Almaden Valley Counseling Service Inc

A nonprofit organization

29 donors

Lisa was a 14 yr. old girl suffering from acute anxiety and panic attacks. Her symptoms were so disturbing that she sometimes fainted from the severity. Regular life and school were becoming impossible. In our COC program we were able to treat her disorder through establishing coping mechanisms and exposure therapy so she is now able to return to a normal range of functioning and refocusing on school and clubs and activities which she had previously given up. It was paramount that she receive the treatment at school, where her symptoms were the worst and since the family could not have afforded outside care for her. Lisa was able to focus on simply becoming a teen again!

Paula is another 14 yr. old girl in another San Jose Middle School. Paula was referred to AVCS during a crisis situation at school. She was called in to see the Vice Principal because she was cutting her arm in class with a piece of metal. She told the administrator that the night before she had gotten into an argument with her mother, had run away to a park near her house and tried to commit suicide by choking herself with a sweatshirt string. She was not successful. Her 21 yr. old cousin who lives with her found her in the park and brought her home. Because she had made a suicide attempt, she was evaluated at school and a written suicide plan was made and agreed upon by both Paula and the school. She was not hospitalized.

Paula was referred to our COC program for counseling and has been attending weekly sessions. She started the program with symptoms of depression. She also reported previous suicidal attempts. She claimed she had attempted suicide because she felt that no one cared about her not even her mother. She had bad nightmares and sometimes felt the photos in pictures were looking at her. She stated that she felt she would be better off dead. Her parents are separated and her father is in jail. She misses her father and always felt much closer to him.

After just 5 weeks in counseling, Paula was doing much better! She no longer talked about suicide and said things are better at home with her mother. They still have their differences but try to spend time together on Sundays such as going to the movies. School work is going better and although she has had some problems with other students, she seems to be managing it well. At her other school, she had trouble with anger management and fighting with other students. However, at the new school and with the help of the AVCS counseling, she has been able to keep her anger under control and does not want to cause any problems that would prevent her from graduating. She is continuing counseling and considering the possibility of college in her future. Life is slowing becoming rosier for Paula!

The principal of one San Jose High School brought Helen to the AVCS counselors in the Fall. Helen was a freshman student and age 14 yrs. old. When the principal brought her into the office she was crying uncontrollably and in a total melt-down mode. This behavior had started in her first period class. The counselor spent several hours with her in an effort to determine exactly what her problems were. She was diagnosed with extreme anxiety. Crisis intervention and calming techniques allowed Helen to get through that day. Since then, she had been attending weekly counseling sessions to address her issues and teach coping mechanisms and life skills. Through CBT techniques she worked on combating negative thinking and improving self esteem with good results. Helen currently has a 3.4 GPA and has not had a breakdown since coming to counseling. She seemed to enjoy talking through her issues and made good progress in reducing her stress. At the end of the semester, Helen decided she was doing so well that she would take a break from counseling and try managing her emotions and life on her own for a while. So far she continues to strengthen her self management skills and is finding her place in the high school world!

Lisa, Paula and Helen are just three examples of the difference school based counseling can make in the lives of young people. Having this support in place during this crucial time in life is vital not only to the teens and their families who are struggling, but also to the entire school community as a whole. Emotionally healthy teens impact other students in a positive way and add to the school fabric. An emotionally unstable teen can impact an entire school and its functioning, occasionally tearing a huge hole in its fabric! AVCS has been providing school based counseling in Santa Clara County for over 35 years! AVCS currently supports over 43 schools in 4 school districts.

Organization Data


Organization name

Almaden Valley Counseling Service Inc

Tax id (EIN)



Children & Family Community


SAN JOSE, CA 95120


(408) 997-0200