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Offering cost-conscious counseling
Offering cost-conscious counseling

When Vince Dimone MS '03 counsels his clients, he prefers that his own fees don't add to their stress. Ninety minutes of mental health counseling for $25 creates some good feelings right from the start.

Counselors usually charge more-from $45 to $60 when they are starting out-up to $120 for just an hour of service. Dimone has his reasons for keeping his fees low.

After many lucrative years of selling telecommunication products and services, he decided to change careers. "I wanted to do something more meaningful, where I could contribute directly to people's well-being," he says.

With a master's degree in counselor education, he opened a private counseling practice in Washington County, where he is doing his part to fill a big need: providing affordable mental health services to individuals and couples who are not adequately covered by insurance.

Dimone, 53, also benefits if his low fees draw in clients. To become a licensed counselor in Oregon, he needs 2,400 hours of practice. He is more than halfway there under the guidance of adjunct faculty member and licensed counselor, Donald Mihaloew of Eugene.

Money is not a major motivating factor for Dimone, who also has master's degrees in library science and business administration. He supplements his counseling services by developing self-employment business plans for the clients of Oregon's Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Services. He also volunteers his time as an on-call relief counselor for the American Red Cross and Columbia River Mental Health Services in Vancouver, Washington.

Dimone keeps his overhead low by using a room in his wife's accounting office. He can, for the most part, place the issues facing his clients into three categories: stress and anxiety-usually work or family related; physical or psychological disabilities; and addiction. He is seeing gambling becoming a more severe addiction. He also offers career counseling and assists clients in improving their interpersonal communication skills.

On average, Dimone sees 12 to 14 clients a week. It takes a lot of effort, he says, but he is also honored to serve others in this highly personal way. Dimone can be reached at vpdimone@gte. net. –Kathryn Kirkland