The Counseling Center at CTS is a vital part of the seminary’s educational and civic life, offering unique on-site opportunities for counseling students in training and providing counseling services to the broader community. Recently, the Counseling Center has undergone several transitions as it continues to respond to the needs of its communities and position itself well for the future.
The COVID-19 pandemic was the catalyst for important infrastructure changes at the Counseling Center. Since mid-March 2020, its client services have been entirely virtual. This major shift allowed for the continued training of students and the provision of services to the public, especially at a time when the need has been significant. Yet, these important technological changes are only part of the story.
The Counseling Center is located in a stand-alone building on the CTS campus, which was in need of some physical upgrades. Just over a year ago, new carpet was installed in every room in the building, and, over the summer, all of the interior walls were freshly painted. Within the last few months, each counseling room has been outfitted with new furniture.
Clinic Director Bryan Votaw said that there are a few finishing touches left to make, but the updates have breathed new life into the space. “We could not be more thrilled how bright and inviting the space looks. I think the improvements that we’ve made to the building are indicative of CTS’s mission and commitment to serving the church and the public by offering affordable counseling and marriage and family therapy to those in need while also providing a rigorous and immersive clinical training experience for our counseling students and post-graduate residents,” he said.
The Counseling Center has also had a recent staff transition, welcoming Damian Walter as its new Office Supervisor. Votaw explained that, “In addition to office management experience, Damian brings a background in social work and real estate to the Counseling Center. Damian’s skill set and personality make him a great fit for the position, and he is eager to interface with our constituents.”
The Counseling Center recently reopened for students and post-graduate residents to conduct telehealth sessions from, but services remain entirely virtual for the time being. Unless a resurgence of the pandemic causes plans to change, the leadership is looking forward to a more proper resumption of in-person activities near the start of 2022. However, even after fully reopening, virtual services will remain available. Votaw said that “our client-reach has expanded since the onset of the pandemic, and we look forward to providing a mixture of telehealth and in-person services based on client need.”
Looking ahead, the Counseling Center is preparing to offer its annual, month-long Couples’ Checkup in February. Votaw said that plans are also being made to expand its group therapy/support group offerings in the coming year, including an additional anxiety support group, a depression support group, a group geared toward men’s issues, and a group to support the LGBTQIA+ community. More information about these and other group offerings can be found on the Counseling Center webpage.