COUNSELING CENTER ANNUAL REPORT 2018-2019
VISION, MISSION & VALUES
PREVENTION PROGRAMMING & CONSULTATION
SOCIAL JUSTICE & DIVERSITY INITIATIVES
USF COUNSELING CENTER CULTURE: A WONDERFUL PLACE TO WORK
SOCIAL JUSTICE & DIVERSITY INITIATIVES
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Initially known as the Developmental Center, the USF Counseling Center (USFCC) opened along with the University in 1960. The Center’s mandate was to facilitate student adjustment to college life through enhancing students’ mental health, career planning, and academic functioning. Since its inception, the Center has evolved significantly concerning the breadth and quality of services offered and the credentials of the professional staff. In the early 1970s, the Center was accredited by the International Association of Counseling Services (IACS; now known as the International Accreditation of Counseling Services) and has maintained its accreditation since that time. The early ’70s marked the beginning of a period of expansion in which new programs and services were added, including the University Police consultation program, the Office of Veterans Services program, reading credit courses, and the practicum-training and pre-doctoral training programs (accredited by APA in 1983). A formal outreach program was established in 1981 to serve the needs of a rapidly growing
student population, and an expansion in the 1990s led to the addition of several new programs including the Employee Assistance Program, the Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse, and the Learning Disabilities Program. In the 2000s, as a result of administrative, operational, and fiscal changes that came with USF’s continued growth, and the increasing demand for clinical services, many programs were transferred out of the Center and established as independent programs. USFCC currently provides clinical, training, and outreach services to the diverse USF Tampa community and is a part of USF’s Student Success Wellness Unit. When fully staffed, the Center employs 27 full-time and 5 part-time mental health professionals, including psychologists, social workers, and mental health clinicians. USFCC also provides training to four postdoctoral fellows, three doctoral interns, and a varying number of graduate student clinicians annually.
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DIRECTOR’S WELCOME We are proud to serve the USF community by providing comprehensive mental health prevention, consultation and treatment services. In collaboration with other Student Success Wellness departments, the Counseling Center meets the emotional and psychological needs of students by offering high quality individual, couples, and group Scott Strader, PhD psychotherapy, open-access “drop in” groups, Director, Counseling Services consultation with faculty, staff, and student organizations, and prevention activities designed to increase awareness of, and alleviate, emotional concerns. Through evidenced-based, short-term individual treatment, a robust offering of group modalities, timely, responsive, and valued consultation and primary prevention programming, the Counseling Center has built a reputation for empathic, effective, expert care and support. We take seriously this public trust and strive to continuously improve in ways that enhance the emotional well-being of the community. Meeting the needs of the diverse USF student body is challenging, and we work diligently to be responsive to concerns. The Counseling Center is grateful for collaborative relationships with the Center for Student Well-Being, Success & Wellness Coaching, Student Outreach & Support/Student of Concern & Assessment Team, Student Health Services, USF Health Shared Services, and the Center for Victim Advocacy that help us achieve our goals. As part of this interconnected Wellness Team, we are able to provide holistic care for our students and we are gratified by the results we have produced: improvements in overall client functioning, decreases in symptoms and enhanced well-being, high client satisfaction with care provided, and frequent self-reports of improved academic functioning and retention as a result of our services. In May, 2018, we were proud to be recognized alongside our Wellness USF partners as the winner of the Active Minds Healthy Campus Award, designating USF as one of America’s Healthiest Campuses and the only university in Florida to earn this designation. As you will see from this year’s Annual Report, we are a busy and comprehensive center. As requests for service have increased, we have responded creatively and innovatively with new programs, enhanced services, and effective partnerships with other USF departments. Our training programs are nationally recognized and accredited, providing trainees with quality supervision and a comprehensive training experience. In the year ahead, we look forward to continuing to provide expert treatment and support, with a strong and diverse staff of mental health professionals who care deeply about the emotional health and well-being of our community.
VISION, MISSION & VALUES OUR VISION:
Flexibly meeting the changing mental health needs of a diverse campus community through sustainable interprofessional partnerships, and providing inclusive, innovative, and accessible mental health services.
To promote the well-being of the campus community by providing culturally sensitive, evidence-based counseling, consultation, prevention and training dedicated to student academic and personal success.
