We are committed to
the mental health and
wellness of Seattle’s
Founded in 1969, Seattle Counseling Service is proud to be the oldest LGBTQ-focused community mental health agency in the world.
Started as part of the Dorian Society in Seattle, SCS later expanded to become an independent organization in 1969. We began in a rented house with one telephone and several volunteers who were ready to answer the phone, talk with people, dropped by, and offered counsel and support.
Over the last 50 years, we have sought ways to provide a continuum of care for clients. SCS works with other King County Mental Health Providers to advocate on behalf of the LGBTQ community in the mental health system. We are incredibly proud of the resource SCS has become to our communities.
We are now so much more than a counseling center. Our services have expanded to include substance use disorder services; support groups; harm reduction programs; HIV prevention programs; peer-led outreach; and, immigrant, refugee, and undocumented outreach. We’ve listened to how your needs have changes, and we are always working to grow and better adapt to meet them. Through these changes, we are still committed to providing high-quality, accessible, culturally competent care to all that seek our services and to serve, advocate, educate, and advance the health and wellness of our LGBTQ community.
Ann McGettiganExecutive Director
Ann (she/her) has over 35 years of professional experience working with social change non-profits in various positions from crisis line worker to executive director. She has coordinated rape prevention programs, worked in battered women’s shelters, provided community education on sexual and domestic violence and administered programs that support reproductive rights for women and girls.
Deidre McHugh, ARNPMedical Director
Deidre McHugh (she/her) is a Doctor of Nursing Practice and Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. Deidre started her career as a nurse in community health in Portland Oregon, and graduated as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner from Oregon Health Sciences University in 2007. In her career, Deidre has worked as a psychiatric provider in public health, inpatient and outpatient pediatric clinics, primary care, corrections, and adult outpatient mental health specialty clinics. She joined SCS as a psychiatric provider in 2018 and recently expanded her role to include Medical Director as of July 2019. In addition to her work at SCS, Deidre is Adjunct Faculty at Seattle University. Passionate about all things science, Deidre loves to talk with people about psychopharmacology, and research in providing equitable, trauma-informed, whole-person health care.
When not working at SCS, Deidre is foraging for delicious edible mushrooms with her dog Benny.
Maria ChomyszakFinance Director
Maria (she/her) has over 25 years of experience working in the non-profit sector with such organizations as the US Peace Corps, Habitat for Humanity International, Management Sciences for Health, HCAP, Helping Hands Hawaii and Working Washington. She received her B.S. from Bryant University and her M.A. from Salve Regina University. She has an extensive background and experience in finance, operations, management, and human resources.
Board of Directors
Christopher WelchBoard President
Christopher Welch has been a member of the SCS board since 2014 and serves as Chair of the SCS Fundraising Committee. He is a marketing and business development professional who has called Seattle home since 2003. Christopher is a graduate of Seattle University. In his free time, Christopher enjoys cooking, travel, gardening, reading and supporting the arts. Christopher and his husband, Daniel, live and work in downtown Seattle.
Susan Hawkins, JD, PsyDVice President
Susan is a licensed clinical psychologist whose Madison Valley practice emphasizes psychoanalysis and psychotherapy with adults, adolescents and couples. She especially enjoys working with LGBTQ individuals and couples. Prior to starting her own practice, Susan served for 11 years as the counseling center director at Seattle University. Also a lawyer, Susan specialized in mental health law, representing indigent mentally ill people in California. A native of San Francisco, Susan lived in Philadelphia for 12 years before moving to Seattle. She has been a singing member of Seattle Women’s Chorus for 15 years and loves hiking, kayaking and biking.
Alejandro Vega-Gutierrez, MS, CQIASecretary
Alejandro joined the SCS Board of Directors in 2018. He is an administrator of the Institutional Review Board of the U.S. Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System. Alejandro is also a full-time student at Seattle University where he is earning his Doctorate in Educational Leadership. He has a strong passion for affording professional, educational, and financial opportunities to minority groups. Originally from Puerto Rico, Alejandro and his two huskies now call Seattle home where they live on Capitol Hill and spend time cooking and exploring the outdoors.
Adam Coady, Esq.Treasurer
Adam joined the SCS Board of Directors in 2014. He is an attorney at Stoel Rives LLP with a practice focused primarily on commercial real estate transactions. Before receiving a law degree in 2011 from Georgetown Law, he was a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal and earned his undergraduate degree from University of Washington. Adam loves to travel and cook and is excited for this opportunity to serve and support our community.
Joanne Tilton, ARNP
Joanne is a native Seattleite who joined the board in the fall of 2010. She is a retired Family Nurse Practitioner and board certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. She also works at the Center for Human Services as well as in private practice. Joanne lives in Columbia City with her partner of over 30 years, Peggy, and their Valhund, Cleo. She is an active community gardener at the Hillman City P-Patch.
Jim Dillon, Ph.D.
Jim is very excited to be a member of the SCS Board. He is a psychologist in the Veterans Intensive PTSD (VIP) Program at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System. A native of Massachusetts, Jim earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Jim lives in West Seattle with his feline son and daughter, and likes movies, books, lectures, wine, and travel.
