CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Feb. 25, 2016 — College life can be tough. Homework, being on your own, work, exams, relationships and the anxiety of what to do once school ends. Classes are throughout the day and evening, and there is little opportunity to miss. With so much going on and so much to stress about, where do you go?
The College of Education and the Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling wanted to give Southeast Missouri State University students the chance to learn their craft while offering others a resource for the counseling services they need. In 2014, the Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling’s opened a Counselor Education Training Clinic in Scully Room 318.
“The purpose of the Training Clinic is to provide free counseling services to students of Southeast Missouri State University in conjunction with Counseling and Disability Services on campus. The Clinic will soon begin to offer low cost, sliding scale counseling services to the greater Cape Girardeau Community while training master’s level counseling interns through hand-on counseling experiences,” say Dr. Kirsten LaMantia, coordinator for the Clinic.
The Training Clinic is now in its second year of operation.
“Master’s level interns are being trained in counseling skills, theories, and practices through live, recorded and group supervision. Interns have completed all requisite counseling courses and are in the clinical aspect of their counseling graduate program,” says LaMantia. “Supervision is provided by clinically licensed counselors from the Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling and the office of Counseling and Disability Services.”
The Training Clinic offers options that Counseling and Disability Services is not able to, such as the ability to see a counselor late at night. This is not a replacement for the services provided by Counseling and Disability Services, but a collaboration between the two. The clinic is currently open Tuesdays 1- 9 p.m. and Thursdays 11 a.m.-9 p.m. This staggered schedule, which differs from the normal 8 a.m.-5 p.m., is preparing the students to run and operate their very own clinic one day.
“Students are also given a hands-on experience of learning how to manage, run and market a counseling agency,” says LaMantia. “Unlike internships at area counseling agencies, the students who intern at the Training Clinic have administrative duties. They will leave their internship experience with the ability to manage their own private practice in the future.”
“This has been a great way for us to supplement services here at our office,” says Torie Grogan, director of Counseling and Disability Services here at Southeast. “We are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday- Friday and we run an after-hours crisis team rotation, whereas the Training Clinic runs Tuesdays and Thursdays where they have sessions on Tuesdays from 1-9 p.m. and Thursdays from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. So it allows students to have the options for evening appointments which we know are very sought after, and students tend to see that this fits around their schedule. It’s a great way to collaborate with the Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling and augment services so that we have greater access for students on campus.”
The students have been the main benefactors in this collaboration. Whether they are providing the services or having the ability to schedule a night session, this has been a wonderful experience so far. The first year the clinic was open, nine Southeast students became clients and 112 direct counseling hours occurred. In the fall 2015 semester alone, 23 students were counseled over 124 hours.
“The Training Clinic’s impressive growth is due to having three full-time practicum students on staff, having a professor coordinate the clinic as a part of their course load and the support, supervision, and referrals from Counseling and Disability Services,” says LaMantia.
The Training Clinic is currently staffed by Sara Dee of Festus, Missouri, Tim Hakenewerth of Old Monroe, Missouri, and Ayesha Kadri of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. All are currently pursuing their master’s degree in mental health counseling.
“We’ve learned so much here at the clinic,” says Dee. “We’ve gotten some great supervision through the counseling faculty, also through Counseling and Disability Services and their supervision of the clinic. So we’ve had a lot of different perspectives to take from when we are just starting out. We’ve also gotten internship hours and practicum hours while being here. We are GAs and we obviously like working with college age students. This is something I would like to do in the future, as a higher education counselor, and I think that this has been a great opportunity for me personally.”
This experience has been extraordinarily helpful to all, the student counselors said. They are not quite on their own yet but have been given enough freedom to do with as they need to make this operation successful.
“I would say the same things,” says Kadri. “This is a good stepping stone into the real world in a sense that we are still getting the supervision that we need through professors we have developed a relationship with throughout our master’s program. These professors have different perspectives that they offer us, and we get a little bit of everything and choose what we want, what we like and follow through on what we want to do. With that stepping stone being here, I feel like there is less of the pressure for us as we are learning, researching and helping students so it will get us better prepared for what we are going to do later on in a clinic or facility elsewhere.”
This Training Clinic has also been a great move towards showing the interns what it truly is like to run their own clinic, LaMantia said. While there is support, the success of the clinic and the clientele growth is in the hands of the interns.
“I think one of the best things for me is that it’s our clinic, and we can do a lot of things that we want to do,” says Hakenewerth. “If I am interning at an agency, it’s a lot of fitting their mold. They have this type of client and they might run X and Y group, and that’s what I might help them with. Chances are we would do a lot of the bureaucratic and administrative work that is already in place. But here, I can pitch an idea to run a group, and we can do it. If I want to work more as a specialty, I can broadcast myself as that. If I feel I am not getting many clients, I can walk around and find my clients. It’s so convenient to have it here and be our baby.”
The experience is preparing the interns for all aspects in a day in the life of a counselor.
“We have gotten to see a lot of different types of clients with different issues here so we have really gotten to work with individuals,” Dee said. “We are also getting the chance to work in a group session, so that’s a new thing for us and that experience will truly help me. We have the chance here to show us what our interests are and what we really want to specialize in.”
Hakenewerth added, “We come in early to set up for our clients. The day begins and we all three could be seeing clients. We could have clients come in and do an hour- long session, or we could go back to back. We may have groups going on and we are also doing outreach, advertisement, working with the professors and we are consistently getting supervision. We and the supervisors will look at tapes together and work through different ways to do these techniques in order to better our skills.”
The master’s interns say they have the will to help the student body be well.
The Training Clinic is now open and accepting all Southeast students that need their services. For more information or to set up an appointment, contact the clinic at (573) 651-5169 or firstname.lastname@example.org.