• INTEGRITY: Consistently practicing honesty, authenticity, transparency, and ethical decision-making • EXCELLENCE: Remaining productive and accountable to stakeholders, while flexibly innovating to enhance continued growth and development • COLLABORATION: Fostering the open exchange of ideas and building upon the unique talents and strengths of others • EQUITY AND INCLUSION: Demonstrating commitment to social justice, cultural humility, and equity in access to resources • BALANCE: Striving for equilibrium among personal and professional values and needs, while maintaining growth as individuals and as an organization
GO BULLS! 4 University of South Florida | COUNSELING CENTER ®
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this spring for our meaningful contributions to the USF Health community. In addition, the Center continued offering individual counseling services during evening hours at two other satellite clinics. Overall, 441 students received services at our satellite offices in The Well, The FIT, and Student Health Services during the 2018-19 academic year.
COUNSELING “I am proud to help USF students develop their strengths and believe in themselves.” – Diane Williams, Staff Clinician Our individual counseling services focus on providing short-term, goal-oriented sessions that empower students to identify and take steps to maximize their experiences as USF Bulls. Often, our counselors encourage students to use other services such as our 3-week resiliency MOVE Forward seminar, or the Level Up! workshop, which embarks students on a month-long challenge toward meeting their wellness goals.
CLINICAL SERVICES The USF Counseling Center (USFCC) is committed to providing a wide range of clinical services to our diverse campus population. These include individual counseling, couples counseling, group counseling, crisis intervention, non-clinical consultations, referral coordination, and case management. USF Bulls scheduled 29,226 clinical appointments at the Counseling Center in the past year, which is an 18 percent increase in appointments compared to the prior year, and a 64 percent increase over the last 5 years.
INCREASING ACCESS “The USFCC staff has a passion for social justice. We are dedicated to supporting USF students by constantly striving for greater access to our services.” – Josephine Chu, USF Staff Psychologist To meet the increased demand for services from the general student population, the USFCC continued to use innovative practices that aligned resources with students’ levels of need and risk. This year, the Center took significant steps toward 6 University of South Florida | COUNSELING CENTER ®
increasing access to mental health services for students. For example, we launched a new Telemental Health Initiative. Using confidential, cutting-edge software, we are able to provide individual counseling sessions via videoconferencing to students within the state of Florida who cannot regularly attend appointments on campus. Students are able to combine their individual counseling sessions with our online TAO Connect tool, which allows them to complete online modules that teach skills to deal with stress, anxiety, depression, interpersonal relationship concerns, pain management, and substance use recovery. Leveraging this technology, the Counseling Center is able to offer comprehensive, quality services to a wide range of students. The Counseling Center also expanded its availability to students by opening a new satellite clinic. Last year, we began collaborating with campus partners in USF Health to understand their students’ needs and consider ways we could expand our support to their community. This exciting new partnership led to the creation of a satellite clinic located in The Well, USF Health’s collaborative space for connection, fitness, and well-being. Five USFCC clinicians held weekly appointments available for individual counseling, intake assessments, mindfulness meditations, and drop-in consultation sessions. Our team was recognized at USF Health’s Student Services Awards Reception
The Center provided services to 3,966 unique students in the past year. This represents an 11 percent increase from the year prior and a 61 percent increase over the past 5 years. The Center also provides couples counseling when both members are enrolled students. USF students can request same-day urgent appointments at the Counseling Center. This past year, students attended 1,249 of these walk-in appointments, representing a 3 percent increase compared to the year before and a 106 percent increase over the past 5 years. Of note, this increase is consistent with national data suggesting that more counseling resources are being used to manage urgent needs. USF students also made 393 calls to the Center’s after-hours service, which allows 24-hour access to licensed mental health providers.
USF Bulls scheduled 29,226 clinical appointments at the Counseling Center in the past year:
18% increase in appointments
compared to the prior year
64% increase over the last 5 years.
2013- 2017- 20182014 2018 2019
Urgent appointments 606 After-hours calls
No data 395
THERAPY ASSISTED ONLINE (TAO) TAO offers USF students the opportunity to work on their mental health concerns using online and mobile tools. Students can use TAO to supplement their work in counseling, to maintain the gains they have made in counseling, or to work on their own through the self-help option. After their initial appointment, TAO Connect also allows many students to connect with counselors online. Online modules are available to help students learn skills to deal with stress, anxiety, depression, interpersonal relationship concerns, pain management, and substance use recovery. In the past year, 753 USFCC clients used TAO Connect to supplement counseling services, with 495 students using self-help sessions. University of South Florida | ANNUAL REPORT 2018-2019 7 ®
CLIENT CHARACTERISTICS USFCC serves a diverse range of clients that are representative of the USF student population. Offering culturally sensitive and competent services is central to our mission. Of the clients who used USFCC’s services in the past year, there were 375 international students from 111 different countries. We also served 1,018 first-generation students, and 219 students who disclosed that they had a documented and diagnosed disability. Twenty-four percent of our clients indicated that they have physical health problems and 79.2 percent of them indicated that they had access to health insurance.
