This September, Becker College opened a mental health counseling clinic at its Leicester, Mass. campus. Not only will the clinic offer services to the general public, but it will also provide hands-on experience for graduate students in the newly created master’s program at the school.
According to Beth Greenberg, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at Becker and coordinator of the program, graduate students will work in a clinical capacity at the center. “They will be completing their required practicum hours by meeting with clients in the clinic, under my direct supervision. The clinical experience obtained by our students is not considered an internship,” she said, noting that internships will be completed at approved mental health programs and agencies located off campus.
All students enrolled in the Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling program are required to complete a minimum of 100 practicum hours, which includes at least 40 hours of direct client contact, noted Greenberg.
“As the coordinator of the program, I will be the first point of contact for clients seeking treatment through the Counselor Training Clinic. In most cases, our graduate students will be contacting clients to schedule the appointments and will then be meeting with clients for regularly scheduled counseling sessions,” Greenberg said.
“At this point in time, the Counselor Training Clinic does not have set hours; appointments are scheduled based on the availability of our student counselors and supervisors.”
In addition to meeting with clients for counseling services, students will be responsible for completing all required documentation, including a diagnostic summary, treatment plan and progress notes.
During the first year of operation, Greenberg will act as clinical supervisor, reviewing and co-signing all documentation. “However, as the program grows in size, our plan is to expand our staff of clinical supervisors as well,” she said.
Several of Becker’s current faculty members are licensed mental health professionals, including licensed psychologists, social workers and/or mental health counselors, and will provide supervision in the future.
Graduate student counselors in the program will participate in weekly group and individual supervision. “Supervisors may observe students while they are conducting treatment sessions, and students may also observe their supervisors in practice,” Greenberg explained.
Students are scheduled to begin seeing clients later in the fall semester. Those interested in continuing their education and training to become a licensed psychologist could obtain substantial academic and clinical training toward that goal through their experiences in the Becker College program, Greenberg noted.
By Phyllis Hanlon