

Squire says the MVCC has no waiting lists, like the ones often associated with the VA, and in many cases clients can be seen the day they schedule an appointment. The center is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and also provides Saturday morning sessions.

More information on the center can be found at www.militarycounselingcenter.com or by calling 385-231-VETS (385-231-8387).

Contact reporter Mitch Shaw at 801-625-4233 or mishaw@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23.


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