Demographics Client Demographics INTERNATIONAL AFRICAN AMERICAN/BLACK AMERICAN INDIAN/ALASKAN NATIVE ASIAN AMERICAN/ASIAN HISPANIC/LATINA MULTI-RACIAL WHITE OTHER 0
Counseling Center 2018-2019 USF Student Body 2018-2019 USF Student Body 2018-2019 Counseling Center 2018-2019
Gender Gender Identity Identity
Sexual Orientation Sexual Orientation
Woman Man Gender nonconforming No response HETEROSEXUAL/STRAIGHT.............................................71.3% WOMAN..........................................................................65.1% Sexual Orientation Heterosexual/straight Lesbian
MAN.............................................................................. 30.1% GENDER NONCONFORMING..............................................2.9% NO RESPONSE .................................................................2.4%
BISEXUAL.......................................................................13.0% QUESTIONING...................................................................3.5% OTHER..............................................................................3.4% NO RESPONSE..................................................................4.3%
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Percent of students who presented with 10 most common presenting concerns listed in order of most to least common in 2018-2019 based on the CLICC.
In the past year, USF students used the Center to address a wide range of presenting concerns and clinical diagnoses. On average, students attended 4.5 sessions of individual counseling. The ten most common concerns based on the Clinician Index of Client Concerns (CLICC) form, which is completed by providers after each client’s first session, are shown in the graph to the right.
Client Presenting 2018-2019 Client Presenting Concerns Concerns 2018-2019 ANXIETY DEPRESSION STRESS FAMILY ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
Although USF students use USFCC to gain skills to manage a wide range of issues, including academic challenges and self-esteem concerns, consistent with national data, the severity of the problems being treated at the Center has increased over time.
INTERPERSONAL FUNCTIONING SLEEP RELATIONSHIP PROBLEM ATTENTION/CONCENTRATION DIFFICULTIES SELF-ESTEEM/CONFIDENCE 0
Percent of students endorsing various concerns during their 1st appointment.
Change in in Severity over over 3-year3-year Period Change Severity at Intake Period at Intake 50 40 30 20 10
EN RI PE EX SD
AS RR HA
AL XU SE
E IC SU TE
MP TE AT WA UN
SU ED ER ID NS
TO ED NE
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E ID IC
JU LF - IN SE
UG DR CE DU
L HO CO AL S/
JU RI MA
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CLIENT OUTCOMES “We care about our students. We are really good at what we do. We are constantly innovating to keep up with the needs and demands of our community.” – Darleen Gracia-Housman, Staff Psychologist Each USF student who used individual counseling services at the Counseling Center completed a brief pre-visit assessment to help their provider establish a baseline and assess their progress in counseling. The Behavioral Health Measure – 20 (BHM-20) assesses functioning in multiple areas and suggests that the majority of students who use the Counseling Center experience improved functioning as a result of their counseling experience.
Percent of students who have recovered or improved on BHM-20 scores; Improved clients include those clients who also Recovered
Counseling Outcomes, Counseling Outcomes, BHM-20 BHM LIFE FUNCTIONING EATING DISORDER SYMPTOMS WELL-BEING ALCOHOL/DRUGS SUICIDE DEPRESSION ANXIETY GLOBAL MENTAL HEALTH 0
30 Improved Improved
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STUDENT COMMENTS: “The counselling center was such a blessing to me and I will honesty and genuinely advise others to use this resource. I grew so much as a person just with the few visits that I had with my counselor. I would leave the office feeling like I had a better understanding of things. This is an excellent resource!” “My counselor was awesome. She pushed me out of my comfort zone, was educating me with good coping skills and was overall a great listener.” “First time seeing a counselor and I felt very comfortable. I learned so much about myself and I’m thankful for this service.”
“Best counselor ever. If I had time to write an essay on how much he has helped improve how I cope with my anxiety, depression, and make sense of my life--I would.”
Our demonstrated commitment to meet the needs of our diverse USF student body includes offering each student who has used services the opportunity to provide feedback on their experience at the end of each semester. A total of 504 students completed the survey in fall 2018 and a total of 552 students completed the survey in spring 2019. Some of the survey results are summarized below.
“I love the counseling center, I tell nearly every person I meet about it. It is such an amazing resource for us, and over the years I have been able to conquer things that used to hold me back and face difficult times with more success than in the past. I have done talk therapy for over 10 years, and I feel like I did not start getting the tools and help that I specifically needed until I started at the counseling center.”
