The School of Health Sciences and Human Services (HSHS) is launching a new counseling and mental health program through the University’s Saltzman Community Services Center that will provide valuable clinical experience for graduate students while expanding the range of services for the local community.
The Counseling and Mental Health Clinic will include services in creative arts therapy, marriage and family therapy, mental health counseling, and rehabilitation counseling. Under the close supervision of licensed professionals in their field of study, students will respond to inquiries from the community, make referrals, and learn how to make evidenced-based decisions about intervention.
“Through this initiative we will be able to provide more mental health support to underserved communities,” said HSHS Acting Dean Ronald Bloom, PhD. “We plan to collaborate with area schools and religious and community organizations, and to offer professional development workshops, in order to more effectively deal with the legal, social, and economic barriers that may limit access to mental health services.” He notes that there are also planned partnerships with HSHS’s program in Public Health and the Maurice A. Deane School of Law.
Under the direction of Executive Director Joseph Scardapane, PhD, the Saltzman Center has been an innovator in developing partnerships between academic programs and community service. The Counseling and Mental Health Clinic will join four other existing clinics: the Psychological Evaluation and Research Clinic, the Reading/Writing Learning Clinic, the Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic, and the Diane Lindner-Goldberg Child Care Institute; the Center’s Marriage & Family Therapy (MFT) Clinic has been rolled into the new program. The clinics serve all ages for a nominal fee, and no one in financial need is turned away.
The new program will be headed by Teresa Grella-Hillebrand, former director of the MFT Clinic, which will continue to help individuals, couples and families explore and resolve relationship issues that develop across the lifecycle. The creative arts therapy services will be introduced in the Child Care Institute where under the direction of a licensed creative arts therapist, practicum students will work with children to explore various art forms to allow expression of feelings, improve visual and motor skills, and increase social function.
Student interns in the graduate counseling program will work under supervision to provide treatment for depression, substance abuse, or personal issues related to areas such as stress or parenting, while rehabilitation counseling interns will help people with physical and mental disabilities identify and remove the barriers that prevent full access to participation in society.