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To schedule an appointment, please call 205-996-2414
  • 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.