93% 94% 87% 85% 90%
indicated they would utilize services if they needed help in the future indicated they would recommend services to a friend were satisfied with the accomplishments that they made in counseling felt that what they learned in counseling led to positive changes in their lives were overall satisfied with their counseling experience
“Going to the counseling center was one of the best decisions I have made for my mental health. My counselor always had my best interests in mind and I felt very comfortable and open with her. I have experienced a lot of personal growth and I don't think that would have been possible without the counseling center.” “My counselor is amazing. He is sensitive to different identities that I hold and manages to help me dig through the symptoms and emotions to get to the root of my issues. He is really great at what he does. As a female who is a part of vulnerable communities, it is refreshing to see male identifying counselors who excel at their work and are comfortable to be around. I wasn't particularly keen about counseling at first, but I was pleasantly surprised by my counselor's ability to crack my shell which keeps me coming back.” “I absolutely loved my counselor. She was clear, understanding, respectful, a good listener, and did everything that I asked and more. I would be excited to go to counseling instead of feeling anxious.” “This helped me get through a dark phase of my life, God bless you all. Please keep up the good work, we really need this. My counselor was very helpful and made me feel connected on a personal level. She helped me a lot. Thank you.” “Honestly, the USF Counseling Center has been one of the most positive places I have stepped foot in on the USF campus.”
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GROUP COUNSELING “I love running groups because they are dynamic. They allow students to connect on a deep, emotional level. Groups help students harness the power of many to achieve meaningful, individual growth.” –Vinny Dehili, Staff Psychologist, Groups Coordinator USFCC has a robust group program. The Center offered 40 groups, including interpersonal process groups, specialty groups, drop-in groups, and seminar series groups during the 2018-19 year. Overall, 2,321 students benefitted from group services, a 16 percent increase from the year prior. Research consistently demonstrates that group counseling is an effective treatment modality for a range of mental health concerns and our students agree:
GROUPS OFFERED IN THE PAST YEAR: • Understanding Self and Others • Understanding Self and Others, Graduate Students • Focused Brief Group Therapy • Balancing Emotions • Building Strength in Remembrance • LGBTQ+ • True Selves (Students who identify as Transgender) • Men’s Group
• • • • • • • •
Our Voices (Students of Color) Entre Familia (Latinx Students) Total Nourishment MOVE Forward Level Up! Mindfulness Meditation Emotional Expression Through Art Relationship Reality
CLIENT COMMENTS ABOUT GROUP: “It helps to know other people that struggle with similar issues and possibly even make connections.” “FBGT Group was life changing.” “You will never regret joining group. Speaking about your problem to a group that understands can only help.” “Group is extremely helpful, even if you are apprehensive to do it. It can do a lot for you as a person.”
96% 96% 94% 87%
would recommend group to a friend were satisfied with the quality of their group experience felt that group facilitators were effective felt that by the end of group, their overall well-being had improved
The USF Counseling Center creates new, innovative group counseling options to meet the USF student body’s ever-changing needs. This year was no exception. The Center introduced four new group options, including Total Nourishment, a weekly group that focuses on helping students explore ways to manage and decrease disordered eating behaviors while improving their relationship with food, and Level Up!, a month-long motivational workshop designed to help participants take concrete steps toward improving their sleep, nutrition, exercise, and self-efficacy. Additionally, the USFCC continued to promote its MOVE Forward seminar series focused on helping students to develop resilience through teaching principles from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, including Mindfulness, Openness, Values, and Engagement. 16 University of South Florida | COUNSELING CENTER ®
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CAMPUS COMMUNITY CONSULTATION
PREVENTION PROGRAMMING & CONSULTATION
The professional staff of the Counseling Center are available to all members of the USF community for consultation, professional development, and intervention recommendations surrounding issues that concern the emotional wellness and success of students. For example, USFCC providers offer various trainings for USF faculty and staff, including:
“We have a passion for serving the USF community. To do this effectively, you have to get out of the office and connect with people in their spaces across campus. Through outreach and consultation, we bring our knowledge and expertise to students, staff, and faculty, empowering them to achieve their wellness goals.” – Luke Zabel, Staff Clinician USFCC prides itself on providing prevention programming and consultation. Campus partners and community members may request general or targeted programming. These programs allow us to reach students who may not use the Center’s services. We also offer training programs to USF faculty and staff to help them respond to, identify and refer students who may be in the early stages of distress. During the past year, USFCC offered 401 consultations to 1,889 community members, and engaged in 197 outreach activities that served an additional 8,228 USF community members. Throughout the year, USFCC consults with key stakeholders to assist with the management of critical incidents on campus. This can include reaching out after the death of a student or beloved faculty member, or group interventions to students impacted by tragedies locally, nationally, or internationally. During the spring of 2018, USFCC providers attended a student-run vigil for those affected by the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. They provided a compassionate presence and spoke with students seeking individual support. During the spring of 2019, on the one-year anniversary of the shooting, USFCC providers organized a drop-in support group for students affected by the tragedy. USFCC is committed to remaining sensitive to the impact local, state, and world events have on our students and offering support within the USF community. With our prevention and consultation initiatives, USFCC is making USF a “caring community” for our students in collaboration with our campus partners. Here are several initiatives that are central to this process.
