Best friends, business partners and fellow military brats, Susan Dow and Adrienne O’Neal met at a therapist training program in 2008, and the two have been inseparable ever since. Today, the dynamic duo are co-owners of Red Rock Counseling as licensed Marriage and Family Therapists and love their work helping others.
Susan, whose father was an Army officer and grew up all over the country, moved to Las Vegas about 27 years ago, settling in Summerlin. She and longtime partner, Dr. Michael Benassi, have two grown children who also live in Las Vegas. Her interest in mental health began in 1994 when she became a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, working on the front lines in the fight against the opioid epidemic. Now, she and Dr. Benassi provide confidential office-based opioid treatment as part of the many services offered at Red Rock Counseling.
“About eight years ago, I was chatting with Adrienne in her kitchen, complaining about the limited scope of my then practice,” she said. “Adrienne did what a best friend should do. She told me to stop complaining and do something about it, so I enrolled at UNLV, finished my bachelor’s, then went on to earn my Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy. And the rest, as they say, is history.”
Together, Adrienne and Susan founded Red Rock Counseling in late 2018. Today, the practice is thriving. According to Adrienne, they outgrew their first office space at Downtown Summerlin and are now located in a business park across the street.
“Through our affiliation with UNLV and other graduate mental health degree programs, we have several graduate student interns who are able to provide quality counseling services for as little as $40 an hour. It’s one of the ways we are helping patients – new and old – to weather these crazy times.”
Adrienne, whose father retired from the military 41 years ago in Las Vegas, moved to Las Vegas when she was 20. Her first career was in advertising, but she eventually went back to graduate school, earning her Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy from UNLV in 2004. Surrounded by extended family, Las Vegas and Summerlin are now family affairs for Adrienne whose mom, brother and various relatives have all relocated here.
“Today, Buffalo is about as far east as I go,” she joked. “Everything I need or want is right here in the community.”
Self-described professional golf lesson-takers, Susan and Adrienne laugh about their lack of golf prowess but say they “look really cute in their golf outfits!”J Bear’s Best is their course of choice. When not working or golfing, the two love to take advantage of Summerlin’s great restaurant scene. Both Vintner Grill and Trattoria de Reggiano at Downtown Summerlin top their list.
As the world becomes more enlightened on the importance of mental health and accepting of the fact that everyone’s got “stuff,” we could all use more professionals like Susan and Adrienne! So glad Summerlin is their community of choice!