From Richmond, Virginia — 08/30/2009
I wanted to provide another perspective on National Counseling Group (NCG) that many may not be considering. It is a private agency that is performance based. They told us this from day 1. Many professionals seeking to enhance their clinical skills are able to do so successfully at NCG. They have helped more than hurt. Many of their counselors do exceptional work with consumers that without their intervention, these youths and families would have failed. The agency promotes from within to protect their professional culture in a field where professionalism lacks. They set a standard, and unfortunately, many cannot reach or maintain that standard. It seems that many in the field are looking for an "easy way out" or looking for an "easy paycheck", but at least if they work for NCG, they are given a chance to enahance their skills. Unfortunately, mental health treatment is not easy and in-home counseling is the hardest. Just ask any seasoned out patient clinican and many will attribute their professional development and success to those in-home experiences early in their career. One other note on money after reading so many complaints about unpaid time, it has been my experience that people are told that weekly supervision and staff meetings are unpaid time when hired. They told me. At first, I didn't like it either, but I learned alot from those supervisions and meetings. As for bonuses, there have been people that have been given cars, counselor of the month bonus,etc. All of the people that received these bonuses were well deserved. One thing to keep in mind, much supervision in the field is unpaid, such as graduate level internships, and many counselors have to pay themselves to receive licensed supervision. Another thing to mention is their pay increases supercedes any comparable position in the field (public or private). They provided me with a raise every six months, but I don't think they would have done this if I did not perform up to their standards. They have alot of caring professionals working in the agency that work hard for the clients they serve and the staff that work with them.
Now I am not saying NCG is a perfect organization, far from it. Most aren't. Some statements made on this blog are true, especially the one about their growth. Above all, I believe this is their biggest downfall - biting off more than they can chew and then working to catch up. But as all business must grow, NCG simply needs to refine existing procedures and practices and be satisfied with what they have.
Overall, this agency prides itself on its service, and the service is only as good as the staff providing it. It is unfortunate to read so many bad reviews listed but every agency is not free from ridicule and is not perfect. If more NCG professionals, past and present, were aware of this blog, you may get more positive reviews. Instead of saying "Don't work with this agency" people should say "Look closely at this agency, talk to people, and see if this is going to be a good career move and if it meets my professional goals." Some people do well, and some don't. When I worked with NCG, I have seen people move on to better positions in other private agencies and in the government because of what they learned at NCG, but they have been thankful for their opportunities while with NCG.