Refuge Center for Counseling
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103 Forrest Crossing Blvd Suite 102
Franklin, TN 37064
Organization Details



The Refuge Center exists to offer excellent, accessible and affordable mental and emotional healthcare services in support of a transformational impact on communities.


The Refuge Center for Counseling, Inc. opened in December 2005 as the vision of its founders Jennifer Gillett and Amy Alexander. Jennifer and Amy had completed their Master's degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy and had a strong desire to serve the county they both lived in-Williamson county. This county is often recognized for its wealth, which overshadows those who are in need. To live in a place with great prosperity and to be in need is to often feel invisible. The vision of The Refuge Center was to make sure that every individual and family had the opportunity to seek therapeutic resources, regardless of income level. Jennifer and Amy had discovered that there were few opportunities for affordable counseling in the area, as many local therapists charge $90-$225+ per session. They wanted to be able to offer therapy to those who could not afford these fees, so they created a sliding-scale based on income that ranges from $19-$125. The name for the center came from a passage in Isaiah which says, "It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and a hiding place from the storm and the rain." (Is 4:6). The vision is also that beyond being a place to receive affordable counseling, The Refuge Center will also be a place where people are able to find hope and healing from the storms of their daily lives. The Refuge Center has counselors, a psychiatric nurse practitioner, and Masters level interns working at the agency. Each counselor has a different area of focus, including domestic and dating violence, adolescent behavioral issues, addictions, marital-therapy, grief and loss counseling, family counseling, and therapy for parent-training and adoptions-related issues. The Refuge Center receives referrals from over 80 different sources including churches, drug-court, domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters, juvenile detention centers, and other counselors. The Refuge Center currently serves clients coming from 18+ counties in TN.


The Refuge Center completed its first fiscal year in organization history in 2020-2021.

The Refuge Center has achieved a number of significant accomplishments in recent years, including:

1) Paid off 7 acres of land as part of a capital campaign for a new facility. For The Refuge Center, growth is not only about increased capacity for services, but also about becoming the most excellent in service delivery and in client experience. In order for anything to grow, it must be firmly planted. With the need for our counseling services at an all-time high, it is imperative that The Refuge Center build a larger, permanent home. Through generous partnerships, this 15,000 square foot lodge like facility will allow us to provide over 36,000 therapeutic contact hours each year. We envision a campus with walking trails, a picnic pavilion, a healing garden, a prayer chapel and prayer labyrinth, play areas for children, and other spaces for reflection and processing of clinical activities. The building itself will incorporate many elements of nature and will be intended to create a feeling of safety, security and spaciousness. It will feature spaces for art, dance and yoga therapy and also spots for other holistic providers (such as nutrition, massage, acupuncture and spiritual direction) to offer care. A large multipurpose room will allow us to offer many clinical trainings, classes, groups and also retreats. This campus will serve as a physical manifestation of the culture of compassionate care that is a hallmark of our Attachment Based Leadership culture at The Refuge Center. This new facility will enable Refuge to alleviate the need for a constant, lengthy waiting list for clients and serve even more middle Tennessee residents. At the end of 2022, the community came together, with a generous matching gift, to raise over $1 million dollars. To date, community support has helped to raise $6.9M and site work began in June 2023. Estimated completion date is September 2024.

2) Our Senior Staff and Board of Directors diligently engaged in a strategic planning process that emphasizes fundraising, marketing and leadership. This new plan empowers the board with key dashboards to stay true to the mission, drive sustainable growth and be champions of Refuge in the community to continuously improve quality and culture. The new strategic plan focuses on three key areas:
Whole Person: The Refuge Center is the premier mental and emotional health agency in Tennessee, providing a full range of whole person services and continuity of care that is accessible, affordable and excellent.
Whole Community: we participate in mutually enriching community engagement.
Whole Career: our culture of compassionate care creates a vocational home and a long-term career path for team members.

3) FY 22-23 Provided more than 38,000 therapeutic sessions for 4,009 individuals referred by more than 60 sources .

4) Held our most successful fundraising events to date including Hope Grows .