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LET’S TALK This year, USFCC launched Let's Talk, a drop-in service that offers informal, confidential consultation with a USFCC counselor. Counselors hold walk-in hours Monday through Friday at various on-campus locations during the academic year. Students are encouraged to stop by any location to speak with a counselor about concerns, get help problem-solving, and learn more about counseling services and other resources available to them at USF. Let’s Talk counselors listen carefully to participant concerns and assist students with problem solving, goal-setting, and developing skills to manage distress.
• • • • •
Incorporating Mindfulness in Your Curricula - Bringing mindfulness into your classroom to help students succeed Mental Health Matters – Faculty and staff’s role in mental health prevention at USF Intentional Conversations - Strategies for having critical conversations with students Supporting Student Mental Health Abroad Caring for student mental health while studying/ traveling abroad Campus Connect - Suicide prevention training
SERVICES TO INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS USFCC initiated a variety of prevention programs and consultation services directed toward international students. These efforts included collaborating with staff in the Office of International Services, Education Abroad, and the Office of Multicultural Affairs. Additionally, USFCC created a weekly International Student Conversation Hour, offering a supportive and affirming space for international students to share about experiences and challenges adjusting to USF and US culture. Topics include homesickness, culture shock, making friends, communication etiquette, accessing healthcare services, family expectations, career anxiety/post-graduation plans, and use of campus resources.
Heather Walders Mental Health Outeach Specialist
In order to increase efforts to provide a variety of consultation and prevention programs to the USF community, the Counseling Center recruited Heather Walders to serve in a new USFCC role, Mental Health Outeach Specialist. Heather holds Master’s Degrees in both Public Health and Social Work. She puts this training to use coordinating a variety of outreach programs on campus, ranging from presentations on stress management for student groups, crisis interventions for campus communitities affected by tragedies, and drop-in consultation appointments
for students in various locations across campus. One of Heather’s more ambitious initiatives is providing Mental Health First Aid trainings to faculty and staff to equip them with skills to confidently help individuals who are developing mental health problems or experiencing mental health crises. Since first launching the program in 2018, Heather has successfully trained 616 USF community members. The addition of a full-time Mental Health Outreach Specialist reflects USFCC’s interest in promoting a culture of care and wellness across USF’s campus.
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TRAINING Providing training opportunities to developing clinicians from multiple disciplines is fundamental to USFCC’s mission. The Center currently provides mental health training opportunities through its Postdoctoral Fellowship, Doctoral Internship, and Graduate Student Clinician training programs. Trainees can expect to learn and apply evidence-based treatment practices that are relevant to treating college populations, while receiving competency-based supervision from the Center’s excellent training staff. During the 2018-2019 training year, the Center attracted eleven trainees (four graduate student clinicians, four postdoctoral fellows psychology fellows, and three doctoral psychology
interns) in clinical psychology, counseling psychology, and social work programs from across the country (Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana, and Pennsylvania). Trainees had positive experiences working and learning at USFCC. In fact, both postdoctoral fellows from the 2017-2018 training cohort were licensed as psychologists in the state of Florida and accepted positions as full-time Staff Psychologists at USFCC. Additionally, two of this year’s doctoral interns applied to continue their training at USFCC and were selected to serve as postdoctoral fellows in the 2019-2020 academic year.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE 2018-19 YEAR DOCTORAL INTERN CONSULTATION PROJECTS Each year, our doctoral interns engage in an individual consultation project where they serve as a psychological consultant to USF campus departments. Interns build relationships, conduct needs assessments, identify and implement relevant interventions, and evaluate the success of the intervention. Over the years, interns have served as consultants to a range of campus partners including Residential Life and Education, New Student Connections, Student Health Services, Education Abroad, the College Assistance Migrant Program, the Office of Student Support Services, and the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunity (Title IX Administration). These projects assist interns in developing skills needed to advocate for inclusion and social justice in their communities. This year, our doctoral intern cohort continued to strengthen the Center’s relationships with our campus partners through their consultation projects. Kathleen DiMattia collaborated with the USF Dietician to educate physicians from USF Student Health Services about ways to sensitively assess for patient food insecurity and educate patients about Feed-a-Bull, the USF campus food bank. Duaa Kheirieh partnered with the USF Success and Wellness Coaching program, a team of students and staff trained to support USF students in achieving life and wellness goals. She presented a workshop to coaches in training designed to help them attend to cultural factors and issues of power and privilege in goal setting. Finally, Adam Miller teamed up with staff from Campus Recreation to advise on human motivational factors that impact participation in fitness programs. The impact of each of these projects will live on long after our interns have graduated from our training program.
