As the primary mental health service provider for students on the U.T. campus, the Counseling and Mental Health Center (CMHC) includes psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, licensed professional counselors, and professionals from a variety of other disciplines. Similarly, our training programs are enriched by trainees from various mental health disciplines. Our psychology interns thus have the opportunity to work closely with staff and trainees representing diverse professional backgrounds.
Since 1997, CMHC has been located in the Student Services Building that also houses, among others, University Health Services, the Dean of Students Office, Legal Services for Students, the Office of the Student Ombudsperson, and Student Financial Services. We occupy the entire top floor of this six-story structure with an area in excess of 17,000 square feet.
Our space was designed specifically for the Center and includes 40 counselor offices, five group therapy rooms (one with one-way observation mirrors and one with video recording capabilities), and two conference rooms. Each intern is assigned her/his/their own office with audio/video recording and playback capabilities. In addition, each office is equipped with a computer that allows access to both our Electronic Health Records system as well as internet and e-mail.
Philosophy of Change. The Counseling and Mental Health Center (CMHC) bases its services on the belief that change is an enduring element of the human condition; that perceptions, capabilities, beliefs, emotions, and actions can be intentionally modified with appropriate challenge and support. Further, we believe that such change employs not only self-direction, but also the assistance of supportive relationships. As university students encounter their developmental tasks and issues, they require mental and emotional knowledge and skills if they are to achieve their potential for enhancing their own personal and social development.
Multidisciplinary Focus. As a multidisciplinary mental health agency, our mission is to provide a diverse student body with high quality services that promote their ability to develop academic competence, emotional stability, healthy relationships, life-long learning styles, and effective decision-making skills. Since students enter university with varying capabilities and sociocultural backgrounds, we plan our interventions to meet the unique needs of individuals, while also attending to the concerns of specific populations. Taking a community mental health and life-span developmental perspective, we strive to provide primary, secondary and tertiary prevention/intervention services for the well-being of the student body.
In recognition of the rich diversity of our students, we adopted a Statement on Diversity that further explicates our philosophy and stance about meeting the challenges of a multicultural society.
CMHC Professional Staff. The CMHC clinical staff currently consists of 10 psychologists, 24 social workers, 6 licensed professional counselors, 1 psychiatric nurse, 4 psychology interns, 4 social work interns, and 7 practicum students. In addition, we have four non-clinical staff members who work on our "Voices Against Violence" and suicide prevention projects along with nine support staff members.
Clearly, tremendous opportunities exist to learn from a staff representing a variety of disciplines, perspectives, theoretical orientations, and backgrounds.
CMHC's Services. CMHC provides a wide range of mental health services to U.T. students through direct services such as individual, group, and crisis counseling; psychiatric services; structured and process-oriented group programs and workshops; and a 24-hour Crisis Line. In addition, preventive and developmental services are provided through campus programming and a variety of workshops presented to students. CMHC also actively participates in the training and supervision of a multidisciplinary group of trainees.
CMHC Voices Against Violence. The Voices Against Violence (VAV) program, funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, provides counseling, advocacy, education, and referral services for students who have experienced relationship violence, stalking, or sexual violence. The program also provides extensive educational programming to the campus community through workshops, a web site, and an innovative "peer theater" course.
Integrated Health Program. In 2002, CMHC established an "Integrated Health" program in conjunction with University Health Services (UHS). CMHC currently has two psychologists and three social workers, who consult with physicians and work primarily with students who seek services from UHS. It offers three classes, Optimizing Your Potential, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Class for Depression Management, and Self-Compassion. A weekly Mindfulness Meditation Group is offered when classes are in session. This group is open to UT students, staff, and faculty. The Lab currently features audio and video instruction on a variety of topics. Additionally, the Center developed the THRIVE at UT app, which is designed to provide opportunities for students to learn about and apply concepts such as mindfulness, mindset, and gratitude. The Integrated Health Program also includes the Mindful Eating Program and The Alcohol and Other Drugs Program.
CMHC's Services to the Profession. CMHC conducts research activities in the mental health field as part of a commitment to the practitioner/scholar model and to increase the knowledge base for mental health services for the college population. These activities include participation in the Research Consortium of Counseling and Psychological Services in Higher Education, of which CMHC was a founder, as well as more specialized projects that represent the diverse interests and energies of our staff and interns. CMHC also manages the national "Clearinghouse for Structured/Thematic Groups & Innovative Programs," which provides copies of guidelines and manuals either free or at low cost to assist professionals in conducting groups and workshops.