Mental Heath & Substance Use

Mental Heath & Substance Use

two middle-aged women and a older bald man is standing in front of a horse each holding a bridle

UCS offers outpatient individual and group psychotherapy, case management, information and referrals for children, adults and families. If you or someone you know needs help for a mental health or substance use disorder, UCS is here to help.

Mental Health Services

Mental Health services include individual, family, and couples outpatient counseling, group therapy, evaluations for mental health and intellectual disabilities, and community outreach. Clinicians are trained in EMDR and Equine therapy. UCS works with local businesses to provide free confidential counseling and evaluations to employees.

After intake and all evaluations are completed, clients meet with an outpatient clinician and create a treatment plan. Treatment plans outlines a client’s needs, and any short and long term goals. Outpatient clinicians use a number of modalities and strategies to help clients reach those goals. 

After the intake process, clients meet with a licensed mental health counselor to perform a mental health and/or intellectual disability evaluation.

A mental health assessment may consist of filling out a questionnaire and an interview about your mental and personal history as well as describing your symptoms in more detail.

An intellectual disability evaluation may include an IQ test, and an interview to determine intellectual and adaptive functioning such as problem solving and independent living. 

UCS offers confidential, professional assessments and counseling support for local businesses. An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for your business can help to identify employees facing mental health challenges, motivate them to seek and accept help, assess their situation, and develop an action plan. EAPs can help employees access the services and help they need.


Clinicians meet with clients in group settings and focus on different topics and issues during each meeting. These include such topics as depression, anxiety, substance use, co-occurring disorders, and more. 

UCS partners with Kanthaka of North Bennington to offer Equilateral (EQL), Equine Assisted Therapy (EAP) and Equine Assisted Learning (EAL).  

EQL is an equine-assisted therapy program that combines two well-regarded treatment protocols: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Psychotherapy (EMDR) and EAP. EMDR is an eight-phase program that helps children and adults address mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorders, post-traumatic stress (PTSD), substance abuse and addiction, and more.

EAP is based on the precept that experiencing, building, and maintaining healthy relationships is the foundation of mental illness and trauma healing and recovery.  Horses are highly sensitive to the energy and actions of their herd mates and in their immediate environment.  Their non-verbal responses provide a visible canvas upon which human clients can witness their own internal energy, mood, and behavioral characteristics.  This equine-human relationship  brings verbal and non-verbal communication into alignment for the individual.

EAL is appropriate for groups or teams of workers.  Various activities are built with available props for the participants to work collaboratively in their interactions with the horses, from observing the horses interact with the created scene, to guiding horses through or around obstacles.  The team benefits from seeing their dynamics in action outside of the work place.

Watch: About Equine Assisted Therapy

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy involves using stimuli such as hand tapping and directed eye movements to access and reprocess traumatic memories. This helps to decrease negative associations with trauma memories and create new, healing perspectives. The goal is empowerment for the individual engaging in EMDR.

UCS offers training and consultation on a variety of topics both at our facilities and within the community. Contact us for more information.

Substance Use Services

Treatment services include family and group therapy along with education, individual and relationship counseling. UCS provides education and prevention information specific to the dangers of IV drug use and about relationship between drug abuse and communicable diseases such as HIV. We work closely with Community partners and self-help group such as Alcoholics Anonymous, the Turning Point Recovery Center, AIDS Project of Southern Vermont, Blueprint of Health, Narcotics Anonymous and Al-Anon.

Individual, Group therapy and Case Management aim to work collaboratively with individuals to achieve positive life goals or outcomes.

This program is designed to address multiple factors concurrently, to help participants maintain and achieve sobriety and improved everyday functioning. The Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is a mix of modalities—group, individual therapy, family therapy, and case management. IOP also a includes Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP), Collaborative Network Approach (CNA), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and several other healing modalities. IOP is offered a minimum of 3 hours per day/9 hours per week. 

Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) at UCS is a Vermont Blueprint for Health Spoke program designed to meet the need for individuals with substance use disorder. The program involves the administration of medication to help individuals with substance use disorder detoxify, reduce overdose risk, and maintain long-term recovery. MAT is used alongside other therapeutic tools to help people with substance use disorder reduce or stop substance misuse. Individuals seeking MAT can call 802-442-5491 or visit UCS in person at 100 Ledge Hill Drive in Bennington, VT. 

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Harm reduction kits reduce the risk of overdose from opioids, generate greater awareness about treatment and recovery options and increase treatment engagement. These kits are available at no cost. Bags are available in our main lobby at 100 Ledge Hill Drive, Bennington, VT. 

Harm reductions kits include:

  • Two doses of Narcan
  • Fentanyl Test Strips
  • CPR Mouth shield
  • Resources 


UCS offers trainings and consultation on a variety of topics both at our facilities and within the community.

This application from CHESS Health gives participating clients an opportunity to connect with a larger peer community and 24/7 access to peer support specialists. The CHESS platform includes a comprehensive set of digital tools and tech-enabled human support, creating patient-centered care for substance use disorder, mental health services, and social support – all easily accessible through a smartphone. Clients will have access to support to help them reduce isolation, gain motivation, build confidence and adhere to their treatment and recovery plans.

UCS and the Aids Project of Vermont (APSV) offer a free and anonymous syringe services and harm reduction program located at UCS’ Community Rehabilitation and Treatment building at 316 Dewey Street in Bennington, VT. The program is available on a walk-in basis on Mondays from 12-3pm, and via mobile delivery on Fridays from 12-3pm. Community members can access the mobile service by calling Samba Diallo, Executive Director of APSV, at 802-440-6776. Individuals accessing the walk-in service on Mondays should check in at the front desk at 316 Dewey Street and will not be asked for their names.

Self-help and contact information for local peer recovery support services are available through Vermont Recovery Addiction Network Recovery Peer Support Services at or call (802) 738-8998.

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We offer

  • Alcohol and drug abuse counseling and education
  • Child, adult, family and couples counseling
  • Employee Assistance Programs
  • Psychotherapy groups
  • Evaluation and psychological testing
  • Community education and consultation services

“At this point there isn’t anything else I need. The group I attend is the perfect fit for me.”


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