The Medical and Counseling Care Center has been a part of the ACU community since 1984. While the MACCC has grown, so has the number of students they serve. Because of the number of students using the MACCC has increased over the years, it is becoming difficult for students to schedule appointments.
Steve Rowlands, Counseling Center director, said the center is well staffed, but the demand and desire to see a counselor has been increasing over the past 10 years. Rowlands said this is a trend other schools have been experiencing. While other schools limit the number of sessions a student may schedule, the counselors of the MACCC want to take the best care possible of the students.
“We are committed to helping students reach their life goals and to grow as individuals,” Rowlands said. “This desire has left us with a high demand and therefore our resources are stretched. Ideally, we would like to have additional counselors to help meet this need.”
Rowlands said 10-12 percent of students use the services provided by the Counseling Center. In October, the center provided 576 hours of counseling to the ACU community. Rowlands said this was a new all-time record.
He said the Counseling Center staff consists of three full-time counselors, one part-time counselor, a part-time psychiatrist and himself. He said the center has approximately 30 hours of appointments available each day.
When the center is at full capacity and unable to schedule any more appointments, Rowlands said they give clients the option of being placed on a waiting list, participating in group activities or given a list of references in the community. He said most students choose the waiting list, but a few ask to be referred.
“Additionally, even during peak times of the semester when our schedules are full we evaluate each request for counseling and those who are in crisis or have significant needs are worked in as soon as possible,” Rowlands said.
Rowlands said leaders in Student Life and the university are aware of the situation and are working to find a solution that will benefit the students.
Dr. Jeff Arrington, associate vice president for Student Life, described the work done in the Counseling Center as a “tremendous service” to the students and the ACU community.
He said he has made three suggestions to Rowlands in order to benefit the center. These suggestions include the use of group therapy/counseling when necessary and the use of a waiting list “in combination with Steve’s professional judgement about the situations that merit immediate attention.”
Another solution Arrington has suggested is to ask the staff to work together to decide if any clients are staying in therapy too long.
“The counselors are wonderful people who do what they do out of a desire to help people face tough challenges,” Arrington said. “Sometimes this desire to help makes it hard on a counselor to suggest that a particular client does not need to continue therapy. For a person with a heart to help others, this can be a particularly challenging conversation. They have implemented a peer review process to help insure that students and others with critical issues are able to see a counselor that merit immediate attention.”
Arrington said he has great confidence in Rowlands’ leadership and professional judgement in regards to Student Life’s resources with the best possible service for the MACCC’s clients.
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