Welcome to the
UAB Counseling Clinic

Give to the UAB Community Counseling ClinicThe Counseling Program in the Department of Human Studies offers affordable counseling services to the residents of Jefferson County through its Community Counseling Clinic. Well-trained graduate students, supervised by experienced faculty members, conduct all counseling sessions. Our counselors are compassionate and effective, and our services are collaborative, goal-oriented, and personalized for each client. Since our clinic is also a teaching center, all counseling sessions are recorded so that Counseling program faculty can review and assess client progress, monitor the need for medical services, and evaluate clinical interventions.


The UAB Community Counseling Clinic offers counseling services to members of the Greater Birmingham area. Students enrolled at UAB who seek the services of a counselor are encouraged to email the UAB Counseling and Wellness Center or call 205-934-5816. Employees of UAB who seek counseling services may contact the UAB Employee Assistance Resource Center at alesia@uab.edu or 205-934-2281.


Children (ages 8 and older)

Adolescents (ages 12 and older)



Therapy Offered






Fees are assessed on a sliding scale—from $5 per individual session to no more than $30 per session.

Meet with a Counselor
To schedule an appointment, please call 205-996-2414

Frequently Asked Questions
About the Clinic

  • Mission

    The Community Counseling Clinic at the University of Alabama at Birmingham aims to increase access to outpatient mental health counseling services in Jefferson County, to provide an innovative educational experience for the UAB graduate counseling students, and to operate a flexible research lab capable of accommodating various interests and funding opportunities.
  • Vision

    To become an integral service provider of outpatient counseling services in Jefferson County and to become an exemplar in the counseling profession through innovations in research, practice, teaching, and clinical training.
  • Values

    Accountability—We have a duty to provide responsible and ethical services, to create an effective training site for graduate counseling students, and to conduct innovative and ethical research.
    Affordability—We provide effective services at low cost to increase community access to outpatient counseling services.
    Caring and Responsive Service—We strive to exceed the expectations of our clients and to create a supportive, responsive, and calming atmosphere where all involved are treated with empathy, dignity, and respect.
    Collaboration—We seek to build collaborative partnerships with community providers and research entities.
    Commitment to Professional Excellence—We offer evidenced-based counseling interventions informed by current research and continuously strive toward improvement.
    Data—We use data to improve the effectiveness of services and to guide our decisions.
    Diversity—We value individual differences and provide a multicultural and sensitive environment free from discrimination and inequity.
    Growth—We value the professional growth of counselors as they develop from novices into experts with the corresponding knowledge, skills, and disposition.
    Integrity—We value honesty, diligence, trustworthiness, moral reasoning, and ethical conduct.
    A Student-centered Approach—We strive to prepare counselors who can support the development of their clients from adolescence through adulthood.
    Standards—We align our training standards with the established guidelines of the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs (CACREP).
    Training—We strive to enhance the training experience through technology and innovative supervision.

  • Philosophy

    Mental illness leads to impairments in thinking, behavior, and interpersonal functioning that can adversely affect our wellbeing, compromise our performance at work or school, and negatively impact our personal relationships. The goal of our clinic is to promote wellbeing through therapeutic interventions designed to enhance emotional and psychological health.

  • Strategic Plan


    The Community Counseling Clinic at the University of Alabama at Birmingham aims to increase access to outpatient mental health counseling services in Jefferson County, to provide an innovative educational experience for the UAB graduate counseling students, and to operate a flexible research lab capable of accommodating various interests and funding opportunities.

