Jan. 21, 2020
AUSTIN, Texas — St. Edward’s University is opening its first Community Counseling Clinic, which will provide training to graduate students and add a much-needed low-cost counseling services option to the Austin community.
St. Edward’s University is opening the clinic to help strengthen its Master of Arts in Counseling program, which is housed in the School of Human Development and Education, as well as carry out its mission to connect and contribute to the Austin community. There are more than 200 students enrolled in the MA in Counseling, which prepares students to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) or a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT).
The clinic, which will be open one day a week starting in mid-January, will start with three to four graduate students that will each provide counseling to five to six clients. Each counseling student will be supervised by St. Edward’s University faculty member Kerrie Taylor, assistant professor of Counseling. The sessions will cost $15 for individual counseling and $20 for family counseling, although no one will be turned away because of an inability to pay.
Many universities offer community counseling clinics as a way to provide their students with training and skills before they move on to internships in the community.
Students are required to complete 40 hours of practicum before they can start an internship. In all, students are required to complete between 300-700 total hours of practicum and internship depending on their graduation track.
“Right now, students that are ready for practicum or internships go into our community, but to be able to have them in house in those early stages and watch them is best practice,” Taylor said.
Taylor adds that all sessions are confidential. Graduate students will be monitored by faculty over a video camera to provide students with feedback on their use of skills and interventions and to ensure excellence, Taylor said.
“We want students to learn and receive feedback on best practices,” Taylor said. “We will also store all video with HIPPA compliant software that will be destroyed after a period of time.”
While the clinic’s initial capacity will be limited, Taylor hopes it will grow over time, helping to meet a need for mental health services in the Austin area. She believes the small clinic will be a welcome addition to the landscape of low-cost counseling services available in Austin, many of which have long waiting lists.
Taylor encourages anyone in the community who is interested in counseling to call the clinic to see if it will be a good fit.
“Trust is really important in a counseling relationship, so it’s important that you trust the person you’re working with. But the only way to develop that relationship is by actually doing it, so you have nothing to lose by calling. If it’s not a good fit, it’s not a good fit,” she said.
The graduate students will be able to provide general counseling services, including family and marriage counseling. A client dealing with active addiction, psychosis or complex trauma will be referred out.
Community Counseling Clinic
Phone number: (512) 428-1242
Opening date: January 22, 2020