by Fatima Lowe-Williams
The Southern California Counseling Center
“People shall have human contact when they need it and for no other reason than that they need it…” Gail Wilburn, LMFT & Executive Director of the Southern California Counseling Center
For over five decades the Southern California Counseling Center (SCCC) has stayed true to this philosophy. In addition to providing mental health counseling for individuals, families, couples and children on a sliding scale basis, their services also address teen violence prevention, children affected by violence, and school-based counseling services. Located in mid Los Angeles, the SCCC answers the call of caring for our diverse community with affordable mental health services.
I personally have a soft spot in my heart for this organization because the work that they do is much needed. With therapy costs ranging as high as $125 or more per session, this facility not only provides the highest caliber of psychiatric services at a low cost but they do it in way where clients are given back their integrity. No one ever is made to feel shunned or shamed due to minimal financial resources. The majority of mental health needs are often people who are underserved or fall below the poverty line. A great contributor of mental stress is often money related; so when a person is able to get the care that they need without the burden of super high fees; this then releases into our society a person who is much more balanced emotionally and mentally. This person can then go on to live the best life possible now that they have the on-going tools. When this happens not only does the individual win but society wins as well.
SCCC also serves as a great launching and training facility for newer counselors. All counselors work under the supervision of licensed mental health professionals. The majority of counselors are MFT students/interns who are in training to become licensed therapists. Some counselors are paraprofessionals : they have not attended a graduate degree program in mental health. However, they receive the same type of supervision and intense training as those working toward licensure. All counselors are carefully selected and conscientiously trained to work with a range of psychological, emotional and relationship concerns.
This is the place where my husband did his initial hands on training and as a result is a compassionate, gifted Marriage Family Therapist (MFT) with a thriving private practice. Despite being in private practice, he is still actively involved with SCCC. This is often the case with those who work and volunteer here. Long after one’s time at SCCC; the call to service and the integrity of SCCC often generates faithful life-long supporters in the professional mental health industry at large.
Without this organization, and others like it; there would be a lot of hurting, confused individuals walking the streets of LA. However, because of it, there are more people walking with a greater sense of purpose, mental clarity and experiencing healing from the inside out.
All monies go toward training and retaining qualified staff, implementing and supporting the aforementioned services and keeping costs low (sometimes as low as $5) for a private 1-on-1 therapy session. This insures that no one is ever turned away due to money. Additionally, the following community programs are also supported by our generous donation:
The Abuse Prevention Program: (TAPP) is a Los Angeles County Probation Department-approved batterer's treatment program that also provides support groups for domestic violence survivors. Currently, they offer four men's groups and two women's groups each week.
Project Fatherhood: Project Fatherhood was developed in collaboration with Children's Institute, Inc. with funding from the Department of Health and Human Services. This program gives fathers the tools to participate actively in the rearing and well-being of their children and as a result helps children to grow up safe and healthy and to become productive adults.
Rage Resolution Groups: The Rage Resolution Group does not demonize anger or deny the reality of its presence. Instead, it provides a safe place where feelings of anger and rage can be expressed without judgment. Group talks address both sides of anger and rage. That is, how they have served us, as well as how they have taken over our best intentions. Through hundreds of group sessions, the SCCC have come to understand that fear and sadness often underlie violence and rage; fear and sadness that are not celebrated in most communities the way rage and violence are, but that are instead made synonymous with weakness.
Best Practice Parenting: Best Practice Parenting is an affordable ten week class designed to support people who want to be the best parents they can be. Offered in both English and Spanish, this class helps parents identify their own strengths and values and find tools to address the challenges of parenting.
I believe that there is an amazing kinship of mission and ideology where TNH and SCCC are concerned. TNH provides a safe environment where we (TNH members) are given the permission, tools and support to show up in the world at our absolute best and achieve our greatest personal and professional potential all the while giving back to our communities.
Likewise, SCCC does the same. They are giving the greatest gift of understanding, support and encouragement through the mental health services that they provide. And through their amazing training professional programs, they too are giving back to the community by sending out into the professional mental health arena highly skilled, equipped and compassionate therapists and counselors. Such individuals are launched into the world with a mission to serve, to uplift and to help heal.
Southern California Counseling Center is located at 5615 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90019. Their website is: http://www.sccc-la.org/
*Please note that not all experiences, beliefs and ideas are shared by each member of the “The New Hollywood.” We are a group of shepherds, not sheep.