    Goal 1: Quality Enhancement

    Expand to Children under 12 (new faculty hired for AY 15-16)
    Offer Educational Testing Services (goal removed after investigation)
    Build a Clinical Assessment Inventory (expand to include child, couples, and family assessments) 
    Enhance MCF Treatment (faculty hired; curriculum proposal approved by ADCOM) Therapeutic Assessment (completed)

    Goal 2: Optimized Learning Environment

    Establish Electronic Health Record System (approvals acquired; cost sharing agreement in process)
    Increase Faculty Participation (completed)
    Monitor Learning Outcomes (initial process complete; revision in progress)

    Goal 3: Clinical Research

    Secure External Funding for Research and Training
    Promote Outcome-based Clinical Research 

    In Progress
    • Department-funded CALM pilot study; plans for NIH proposal 

    In Development
    • Department pilot study proposed
    • NIH R21/Early Career Proposal 
    • Pilot proposal with Midfield City Schoolsto be submitted for President's/ Dean's funding 

    Research Personnel
    • New faculty hired for AY 15-16 with Clinic research expectations

    Executive Summary: Funding, Impact, and Future Priorities

    Funding Sources
    • School of Education: Director's Salary, Clinic space 
    • Department of Human Studies: Technology, Furniture, Assessment, Program 
    • Lab Fees: Maintenance 
    • Client Fees: Office supplies

    Impact to Date
    • 579 unduplicated clients (average of 112 served per year) 
    • Collaborations: Psychiatric Nursing, Kinesiology, Parker High School, Health Education, Genetic Counseling, Midfield School District
    • 120 Counseling Education Program students received training in the clinic 
    • 64 unduplicated referral sources

    Future Priorities
    • Increase referrals from UAB sources 
    • Increase collaborations with UAB colleagues 
    • Expand the range and impact of services
Faculty Supervisors
  • Sean Hall
  • Shannon McCarthy
  • Larry Tyson
  • Dayna Watson
  • Sean Hall

    Sean Hall, Ph.D. | Clinic Director & Faculty Supervisor

    Dr. Sean Hall is an Assistant Professor of Counseling and Clinic Director for the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He earned his Ph.D. in Counseling, specializing in Clinical Mental Health from Old Dominion University in 2012. Dr. Hall’s research interests are psychotherapy process and outcomes, measurement, and research methodology. Dr. Hall’s clinical areas include cognitive behavioral therapy, suicide assessment, interdisciplinary treatment teams, and evidence based interventions for severe and persistent mental illness.
  • Shannon McCarthy

    Shannon McCarthy, Ph.D. | Faculty Supervisor

    Dr. Shannon McCarthy earned a doctorate of philosophy from University of Florida. She has taught courses in teacher education, family, youth, and community sciences, and counselor education at the University of Florida. Dr. McCarthy has had extensive training and clinical experience in counseling in community mental health and medical settings as well as marriage and family therapy. Her research focuses on counselor development/ training, the effect of mental illness on families and family-school collaboration, particularly the effect and improvement of family systems training for school counselors and other school-based personnel. She will teach graduate courses in our counselor education program and continue to develop her research concerning families’ involvement in schools and family systems.
  • Larry Tyson

    Larry Tyson, Ph.D. | Faculty Supervisor

    Dr. Larry Tyson is an Associate Professor in the Counselor Education Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). He has been the lead editor for three counseling books, the latest being “Critical Incidents in Clinical Supervision,” published by the American Counseling Association. He is currently the advisor of the School Counseling Concentration (UAB) and serves as Program Coordinator of the Counseling Program. Dr. Tyson is also the principle investigator on a Department of Education Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) state grant.
  • Dayna Watson

    Dayna Watson, Ph.D. | Faculty Supervisor

    Dayna Watson completed a Ph.D. in Counseling and Counselor Education from the University of Florida. She has extensive experience and training in clinical supervision and mental health counseling, specializing in counseling children, adolescents, and young adults. Dr. Watson’s clinical areas include play therapy techniques and creative interventions with children and adolescents, group therapy with young children, and cognitive therapy. Her research interests include issues of social class and poverty in mental health counseling, community-school collaboration, and counseling student development.
Directions and Parking
Counseling Clinic Entry
Community Counseling Clinic
1st floor of the UAB School of Education
Campus Green
Campus Green
Sterne Library
Sterne Library
Alys Stephens Center
Alys Stephens Center
  • Counseling Clinic Entry
    Community Counseling Clinic
    1st floor of the UAB School of Education
  • Campus Green
    Campus Green
  • Sterne Library
    Sterne Library
  • Alys Stephens Center
    Alys Stephens Center

    Finding the Clinic
    The UAB Community Counseling Clinic is located in Room 157 of the School of Education building, which is itself located in the middle of the block between 13th and 14th Streets South and between University Boulevard and 10th Avenue South.