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EXTERNAL ROTATION/SUMMER SPECIALIZATION PROJECTS Our doctoral interns and postdoctoral fellows have the opportunity to complete a unique ten-week, 16-hour-per-week external rotation with an affiliated agency or develop a concentration in an area of counseling center work. This year, two postdoctoral fellows and one intern completed their external rotations at Tampa General Hospital shadowing medical psychologists and providing services to adult and adolescent patients. Additionally, one intern and one postdoctoral fellow worked at Rogers Behavioral Health, a private outpatient facility in Tampa, where they gained specialized experience assessing and treating obsessive compulsive disorder and eating disorders. One doctoral intern worked at the Tampa Veteran’s Hospital, providing psychological services to veterans under the supervision of VA psychologists. Partly due to our external rotations, graduates of the Center’s training programs have accepted full-time employment in a range of sites including counseling centers, hospitals, private practice agencies, group practices, federal prisons, schools, and veteran’s administration hospitals.
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SOCIAL JUSTICE & DIVERSITY INITIATIVES “The human experience is defined by all aspects of diversity. Each student presents with rich and complex intersecting identities that exist in a constantly changing society. In order to promote growth and wellness, we must commit ourselves to culturally informed counseling in which the uniqueness of each client is recognized and validated.” –Jason Axford, Staff Clinician USFCC providers are a very diverse group of professionals. We seek to create a welcoming environment for each member of the USF student body and actively recruit mental health professionals who represent diversity along many dimensions including gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, ability, socioeconomic background, age, religion/ spiritual practice, educational training, and theoretical orientation. It is important to us that every USF student feels safe and understood during their experience at the Center. As detailed in our Statement on Diversity and Social Justice, we strive to maintain an environment honoring and celebrating the multifaceted diversity of USF students and community members. We challenge ourselves to proactively demonstrate our commitment to diversity and social justice through our individual and collective actions, as well as through our relationships with campus partners. We define “social justice” as a process of building individual and community capacity for collaborative action with the purpose of empowering all people, including disadvantaged and marginalized persons, to exercise selfdetermination and realize their full potential.
LEVERAGING OUR GROUP COUNSELING PROGRAM
SUPPORTING STUDENTS SEEKING HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY
USFCC staff identifies traditionally underserved populations and considers ways to tailor our individual and group counseling programs to provide culturally focused support. This gave rise to a variety of new groups designed to address specific needs among groups within the USF population:
This year, the USFCC partnered with The Haven Clinic, a confidential health resource for members of USF’s LGBTQ+ community. The Haven Clinic offers culturally sensitive health services to support USF’s transgender students, including Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). USFCC clinicians support these initiatives by helping students become psychologically and practically prepared for the HRT process. Additionally, these clinicians write referral letters for students, supporting their health and wellness decisions to undergo HRT, according to the Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People, published by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). USFCC clinicians offer therapy and on-going support for students as they move through the process. This collaboration with the Haven Clinic represents one of many partnerships USFCC has formed to provide targeted, culturally committed services to traditionally underserved populations.
• Entre Familia provides a unique, affirming space for LatinX students. Here, members connect to peers regarding experiences related to self-identity, cultural values, academics/career concerns, family conflict, and forming and maintaining relationships. • True Selves is a confidential, emotional support group for students who identify as transgender, gender fluid, gender nonconforming, gender variant, non-binary, or gender expansive. Members have an opportunity to be present in their gender identity, share concerns and experiences, receive and give support, and relate to others. • Empowerment is a group designed as a healing, empowering, and safe place for students who have experienced interpersonal trauma as an adult or child. The group supports members in increasing self-compassion and understanding how their experiences have impacted their relationships, emotions, thinking, and everyday functioning. • The International Student Conversation Hour is a dropin group available for international students to share about experiences and challenges adjusting to USF and US culture. In May, 2019, Staff Psychologist Darleen Gracia-Housman, received campus-wide recognition for her efforts in this area. Based on her work creating the Entre Familia and True Selves groups, Darleen received USF’s prestigious Audre Lorde Ally of the Year Award.
