Seattle Counseling Service over the years.
Founded in 1969, Seattle Counseling Service is proud to be the oldest LGBTQ-focused community mental health agency in the world! We continue to add new programs and services to meet the changing needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities.
1967 – Dorian Society1967
First established in 1967, The Dorian Society was the only LGBTQ organization in Seattle that was neither a bar nor a bathhouse. It was dedicated to advocacy and public policy working to repeal discriminatory laws. Seattle Counseling Service was established within The Dorian Society by Dr. Robert Deisher in 1969.
1969 – Malden House1969
Also known as the Dorian House, 320 Malden Ave. E was the home of The Dorian Society and Seattle Counseling Service. As advertised in their newsletter known
as the Dorian Columns, “the counseling, which is absolutely confidential and free, is designed to assist those who are having emotional, medical, religious or employment difficulties”.
1969 – Dr. Robert Deisher1969
At a time when these actions were unheard of, Dr. Robert Deisher sought private and government support for social services for gay youth. With that funding, he opened Seattle Counseling Service – the first counseling center for sexual minorities in the country.
1974 – First Trans Support Group1974
In 1974, Marsha Botzer organized a support group for trans individuals in response to emerging discussions and need for services around gender identity. This group was the beginnings of what is now known as the Ingersoll Gender Center, which officially formed in 1977. To this day, this weekly support group is still held and has never missed one week since its inception.
1974 – Funding Scare1974
When SCS was in the process of applying to be a fully licensed mental health agency, we received a report with criticisms of the way the organization was run. Some of the critiques were that the dress, demeanor, etc. of the staff would turn off any middle or upper-class youth or adults” and that poor people “didn’t have sexual orientation problems”.
1978 – Reporting Hate Crimes1978
With increasing assaults on LGBTQ individuals, SCS began organizing the community to report attacks in an attempt to get justice.
1983 – First Domestic Violence Program1983
SCS becomes the first agency in the country to treat gay & lesbian batterers in same-sex relationships.
1985 – First LGBTQ Agency with United Way1985
SCS becomes a member of United Way of King County as the first LGBTQ Agency.
1985 – HIV Antibody Test Counseling Program1985
SCS collaborates with the Seattle Gay Clinic to provide free and anonymous HIV testing and counseling.
1986 – Long-Term Psychotherapy1986
SCS begins providing longterm psychotherapy to persons living with AIDS, in addition to an AIDS drop-in group.
1989 – AIDS Crisis Intervention Program Begins1989
It is the first in the country to provide face-to-face services within 48 hours to anyone dealing with an HIV/AIDS-related crisis.
1990 – Increased Demand Prompts SCS Relocation1990
Due to insufficient space at the office off of Broadway and Pike Street, SCS moved to Queen Anne under the leadership of Executive Director Michael Auch.
1992 – DSHS Contract1992
SCS is awarded its first DSHS contract to provide training on sexual minority health issues to mental health professionals across Washington State.
1994 – 1-800-5B-PROUD1994
Funded by the Pride Foundation, Seattle Counseling Service’s support hotline was able to expand out of King County to make support more accessible for those living further away from the city.
1998- SCS Welcomes Ann McGettigan1998
Bringing 19 years of nonprofit management and most recently the Executive Director of Seattle Rape Relief, Ann McGettigan began her work as Executive Director at Seattle Counseling Service.
2003 – SCS Adopts Project NEON2003
In 2003, Seattle Counseling Service collaborated with King County Public Health to house Project NEON, a harm-reduction program for users of crystal methamphetamine. This same year, SCS became officially licensed for outpatient Chemical Dependency Services.
2004 – Move to Pine & Melrose2004
After moving to Queen Anne and several other Capitol Hill locations, SCS settles in the building off the corner of Pine Street and Melrose.
2006 SCS Gets a Rainbow2006
Thanks to a grant from the Boeing Employees Fund, we were able to install our beloved 17-foot neon rainbow sign on the side of our building that can be seen from 1-5.
2007 – SHIFT: A Peer Recovery Network2006
SHIFT was formed as a collaboration of agencies – SCS, Dunshee House, Gay City, and Multifaith Works, to provide comprehensive recovery support services to people in the LGBTQ+ community.
2009 – LBTQ Women Breaking the Ice2009
Project Inform was created between SCS and King County Department of Human Services, Mental Health, Chemical Abuse and Dependency Services Division to increase awareness within the LGBTQ community about methamphetamine and improve access to resources for those who want to change behavior related to abuse or addiction.
2013 – HASAP Program Begins2013
SCS received funding from King County Behavioral Health and Recovery Division to implement the Hepatitis and AIDS Substance Abuse Program.
2014 – Affordable Care Act2014
The passing of the ACA brings unprecedented growth to the agency as more low-income individuals than ever gain access to comprehensive behavioral health services.
2015 IRUO Project Begins2015
In 2015, SCS received funding to identify major barriers LGBTQ+ identified immigrant, refugee, and undocumented individuals face in accessing behavioral health services in the Seattle-King County area.
2017 – Project PEER is Formed2017
Born out of Project NEON, Project PEER was formed as a peer-led outreach and engagement program intended to assist those at risk for acquiring HIV.