    Turn-by-Turn Directions
    From I-65 Southbound:

    • Take the 4th Avenue South Exit.
    • This is a one way street headed east.
    • Stay on 4th Avenue South until you come to the 14th Street South intersection.
    • Take a right onto 14th Street South.
    • Stay on 14th Street South until you cross University Blvd. (also 8th Ave. South). The School of Education is located on the right side of 14th Street South, between University Blvd and 10th Avenue South.

    From I-65 Northbound

    • Take the University Blvd. Exit (Also 8th Avenue South).
    • As you merge with University Blvd., stay in the right hand or middle lane.
    • You will see an overhead crosswalk at the intersection of University and 13th Street South.
    • You may turn right on 13th Street South and the School of Education will be on your left. If you choose to continue on University Blvd to 14th Street South and turn right, the School of Education will be on your right.

    Community Counseling Clinic 
    901 13th Street South
    Room 157
    Birmingham, Alabama 35294-1250
    Driving Directions

    Parallel parking (with two-hour, quarters only meters) is available along 13th and 14th Streets and along 10th Avenue South.
    Click to view parking map

    What is counseling?

    Broadly defined, counseling is a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health goals (American Counseling Association [ACA], 2010). Our clinic offers counseling services that incorporate principles of psychotherapy, human development, learning theory, dysfunctional behavior, and group dynamics to help individuals who face challenges impairing their social, occupational, or academic performance (American Mental Health Counselors Association [AMHCA], 1999).

    What type of problems can we help you with?

    The Community Counseling Clinic staff provides affordable counseling services to individuals and groups experiencing a range of mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, stress, relationship conflicts, grieving and loss, recent recovery from substance abuse, self-esteem issues, adjustment problems, job loss, parent and child conflicts, school and/or studying problems, and time management problems.

    What services do we not provide?

    The Community Counseling Clinic does not offer assessments for disability or legal issues (e.g., custody, capacity), treatment for eating disorders, treatment for severe substance abuse or dependence, emergency services or frequent or severe crises, medication management, neuropsychological evaluation, intensive day-treatment and partial hospitalization services, or treatment for problems associated with a high risk of involvement in the legal system (e.g., violent or criminal behavior).

    How much does counseling cost?

    Because we are committed to enhancing the accessibility and affordability of mental health treatment in Jefferson County, counseling sessions at the Community Counseling Clinic are assessed on a sliding scale—from $5 per individual session to no more than $30 per session. Fees are determined by income and family size.

    Do you see UAB students or UAB employees?

    The Community Counseling Clinic provides services only to members of the larger community. Students enrolled at UAB who seek the services of a counselor are encouraged to email the UAB Counseling and Wellness Center or call 205-934-5816. Employees of UAB who seek counseling services may contact the UAB Employee Assistance Resource Center at alesia@uab.edu or 205-934-2281.

    What should I expect from counseling?

    We use the initial session for intake and orientation. During that first meeting, you will be asked to complete an intake packet and to speak individually with a counselor. You and your counselor will discuss your reasons for seeking counseling and he or she will gather information for the purpose of creating a targeted service plan. Although we allot 90 minutes for the initial session, all subsequent sessions are 50 minutes. Anyone who seeks counseling at our clinic can expect to receive caring, responsive, and supportive services delivered by counselors who are sensitive to a diverse clientele and committed to professional excellence and ethical conduct.

    How many counseling sessions will I need before I feel better?