“I was beyond shocked. I had no idea my efforts would be recognized by others. I felt it was important to create a space in which students could discuss the nuanced needs that transgender, gender nonconforming, and gender variant populations have. As a person who identifies with several diverse identities, I feel proud that I’m not just talking the talk. I’m walking with walk and infusing my values into the work I do.” – Darleen Gracia-Housman, Staff Psychologist 22 University of South Florida | COUNSELING CENTER ®
POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP WITH BEHAVIORAL HEALTH CONSULTATION EMPHASIS USFCC is committed to promoting access to mental health support across diverse campus populations. Accordingly, two of our postdoctoral training fellows spend half their time providing behavioral health consultation to patients in the USF Student Health Services medical clinic. This assignment makes it possible for SHS physicians to refer patients directly to mental health support within the clinic. Thus, many students who may not ordinarily seek support from a counseling center can work with a clinician who can help them achieve their behavioral health goals, further diversifying the populations served by USFCC.
COMMUNITY SERVICE “As clinicians, we are committed to working toward social justice in our daily work at USF. Participating in community service projects allows us, as a staff, to live out this value in the Tampa Bay community.” – Amaliya Bereznyuk, Staff Clinician
In spring 2019, USFCC staff members engaged in a service-learning experience during which we partnered with Metropolitan Ministries, a nonprofit organization that serves poor and homeless families and individuals throughout Tampa Bay. We engaged in a variety of volunteer services, including providing childcare for shelter residents, cleaning residential facilities, and sorting through donations in the organization’s thrift store. Upon returning to campus, we reflected on themes of power and privilege, explored how the experience had impacted us as individuals and as a team, and discussed how our intersecting identities influenced our roles and engagement during the experience. In addition to external service projects, USFCC staff strive to support service initiatives within the USF community. For example, our staff proudly sported their favorite jeans during USF Denim Days to increase awareness of gender-based violence, and participated in “Fresh Check Day,” a mental health promotion and suicide prevention event.
CAMPUS PARTNER COLLABORATIONS Throughout the year, USFCC collaborated with campus partners to reach students, many of whom are less likely to use mental health services. For example, USFCC staff members partnered with the USF Office of Multicultural Affairs to create programming during Hispanic Heritage Month, such as group dialogues about meeting mental health needs of LatinX populations. USFCC providers also partner annually with our colleagues in Residential Life and Education to help students process their experiences following the Tunnel of Oppression, which is an interactive experience that examines contemporary issues of oppression, and challenges students to reconsider how they think about marginalized groups on campus and in society. University of South Florida | ANNUAL REPORT 2018-2019 23 ®
STAFF PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT Providing excellent care requires staying current on the latest advances in research and practice in the mental health field. Staff are attracted to work at USFCC due to the rich professional development opportunities that keep us at the top of our game. We sponsor regular trainings that provide the continuing education credits necessary for our licensed providers to maintain their licensure status to practice in Florida. We offered twelve trainings during the 2018-2019 year on topics that included Best Practices in Working with Gender Minorities, Cultural Considerations Working with Muslim College Students, The Ethics and Practice of Providing Telehealth Services, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Focused Brief Group Therapy. As part of our commitment to lifelong learning, we launched a new Brown Bag Lunch Series. Most Fridays, staff gather during the lunch hour to discuss topics related to best practices in clinical work, training matters in the mental health field, issues of diversity in higher education, and creative means of self-care to stay sharp as clinicians. Topics discussed this year included Working with Millennial College Students, Power Dynamics in Clinical Supervision, Diversity Dialogues in Higher Education, Best Practices in Career Counseling, and Intentionality in
USF COUNSELING CENTER CULTURE: A WONDERFUL PLACE TO WORK USFCC providers make up a diverse team of professionals dedicated to social justice, lifelong learning, personal and professional development, and leadership and service within the mental health field. We are passionate about using our skills and expertise to provide quality services to the USF community. We are proud to have built a workplace culture centered on these values, one that energizes and motivates us to do the work we do each day. This vibrant atmosphere contributes to a Counseling Center in which students feel welcome, safe, understood, and cared for during their counseling experience.
