By Kierra Pixler, Managing Editor
Community Life Counseling at UMHB provides high-quality counseling services to Belton and the surrounding communities. Clients see master’s level graduate students in counseling sessions that are supervised by fully licensed and Texas board-provided supervisors. The center offers multiple options for individual counseling, couples therapy, families, and groups. They offer counseling for depression, anxiety, loss and grief, abuse recovery, marital distress, parent/child problems, family counseling and more.
Dr. Jason Martin is the Graduate Counseling Program Director at the CLC. Martin oversees the management of the clinic and works with students throughout their time at the center. He enjoys seeing growth in both the students and clients that are being seen. Simply listening to clients is something that Martin encourages each student to do.
“One of the reasons I love my job so much is that I love to see the students grow as counselors,” Martin said. “It’s amazing just how quickly they grow. What I tell my students is the main thing you need to do is listen to the client. Helping them come to some sort of resolution, helping them learn how to make decisions or changes is all well and good, but the most important thing is just to listen to them.”
Each student has a direct supervisor that they meet with once a week for an hour to discuss cases, progress and treatment plans.
“Our program is a three-year program,” Martin explained. “Students start seeing clients about halfway through their second year. They’ve already had a year and a half of training and have gone through candidacy, which is the faculty evaluating if they’re ready to see clients. They have done a lot of role plays and demonstrated a good amount of counseling skills and maturity.”
Each session is recorded purely for supervisory purposes. They don’t retain copies of the sessions, and everything that is kept on a server is re-written over after a few weeks. There are TV monitors in the back of the clinic where supervisors can monitor the sessions and provide feedback to the counselors after the sessions have ended.
“The material is just used so that when I’m meeting with my students, we can watch a part of the session and I can help them formulate ‘OK, here’s some things that you might want to follow up on or here are some things that could be helpful,’” Martin said.
While the frequency of client sessions are based on individual needs, one 50-minute session a week is generally what clients can expect. Martin explained that having time in-between sessions is beneficial to clients and good for putting into practice what you’ve been talking about with your counselor. Being able to manage problems on their own is one of the CLC’s goals for their clients.
“Generally speaking, patients are seen one hour a week. Sometimes clients just need a check-up. They’re more or less functioning OK and just want to process some things periodically, so they’ll come every other week or once a month. Other times, there might be some safety concerns, so we might see them more often.” Martin said.
The CLC provides a sliding fee scale for all clients to determine what their fee to be seen will be. It is based on the household income of each individual. The fee for services is determined between the client and therapist during their initial session but will be between $5-$20.
“If somebody is unable to pay whatever the fee turns out to be, we’re always willing to work with them,” Martin said. “We never want money to be the reason that someone doesn’t come in. If someone has help that they need to get, we will get them that help.”
John Kimball, originally from Brooklyn, is a student counselor at the CLC and explained that his time in the military is what pushed him to want to help others.
“I served 22 years in the military and walked away with PTSD,” Kimball said. “I didn’t understand what it was or the effects that it had on family and friends. A friend suggested that I start reading about it and that’s what I did. My thing is that I want to help veterans. I want to help people that have fallen into the same boat and are looking to come out of it.”
Kimball credits UMHB for showing genuine interest in its students and where they end up after school.
“The cool thing about UMHB’s counseling program is that they really try to help you facilitate where you want to be after you’re done with schooling,” Kimball said. “The professors here are unique. This is my sixth different university, and I’ve never experienced professors like this anywhere. They really do care about the students.”
For more information on the clinic, please call 254-295-5531 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.