In Austin, the demand for mental healthcare is high, but affordable care is hard to find. The Community Counseling Clinic at St. Edward’s helps fill that gap by offering free or low-cost counseling to the public.

The clinic is the ideal place to complete your practicum — your first 40 hours of supervised clinical experience — because it’s designed specifically as a teaching tool for students like you who are pursuing a master’s in Counseling at St. Edward’s. It offers flexible hours, convenience, supportive supervision by professors and an environment designed to help you grow as a clinician. Here are 10 ways the clinic will prepare you for your counseling career:

1. 

The clinic is structured with you, the counseling student, in mind. Its goals are to provide excellent free therapy to clients but also to prepare you for your career. Every aspect of the clinic is designed to offer a top-quality educational experience. 

2.

The clinic serves all populations, so you can get experience working with adults, children, couples or families. You’ll also have the chance to design and run a group.

Graduate student speaking to another student

3.

Clients are not limited to a specific number of sessions, so you can work with them until their concern is resolved.

4.

Because the clinic is not devoted to any specific therapeutic modality, you’ll have the flexibility to use different approaches. If you want to try a specific evidence-based technique, your supervisor will support you in pursuing training and implementing the practice.

5.

Your supervisor will have experience as both a therapist and a professor and may be someone you already know from one of your classes. This means your supervisor will have a mindset focused on your growth as a counseling student.

6.

Every counseling session is recorded, on both audio and video. The recordings help you see where your sessions were successful and how you can improve the next time. Your supervisor will watch recordings of challenging sessions with you and offer feedback.

Graduate student working on her computer

7.

You also can use the recordings to go over the details of your clients’ lives — relatives’ names, key biographical facts — so you can spend time in session making progress rather than reviewing this information. In certain situations, it may be beneficial to watch previous sessions alongside your client, who can reflect on their comments and synthesize their experience. 

8.

Because the clinic is staffed by students in our Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) program, you’ll enjoy a sense of camaraderie with your colleagues. They’ll support and encourage you when you’re nervous and help celebrate your successes.

9.

Once the pandemic has subsided, you’ll be able to use the clinic’s “command center,” where computer terminals with headphones allow you to watch and listen to counseling sessions in progress. You’ll see how your colleagues approach situations you’ve faced and learn from their experience.

10.

You’ll be offering an invaluable service to the community — and you’ll know that your colleagues are all motivated by a shared mission.

Students sitting at a round table


 

Learn more about how the St. Edward’s Community Counseling Clinic gives MAC students valuable experience while providing affordable care.

by Robyn Ross