    The number of counseling sessions varies according to each person’s unique needs and goals. One study reported that 25% of all clients seeking counseling expected recovery after two sessions, 44% after four sessions, and 62% after six sessions (Swift & Callahan, 2008). Expectations of rapid improvement can prove frustrating, however, given that for half this group 13 to 18 sessions are needed for clients to achieve lasting change (Hansen, Lambert, & Forman, 2002). Some clients leave counseling prematurely because resolutions could not be achieved within their unrealistic time frame. Reducing symptoms and working toward lasting change takes time. Expectations for rapid recovery can actually undermine a client’s progress. We recommend that you engage your counselor at the outset in an open and collaborative dialogue about the duration of services. Once the two of you have clearly identified your goals and defined success in terms specific to you, your counselor will be better able to gauge how much time may be needed for you to reach your goals.

    Once I feel better, should I keep coming?

    Often clients will feel better after only a couple of sessions, but it is important to distinguish between feeling better and developing enduring lifestyle changes. Progress born of counseling is often discussed in three phases. The first phase of recovery (remoralization) creates a renewed feeling of hope, an increased sense of wellbeing, and the recognition that one’s problems are indeed surmountable. The next phase of recovery (remediation) reactivates coping skills and introduces new techniques for managing stressful situations and overcoming symptoms. The final phase of recovery (rehabilitation) reinforces and further develops characteristics within the client’s personality to help insure a lasting change (Howard, Lueger, Maling, & Martinovich, 1993). Although improvement in counseling typically follows this pattern, rates of improvement may vary across individuals given their differing goals and the variety of problems they present (Barkham, et al, 1996). The re-energized feeling a client experiences after a productive session may mark a welcome improvement; lasting change, however, often takes longer to achieve. Regrettably, some clients end counseling too soon because they misinterpret renewed feelings of hope as recovery. We encourage clients to speak openly with their counselors about a realistic timetable for recovery and to continue services beyond those first few sessions so they can realize the full benefits of symptom reduction and lasting change.

    Are training clinics safe and effective?

    Although the outcomes in training clinics like ours are comparable to those in other outpatient settings (Callahan, Swift, and Hynan, 2006), the rates of improvement may be slower (Callahan and Hynan, 2005). In order to maximize positive change and minimize the risk of harm in training clinics, experts recommend increased supervision, continuing education, and peer consultation. They also advise supervisors to monitor the therapeutic progress of their trainees’ clients, to make referrals when appropriate, and to use objective assessment methods (Nolan, Strassle, Roback, and Binder, 2004; Swift et al, 2010). All of our trainees have demonstrated competence in their graduate coursework, passed a national qualifying examination, and are closely monitored by a team of experienced faculty members.

    Why is taping required?

    Since advanced graduate students provide all clinical services at the Community Counseling Clinic, videotaping is used to enhance the learning experience while also ensuring quality of care. Providers may increase supervision, offer continuing education opportunities, engage in peer consultation, monitor therapeutic progress, make referrals when a higher level of care is indicated, and use objective assessment methods to guide interventions in order to maximize positive change and minimize the risk of harm (Nolan, Strassle, Roback, and Binder, 2004; Swift et al, 2010). Videotaping ensures the quality of our services by allowing supervisors to pause and replay the key moments of all counseling sessions. Through videotaping, trainees receive practical feedback from their supervisors and peers, which increases the safety and effectiveness of their services.

    Will my information be shared with anyone?

    The Community Counseling Clinic regards confidentiality as a top priority. Clinic policy follows the privacy rule outlined by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, which requires that all protected health information be kept confidential. There are a few circumstances, however, where your counselor is required by law to break confidentiality. According to the Alabama Code of 1975, mental health professionals are required to report instances of child abuse or neglect to the Jefferson County Department of Human Resources.  Additionally, your counselor is mandated to contact law enforcement whenever a client is deemed to pose an imminent risk to self or others. Lastly, your counselor is required to comply with all court ordered requests to disclose confidential health information. We recommend that you discuss any questions you may have about these mandatory reporting requirements with your counselor during the first session.  

    What should I do in case of an emergency?

    The Community Counseling Clinic does not provide crisis counseling services or after-hours counseling by telephone. In the event of a mental health crisis, please call the Crisis Center of Birmingham at 205-323-7777 or visit its website. If your call concerns suicide and the crisis line is busy, please call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). In the event of a medical emergency, please call 911 for immediate attention.