5) Updating our internal cultural model to emphasize our cultural values of character, connection and continuous growth. The vision of The Refuge Center is to distinguish itself as the preeminent counseling organization in Tennessee. We will be recognized for our inclusive, family-centered atmosphere, talented therapists, cutting-edge services, and our ability to offer hope to a hurting world.


1) To increase community awareness about services.
2) To grow annual and capital fund.
3) To address operational needs (including technology) to improve staff and client experience.
4) To grow skill specific volunteer base.

CEO Statement

Seventeen years ago the words of Isaiah 4:6 inspired the name for The Refuge Center for Counseling. The verse reads, "It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and the rain." With the vision of providing people a safe place to navigate the storms of their daily lives, The Refuge Center has distinguished itself a place of HOPE -an inclusive, accessible, family-centered environment with talented, mission-minded therapists, nurturing spaces, and affordable cutting-edge services. Affordability and excellence are hallmarks of the services at The Refuge Center and we support a culture of compassionate care, character, connection and continuous growth within the organization.

Since opening in 2005, The Refuge Center has now provided nearly 300,000 counseling sessions. It has been an incredible year of unprecedented blessing and growth here at The Refuge Center for Counseling! Our outstanding group of staff and Board have invested deeply into this organization to see that clients receive the best possible care and access to emotional healing. This year we will provide nearly 38,000 counseling sessions for more than 4,300 individuals. The Refuge Center received referrals from over 60 sources and also continues to partner with other local non-profit agencies for great collective impact.

If the mission and vision of our organization stirs your soul, we invite you to participate in the healing and transformative work of Refuge through the extension of your own gifts and resources. I would encourage you to explore if this vision aligns with your deepest, most heartfelt commitments. To see if it somehow connects you to a higher calling or soulful longing. We all ultimately want to be known for what we allocate, not what we accumulate. We want to leave a legacy of investing generously in the well-being of others. And so, at times such as these, we are afforded the opportunity to ask ourselves: If our resources could talk, what is the voice we would want them to have? What message do you most want to send to the world? At Refuge our message is, "You don't have to walk this road alone." Please join us!

Amy Alexander, CEO and Co-Founder

Board Chair Statement

The Refuge Center for Counseling continues to be blessed in so many ways. We finished the 2023 calendar year with astounding success and have carried that momentum into 2024. This year we will focus on the biggest transition of the organization's history - in November 2024, we'll move into our new home that will allow us to increase our capacity and care more deeply for our clients.

Amidst the transition and challenges of raising money for our annual needs (as well as the new building via our capital campaign), the team continues to deliver in a big way. The staff and therapists, once again, positively impacted the lives and families of the Middle Tennessee community by providing nearly 40,000 counseling sessions. Join me in thanking our amazing Refuge team, they are providing a transformational impact on our community!

Our Founder/CEO Amy Alexander leads with passion and expertise to make this repetitive success seem easy! It is not easy, but with her leading our team, we will accomplish our goals by continuing to deliver excellent, accessible and affordable mental and emotional healthcare services. We need to raise nearly ~$1.3M annually to keep the organization running while also raising an additional ~$1.5M for our capital campaign by November 2024 to ensure we can move into our new home with a manageable mortgage payment. Join me in investing for our future, this work matters!

Eric Baer
Board President
The Refuge Center for Counseling

Service Categories

Primary Category: Mental Health & Crisis Intervention  - Counseling 
Secondary Category: Human Services  -  
Tertiary Category: -

Areas Served

The Refuge Center for Counseling primary offices are in Franklin (Williamson County) and we have a satellite office location in Nashville. We serve clients who reside in counties across Middle Tennessee (and beyond) - including Bedford, Davidson, Cheatham, Dickson, Giles, Hickman, Humphreys, Lawrence, Wilson, Maury, Marshall, Montgomery, Robertson, Rutherford, Sumner, Warren Williamson County. With Telehealth options, The Refuge Center can serve the entire state of Tennessee.

TN - Hickman
TN - Giles
TN - Humphreys
TN - Lawrence
TN - Montgomery
TN - Robertson
TN - Wilson
TN - Rutherford
TN - Williamson
TN - Davidson
TN - Maury
TN - Sumner
TN - Cheatham
TN - Dickson
TN - Marshall
TN - Bedford
TN - Warren