Tuesday, June 30, 2015

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History of the Clinic

The earliest version of what is now the Community Counseling and Assessment Clinic was planned and constructed under the guidance of Dr. Ken Gutsch as part of the original construction of Owings-McQuagge Hall, completed in 1964. At this time, the Clinic was located across the hall from its current location in what is now the Counseling Assessment Lab.

This space featured microphones wired to observation stations and one-way mirrors. This allowed faculty supervisors to monitor counseling sessions as they were taking place using headphones. In some cases, counselors-in-training utilized earpieces so their supervisor could communicate with them directly. While this sort of technology might seem primitive by today's standards, it was innovative for its time.

The next version of the Clinic was established in 1976 with a renovation grant from the IHL Board and was instrumental in paving the way for the accreditation of the Counseling Psychology doctoral program by the American Psychological Association in 1979. This space, which the Clinic currently occupies, was designed by a state-approved architect and provided an advanced system of built-in electronic equipment for video recording and supervision. While viewing counseling sessions from a nearby control room, faculty supervisors could record their thoughts directly on session video recordings. When counselors-in-training reviewed recordings of their sessions later, they could hear their supervisor's thoughts as the session was taking place. The Clinic was dedicated to Dr. Gutsch in 1995 shortly after he retired (i.e., the Gutsch Training Clinic).

In the early 2000s, faculty in the Counseling Psychology program added what is now the Counseling Assessment Lab to the Clinic to support expanded assessment services and began referring to the Gutsch Training Clinic and Counseling Assessment Lab collectively as the Community Counseling and Assessment Clinic. Use of this name, which continues today, reflects our focus on providing services to the community and our emphasis on both counseling and psychological assessment services.

By 2010, the Clinic's analog video recording system was showing its age. Some of the equipment we were using was no longer being manufactured and could not easily be replaced when it failed. We replaced our analog system with an inexpensive digital video system involving small unobtrusive digital cameras and PCs.

The Community Counseling and Assessment Clinic has developed a strong reputation in the Hattiesburg community for providing quality, affordable counseling and psychological assessment services. Graduate students in the Counseling Psychology program provide a range of evidence-based counseling and assessment services to the Southern Miss and Hattiesburg community under the supervision of program faculty. The Clinic continues to serve a central role in our mission of training students to integrate the science and practice of counseling psychology.