Through the Loyola Clinical Centers (LCC), psychology students in the master’s and doctoral program are able to hone their skills while providing services to those who couldn’t typically afford it.
At the LCC, adults can receive testing for learning disabilities, attentional difficulties, or neuropsychological issues, as well as psychotherapy as an individual, group, couple, or family. Kids can also receive testing, individual or family treatments, or participate in a social skills group, too.
As compared to other providers, the LCC’s fees are reduced by about 50% to make services accessible to the community. In addition, the LCC also offers a generous sliding scale and further discounts for families living at the poverty level or experiencing extenuating circumstances.
Start Training Early
The psychology graduate programs at Loyola University of Maryland are unique because they immerse students in clinical training early. “Not all programs allow their students clinical experiences in the first year, but we do,” says Katherine Hadley Cornell, Psy.D., the LCC’s Division Director of Psychology. “First and second year doctoral students come to the LCC for clinical training and get lots of exposure. They survey, conduct intakes, and have experiences in the community.”
Throughout their time at the LCC, students have a collaborative experience, receiving both group and individual supervision, and having the opportunity to work with and learn from a variety of faculty supervisors. They’ll also work across disciplines with other Loyola students who offer speech, literacy, and audiology services at the LLC through a variety of services, including interdisciplinary assessments or co-facilitating child social skills groups or adult cognitive rehabilitation therapy groups.
It’s All About the Community
Whether in the classroom or the clinic, “we make a concerted effort to infuse diversity in all aspects of training,” says Cornell, who has lived and worked in Baltimore City for the past 10 years. In addition to practical training in conducting intakes and asssessments, first-year students volunteer in the B’More Clubhouse, a mental health recreation center, as part of an introductory course to community outreach that examines the intersection between race, socioeconomic status, and mental health. It’s a springboard for their second year, in which they begin to see clients for individual therapy and have the opportunity to become involved in therapy groups and community workshops.
Cornell also points to the program’s collaboration with B’More Club House as well as the program’s community outreach, workshops, and tables at local events like the Govans Farmers’ Market. These kinds of activities not only serve people in their own environments, but they also help bring people into the clinics.
Ongoing community outreach to the Govans and Greater Baltimore community is a high priority for the LCC. “We have neighbors who live just a few blocks from us and don’t even know that we’re there,” says Cornell. “Our sliding scale really helps people to have access, but if they don’t know we’re there then they don’t have access. So we go meet them where they’re at [for example where they live, learn, work, and worship] and provide a welcoming environment when they find us here on the York Road.”
What the community wants is key to selecting experiences for students. For example, students have provided anger management training at Marian House, which provides housing and rehabilitative services to homeless women and their children, and have trained staff at Thread, an organization that works with underperforming high school students to help confront the barriers they experience outside of the classroom.
At the Baltimore County Detention Center this past spring, Loyola students led the ACT Raising and Safe Kids Program, a workshop series which teaches positive parenting skills to parents and caregivers. This program is currently being offered at the Loyola Clinical Centers, and in the fall they’ll also be rolling out the ACT curriculum at the Loyola Early Learning Center, a tuition-free preschool and day care for young children
And at Govans Elementary School, located ½ mile from the Belvedere Square location, psychology students are offering a behavioral health and wellness workshop at the school’s summer camp, where speech-language pathology students also provide reading services. In the coming year, the LCC will be working with the school’s parent-teacher organization to encourage school parents to participate in the ACT parenting program.
“We’re trying to form partnerships, lasting partnerships, which are beneficial all around,” says Cornell.
Making an Impact
Last year, the LCC served more than 3,000 clients in more than 16,000 visits between both on- and off-site services for all disciplines. Of those, psychology accounted for approximately 14% of those clients and more than 2,900 visits. All that, with about 15 students in each cohort, with 4 full-time and 7 part-time faculty.
“I’m very passionate about the clinic,” says Cornell, who was a 2009 graduate of the program herself. “The clinic was my favorite part about the program. Shortly after I became licensed, I started supervising Loyola students and became the LLC division director in January 2017. I love the work that we do, and want to help continue to make it better and help students get best training that they can.”