The clinic has offered free counseling to Southeast students since 2014. The idea to expand its services to the surrounding community developed after the opening of a Play Therapy Center in 2017, which gives graduate students an environment to learn play therapy counseling and offer those services to the area’s youth.
“We are excited to take these first steps and be a part of the Cape Girardeau community and southeast Missouri area,” said Dr. Kirsten LaMantia, assistant professor of educational leadership and counseling and coordinator of the clinic.
The clinic is staffed by master’s degree-level counseling interns who will work with clients on concerns of anxiety, depression, relationships, grief and loss, family problems, low self-esteem, drug or alcohol use, oppression, LGBTQ and identity, sleep difficulties and more. Fees are based on a low-cost, sliding scale.
The expansion into the community is beneficial for both the students and area residents. Blessy Joseph, a graduate student from Sri Lanka, pursuing a Master of Arts in mental health counseling, says she hopes the lower cost will encourage people in need to seek help.
“We see a lot of students, so having community clients will bring a different atmosphere to sessions and concerns than what we normally see,” said Duane Jones, a graduate student from Hannibal, Missouri, pursuing a Master of Arts in mental health counseling.
The students serve as interns at the clinic, completing their practicum hours as counselors. LaMantia provides in-person supervision to ensure clients receive quality assistance.
The clinic has been streamlined to function as a professional clinic, incorporating electronic medical records and iPads into the practice. The implementation of this technology allows the clinic to provide professional service to clients while preparing students for the administrative aspects of counseling careers.
The clinic has a strong relationship with Southeast’s Counseling and Disability Services, which was instrumental in the creation of the clinic and provides guidance for the program. Licensed counselors at Counseling and Disability Services volunteer to supervise the clinic’s student counselors and are on call in the event of a crisis situation.
“There is still a stigma about seeking help for mental health, but everybody needs someone to talk to,” said Jordan Seyer, a graduate student from Jackson, Missouri, pursuing a Master of Arts in mental health counseling. “Our job is to be there to listen and be supportive. They aren’t going to be judged. We are here to help guide them, help them understand what they are feeling and process emotions.”
The clinic will receive clients recommended by Counseling and Disability Services and community agencies. If the needs of community clients are outside of the clinic’s scope, they will recommend community resources available to them.
“We hope to offer diverse counselors to a diverse community. We want the residents to know that the clinic is multi-culturally competent and ready and able to advocate and serve our community,” said LaMantia.
The Counselor Education Training Clinic is located in the Mark F. Scully Building Room 318. The clinic is open for community appointments from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Mondays and noon-4 p.m. Thursdays. For more information on available services or to schedule an appointment, contact (573) 651-5169 or firstname.lastname@example.org.