Helping People Heal, Grow, and Flourish

Blanton-Peale Institute & Counseling Center, a licensed mental-health counseling and training center located in New York City, promotes holistic mental health and wellbeing by nurturing mind, body, and spirit. Provided by a diverse team of trained and licensed therapists, our counseling services aim to be culturally-responsive, address challenges to mental health, and unlock strength and resilience. We amplify our impact through training, offering licensure and professional development, and advocating for equal rights to quality mental health care.

Our work is as important as ever, as the urgency for quality mental health care spikes. In NY, there are nearly 1.6 million people struggling with mental health issues who are not receiving any support from a professional. In 2023, we provided 33,000 sessions of affordable, accessible, holistic, and culturally responsive therapy. As we move beyond the pandemic, our clients have options: they can again see their therapist in-person, talk over the phone, or meet virtually. Each is a lifeline of support.

Nearly half of our clients utilize Medicaid (compared to ⅓ of New Yorkers, statewide). For those without health insurance, we offer an income-based scale and promise to turn no one away, regardless of their ability to pay. Blanton-Peale is a safe space for people dealing with trauma, anxiety, depression or thoughts of self-harm.

Training the Next Generation of Mental Health Professionals

Our high standards and diverse clientele have made us an in-demand training ground for mental health professionals. Young social workers, mental health counselors, psychiatrists and psychoanalysts, get the experience they need under the wise and watchful eyes of our expert supervisors.

In addition to our Psychoanalytic Training Program and our Care and Counseling Program (available in Korean and English), we are proud to be in year 3 of our BIPOC fellows program.

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“Have great hopes and dare to go all out for them. Have great dreams and dare to live them. Have tremendous expectations and believe in them.”

-Norman Vincent Peale

Key Moments in Our History

In 1935, in the thick of the Great Depression, The Rev. Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, who would soon author The Power of Positive Thinking, realized that religion and faith on their own were not enough to address the devastating emotional, relational and spiritual upheaval of those who sought him out. And so, he joined forces with the eminent psychiatrist Dr. Smiley Blanton, who had trained in psychoanalysis with Sigmund Freud. Our founders were innovative, forward-leaning thinkers and, in 1937, their partnership birthed a first of its kind clinic that integrated psychology alongside faith to address mental health challenges.

The Counseling Center earned Blanton-Peale its first national recognition: a 1948 Newsweek article reported that more than 10,000 persons had come for help. In 1953, the Counseling Center was licensed by NY State, confirming it as a center for the mental wellbeing of all New Yorkers. In 1963, Fred Keuther, director of training, spearheaded the first international conference for the emerging pastoral counseling movement.

There have been many changes over the decades, but since 1996, the work of the Counseling Center and the various forms of training have been known by the names of our founders, Blanton and Peale. What began as the dream of two individuals – eager to bring hope and healing – now requires all of us, working together.

Many New Yorkers today face challenges that are just as devastating as those of the Great Depression. We face a mental health crisis and Blanton-Peale has positioned itself to respond to crisis with care.

In 2017, Blanton-Peale’s board and staff seized an opportunity to grow. Over the previous 5 years, requests for services had outstripped the available space. We were “bursting at the seams.” Our 4,000 square foot facility was filled to capacity 6 days a week. We had grown by 91% in just 5 years and had to turn away New Yorkers seeking our support.

When the opportunity arose to lease an additional floor and double our impact on the lives of struggling New Yorkers, board and staff acted quickly and donors responded.

In December, 2017, we opened a beautiful new second floor.

Throughout the pandemic, mental health has been a huge and growing need. Those who were encountering challenges to their mental health before the pandemic experienced heightened anxiety, depression and symptoms of trauma. And others, who had never needed mental health support before, newly experienced difficulties managing the isolation, anxiety, and loss. Indeed, there was a second pandemic in the wake of the Covid pandemic- a mental health pandemic.

In 2020, Blanton-Peale pivoted to become a Virtual Counseling and Training Center. Trainees in our online training programs were logging in from as far away as North Carolina and South Korea.

At Blanton-Peale, we’re focused on providing accessible mental health services to those hit hardest by the emotional and economic fallout of the pandemic. Black and Brown New Yorkers, frontline and service workers, and low-income New Yorkers have been disproportionately affected by the virus itself and, in turn, by the mental health fallout. At Blanton-Peale, that is exactly who we serve and our shift to telehealth has increased accessibility for those who need it most.

We are proud to say that during the height of the pandemic, we remained committed to turning no one away, regardless of their ability to pay. Today, in this time of upheaval and change, we have set out to be as bold and positive as our founders were. We are now operating in a hybrid capacity, and clients have options that work best for them; seeing a therapist in our office or virtually makes our services more accessible than ever.