Counselor center offers training at low costs

Assistant+Director+Vicky+Daniels+%28left%29+and+Director+Deana+Porter+%28right%29+hold+a+meeting+to+discuss+what+the+Low+Cost+Community+Counseling+Center+is+currently+doing.++Porter+was+one+of+Professor+Todd+Gaffney%27s+former+students.+Photo+credit%3A+Gustavo+Olguin

Assistant Director Vicky Daniels (left) and Director Deana Porter (right) hold a meeting to discuss what the Low Cost Community Counseling Center is currently doing. Porter was one of Professor Todd Gaffney's former students. Photo credit: Gustavo Olguin

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A former student of psychology professor Todd Gaffney has become the director of a counseling center and now gives training for anyone who is interested in becoming a counselor.

Deana Porter was Gaffney’s student in the early 90s and is the director of the Low Cost Community Counseling Center, which has been around for 40 years.

The counseling center provides individual and group counseling on issues that range from veterans coming back from war to domestic violence that are available in English and Spanish.

Porter was offered an opportunity to intern at the counseling center to get her feet wet and see what it’s like to work in the field.

“One day, he announces to the class that he knows of a counseling center that the students can go volunteer and learn how to be counselors and work with people,” she said.

Now it’s come full circle, because Porter now has some of Gaffney’s current students training at the counseling center.

“They are learning a lot of skills on how to interact with people, build a rapport with them and we do a lot of role playing so they can feel what it’s like to sit and talk with a person,” she said.

Gaffney currently teaches abnormal psychology and personal and social adjustment. He feels that the theories he teaches can help reinforce their training.

“Some of the exercises and some of the concepts relate to the kind of training that they have over there,” he said. “Although the training that they are getting over there is completely hands-on.”

Melissa Jimenez, psychology major, is one of the students that is training and thinks that the training has reassured her that this is what she wants to do as a career.

“I think that’s important because it’s not all over the place and she is giving us valuable information that we can not only use now, but in our futures as well,” Jimenez said.

Gaffney thinks that the training is important and the students are lucky that they are able to get it so early in their academic careers.

“Most students have to be on a graduate level to get this kind of training,” he said. “They are getting it at lower division. They are ahead of the game.”

Gaffney recognizes the Health Center on campus as a resource, but thinks that the LCCC has some advantages over the one on campus.

The LCCC is another possible location, besides the one on campus, for students to get help with their mental health issues.

“The disadvantage to the one on campus is that it’s time limited. You have three to five sessions, then they make referrals,” he said. “The advantage to a community counseling center is that the stay is uninterrupted.”

Jimenez echoes the thoughts of her professor by saying that the discounted first session along with the counselors set the counseling center apart.

“We have a lot of counselors that are their age so they will be able to be on the same level and they may be able to open up a little bit more,” she said.

For more information on the you can go to the website at www.LCCCC.org.