About Us - History and Philosophy

Roundhouse Square Counseling Center goes back to 1979. Dr. Charney expanded his Old Town, Alexandria solo private practice into a small group specializing in anxiety disorders called The Phobia Treatment Center.

In Northern Virginia at that time there were no specialized programs for treating agoraphobia, phobias, panic attacks and other anxiety disorders. Dr. Charney found that the approaches he customarily used, psychodynamic therapy combined with medications, were just not fully up to the task of treating these anxiety conditions successfully. The new approach used Cognitive-Behavioral techniques, which involved not limiting the treatment to just in-the-office appointments.

Our staff actually went out into the real world to help desensitize patients, in the actual situations, to what they feared most, whether it was tall buildings, bridges, driving the beltway, whatever. We called this Contextual Therapy, and it provided a breakthrough treatment for hundreds of patients.

This therapy model became the signature “eclectic” approach for Roundhouse: Creatively combining and integrating the use of different therapeutic modalities, customized for each individual patient. The synergy of combining talk therapy, individually or in couples, families or groups, medications as needed, and cognitive-behavioral therapy, worked better than sticking to just one all-purpose therapy.

A Roundhouse patient might meet with one of our experienced psychiatric social workers alone, or in combination with one of our psychiatrists, or might see the psychiatrist for all of the work.

Being open to new things, at Roundhouse we added new specializations over time, to help people requiring help that was not easily available in our region, and frankly, to keep things interesting for us. 

We added treatment for Mood Disorders, Couples and Family Therapy, Eating Disorders, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Adult Children of Alcoholics and Adult Attention Deficit Disorder. Anxiety sub-specialties included help for Fear of Flying and Fear of Public Speaking. We also used Medical Hypnosis as needed.

Roundhouse values staying on the cutting edge.

Now, we are excited to be adding Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), a new, FDA-Approved treatment for Resistant or Refractory Depression. We will be the first in Northern Virginia to offer TMS.

And now too, we have just added a new psychiatrist to our Staff, a Child Psychiatrist who will specialize in Adolescents.

Our Roundhouse team consists of psychiatrists, psychiatric social workers, paraprofessionals and administrative staff. We have worked together closely for over a couple of decades and enjoy warm and collaborative relationships that work well for our clientele.

We moved into our first office building in Old Town, Alexandria in 1981, located on a site where once there existed a railroad roundhouse. That’s how we got our name, Roundhouse Square Counseling Center. We recently moved across the street to our new lovely offices, but kept our name. The railroad metaphor inspired our new tag line: “Getting you back on the right track.”

Welcome to Roundhouse!