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


    The UAB Community Counseling Clinic offers counseling services to members of the Greater Birmingham community.  Appointments can be scheduled by calling (205) 996-2414.  Fees are $5 per individual session and must be paid at time of service.

    Services Offered: therapy

    • Individual Therapy
    • Group Therapy
    • Family Therapy
    • Couples/Martial Therapy


    • Adolescents (ages 12 and older)
    • Adults
    • Seniors


    What type of problems can we help you with?

    The UAB Counselor Education Community Clinic staff provides affordable counseling services to individuals and groups experiencing with mental health problems. Typical Issues include (but are not limited to): Anxiety, Depression, Relationship Conflicts, School and/or Studying Problems, Dealing with recent recovery from substance abuse, Self-Esteem Issues, Stress Management, Time Management, Adjustment Problems, Grieving and Loss, Job Loss, and Parent-Child Conflicts

    What is counseling?

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

    How much does counseling cost?

    Because we are committed to enhancing the accessibility and affordability of mental health treatment in Jefferson County, all services offered in the UAB Counselor Education Community Clinic cost $5.

    Are training clinic safe and effective?

    Although the outcomes in training clinics remain comparable to other outpatient settings (Callahan, Swift, and Hynan, 2006), the rate of improvement may occur at a slower rate (Callahan and Hynan, 2005). In order to maximize positive change and minimize the risk of harm, experts recommend increased supervision, continuing education, peer consultation, monitoring therapeutic progress, making referrals when appropriate, and using objective assessment methods (Nolan, Strassle, Roback, and Binder, 2004; Swift et al, 2010). Our trainees have demonstrated competence in graduate coursework, have successfully passed a national preparation examination, and are closely monitored by our team of experienced program faculty.

    How long does counseling last and how long will it take before I feel better?

    Duration in counseling varies according to each person’s unique needs and goals. Sometimes, people anticipate recovery in a few short sessions. One study reported that 25% of clients expected recovery after 2 sessions, 44% expected recovery after 4 sessions, and 62% expected recovery after 6 sessions (Swift & Callahan, 2008). This expectation may produce feelings of frustration, considering that 13 to 18 sessions may be needed for 50% of people to achieve lasting change (Hansen, Lambert, & Forman, 2002). Regrettably, unrealistic expectations may cause some to leave counseling with the mistaken belief that the services were unsuccessful because a solution wasn’t achieved within the desired time frame. In order to enhance your experience in counseling we offer a couple of recommendations. First, we encourage you to be aware that reducing your symptoms and working toward lasting change takes time. Unfortunately, embracing unrealistic expectations for a rapid recovery may undermine your progress. Lastly, we recommend that you engage your counselor in an open and collaborative dialogue regarding how long it may take to reach your goals. It is important for you and your counselor to be clear on your definition of success. Once a goal is selected, it will be easier to plan the time it may take to get there.

    Once I feel better, should I keep coming?

    While many people feel better after a couple of sessions, it is advisable to distinguish between feeling better and developing enduring lifestyle changes. Three phases are used to describe how change progresses during counseling.  The first phase of recovery (remoralization) creates a renewed feeling of hope, an increased sense of well-being, and the recognition that one’s problems aren’t unbeatable. The next phase of recovery (remediation) helps clients overcome symptoms by reactivating coping skills and introducing new techniques for overcoming stressful events. The final phase of recovery (rehabilitation) encourages lasting change as counseling works to enhance characteristics within one’s personality (Howard, Lueger, Maling, & Martinovich, 1993).  Although improvement in counseling typically follows this pattern, the rate of improvement may vary across individuals, their unique goals, and the primary presenting problem (Barkham, et al, 1996). Although the reenergized feeling one experiences after a productive session may be a welcome improvement, lasting change may take longer to achieve. Regrettably, some clients prematurely leave counseling because they misinterpret renewed feelings of hope as recovery. We encourage clients to continue services beyond initial sessions so that they have the opportunity to realize the benefits of symptom reduction and lasting character change. We also encourage clients to engage in an open dialogue with their counselors regarding the time it may take to achieve one’s goals.

