By Spencer Curcillo
Youngstown State University’s Community Counseling Clinic located in Beeghly Hall offers counseling services to YSU students at no cost and to area residents at minimal cost.
The clinic serves two purposes — providing counseling for those who need it and delivering a teaching tool for graduate students enrolled in YSU’s counseling program.
Meghan Fortner, an adjunct faculty member in YSU’s counseling department and teacher and mentor for counseling students, said the clinic serves as a valuable and authentic learning environment for the counseling students.
“[The clinic] is a great opportunity and a good, supportive learning environment,” Fortner said. “It’s a way for students to consolidate their learning in a live experience.”
Though they are conducted by graduate students, measures are taken to ensure that the counseling sessions are handled professionally. The students running the sessions are constantly videotaped and supervised by faculty advisors, who are professionals in the field. The counseling students can receive feedback from these advisors in real time during their sessions or afterwards during review.
Fortner said the CCC is also an accessible resource for YSU students.
“It’s a great resource for students that need some counseling,” Fortner said. “They’re able to come in and spend some time with somebody throughout the whole semester and meet with them on a weekly basis to talk about some of the things that they’re struggling with.”
Fortner further stressed the importance of resource being free of cost to students.
“A lot of students are underinsured,” Fortner said, “meaning they don’t have insurance benefits that cover counseling, or they can’t afford the co-pays if they do have insurance.”
Victoria Kress, director of the CCC, agreed with Fortner, adding that the clinic is a valuable resource for students. She encouraged all students to contact the CCC if they are in need of counseling.
“I think it’s a great resource,” Kress said. “I think it’s a really significant resource. We want people to know that we’re there and we’re available.”
During the 2013-2014 academic year, 138 YSU students and members of the community received counseling from the clinic, most of whom would likely have struggled to afford these services elsewhere.
Additionally, 190 counseling students used the clinic and its resources as a part of their training experience.
Fortner said she is happy with how the clinic has helped people in the community and remains optimistic that it can continue to do so in the future.
“The clinic has been around for a while and I think it’s only getting stronger and better and meeting the needs of the students as best as it can,” Fortner said.