Photo: Valdosta State University’s Counseling Center recently earned the Georgia College Counseling Association’s 2023 Clinical Program of the Year Award. Pictured is Heidi O’Connor, assistant director of the Counseling Center (second from left) with Master of Education in Counselor Education students Michaela Brooks (intern), Loriann Merritt (intern), and Chasity Reynolds (practicum student).
VALDOSTA – The VSU’s Counseling Center earns the Georgia College Counseling Association’s Clinical Program of the Year Award.
Valdosta State University’s Counseling Center recently earned the Georgia College Counseling Association’s 2023 Clinical Program of the Year Award.
It was the Counseling Center’s work as a practicum and internship site for master’s level counseling students that caught the Georgia College Counseling Association’s attention. The Clinical Program of the Year Award recognizes the development and implementation of a unique clinical program or group for college students.
“Our site places a big emphasis on giving graduate student trainees a real-world feel for what it’s like to work in a counseling center,” explained Heidi O’Connor, assistant director of the VSU Counseling Center. “They’re given a lot of hands-on learning opportunities through individual, group, and crisis counseling in addition to attending weekly consultations, trainings, and supervision. They have a presence at our outreach events and engage in classroom outreach as well.
“We give them the full experience of working at a counseling center, and by the time they graduate, they’re absolutely Blazer-ready for a career in counseling.”
O’Connor said it takes a lot of hard work to maintain the VSU Counseling Center as a practicum and internship site.
“We have a wonderful team of counselors, and everyone is really involved with the students, from training to supervision,” she added. We offer as much real-world experience to our students as we can.”
The Counseling Center averages two to three graduate student trainees each semester. These students are typically from VSU’s Master of Education in Counseling Education program, but depending on interest, the Counseling Center has hosted students from the Master of Social Work and Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy programs.
The VSU Counseling Center focuses on providing short-term, solution-focused therapy in a safe, judgment-free zone. It is a free resource that allows VSU students the opportunity to examine personal, family, social, and academic concerns. Counselors uphold the five core values for trauma-informed care — safety, trustworthiness, choice, collaboration, and empowerment. On the Web: