VOLUME 32, NUMBER 15 THURSDAY, December 7, 2000

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Psychologist B. Beth Cohen assumed the position of director of the Psychological Services Center (PSC) in August. She was a member of the faculty of the Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology in the Graduate School of Education for three years before accepting her new position.

What services does the center provide?

We offer individual, group, couples and relationship therapies for a variety of problems. In addition, we are developing psycho-educational workshops on depression, anxiety, anger management, relaxation and communication skills. We also offer psychological testing, assessment services and consultation to groups and individuals on and off campus.

Why does the psychology department offer these services?

We believe that these services satisfy an important need in the community and fulfill part of the university's service mission. Also, the PSC allows the psychology department to provide excellent training for our doctoral students by providing them with a setting in which they can work with a broad range of clients and get training and supervision by departmental faculty.

What kinds of personal problems can PSC clinicians help clients to address?

We can help people with a broad range of concerns having to do with emotions, behaviors and relationships. I can't list every potential problem here, but they include academic and workplace problems, anger, anxiety/panic, coping with pain or illness, depression, discrimination or harassment, eating problems, family conflict, gay/lesbian/bisexual issues, grief/loss, obsessive-compulsive thoughts or behaviors, recovering from sexual abuse/assault and relationship difficulties.

Are there kinds of therapies that you don't provide?

We cannot offer prescription-medication treatment, although we can certainly provide psychotherapy for individuals who are on medication for anxiety, depression and other disorders and would like additional treatment. This is because the Psychological Services Center is staffed by psychologists and psychologists-in-training who don't have prescription privileges. At this time, we don't deal with alcohol and drug abuse or dependency, or with psychosis, a severe thought disorder whose symptoms include auditory or visual hallucinations. Our services are evolving, however, and at some point we may add the services of an associated psychiatrist who could prescribe medications.

Can anyone come to the clinic or is it open only to the campus community?

We're located in 168 Park Hall on the North Campus. Although we serve the entire campus community-staff, students and faculty-our services also are available to the entire Western New York community.

Who are the therapists in the PSC?

Most of our clinicians are advanced graduate students completing their doctoral degrees in clinical psychology who are closely supervised by faculty members in clinical psychology. I also see clients, and from time to time other department faculty may serve as clinicians here in the PSC.

There are a lot of therapists out there. Why might a client want to come to the PSC where they likely would be seen by a student clinician rather than to another clinic where a professional psychologist would see them?

Good question! We're a small, personal and affordable clinic with a lot of concern and care for our clients' well being. We have an excellent staff of clinicians who are up-to-date on the latest research on the best and most effective therapies available. We can help people promptly and efficiently, yet we place no limit on the number of therapy sessions a client can have. We're conveniently located in the heart of the Amherst Campus. There's free parking, we're reachable by public transportation and currently there's no waiting list.

You said the PSC is "affordable." How "affordable"?

All fees are based on a sliding scale. Our fees range from $10 to $60 per hourly session, depending on family income and family size. This is often the same as or less than the cost of the insurance co-pay required by many health-care providers.

Do you accept insurance?

No, currently we do not. There are benefits, however, to not accepting insurance. We are able to ensure clients greater privacy, which is a concern to many people. Information from our clinic won't be passed on to employers, or to insurance companies that sometimes disseminate it.

If something is troubling you, how do you know if psychotherapy can be of assistance? When is it time to seek help?

Nothing in life is 100 percent guaranteed, but we have a very reasonable expectation of improvement in the vast majority of cases. It's likely that you could benefit from psychological help if you're distressed and have been unsuccessful in dealing with that distress alone, or you haven't been able to get assistance from friends, colleagues or loved ones. It's time to seek help from a professional whenever you have problems that are emotionally painful and/or interfere with your daily activities. Sometimes a trusted friend or a loved one may suggest that you might benefit from therapy.

Is the PSC associated with the psychology department's clinical research program? Are people who come to the clinic subjects of research studies?

In addition to offering general psychological services, the PSC is affiliated with the department's programs for research and treatment of anxiety disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and depression. These programs often use our clinic space, so some of the people who come here are research participants. When people call to request services, if they have a problem that could be addressed by participation in one of the research programs, we will recommend that they contact the program's investigator. However, it is not necessary to be a research participant in order to be a client of the PSC.

How can an individual reach the clinic to find out more about your services or schedule an appointment?

Call 645-3697 to speak with a staff member or leave a message. We return all calls promptly.

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