WMU Clinic Offers LowCost Counseling

    GRAND RAPIDS — Western Michigan University’s nonprofit Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (CCPS) is working to make counseling services available to residents who might normally not have access to them.

    The center is housed in the recently opened downtown WMU Graduate Center at 200 Ionia Avenue, is targeting the population that typically doesn’t seek professional counseling because of the cost involved and their lack of insurance coverage.

    CCPS is a both a counseling clinic and training facility that provides a low cost counseling resource to the community while enabling the university’s Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology to offer students the opportunity to complete master programs here in Grand Rapids without having to travel to WMU’s Kalamazoo campus for clinical training. 

    The center’s counselors are advanced graduate students who work under the supervision of licensed professionals on WMU’s faculty, including psychologists, certified addictions and rehabilitation counselors, and American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists supervisors, who provide immediate feedback and guidance to counselors-in-training.

    “This allows graduate students in our counseling program to meet all professional licensing and certification requirements because they’ll obtain the required practical experience with real clients in a community clinic setting under constant professional supervision,” said James Schultz, Ph.D., WMU regional director in Grand Rapids.

    Fees are calculated on a sliding scale and special arrangements can be made for those who are financially hard-pressed. The initial assessment appointment is free.

    Counseling services include:

    • Individual counseling for children, adolescents and adults
    • Relationship and couples counseling
    • Family counseling
    • Career counseling
    • Group counseling
    • Psychological testing

    The Counselor Education program is one of the three largest graduate degree programs WMU offers in Grand Rapids. About 400 graduate students are currently enrolled in counseling related courses and clinical training here.

    The university anticipates enrollments will increase for both its counseling and social work programs when it introduces its Marriage and Family Therapy training program here. Schultz said the licensure as a marriage and family therapist will create new opportunities for professional practice in the Grand Rapids area, Schultz said. 

    Eric Sauer, PH.D., director of Grand Rapids CCPS since April, hails from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, where he was an assistant professor, director of the university’s graduate assistant program and coordinator for its counselor education program.

    He maintained an independent research program and also was a practicing psychologist at the school’s University Health Services, Counseling and Consultation Services in Madison.

    A native of Lansing, Sauer said he was drawn back to West Michigan by the opportunity to work with doctoral as well as master’s students in the larger WMU graduate program.

    The position was attractive to him because it involves a mix of clinical, administrative and scholarly work. The move also has brought him back in closer proximity to family.

    “The mission of the clinic is to provide psychological counseling services, to conduct research and to provide training for graduate students.

    “That mission is very appealing to me because those three things are important components of this kind of work,” he said.

    Counseling sessions at the center run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays.

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