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APA Internship - The Counseling Center: An Overview

The Counseling Center is a unit of the Division of Student Affairs, and the Director reports to the Vice President of Student Affairs.  The Counseling Center’s mission is to provide services and programs that promote the personal development and psychological well-being of students. The Center also seeks to encourage a University atmosphere that is conducive to growth and that maximizes students’ educational attainments. The Counseling Center is the full-range mental health service on campus providing individual, couples and group psychotherapy from a variety of theoretical orientations. Other services include personal-social counseling, career and academic counseling, emergency services and crisis intervention, psychological and vocational testing and psychiatric services for students needing evaluation for psychotropic medications. The Center also offers prevention and education programs to student groups, as well as consultation to campus agencies and departments. A major focus of our prevention efforts is a a suicide prevention initiative originally funded by a SAMSHA grant from which we have created the Touchstone Project.  In addition to being a training center for pre-doctoral interns, we are also a  training site for practicum students who are doctoral and masters level trainees from the Departments of Clinical Psychology, Social Work, and Counseling Education.

A wide range of clients of different ages and background present, not only with normative developmental issues that one might anticipate in a college setting, but also with significant psychopathology (e.g., PTSD, major depression, personality disorders,  psychosis, eating disorders). In dealing with psychiatric emergencies and more seriously disturbed students, the Counseling Center works in close conjunction with the staff of the Student Health Services. The staff of the Counseling Center spends approximately half of their time providing direct clinical services. Remaining hours are devoted to consultation, prevention and education programming, staff development, research, training and teaching. Several staff members hold cooperative appointments with the Department of Psychology or Department of Counselor Education.

Counseling Center staff in the mud

Another successful staff meeting

Services at the Counseling Center are provided by six permanent staff members, an Advanced Clinical Fellow, the Touchstone Coordinator, a psychiatric consultant, three full-time interns, and several practicum students. The Counseling Center also oversees the Peer Education Program, which provides educational workshops and prevention programs to students.  The Counseling Center staff offices are located in a wing of the Cutler Health Building. The Cutler Health Center is the primary source of health-related services for students and includes our services and Student Health Services. Our offices are quite spacious and comfortable. Our staff functions in a highly integrated way, both in the planning and the delivery of services. There is a weekly staff meeting devoted to administrative, operational and programmatic issues, as well as clinical disposition. A newly developed group supervision model also allows for the sharing of ideas and knowledge across the intern cohort and a licensed senior staff. Our Center also attempts to meet periodically with Student Health Services to support each other’s work.  Interns will have an opportunity to work conjointly with professionals from various physical and mental health disciplines and thus expand their clinical understanding and perspectives.

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