Professional Counseling Services

A Wholistic Therapeutic Program to Support the Wellness of Children, Youth & Families in Comfortable and Natural Community Settings

Initiative includes:

  • Individual, group, and family sessions
  • Culturally sensitive assessment & therapy
  • Comprehensive and holistic treatment
  • Treatment for diverse populations
  • Flexible services available in natural community settings

The purpose of CEA's Professional Counseling Services Program is to empower and enhance the social functioning of members of the African American community who are underserved and hesitant to engage in traditional mental health services. CEA succeeds in doing this by providing culturally-specific, accessible community-based mobile and in-home education and treatment.

The positive social and emotional development of African American youth is complicated by a system of environmental forces that have been neglected by society as a whole, as well as professionals in various fields i.e. education, mental health, etc. that our youth find themselves in.

The consequences, as we have seen, are reflected in the violent activities that our youth participate in, the negative self concept that many possess, as well as the lack of hope that they have for themselves for the future.

The goal of this culturally specific program is to foster an environment of empowerment for youth and their families to determine and advocate for their needs, improve their health and pursue their aspirations.

The Philosophies of Our Services are:

  • Family Centered - tailored specifically to the needs of participants and families who are involved in service planning, and delivered in locations and at times that are convenient
  • Culturally Specific - the use of African-centered philosophy; focusing on the whole person. CEA believes in the importance of understanding the values and customs of African American culture while addressing the unique mental health challenges experienced by this population.
  • Designed to Meet Special Needs - services focus on the unique needs of African Americans, including issues surrounding community violence and related trauma (emotional stress) to members of the African American community.
  • Strength-based - focused on building upon strengths and concentrates on increasing participant motivation, spirituality, identity, self-esteem, leadership and social relationships.
  • Flexible - delivered in natural community settings (e.g. home, after-school programs, community organizations, etc.), and available during regular and non-traditional hours.
  • Accountable - specific goals for treatment are established with the participant and family/significant others, as appropriate and measured on a regular basis
  • Coordinated - through the Inter-Disciplinary team process and includes all persons significant to the participant's life
  • Community-based/ Natural Support - focused on the relationship between the participant, their family and community.

CEA's Unique Approach to Traditional Services

As practitioners, the Community Wellness staff of CEA has profound understanding of the cultural frame of reference of the participants in our programs. Our strategies include:
  • The integration of culture, race, and social identity throughout the helping process
  • The integration of the dynamics of racism and discrimination
  • The use of the strengths approach, integrating the "Person-in-Environment" framework (e.g. social, economic, political realities)

Servicing children, adolescents, individuals and families, we provide support for those at-risk for or showing symptoms of:

  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity
  • Inappropriate Conduct
  • Separation & Loss
  • Port-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Anger (emotional stresses)
  • Stress related to environmental issues

Professional Counseling Servicing Include:

Focused Children & Adolescent Services
CEA's objectives are to help children and adolescents to:
  • Learn and practice a variety of skills in exploring and understanding emotions, feelings and choices
  • Improve self-esteem, social skills, and interpersonal relationships
  • Learn how to focus, relax and stabilize moods
  • Build trust in self, family and community
  • Assume responsibility for personal choices, decisions and consequences

Expressive Therapy Groups
Peer group affiliation, expression and building relationships are at the core of youth and adolescent social learning.
Expressive Therapy is the use of art, music, writing, dancing, and recreation for the purposes of improving and enhancing the physical and emotional well being of individuals as well as resolving conflicts and stress.
African Americans by nature are expressive people and come from an expressive culture. Expressive therapy allows us to meet youth where they are, and using their interests, to not only help them learn more about themselves and develop positive identities, but also learn social skills that will help them make better decisions about circumstances they experience so that they have a positive outlook on life.

CEA has developed the following expressive therapeutic groups and workshops, especially designed to accommodate African American youth to improve their individual lives, thereby impacting their families and communities.
  • Manhood Development - specifically geared towards male youth and teens
  • Womanhood Development - Black Butterflies - specifically geared towards female youth and teens, these personal growth and development groups equip youth with skills necessary to develop a positive sense of self through cultural awareness and history, hygiene, nutrition, choices, goal achievement, the importance of education and how to handle life challenges. Learn more about Black Butterflies.
  • Stress/Conflict Resolution/Anger Management - intensive groups designed to guide youth to explore solutions to critical stressors, conflicts and anger issues, and the health risks associated with these feelings and emotions. Youth will learn skills to help them manage and express feelings in more constructive ways.
  • Grief, Loss, Trauma - designed to provide a supportive environment for youth to understand, express and resolve feelings associated with a loss or trauma to improve the youth's well-being.
  • Individual Sessions are also offered to youth participants as needed

