Individual and couples therapy are being offered for the first time through CSULB’s Educational Psychology Clinic as part of a new program in Marriage and Family Therapy.
Affordable, professional counseling for adults is being provided by advanced graduate students in Marriage and Family Therapy under the supervision of licensed university faculty who address such issues as depression, anxiety, phobias, traumatic stress, grief, loss, self-esteem, relationships and education.
“Counseling services are being provided at the low cost of $15 per session with a three-session minimum, while CSULB students and low-income individuals are eligible for a 50 percent reduction in fees,” said Educational Psychology, Administration and Counseling’s Bita Ghafoori, who, with Ed Psych’s William Saltzman, supervise the graduate students.
“This is the first year that graduate students seeking a master’s degree in counseling with a marriage and family emphasis have been required to start their practicum experiences on campus,” said Ghafoori, who also noted that the MFT clinic offers the same services clients would receive at most mental health clinics.
“Because Prof. Saltzman and I are both licensed clinical psychologists, we help the students assess the problems as they come in and to develop a treatment plan,” she explained. “We want to help them implement techniques that work well with issues that clients have. Because we’re actually watching them, we can give the students a lot of feedback in terms of how to implement these techniques.”
The state of California has approved educational programs such as CSULB’s to grant the master’s in counseling with a marriage and family emphasis.
“Students must complete a total of 3,000 hours of supervised experience prior to sitting for their licensing exam. At CSULB, we require they complete 500 hours of pre-masters degree experience,” she explained. “Not only does the program develop their knowledge base in counseling, we try to provide our students with a pretty good overview of counseling techniques.”
“Rather than let the students loose in unknown situations, we can give them some real coaching here,” said Saltzman. “This clinic provides our students with a level of experience they couldn’t get anywhere else.”
Feedback has been very positive from participating students. “They were apprehensive about being the first group but they’re getting over that,” said Ghafoori. “Getting immediate feedback is helpful. Ultimately, it would be nice to reach the local community. We are very inexpensive. We ask $7.50 per session for CSULB students and $15 per session from individuals from the community (the $15 fee includes a parking permit). We know there are many people out there who need mental health services but cannot afford them. This is our way of helping both the community and the campus.”
Saltzman agreed. “We offer high-quality mental health services at an unbeatable price,” he said. “We make a difference in mental health, which is the real bargain. We are geared to the unique problems and stress that students deal with. In addition, we offer services in the evenings.”
More information is available online or by calling 562/985-4991.