SIDNEY — Psychologist Dr. Jacqueline Allen, of Sidney, had recognized a need for her services in Sidney, even while she worked under contract at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, seeing active military members, retirees and their dependents.
So when Air Force budget restraints made it look as if the contracts might not be renewed, Allen knew it was time to establish a private practice and she knew Sidney was the place to do it. She opened Western Ohio Psychological Services LLC in the former Murphy Building at 110 E. Poplar St. in April.
The practice offers individual and group therapy; eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, a treatment for trauma-related disorders; conflict mediation; team building; couples counseling; training in parenting and anger management skills; and crisis interventon. Hours are by appointment only.
Allen takes years of experience into the new practice.
A native of Los Angeles, she lived in Florida and Illinois before an employment opportunity brought her to Sidney 20 years ago. She ran Rogy’s Preschool Center.
“I enjoyed kids that really struggled with behavior problems. I liked working one-on-one,” she said. That led her to Ohio State University-Lima, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology.
“I wanted to be a school counselor, but then I started to talk about getting a doctorate,” she said. That came from Wright State University’s School of Professional Psychology in 2009.
With her terminal degree in hand, Allen went to work for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections in the Allen/Oakwood Correctional Institution in Lima. She helped inmates in the men’s prison for four years and then took the reigns of Darke County Recovery Services, now Recovery and Wellness Centers of Midwest Ohio, in Greenville, as interim executive director. At the time, the organization managed the Shelby County Counseling Center.
After a year there, she won the contracts with the Air Force. She continues to work at Wright-Pat, even as her private practice grows.
“The reception from community leaders and businesses has been wonderful,” she said. She hopes to establish connections with local courts in order to provide group therapies to juvenile and adult offenders.
Facebook and word of mouth have brought her new patients.
“I’ve got a few physicians who have sent referrals my way,” she added.
The hardest part about opening the Sidney office was jumping through the hoops required by the insurance industry.
“You apply to each individual insurance company toget on panels (that allow you to accept patients’ insurance plans). You apply to get an application. Then you submit it. Then you deal with things they want corrected. It can take up to a year. The frustration (with insurance companies) is the same as my clients’,” Allen said.
What has surprised her is the number of “cold calls” she receives, people who call for help with no referral.
“Going to a therapist doesn’t mean you’re crazy,” Allen noted. “We all need support. It’s not about me telling you how to live your life. It’s having an impartial person to help you process through what you’re dealing with. Just because you’ve been living with it for years doesn’t mean you have to continue living with it. People don’t have to suffer.”
Psychologists differ from psychiatrists in what their licenses permit them to do. Psychiatrists can prescribe medication and, Allen said, usually treat by using medication. Psychologists use counseling therapies and testing and assessment tools.
“And social workers can do therapy but they can’t do testing,” she said.
Her fees are dictated by insurance companies.
“I will call your insurance company to find out what they cover regarding behavioral health,” Allen said.
For information or to schedule an appointment, call 638-5210.
Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News
Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.