VIENNA, VA (WUSA) --- The Women's Centerprovides affordable counseling services to women in Northern Virginia and the DC Metropolitan area.

Since 1974,women in the community have been able to seek psychological, career, financial and legal advice without worrying about the expense.

Laurie Shustervisitedthe non-profit fifteen years ago.

"I was having a couple of difficulties. One at a previous job. It just didn't seem like the right fit...it wasn't working," Shuster explained.

Meantime, Shuster said she also neededclarity about a friendship.And the advice she received helped her realize the relationship had run its course.

"I really had a good counselor. She was very warm and friendly...and helpful. She had really good, direct strategies that I could put into place immediately. That helped a great deal," Shuster reflected.

She went to The Women's Center for about six months and worked one-on-one with a licensed therapist.These services were offered to Shuster regardless of her ability to pay the full fee.

Carol Loftur-Thun, the CEO and Executive Director of The Women's Center, explains the nonprofit's sliding-scale fee:

"If you don't have insurance and can't pay the full fee, you can pay 45 dollars or less depending on your financial picture. That's a really affordable rate that helps make therapy, counseling and career counseling available and accessible."

Today Shuster says she is "in a great place." Her counseling sessions helped her to decide it was time to find a new job.

"I love my job now!" Shuster said. "I am a magazine editor...I work for a great group of people... great boss."

NOTE: The Gannett Foundation donated to The Women's Center.

Written by: Elizabeth Jia

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