Open house showcases innovations at teaching clinic
A Cal State Long Beach clinic with a 50-year tradition of offering innovative programs to train future school psychologists and counseling psychologists recently showcased its latest innovations at an open house.
The Community Clinic for Counseling and Educational Services showed off new technology that improves the feedback students receive from faculty when they counsel members of the community. It unveiled a renovated patio area where students, faculty, staff and clients can meet up.
And it introduced to the campus and community Think Beach, a pilot program that seeks to extend a college-going experience to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
All advance the Clinic’s 50-year-old mission to serve as a training site for school psychology and counseling psychology students in CSULB’s College of Education. Students provide educational and psychological support to children, individuals and families at a moderate cost and under the supervision of faculty.
“This work is a win for everyone,” Cal State Long Beach President Jane Close Conoley, whose educational and professional background is in psychology, said at the open house. “It’s a win for our students to have these interactions, it’s a win for our community and it’s a win for our campus because we are enacting what we say we should be doing. We should be of service.”
SEIZING ON TEACHABLE MOMENTS
The Community Clinic has long included 20 rooms where students provide counseling and educational services to community members. Faculty can monitor the sessions from an observation area outfitted with one-way mirrored windows into those rooms.
The Clinic has installed recording equipment in eight of those rooms to capture footage of sessions that students and faculty can review and discuss later. Those recordings, for example, capture valuable information expressed through body language and not words, said Clinic Director Kristin Powers, who is also a professor in Cal State Long Beach’s Advanced Studies in Education and Counseling department.
The new equipment also includes earpieces the students can wear during counseling sessions to receive real-time communication from faculty watching them work, Dr. Powers said.
“It gives us an opportunity to give feedback during teachable moments, which is much more convenient than doing it out in the field,” she said.
The Clinic has also renovated its patio area with four sets of tables and chairs open to students, faculty, staff and clients. The university provided funding for what also will serve as small clinic event space.
THINK BEACH COMES TO LONG BEACH
The open house also served as an opportunity to announce and celebrate the launch of a small pilot program called Think Beach, a Cal State Long Beach version of Think College.
Think College is a national movement to develop and improve higher education options for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Long Beach’s version also gives CSULB students the opportunity to work with IDD students to foster a more inclusive learning environment on campus.
This year’s pilot matched up six students in Long Beach Unified School District’s Adult Community Transition Program with six students in the College of Education’s undergraduate and graduate programs. They meet up for mentoring sessions and attend weekly workshops on campus together on topics such as hygiene, cooking and managing healthy friendships.
Powers hopes to secure grant funding to expand Think Beach into a full-fledged program in which students with IDD officially enroll in the university and take classes in such areas as career preparation and nutrition.
“Usually, parents get a diagnosis that their child has an intellectual disability and think they can’t go to college,” Powers said. “But we’re here to say they absolutely can go to college.”
Think Beach paired up 21-year-old Julieta Ponce, who has an intellectual disability, with Taylor Martin del Campo, a second-year student in Cal State Long Beach’s School Psychology program. They meet up for lunch on Mondays and talk about things like navigating Long Beach by train and how Ponce can get experience working with young children.
Ponce’s dream is to be a CSULB student just like her older brother and sister and go on to work at a preschool or daycare. She wants to experience it all, not only taking classes but getting a student ID, taking the campus shuttle, and living in campus housing.
“I love it, I love being here,” Ponce said. “The college and the community here are so nice.”
Martin del Campo says she’s grateful for the many opportunities Cal State Long Beach has given her to discover how she can make her community a better place. Think Beach, she said, has inspired her to pursue Ph.D. studies in inclusive post-secondary education.
“She is such an amazing person. She’s always bubbly and super positive,” Martin del Campo said of Ponce. “I’ve really enjoyed the time I’ve spent with her and to see where I can help her improve, not only in this program but also within her own independent life as she transitions into adulthood.”