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2013 News | College of Education

Counseling Clinic renovation enhances client, student experience

A recently-completed, major renovation to the College of Education’s Counselor Education Training Clinic offers a safe and welcoming new space, both for the future counselors and counselor supervisors training there and for the clients they serve.

Located in the northeast corner of the Education Building basement, the expanded facility includes a client reception area, two group counseling rooms, two play therapy rooms, six individual/couple counseling rooms, and counselor work and observation rooms.

The expansion allows greater scheduling flexibility and room for consultation, counselor education faculty member and clinic director Michael Morgan says.  With approximately 30 graduate student counselors and six to eight doctoral student supervisors serving 200-250 clients annually, the expansion is welcome.

The clinic is the cornerstone of UW’s counselor education graduate programs, Morgan says. It also is somewhat unique. Many other programs without an on-site clinic must rely on simulated experiences alone (e.g., role playing) to teach fundamental counseling skills.  Students then transition directly to a field placement where they likely meet one hour a week with a supervisor to review their work.  UW’s students have the opportunity for early, direct contact with actual clients in the clinic.  All of their work is observed live by supervisors and securely recorded for additional supervision.  This intensity of observation and supervision adds a layer of depth to their training that is unmatched in other settings.

One of the most noticeable changes to the renovated space is its increased security and privacy. Where a common hallway once ran through the middle of the clinic space, there are now two distinct entrances that separate clinic clients and staff from the public. This expands the clinic’s ongoing commitment to providing safe and confidential service.

After they enter the clinic doors, clients are greeted by staff, who will escort them to the spacious new waiting room and eventually one of the airy, comfortable session rooms where they will meet with a student counselor.

The clinic’s play therapy space grew significantly in the renovation. Two large rooms now are devoted to providing play therapy sessions, each featuring a sink for various wet activities (e.g., sand sculptures), toy storage, and extra space to interact. An observation area, located between the two play therapy rooms, is large enough to handle classes and larger groups of observers. Morgan says the expanded capacity in this area is critical to the success of UW’s Rocky Mountain Center of Play Therapy Studies and its affiliated programs.

From an instructional standpoint, the clinic’s video recording and storage system may be the most significant change, according to Morgan. Each room is equipped with web-connected cameras that allow for on-the-spot movement to follow activity and a zoom function to capture detail during counseling sessions. Recordings are captured on a secure server and accessible only by the center staff, and only in the center.

Using the same technology as surveillance systems, doctoral student clinic supervisors and counselor education faculty can monitor multiple sessions at once and shift views from room to room instantaneously. They also can mark recordings for review later, in consultations with students, or live, while counseling sessions are in session. This allows clinic staff to provide student counselors with feedback when it is most needed.

Having access to detailed feedback, supported by video, deepens and enhances learning for students working in the clinic, whether they are master’s level counselors in training or doctoral students learning to supervise others.

The clinic provides a range of counseling services, much like the range of non-emergent needs that a rural practitioner would encounter in private practice.

While the clinic is free and open to anyone in the greater Laramie community, most of the clients served are from UW and the UW Lab School. Examples of the types of concerns clients seek help for include those related to depression, anxiety, substance abuse, children’s emotional and behavioral issues, adjustment to college life, and couples and family counseling.

Video Monitoring

Listen to Dr. Morgan describe the sophisticated recording and monitoring system in place at the clinic

Safe Space

Listen to Dr. Michael Morgan discuss the impact of the clinic renovation on the counselors in training and the clients they serve

Play Therapy


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