Ruth Hilsman, PhD
Ruth is a clinical psychologist who has worked at Seattle Children’s Hospital for over 15 years. She specializes in neuropsychological evaluation of pediatric medical patients. Ruth also works in therapy with children, adolescents, and their parents in private practice in Woodinville. She joined the SCS Board of Directors in 2013. Ruth and her partner live in the University District with their three cats.
David Rickabaugh, MScCoachPsych
David joined the SCS Board of Directors in 2017, and and he serves as chair of the board development committee. David was attracted to SCS because of his longtime passion for mental health in the LGBT community. David is an executive coach with a focus on leadership development and on helping adults with ADHD achieve professional success. He holds a Master of Science in Coaching Psychology from the University of Sydney, and he has over 25 years of business leadership experience in retail and digital. A native of California, David has moved many times, living in such cities as Los Angeles, Indianapolis, New York, Chicago, Sacramento, and Sydney, Australia before moving to Seattle — where he hopes to stay! — in 2015. David currently lives in Northeast Seattle with his husband Wyatt and their Border Terriers Tucker and Tally.
Erik Schlocker, MSW
Erik is a graduate of the University of Washington’s Social Work program. He completed his post-graduate fellowship at Yale in the Child Study Outpatient Clinic. Erik has more than 20 years of experience helping children, adolescents and their families cope with mental illness and behavioral health challenges and is currently a Social Worker at Seattle Children’s Hospital.
Brett Thomazin, MBA, MSHA
Brett is the Director of Respiratory Care and the UW Medicine Sleep Center at Harborview. He’s been with Harborview since August 2010. Born and raised in Nebraska, Brett moved to Seattle after 13 years in Denver. He’s a Registered Respiratory Therapist and in his free time enjoys cycling, fitness, time with family and friends, and travel. In 2019, Brett will be participating in his 4th AIDS/LifeCycle. He joined the SCS Board in August 2018 and is excited to be able to serve SCS and their clients.
Elisa joined the SCS Board of Directors in 2018. Originally from Texas, she attended University of Colorado graduating with B.A. in Asian Studies and went on to travel the world. She moved to Seattle in 2015, a city she is proud to call home. She is a business development professional in sports and tourism, who also serves on GSBA’s Tourism Advisory Board. She loves being a tech geek, kayaking around the Sound, and supporting Seattle sports.
Christine Dee, PhD
Christine is a solutions executive with IBM who joins the Board of SCS in 2019. Her background includes 20 years in telecommunications and data technologies, alongside a concurrent academic exploration in psychology, which led to her Masters in Applied Behavioral Science in 2003 and PhD in Media Psychology in 2016. At home, she is raising three awesome teenagers with her wife, Kate Dee. Together, they enjoy theatre, travel abroad, and socializing with friends.
Our clinical staff are here for you.
Our agency is a state licensed community mental health agency and state licensed chemical dependency out-patient treatment facility. All clinical staff members hold master’s level degrees or higher and are credentialed Mental Health Professionals. All staff members have training and experience in providing culturally competent services to LGBTQ clients.
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
These titles are a branch of social work that specializes in mental health therapy in a counseling format. Becoming an LCSW requires a significant degree of training and education from an accredited program. One of the primary defining characteristics of the Licensed Clinical Social Worker method of mental health therapy is that something called a strength-based approach to client counseling is employer. The strength-based approach requires that the LCSW works with the client to assess their own personal situation both in terms of their internal situation and also their external factors such as economic, societal, home and career in order to create an inventory of both strengths and perceived weaknesses or obstacles.
Licensed Mental Health Counselor
These are two different titles for essentially the same occupation in the mental health field, both of which require a significant degree of education as well as training. LMHC/LMHCA offer a method of mental health counseling that is very individually based and tends to rely on a more collaborative approach then other methods of mental health counseling and often has a more flexible outlook on methodologies. Due to this, LPC’s and LMHC’s are often able to make use of more novel approaches and also develop therapies that they find to be effective. It is this flexibility in methods and practice that many find appealing when weighing their options between professional counseling and other occupations in mental health therapy.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
These titles are for clinicians who have received training from accredited marriage/couple and family therapy programs, focused on diagnosing and promoting mental and emotional wellness within the context of individual, couples, and family sessions. A primary emphasis for these clinicians is to approach change and healing systemically, which refers to seeing individuals within the context of their relationships, such as families, friends, supports, external influencers, a person’s identities, etc. Through this approach, MFTs look at how a client’s systems intersect and impact their struggles, changes, and growth within their life. MFTs and their approaches look beyond individual issues, to include the broader picture.
Chemical Dependency Professional
Washington’s addiction counselors are credentialed by the Washington State Department of Health (DOH). Certification as a Chemical Dependency Professional is based on meeting education, examination, and supervised practice requirements. Chemical Dependency Professional is to provide services for individuals, family and groups in mastering their addictions, and to understand the problems caused by their chemical dependency.
Seattle Counseling Service Interns
Interns at SCS are second year Master’s level students. While meeting their school practicum requirements and providing quality care to our clients, interns are gaining the knowledge of working in a community agency that focuses on serving the LGBTQ community. This experience includes direct client service hours, record keeping, using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, clinical consultation, weekly individual and peer supervision.
We are located on the corner of Pine Street and Melrose Avenue in a three-story building. Our entry door faces Melrose Avenue, come in and up the elevator to the third floor.
Seattle, WA 98101
Give us a call
Monday - Thursday 8AM - 8PM
Friday 8AM - 5PM