Child & Adolescent Partial Program
This program is designed to provide assessment and treatment to children and youth ages 5-18, who are challenged with severe emotional and behavioral problems. Program staff provides services in a highly structured, safe environment and partner with parents and other professionals in order to stabilize behavior and design the most appropriate treatment plan for the child's future. Read more about our Partial Program

In-School Therapeutic Group Counseling Services
In environments where there is extreme poverty, violence, despair, racism and discrimination, most often youth develop anti-social behaviors in an effort to react to and manage the turmoil that is caused from within (the physical, emotional, and biological changes) and without (the negativity in the environments that they are involved in). Unequipped with the tools necessary for positive movement, youth adopt behaviors that oftentimes lead down disastrous paths. These negative behaviors lead to diagnoses and treatments that oftentimes have limited effects. It is the goal of this life skill program to equip youth with the tools they need to tackle challenges associated with adolescence such that they can work towards achieving success in behaviors, school and life in more appropriate ways. Creating an environment that will allow youth to examine where they should be developmentally and why, versus where they are and why, and then plugging in life skills that will help bring them back on course will strengthen their abilities to make better choices in whatever situations they find themselves in.

Goals of the Program
  • Assess the mental/behavioral health status of youth
  • Identify and reinforce strengths that already exist
  • Identify, examine and change negative behavioral challenges
  • Increase the knowledge of positive choices and behaviors
  • Provide a place for youth to talk about and begin to use positive behaviors
Program Structure
The group will meet twice per week at a time decided by the school administration.
Students will be asked to take part in an assessment interview with a parent to collect information about the family and specific areas where the youth may need additional assistance.
Students will be asked to sign a contract, agreeing to participate and follow the code of conduct. Participants will also be asked to agree to use life skills learned in school and at home and in their respective communities.
Participants and their families will be given information about all upcoming activities sponsored by Community Empowerment Association and will be considered part of the CEA family. Individual therapy offered as needed in this program

Adult Services

Persistent exposure to social, environmental stressors stemming from various sources (e.g., chronic poverty, discrimination, exposure to violence, physical and sexual abuse, loss of significant family members, and other hardships), traumatized families tend to feel degraded, hurt, uprooted against their will or punished.
Thus, CEA understands the serious need for poor and low-income African American families to be uniquely debriefed and rehabilitated.

Individual Therapy & Support Groups
We offer individual therapy and support groups for persons exposed to trauma resulting from environmental stressors within community settings, residential settings, 3/4 houses to support the restoration to wellness of participants.

Healing Circle/Healing Pen
The mission of the Healing Pen is to offer a way for individuals and families to tell their stories concerning the loss of a loved one. The Healing Pen is the voice that will support increasing the peace. Find out more about the Healing Pen

Family Therapy
The staff of CEA understand the importance of including family in therapeutic healing. As such, we offer family therapy to families experiencing the trauma of life's challenges in a strength-based, solution-focused manner. Our therapists meet the families where they are and services are offered at the center or in the home. Families within the CEA network are also invited and encouraged to participate in CEA sponsored events and activities to enhance healing.

Community Restoration & Healing Forums
In its on-going commitment to educate and empower African American families, CEA sponsors community educational forums on topics identified through surveys received from community members, CEA participants, and their families and/or topics related to specific community issues and challenges. These forums are interactie and in many cases structured to have panels that include professionals on the topic as well as community residents with knowledge or experience related to the theme.

CEA Major Service Goals
  • Assess mental/behavioral health and wellness
  • Reduce psychological distress
  • Increase the knowledge of socially acceptable norms
  • Provide an immediate level of intervention in the broader community
  • Build trust
  • Address family needs
  • Facilitate recovery and interdependence

Referrals are accepted from:
  • Self, Caregiver
  • The Public School System
  • Children, Youth and Families
  • The Juvenile and Public Justice System
  • Family Support Programs
  • Other Community/Social Service Agencies
Eligibility Requirements

Individuals and families who currently receive medical assistance through Health Choices are eligible for our services. Health Choices insurance coverage includes UPMC For You, Gateway Health Plan, Unison and MedPlus.

Please call us at (412) 371 - 3689 to enroll in our services.

Last modified on Thursday, 06 February 2014 18:19