The Columbiana County Counseling Center opened in
1963 and, for over four decades, has been helping
individuals and families obtain the support needed to
live a mentally healthy life. We have a
long-standing history of providing professional help for
people experiencing emotional and substance abuse
problems, behavioral challenges and relationship
In the past, treatment of the
mentally ill was often less than humane. Warehousing the mentally ill
in insane asylums or "lunatic asylums" was common as recently as 60 years
ago. These places were often dirty, lacked privacy, and offered
nothing in the way of medical or therapeutic care. People who were
considered mentally ill were placed in straitjackets or cages to control
In the 1950's, the discovery of psychotropic
drugs that effectively controlled many types of mental illness marked the
first breakthrough for victims of mental illness. Suddenly there was
hope for the many people who previously would have spent their lives behind
the locked doors of a psychiatric institution.
This is where OUR story begins!
Center became a reality, there was an idea.
Before there was this place where people are
helped, there were people with a vision who
had the audacity to dream, and to dream
-excerpt from the 25 year commemorative
One of these dreamers, and a pioneer in local mental
health treatment, was Juvenile Court Judge Louis H. Tobin. Because of
his position, he witnessed, firsthand, the correlation between emotional
distress and antisocial behavior. His deep compassion for Columbiana
County's delinquent youth was a driving force in seeking and promoting
methods other than incarceration for youthful offenders.
In 1956, a concerned group of 30 local
citizens met at Lisbon's Wick Hotel and formed the Columbiana Mental Health
Association. Four years later the Reverend Laten Carter suggested that
the Association develop a Mental Health Clinic, and so, in the fall of 1962,
a Mental Health Campaign kicked off with Judge Tobin as chairman of the
committee. Additional members of this committee included Reverend
George Sweeney, Bryce Kendall, William Shoub, Alice Herriott and Warren
This treatment was based on
ignorance and fear, as an illness of the brain seemed more frightening than
a physical illness. Even today, mental illness is still misunderstood
by a large segment of our population.
"Our chosen way is not
filled with production quotas, time clocks and marketing schemes. Our way
is one of humility and understanding. Our reward is the smile after a
frown and trust after fear. It's enough for us to see the gleam in a
child's eye and feel relief in an adult's handshake. Our goal is seeing needs
met and the release of stress and confusion. We long for a peaceful heart.
We work for a healthy spirit."
-excerpt from the
35 year commemorative booklet
Judge Louis H. Tobin......
Mental Health Clinic
On November 1, 1963, The Columbiana
County Mental Health Clinic opened with Jekabs Knezinskis, M.D.,
psychiatrist, as director. The Clinic was housed in the "Rigby House"
at 343 East Lincoln Way in Lisbon.
A new board of trustees was named to take
responsibility for this clinic. Charter board members were Judge
Tobin, Harold Hoprich, Alice Herriott, Charles R. McKenzie, Rev. George
Sweeney, Bryce W. Kendall, Mrs. J. Donald Thompson, Mrs. Paul Hum and Frank
In November of 1964, Dr. Knezinskis announced
his resignation and services were suspended until a new director could be
In April of 1965, Donald G. Roberts (pictured below) was named director and in
1966 the Clinic moved next door into the Harold Kepner property at 339 East
Lincoln Way. Under Roberts direction, the Mental Health Clinic
continued to grow and new staff members were added.
By February of 1973, with staff outgrowing the
current location, plans were announced for a new
building to be placed on a rural site just east of
Ground Breaking Ceremony
The Center Moves To Its New Location
at 40722 State Route 154, Lisbon.
the new facility was held on April 27, 1980.
Since the dedication of this new facility, many changes have occurred:
1984 - HELP HOTLINE referral service and children's programs were
1985 - A satellite office opened in East Liverpool, Ohio.
1988 - The Center celebrated its 25th Anniversary and a vocational program
1989 - A new children's wing was added to the Lisbon Center.
1990 - The Board of Trustees developed the Apple Grove Homes, a 20-bed
housing unit for persons with severe mental disabilities.
1993 - Pathways Project began.
1997 - A medical wing was added and the Bryce W. Kendall Home was dedicated - a five-bed home providing
temporary housing to those who might otherwise be hospitalized.
1990 - The name of the
facility was officially
changed to The Counseling Center.
2000 - A satellite office
opened in Salem, Ohio.
Donald G. Roberts
Lasted Four Decades
Donald G. Roberts took over as director on
April 15, 1965. He wanted to resign after only
five days at the helm, as he believed he could not
attract qualified staff to the small village of
Lisbon. Judge Tobin persuaded him to remain on
the job for at least six months. That "six
months" extended to 40 years! Roberts retired
in June of 2005. His constant leadership
and continued dedication to the Center was greatly
Leadership for Decades
arrived at the Counseling Center on July 18, 2005,
with over 18 years of experience in behavioral
health administration in community mental health
settings, all in Ohio.
“Being selected for this position was a great honor and a wonderful opportunity.
The Counseling Center has a great reputation for providing state-of-the-art
services for its clients. We have an extremely talented and incredibly dedicated
and caring staff.”
“Recovery is real here,” he explains. “I’m impressed with how well developed the
whole Recovery process is and I understand why the Center has received statewide
recognition for its Recovery programs.”
Moreover, “the main campus, the Kendall Home, and the newer Apple Grove Homes
are absolutely beautifully designed facilities. Clearly, I have big shoes to
fill in this new position; Mr. Roberts has every reason to feel proud of the
legacy that he leaves.” Donald G. Roberts, the founder and Executive
Director of the Counseling Center for 43 years, retired from his position at the
beginning of July, 2005.
Roger Sikorszky has been an administrator, clinician, instructor, and
consultant. His management experience has spanned diverse consumer populations
(including adults, children, families, and the dually-diagnosed) in most areas
of community mental health programming (including Outpatient, Partial
Hospitalization, Community Psychiatric Support, Emergency, Residential, and
Pharmacologic Management services), at multiple-site organizations with
certifications from Ohio Department of Mental Health (ODMH) and the Ohio
Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services (ODADAS) and accreditations
from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) and
the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).
the course of his six-year tenure, as Executive Director of Appleseed Community
Mental Health Center in Ashland, he was able to quickly stabilize an
organization in serious financial trouble, doubling the budget; re-building the
staff, quality improvement, and information systems infrastructures; realizing a
70% increase in personnel; expanding several clinical programs; and building a
new-construction facility that currently houses all of Appleseed’s programs.
He characterizes his style of leadership as
team-based, customer-focused and constituent-empowered. Mr. Sikorsky
states that he tries to “foster an environment that encourages innovative
solutions to programming and funding challenges, while remaining true to the
organization’s central values.”