About Us

Healing Places Counseling Center is a group of professionals serving people with mental illness and those struggling with challenging life experiences.  As our name implies, we offer a healing place for all persons on their journey to wholeness.  We are passionate about our mission to serve the least, the lost and the poor individuals within our community.

Our clients include children, adolescents, spouses, and military persons who have just returned from various wars, victims of violence, and the chronically mentally ill individuals who are just trying to survive in our society. 

We provide hope to many who are struggling to better their lives, and feel privileged to be a part of our client’s journey.

A Brief History of Healing Places Counseling Center

Healing Places Counseling Center opened at its Mildred Street location in James Center on March 1, 2004. But its legacy of commitment and calling to pastoral counseling has a much longer history. Here is a brief summary of the ‘ancestors’ of HPCC.

In the 1970’s, Jerry Smith opened a counseling office at Tacoma’s First United Methodist Church on what was then ‘K’ Street. The counseling center was called Christian Counseling Service. Terry Gibson soon joined the staff. These two “founders’ were joined by a number of other pastoral counselors and psychotherapists. A training program was begun, in connection with the University of Puget Sound.

In 1984 the folks at the First United Methodist Church made a decision to use their space in a different way. Christian Counseling Service went through its first diaspora, scattering staff and interns to other churches while its new location, a house at 704 S. J Street, was made ready. In its new locale, CCS thrived. Many clients were served, interns trained, and connections made with the Christian Counseling Consortium, a group of like-minded counseling centers in the area.

Disaster struck in January of 1993 when in the midst of below-freezing temperatures, a fire started in the house next door. Live embers from that fire ignited a fire at 704. The second diaspora unfolded for the staff and clients. Temporary offices were set up in the Red Cross Building in downtown Tacoma while the house at 704 was sold and an office building in University Place was purchased and renovated. As that move was managed, a decision was made to change the name of the counseling center to Northwest Pastoral Counseling, with the hope that it better communicated an atmosphere that was open and accepting of differences. NPC expanded and thrived there for ten years.

It was in 2004 that the weight of managing a building, an administrative staff, and a large clinical staff with full and part time therapists became unmanageable. In its third diaspora, NPC closed its doors and sold its building to the city of University Place. Out of this third ‘death,’ resurrection came in the form of Healing Places Counseling Center, with founders Lynn Cheshire, Fred Wegener, and Paula Hoyt.

The ancient story of the Huma Bird became, over the years, a metaphor of the journey of the many people associated with this vision who were dedicated to providing pastoral counseling to the south sound area. The ministry of pastoral counseling that was made available over the years at CCS and NPC, to people of all religions, races, cultures, socioeconomic levels and gender/sexual identities continues today under the name and vision of Healing Places Counseling Center.

The Huma Bird

A Tale from Kashmir

Once upon a time, in India, there lived a wildly beautiful bird known as the Huma Bird. She lived her entire life in the sky, high above the Earth. Few had ever seen her, though tales of her strength, her beauty and her generous gifts spread far and wide. Those who had seen her claimed special powers and new understanding, though no one, it seems, had ever seen her land on Earth.
People told tales, too, of Huma Bird's children. They said she lay her eggs in the sky, and when the time came for her children to emerge from those eggs, she dropped them. They tumbled swiftly toward Earth, while inside the chicks pecked away at the shell, working against time to free themselves. Always, just before the fragile eggs dropped to the ground to shatter, the babies' beaks grew hard enough to crack open the shells; their wings grew strong enough to carry them back into the sky. There they joined their mother, learning her secrets and living in the land of Koh-I-Quaf.
From: Tell Me a Story