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Counseling center opens in downtown Waynesboro

June 17, 2004|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Aslan Awareness Center and Counseling Service opened this week in a suite of offices at 32 W. Main St. to serve clients suffering from depression, mental health, marital, substance abuse and personal problems.

Two therapists, Janine Reynolds, 44, the director of the new center, and Cristoforo Padula, 54, a therapist whose specialty is treating troubled souls through spirituality, started the facility.

"We work from people's own strengths," Padula said. "A lot of times they find strength in their own spirituality."

The center eventually will employ four therapists and a receptionist, Reynolds said.

Padula said some people may be put off by the fact that it's a pastoral counseling center.

"We won't be teaching religious dogma," he said. "We're not going to be preaching. Our emphasis will be on the spiritual side."

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Referrals will come through family physicians, court orders and public and private agencies, Reynolds said.

The center does individual, family and group counseling.

The counseling center's hours are by appointment. The center will be open seven days a week. "People need us to be flexible," Padula said.

The counseling fee is $75 an hour.

The name Aslan comes from a lion character in a C.S. Lewis' children's book, he said.

Reynolds and Padula have master's degrees in counseling.

Reynolds' background includes 22 years as a licensed clinical social worker for the Fairfax County, Va., Community Mental Health Center.

Padula, who earned his master's at Fordham University, is a serious musician in addition to his counseling background.

He said he grew up in Naples, Italy. He said he sang with the Italian opera company La Scala and the Rome Opera. He came to the United States in 1971 to study under Jan Peerce, has sung at the Metropolitan Opera, was an understudy for Luciano Pavarotti and taught voice to Barbra Streisand, Liza Minelli and Linda Ronstadt among others, he said.

Until two years ago, he hosted the "World of Vocal Music Radio Theatre," a musical variety show broadcast over stations in New York, Chicago and San Francisco. The show highlighted up-and-coming talent.

He founded Music Under the Stars in Frederick, a studio on West Patrick Street, to teach voice to anyone, young or old, with an interest in music, he said.

Reynolds and Padula got their connection to Waynesboro through the Rev. Jay Zimmerman, pastor of Christ United Methodist Church at 6 W. Second St.

Zimmerman said he got to know Padula, who sings and plays piano and organ for special church services.

Padula developed throat cancer in the early 1990s and lost his voice, Zimmerman said.

"It put him out of performing," he said. His voice returned in the late 1990s, he said.

Looking for another career in the meantime, Padula studied for his counseling license. Zimmerman said Padula told him that he always wanted to open a counseling service.

Zimmerman told Padula that such services were needed Waynesboro.

"The need for counseling here is great - far beyond what people know," Zimmerman said.

"We think we can make a go of it in Waynesboro," Reynolds said.

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