Navigating Life's Challenges

A History of MAPS

The Monadnock Area Pastoral Counseling Service (MAPSCS) was founded in Keene, New Hampshire in 1973 by a group of local ministers and lay people interested in providing professional pastoral counseling and pastoral care.  The founders intentionally established MAPSCS as a decentralized organization with staff offering counseling in local churches and coming together for training and supervision.   The early group wanted to focus their finances and resources on training and not on buildings or offices.

The early succession of directors at Maps included Oliver Francisco (1974 to 1980), David Forry (1980 to 1987), and Jane Geary (1987-1989). They were followed by Gary Wehrwein, who served as the acting Director for about one year until the Rev. Richard Watson, an Episcopal priest, became Executive Director for about two years. Under his leadership the organization sought to have a more visible community presence. Dick Watson left in the summer of 1992 and was replaced by Dr. Stephen Price, an Episcopal priest and licensed psychologist. Dr. Price was Executive Director for about ten years, overseeing the agency’s relocation to the 19 Federal Street location. When Steve stepped down, Gary Wehrwein again became the acting Clinical Director of MAPS and Larry McFarland, a counselor at MAPS, became the acting Executive Director. They shared administrative oversight for about four years, during which time MAPS underwent significant staff changes. In 2006 MAPS hired a permanent Executive and Clinical Director in Gary S. Barnes. Gary served Maps for 15 years, during which time Maps moved back to it’s original location at the United Church of Christ at 33 Central Square on the newly renovated third floor.  Gary retired in November 2020; at that time Bethann Clauss was appointed as Executive Director.

The agency was first housed in the offices of the United Church of Christ in Keene and remained there until about 1989 when it moved across the street to the ground floor of the Cheshire County Court House. In January, 1994 MAPSCS raised $25,000 to renovate a large office space owned by St. James Episcopal Church. In return for all the building improvements the church gave MAPSCS a long term (10 year) low cost lease. MAPSCS called 19 Federal St. (Jonathan Daniels Building) home for 24 years.

In 1976, MAPSCS sought accreditation and became an approved Service Center of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors. MAAPC/MAPS maintained its accreditation with AAPC for over 30 years.    Maps was accredited by the Samaritans Institute in the past but had to let the accreditation lapse during a challenging financial season in the agency.  Maps chose to pursue accreditation with Solihten (formerly Samaritans) again in 2017.  As of 2021, Maps is in the final stages of the accreditation process.

The name of the agency has changed several times often to reflect the evolving culture and identity of the agency.  In 1995, the name MAPSCS (Monadnock Area Pastoral Counseling Services) was changed to MAPS (Monadnock Area Psychotherapy and Spirituality Services), to reflect a broadening of the services and the philosophy of care being provided. The new name was an expression of a more inclusive definition of spirituality since the term “pastoral counseling” had tended to connote a form of counseling based only in Christianity. Years later the Board of Directors again voted to change the official name of the agency to MAPS Counseling Services.  At that time, “MAPS” ceased to be an acronym.  However, this led to some confusion in the community.  In 2015, as part of a rebranding effort the name MAPS Counseling Services was changed again to Maps Counseling Services to clarify that Maps was not an acronym but a metaphor.    At Maps, we help you find your way. Our new mission gives voice to our holistic model of care that attends to mind (the psychological dimension), heart (the emotional dimension), body (the physical dimension), and spirit (the spiritual dimension).

Maps has grown and shifted over the years.  In the mid 1990’s, with the addition of new staff, Maps opened a satellite office in Peterborough.  Prior to 2006, the Peterborough office was a small satellite where some therapists from Keene donated a day a week to see clients. In 2007, Maps committed to expanding the Peterborough office by designating full time clinicians to this site. As they were successful, Maps added additional clinicians to Peterborough, and in 2014 the Peterborough office was relocated to a larger and more comfortable facility at 9 Vose Farm Road. Today the Peterborough office has five clinicians and is actively pursuing the addition of a sixth. The Peterborough clinicians have also established the first school-based services for Maps, where clinicians provide counseling to children at their schools.

In 2002, Maps faced a difficult season, the executive director was asked to leave due to an indiscretion, staff were divided, and the agency faced a fiscal crisis that threatened the agency’s existence. However, with the determination of a few strong individual voices and community support Maps was able to persevere and rebuild.  New staff we added to the team under the leadership and support of Gary Wehrwein and John Van Ness.  This new team rebuilt a foundation and renewed a commitment to our core values and culture and helped to lead the agency towards renewed health and strength.

In 2015, Maps recognized that we were growing and thriving, but to continue evolve and expand, we needed more space.  That began the process that led to relocating the Keene office back to our original home at the UCC church at the head of the square in the summer of 2018.

Maps believes that the essence of who we are is sustained by something more powerful and greater than any one person or challenge.  We have grown and adapted without losing touch with our core values.  Maps Counseling Services is currently the largest private non-profit agency (group practice) in the region.  We serve more than 1000 individuals and families each year.  Our staff is beautifully diverse in our training and areas of specialty, which equips us to effectively offer hope and healing for those who seek services with us as they navigate their individual life challenges.