One of the biggest distinctives of the MAC program at RTS Jackson is the on-site Counseling Center, which provides a context for our student therapists to fulfill the 400 hours of direct client contact required for the program. The Center ministers to over 1,000 clients per year and allows advanced student therapists to put into practice what they are learning in the classroom.
The Benefit to Our Students
In many counseling programs, students are required to find their own externship and often spend valuable time driving to and from mental health centers whose values and counseling approaches may differ widely from their own. In the MAC program at RTS Jackson, your clients come to you. The 400 hour face-to-face clinical requirement can be met within the context of the on-site clinic. Students can see clients immediately before or after class, step into the library to do research between appointments, or benefit from the camaraderie and insight of their peers in the control room.
Students are required to participate in one hour of supervision for every five hours of direct client contact. This usually occurs in a group setting with a supervisor and other student counselors where they discuss particular cases, show video clips from clients, and ask for advice. Students rotate between supervisors every three months. By the end of their 500 clinical hours, they will have completed 100 hours of supervision.
A distinctive feature of RTS Jackson's program is that all of our supervisors are also on staff at the Center. This affords students the opportunity to interact directly with the material they are learning in class and work together with staff to apply this learning to particular cases.
With approval from our Clinic Coordinator, some of our student counselors elect to do a limited number of clinical hours via externships. Externships provide a specialized setting that enables the student counselor to hone their counseling skills in a particular area. Standard externships include Three Oaks (outpatient treatment facility) and Shephearst Meadows (outpatient treatment facility for women), but students may investigate new opportunities in accordance with their particular interests if they wish.
The MAC program has also begun to work closely with Mission to North America’s Disaster Relief Team (MNA is a ministry of the Presbyterian Church in America) to provide crisis counseling wherever the crisis occurs. Our students have travelled to meet with those who have experienced trauma and loss in several recent tornadoes.
The Counseling Center at Reformed Theological Seminary includes the following features:
- Fifteen counseling rooms, including two play therapy rooms
- Audio/video equipment in each counseling room to record sessions for supervision
- Computerized student/counselor control room to record session notes and prepare video for supervision
- Comfortable student lounge areas to maximize informal student to student and student to faculty interaction
These amenities make our clinic one of the best in the country.
The Center ministers to a wide variety of people in the greater Jackson area. Among our clients, there is significant ethnic diversity, a range of incomes (low to high), and various degrees of functioning (low to high). We receive referrals from churches, the Department of Human Services, lawyers, physicians, and judges (court-ordered cases). Counseling is provided to individuals, couples, or families as appropriate.
Counseling Services are provided for issues such as:
- Pre-marital and marital decision making
- Marital and family conflict and resolution
- Singleness and single parenting issues
- Step-family issues
- Sexual abuse
- Traumatic experiences
- Crisis situations
- Anger management
- Communication skill improvement
- Parenting and child discipline
- Play therapy
- Adolescent behavior issues
- Self injury (cutting, etc.)
- Eating disorders