Baylor Counseling Center Impacts Waco Through Addition of Services and CounselorsJuly 10, 2018
Locals Love Us Awards Counseling Center for 2018
by Liesbeth Powers, student newswriter
WACO, Texas (July 10, 2018) – The Baylor University Counseling Center was recently named as a 2018 Locals Love Us counseling service in Waco. This is the second time that the Counseling Center has been recognized with this award, with its first selection in 2014.
“I appreciate Baylor students’ willingness to vote and share their positive experiences and interactions with the Counseling Center,” said Jim Marsh, Ph.D., executive director for Counseling Services. “We appreciate the affirming feedback from students, and I believe it communicates that students value the services and support we provide and the important role that we have on campus.”
Over the past two years, the Counseling Center has added staff and expanded its programs for students. In the past year, the number of students visiting the Counseling Center increased by 36 percent, following a 68 percent increase from the year before. In addition, the counselor-to-student ratio decreased to one counselor per every 775 students, compared with the average ratio of one counselor to 1,600 students, according to the National Survey of Counseling Center Directors in 2013. Baylor's ratio is among the lowest in the nation.
“One out of every six students came through our office,” Marsh said. “Compared to our peers, that’s a pretty high percentage of students.”
Marsh attributes this increase in visits to the creation of a range of programs and services that follow a stepped-care model.
“One of the great things about working at a university is that we have some flexibility to look at different ways to help students,” Marsh said. “Historically, the main service we always offered was individual therapy, which is still a large part of what we provide. Individual therapy is considered high-intensity, high-engagement, as we call it, and not everybody wants or needs to do that.”
Some alternatives to individual therapy are short-term consultation or joining one of the 20 specialized groups. Walk-in appointments are available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., including lunch hour, and those who walk in are seen within an average of 15 minutes after completing the initial paperwork. There are also workshops and online courses available, known as Therapy Assisted Online (TAO), any of which can be combined with meeting with a specialist virtually or in person.
“Certainly, one of the biggest changes has been our group program and the number of groups that we offer,” Marsh said. “Students have responded well, and I think they have found them to be really helpful.”
The Counseling Center was selected as an “Also Loved” establishment by Locals Love Us, an online service that allows locals to nominate and vote for businesses in their area. The “Also Loved” category is for those who were not selected as top five, but were recognized by a large percentage of the community. This selection will place the Counseling Center in the Locals Love Us directory for free for the next year and it will be promoted by Locals Love Us on its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.
“It’s not real easy to get voted in so it’s great,” said Diana Lynne Crow, client relations for Locals Love Us. “The Baylor student body does use us regularly. They come from out of town and they don’t know who to trust in Waco. If a business is on that site, odds are they’re trustworthy, and they’re good at what they do, or they wouldn’t get voted in.”
Once an establishment is registered with Locals Love Us, anyone in the community can find it on the website and vote. Users can search for local businesses by category or by the age range and gender of those who have voted. In the last year, more than 47,000 people used the website and more than 95,000 directories were mailed out or put on racks around town and Baylor campus.
“What I think is helpful about being selected for Locals Love Us is that it’s not me or someone who works at Baylor saying that we’re doing a good job,” Marsh said. “It’s actually the students who come here and meet with our staff.”
In Marsh’s 20 years of working at the Counseling Center, he has seen many things change and expects it to continue that way.
“We are always thinking about how we can really be better at what we do: how do we meet the needs of students, how do we know what those needs are, how are we tracking that and how do we adapt our programs and services to meet those needs and do it in a way that is timely and efficient?” Marsh said.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized a