Regent’s Psychological Services Center: Providing Affordable, Accessible Mental Health Services

Regent’s Psychological Services Center: Providing Affordable, Accessible Mental Health Services

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (September 21, 2020) – Before 2020, most of us gave little thought to the concept of a pandemic beyond maybe a few apocalyptic books and movies imagining such an event. Now, we’re faced with very real effects of COVID-19 … how to navigate anxiety and emotions … cope with canceled events and lagging income opportunities … muster motivation … nurture relationships while socially distanced … school our children … and process a “new normal” we are yet to fully understand.

Through the questions and churn for society to pivot swiftly, Regent University’s Psychological Services Center (PSC) is an ever-increasing anchor for many Hampton Roads residents. Operating as a clinical training center within Regent’s School of Psychology & Counseling, the center provides accessible, affordable therapy and other mental health resources both within and beyond the Regent community.

Nearly 25 second-year Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology students provide individual, couples, and group therapy, guided by a team of expert licensed clinical psychologists and administrators. “They get feedback from both peers and faculty, affording them multiple perspectives, which really flexes their cognitive thinking,” explained PSC Director Dr. Cassandra Page, also a Psy.D. associate professor at Regent. “Other training clinics I’ve been part of have not had supervision this rich. Regent’s model adds to the depth of being able to understand who it is that they’re working with more fully.” Over the past year, the center has served more than 300 clients, providing therapy, as well as assessment services in areas including career, intelligence, learning, and personality.

Offering Clients Secure Digital Solutions in Response to COVID-19

Providentially, in 2019, under the direction of PSC Assistant Director Dr. Rachel Stephens, the center migrated 20 years of hard-copy records to an electronic medical record keeping system. With this hurdle conquered, staff members could quickly pivot to providing online therapy sessions when Virginia officials called for a shelter-in-place response to COVID-19 in March 2020. Students and supervisors were trained in telepsychology and telesupervision by the American Psychological Association and Telebehavioral Health Institute and secured Zoom HIPPA- access to conduct confidential teletherapy sessions. By May, the new system was fully in place. Now, the secure online sessions are thriving and have become the primary method of therapy provision.

In regards to the pandemic, Page acknowledges a theme of exhaustion among those she and her student clinicians serve, both those on the frontlines of healthcare and those in other roles simply navigating the day-to-day in a new world. “There’s the sense of ‘I need somebody to journey with me. Are you able to understand my circumstances enough to do that?’” she said.

The additional concerns of racial injustice have added complexity to the therapist-client conversations. “There are a lot of clients who, for the first time, are recognizing, ‘Oh, this is really happening. What do we do about this? How do I get involved? What does this mean for how I participate in these conversations as a Christian?” said Page. “So there’s a really big curiosity taking place and new conversations rising up in what truly is an unprecedented time in history.”

Through all the complexities, Page is proud of the team’s ability to adjust well to meet the needs. “We’ve been able to grow figuratively and literally, and we haven’t hit any hiccups,” she said. “I am so grateful for new systems, training and quality of care that keep the Psychological Services Center on par with our field.”

Who the Regent Psychological Services Center Serves

Individuals, couples and families throughout the area are welcome and encouraged to contact the center regarding care. Additionally, several community partners utilize the center’s resources, including Legal Aid, Lackey Free Clinic, Thomas Nelson College, various local churches, and the City of Virginia Beach Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. While the fee structure already is much lower than at a private practice, PSC offers reduced rates on a case-by-case basis.

Regent students and their immediate family members may receive therapy free of charge and assessment services at a 50% discount. Reductions are also available to Regent employees and their families.

In keeping with PSC’s key commitments to accessibility and affordability, the center provided therapy and assessment services representing more than $50,000 in kind to the Hampton Roads community in the 2019-2020 school year alone. “We simply want to make sure that people can get the help they need,” said Page.

Resources Provided by the Psychological Services Center

 In addition to therapy and assessments, the center offers these resources:

Specialty Clinics & Workshops

  • Hope-Focused Couples Counseling Clinic – Care for marital and pre-marital couples desiring to enrich their relationship, recover from infidelity, or invest in their pre-marital relationship.
  • Group Clinic – Group therapy for concerns such as chronic pain or illness, trauma recovery, anxiety, depression, and poor social skills.
  • Multicultural Clinic – Psy.D. students consider different areas of diverse identities and how they show up in society and affect clients.
  • Cultural Diversity Series/Paradigm Shift Initiative – A forum in which areas of diversity and worldviews can be explored. Past topics include obesity in an era of body positivity, childhood trauma, religious trauma recovery, cannaboid use in mental health settings, and community trauma in minorities and immigrants.

Outreach

  • The PSC facilitates and participates in events within the Regent community and the greater region. Interested organizations are encouraged to request workshops and seminars through the PSC outreach team, by calling the center.
  • Popular event topics include chronic pain, career and strength assessments, learning disabilities, therapy and Christian integration, stress management and self-care, substance abuse, depression, interpersonal violence, well-being amidst the pandemic, parenting, and social and racial justice.

What Makes the Regent Psychological Services Center Stand Out

Page is quick to note that people at all places on the faith spectrum receive therapy at the center, and their preferences are respected. For those who do want faith to be part of their journey, student clinicians are trained to provide that guidance richly.

“I think the beauty of being at a place like Regent – with a mission of ‘Christian’ leadership – is that you have so many different denominations underneath that umbrella. This presents many opportunities to learn new perspectives and understand people better,” said Page.  “Being able to have really specific training on how to engage in those conversations and not be scared of them compared to some secular institutions is a special privilege.”

For prospective students looking to integrate faith into clinical practice, Page also emphasizes Regent’s unique ability to deliver on-site, practical experience that is comprehensively supervised and provides a meaningful culture for learning from various theoretical perspectives.

Learn More About the Regent Psychological Services Center

A major goal of Regent’s Psychological Services Center for the coming year is to increase referrals and reach more people in need. Ask Page her heart’s desire, and she’ll tell you this: “We just want people to know we’re here. We also want them to know that therapy is just a conversation. Don’t let any stigmas trip you up. Take the step; we will meet you.”

The center is located on Regent’s campus in the Classroom Building, Suite 188, in Virginia Beach, VA. Office hours are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Evening appointments and telehealth delivery are also available. Learn more by calling the center at 757.352.4488 or visit regent.edu/psc.

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The School of Psychology & Counseling is one of a handful of Christian institutions offering programs accredited by both the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Additionally, the school’s Psy.D. match rate is 20% higher than the national average. Known for delivering award-winning programs, students are taught by acclaimed faculty who integrate the science of human behavior with faith-based principles. The school offers both online and on campus degrees including M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, M.A. in School Counseling, M.A. in Marriage, Couple & Family Counseling, M.A. in Pastoral Counseling, M.A. in Human Services, M.S. in Psychology, Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology, Ph.D. in Counselor Education & Supervision, and Ph.D. in Counseling & Psychological Studies.