    What should I expect from counseling?

    The initial session in our clinic is designated for intake and orientation. During the first meeting, our counselors will provide you with an intake packet asking for information that we use to tailor our services to your unique needs. You will also speak individually with a counselor who will discuss your reasons for seeking services and gather information used to inform a targeted service plan. Although we allot 1.5 hours for the initial session, all subsequent visits will last 50 minutes. Anyone seeking services with the UAB Counselor Education Community Clinic can expect to receive caring, responsive, and supportive services delivered by counselors who are committed to professional excellence, diversity, and ethical conduct.

    Why is taping required?

    Because advanced graduate students provide all clinical services in the UAB Counselor Education Community Clinic, videotaping is used to enhance the learning experience and to ensure the quality of care. Research indicates that in order to maximize positive change and minimize the risk of harm, 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 (Nolan, Strassle, Roback, and Binder, 2004; Swift et al, 2010). Videotaping is an effective quality assurance method because it allows supervisors to pause and replay key moments during the counseling process. The videotaping policy allows each counselor to receive practical feedback from their supervisors and peers to increase the safety and effectiveness of their services.

    Will my information be shared with anyone?

    Confidentiality is a top priority for the UAB Counselor Education Community Clinic. Because our clinic policy adheres to the privacy rule outlined by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, all protected health information must be kept confidential. However, it is important to mention that there are circumstances when 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 when it is determined that a client poses 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 about mandatory reporting requirements with your counselor during the first session.  

    Do you see Students or Employees of UAB?

    The UAB Community Counseling Center only provides services to community members. Students of UAB who are interested in counseling services are encouraged to contact the UAB Counseling and Wellness Center at (205) 934-5816. Students may also visit their website at http://main.uab.edu/Sites/students/life/counseling/.  Employees of UAB who are interested in counseling services may contact the UAB Employee Assistance Resource Center at alesia@uab.edu or by telephone at (205) 934 – 2281. Employees may also visit their website at http://www.hrm.uab.edu/main/resource_ctr/about_us.html#staff

    What should I do in case of an emergency?

    The UAB Community Counseling does not offer crisis-counseling services or provide after hours telephone counseling. In the event of a mental health crisis please call the Crisis Center of Birmingham at (205) 323-7777 or visit their website at http://www.crisiscenterbham.com/index.php. If your call is suicide related 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 healthcare emergency please contact 911 for medical assistance.

    • American Counseling Association (ACA)
      • Official website for the American Counseling Association (ACA). The ACA is the largest professional association representing professional counselors across various practice settings.
    • American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA)
      • Official website for the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA). The largest professional association in the United States representing the clinical mental health counseling specialty.
    • American Psychiatric Association
      • Official website of the American Psychiatric Association containing useful health information and educational resources for both clients and mental health providers.
    • Psychology Today
      • Helpful web magazine containing educational resources for clients and providers. Help-seekers may consult the online directory of mental health providers or access archived mental health related educational resources.
    • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
      • A national suicide prevention lifeline launched by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Provides free emotional support and resource coordination for individuals experiencing suicidal crises or emotional distress.
    • Crisis Center
      • Local social service network providing crisis counseling and comprehensive mental health referrals for children and adults.
    • NAMI Birmingham
      • The Birmingham affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). NAMI is a large mental health educational, advocacy,  research, and support provider dedicated toward improving the lives of those suffering from mental illness.
    • 2-1-1 Connects Alabama
      • 2-1-1 Connects Alabama is a large, regional, call center providing a comprehensive directory of social service programs available in the North Central Alabama region.
    • http://alabamamentalhealth.org
    • APA Help Center
      • The APA Help Center is a web-based consumer resource developed to provide the public with educational resources related to mental and emotional health.
    • Jefferson/Blount/St. Claire (JBS) Counties Mental Health Authority
      • The Jefferson/Blount/St. Claire (JBS) Counties Mental Health Authority is a local community mental health treatment provider. JBS offers specialty mental health services for children and adults.