St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Eugene, Oregon

Center for Community Counseling

Founding the Center for Community Counseling

What began as “ a day-dream” of Dr. Jan Moursund back in 1978 has become the only place in Lane County where adults with limited incomes can receive low cost, long term counseling.

As a lay reader at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Moursund was expected to have a “mission,” or project to help the community. Moursund completed her doctorate in school psychology, so it seemed natural that she volunteer to spend one afternoon a week offering counseling for free. From this simple idea, came Aslan Counseling Center.

“I figured I’d bring my knitting and a good book,” Moursund remembers “and maybe someone would drop in to see me occasionally.” Within two weeks she was booked solid, and on March 17th, 1978 she saw her first client. Six months later, Moursund and another counselor were providing 8 hours of counseling a week.

At the suggestion of the church, Moursund and fellow counselor moved their operation into an old farmhouse located on the church property. That farmhouse – where CCC is still located today – had been used for Sunday school and as a haunted house. “We had to move out the lumber stored in there,” Moursund recalls. “And all we had were these two cruddy little rooms.” There was no working bathroom. The plumbing was not functioning in the kitchen, there was no heat, and there were electrical problems. The upstairs had been sealed off as a fire hazard.

But the clients kept coming – and so did therapists. As Moursund remembers, “the turning point – when we knew Aslan Counseling Center would be more than a 9 day wonder – was when graduate students from the Counseling Psychology Department at the U of O began to come to the Center for a field placement.”

By the time the agency was incorporated in 1980, it had a formal policy of serving adults with limited incomes and a sliding scale fee. The agency had to work hard to get everything it needed. Furniture, phones, answering machines, carpeting, and a working bathroom were all donated.

Moursund left Aslan Counseling Center in 1985, when money was found for a part time Clinical Director. Does she feel proud of Aslan today? Absolutely! “ Other people should be so lucky as to say, ‘look, I started that.’” But she is quick to give others credit. In addition to herself, Moursund says Maggie Wilson and Father Tainton were originally responsible for getting Aslan off the ground. Terry Fields, Janice Hanson, Samantha Hickman, Mabel McKinlay, Nancy Mulheim and Jim Witzig, were also instrumental in Aslan’s beginnings.

Moursund thinks Aslan succeeded because it filled a great need in the community – fulfilling, to some extent, its own destiny. “It was something about the time and climate,” she says. “It never required any push. A series of doors opened and we walked through.”

In April 1994, Aslan Counseling Center became the Center for Community Counseling.

Current CCC volunteers.
Left, CCC volunteers at the Great Rotary Duck Race in October 1996.
Right, Joe Cutsinger, son of Clyde and Mary Cutsinger, grew up in the farmhouse.

Left, CCC’s farmhouse was originally built circa 1940.

Middle,Executive/Clinical Director, Melissa Thomas with Board President, Pat Hasbach and Board Member Suzy Morgan.

Right, Executive/Clinical Director, Melissa Thomas with Dr. Rick Friedrich who served on the CCC Board for over 25 years. To honor his service, CCC named its group room after him.

Message from the Director: Happy 40th Anniversary!

Happy 40th Anniversary to the Center for Community Counseling! What began as a daydream of Dr. Jan Moursund in 1978 has become the largest volunteer network provider of mental health services in Lane County!

Our clients are people like you and me, seeking hope and change in their lives and the lives of their families. The majority of our clients were abused as children. They seek healing, growth and stronger relationships. They seek to eliminate rather than perpetuate the cycle of violence in their lives.

Our results speak for themselves. We provide clients thousands of counseling hours and, due to our generous volunteers, an in-kind service value of more than $250,000! As the majority of our clients are parents of 2 children, the ripple effect increases as those families strengthen and gain the skills necessary to prevent child abuse.

Child abuse could be considered the gravest and most costly public health issue according to Bessel van der Kolk, M.D., author of The Body Keeps the Score. He calculated that the overall costs of child abuse exceeded those of cancer or heart disease and that “eradicating child abuse in America would reduce the overall rate of depression by more than half, alcoholism by two-thirds and suicide, IV drug use and domestic violence by three-quarters. It would also have a dramatic effect on workplace performance and vastly decrease the need for incarceration.”

Friends, your individual contributions have been our primary source of funding for over 40 years. We hope you will continue to be a part of our established and positive reputation that truly provides amazing and life-saving services to make our community stronger.