Creating a Culture of Warmth, Respect, and Inclusion in our Workplace Within USFCC, our Committee on Diversity
Self-Care Planning. Through this initiative, staff also engaged in self-care activities during several Brown Bag events. For example, staff took stress-relieving walks together across campus in the beautiful Florida weather. In addition to Center-sponsored training, many of our staff members attended local, regional, or national trainings and conferences to further advance evidence-based treatment and best practices. For example, providers attended 1-3 day trainings on Couples Counseling, Group Therapy, Prolonged Exposure Treatment for PTSD, and Approaches for Treating Trauma, Grief and Loss. USFCC staff members attended and often participated as presenters or panelists at the following national conferences: American Psychological Association, American Counseling Association, the American College Counseling Association, American Group Psychotherapy Association, Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors, Association of Counseling Center Training Agencies, Association for University and College Counseling Center Outreach, and the Association for the Coordination of Counseling Center Clinical Services.
ways the Center might better serve the members of our diverse staff and the USF student body. This was a highly active year for CODI. Committee members conducted an internal workplace climate survey and brainstormed ways our team can further enhance our existing atmosphere of inclusion and respect. Additionally, CODI members facilitated multiple lunchtime dialogues about local, national, and world events that impact our staff and students. Staff members also represent USFCC on university committees, such as the President’s Committee on Issues of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. USFCC also has a committee dedicated to celebrating and appreciating the unique personal and professional contributions of all staff members. The “Bright Side Crew” (BSC) celebrates staff birthdays and work anniversaries, highlights staff accomplishments, and plans events designed to strengthen our sense of community. For example, the BSC organizes the annual Multicultural Potluck, during which staff members cook a dish and bring a cultural artifact that represents their cultural backgrounds to share with the team.
and Inclusion (CODI) meets bi-weekly to explore and assess 24 University of South Florida | COUNSELING CENTER ®
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STAFF CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE MENTAL HEALTH FIELD: LEADERSHIP AND SERVICE This past year, USFCC staff continued our tradition of making significant contributions in the field of mental health. We made Bull Nation proud by publishing in peer-reviewed journals, presenting at national conferences, giving interviews for local and national news media outlets, participating in national committees, and teaching continuing education workshops. When we do this, we enhance the positive reputation of USF Health and Wellness, and USF in general. • Assistant Director for Clinical Services, Lisa Ferdinand, was selected as the American Psychological Association’s Division 17 (Society of Counseling Psychology) Vice President for Professional Practice. • Staff Psychologist, Meghan Butler, was selected as the youngest member of the American Psychological Association’s Division 17 National Conference Steering Committee. • Staff Psychologist, Jordie Poncy’s, article on clinical supervision was accepted for publication in a special edition of the peer-reviewed Journal of Psychotherapy Integration. • Staff Psychologist Nicholas Joyce gave interviews for the Tampa Bay Times, NBC Tampa, and Fox 13 on topics such as anger management, the value of gap years, and unplugging from technology. • Staff Psychologist, Jonathan Mitchell, served as a faculty member for the USF Health Interprofessional Clarion Competition Team. • Training Director, Michael Rogers, served as a Site Visitor for the American Psychological Association’s Commission of Accreditation. • Staff Psychologist, Hege Riise was appointed to the APA Commission on Accreditation • Director, Scott Strader, served on the Elements of Excellence Task Force of the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors.
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PRIDE IN OUR WORK The Counseling Center staff considers it an honor and a privilege to serve USF through counseling, outreach services, and professional training. As a staff, our core strength lies in our passion for the work. Staff Psychologist Mona Stribling noted, “Going above and beyond is the nature of the job. As part of the larger USF system, you’ve got to be all in!” There are numerous ways our staff went above and beyond to support students this year. For example, Staff Psychologist Cassandra Alvarado advocated for a student by locating a highly specialized treatment facility nearby and arranging for the student to receive a scholarship to afford services there. Staff Psychologist Meghan Butler contacted a foreign embassy to arrange travel support and documentation for an international student experiencing a crisis. Staff Clinician Diane Williams assisted a hearing-impaired student in navigating a variety of available support services at USF, advocating for the student and helping empower her to
advocate for herself. These are just a few examples illustrating our dedication to outstanding service to students in our care. Our work can be challenging, but we find it meaningful and rewarding. Staff Clinician Numra Yaqub notes, “I love seeing the progress clients make between the day they first come to the Counseling Center and their final appointment. It is rewarding to empower clients to take control of their own mental health and achieve their goals.” Staff Clinician Amaliya Bereznyuk appreciates seeing the bigger picture in the work we do, stating, “We contribute to society by supporting the young adults who will shape the future of our country. We help them realize their potential.” Staff Psychologist Jonathan Mitchell describes how he is able to live out his values every day at work. “I think everyone is deserving of respect, care, honesty, and inclusion.
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UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA COUNSELING CENTER
A Department of Student Success usf.edu/student-affairs/counseling-center/ 4202 E. Fowler Avenue, SVC 2124 • Tampa, FL 33620, USA • 813-974-2831