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A cure for all seasons

Cal Poly program offers counseling to the community at low cost

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GET PSYCHED :  Students and faculty at the Cal Poly Community Clinic offer an alternative to expensive therapy. Clockwise from left: clinic director Dr. Kelly Moreno, Audry, Alyssa, Amber, Jennifer, Jessica, Nicole, Lisa Connely, Alexis, Kate, Hailey, Kristy Packer - PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • GET PSYCHED : Students and faculty at the Cal Poly Community Clinic offer an alternative to expensive therapy. Clockwise from left: clinic director Dr. Kelly Moreno, Audry, Alyssa, Amber, Jennifer, Jessica, Nicole, Lisa Connely, Alexis, Kate, Hailey, Kristy Packer
The holiday season compounds stress and other psychological ailments, especially in this difficult economy, and finding affordable therapy isn’t easy. But relief is available at the Community Counseling Center at Cal Poly. 

For more than 30 years, the center has helped Central Coast residents cope with depression, anxiety, marital issues, and other psychological burdens. Kelly Moreno, the center director, said

the clinic has two purposes: It’s a training facility for graduate students enrolled in the psychology department’s master’s degree program in Marriage and Family Therapy; and it’s a treatment facility for the underserved.

“We serve all sections of the community, from working parents to seniors to students,” Moreno said. “From issues with kids, issues with parents, neighbors, anger problems, stress, coping problems—the list goes on.”

As licensed psychologists, Moreno and clinical assistants Lisa Connely and Kristy Packer oversee a group of nine graduate student counselors who, as part of their coursework, help people who need counseling but don’t necessarily have insurance or the resources to pay out of pocket. The clinic works on a sliding scale ranging from $3 to $15 per session.

“The bottom line is we do not refuse anyone on the basis of their ability to pay,” Moreno said. “If the someone can only afford to pay the meter to park, well that will suffice.”

While Poly students pay for the university’s Psych Services through student fees, they often find themselves on a waiting list there; the Community Clinic can often be a quicker alternative. Moreover, there is no limit to the number of visits students, or anyone else, can make to the clinic. Moreno believes few people off campus know about the clinic.

“Actually it’s kind of puzzling right now, with the economy as bad as it is,” he said. “In the past, that’s always eventuated in more people in here seeking help, and it’s remarkable how this year that has not turned out to be the case. With the holidays coming, too, what an awful time to be unemployed, down on your luck, and financially strapped.”

“Therapy is a great gift anyone can give them- self,” Packer told New Times. “And I say that from my own personal experience from working in the clinic. It’s good for anyone at any time. I think we often tend to wait until there is a problem, but we really don’t have to.”

The clinic is located in Building 2 of the Cal Poly campus, and is open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. For more information, contact them at 756-1532.

 Fast facts

The Stroke Survivor Group will meet from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 18, in the Activity Room of the Villages at Garden Creek, 73 Broad Street in San Luis Obispo. This month’s meeting is a holiday party, so bring a $5-to-10 wrapped gift for exchange. For more information, contact Liz Johnston at 471-8102

The Exploration Station seeks docents for the new Children’s Interactive Science Center. Volunteers are needed to run the admissions desk and monitor the center. Have fun while entertaining and educating kids. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and available to work at least five hours a week for a four months. The  Exploration Station is located at 867 Ramona Avenue in Grover Beach. Contact Jenna McDaniel at 473-1421 or via youth@explorationstation.org

Call the toll-free hotline at Caltrans District 5 for information about traffic on Highway 1. Motorists are urged to use the hotline to learn about construction projects, transit delays, and road closures before driving through Big Sur. Call 888-836-0866

A series of one- and two-day career training events by the National Seminars Group will begin during early 2010. Such courses as “How to Be an Outstanding Communicator” and “Management and Leadership for First-Time Supervisors/Managers,” will be held in Oxnard and Ventura. Enrolled participants can bring a friend or coworker for free. To receive the bonus, use VIP number 927-096152-099, Internet code FXBGH, and customer number 121190484, atnationalseminarstraining.com or by calling (800) 258-7246.

 

Staff Writer Matt Fountain compiled this week’s Strokes and Plugs. Reach him at mfountain
@newtimesslo.com.

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