A service available at NSU that many people are not aware of is the Brief Therapy Institute (BTI), which is located in the Maltz Psychology Building on the southeast side of campus, off of College Avenue and Southwest 30th Street.
Unlike the Henderson Student Counseling Center, which offers its services only to NSU students, BTI is open to the general public — for people of all ages seeking individual, couples or family counseling, Mondays through Fridays 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Students in the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences’ Marraige and Family Therapy program work at BTI as a required practicum. Students enrolled in the M.S. in Family Therapy program spend two semesters working at BTI, while those in the Doctor of Marriage and Family Therapy and the Ph.D. in Family Therapy programs spend four semesters working there.
BTI does not take insurance. Instead, pricing is based off of the client’s income. The first counseling session is free, then fees start at $15 per visit and can be reevaluated for special financial situations.
Jenna Wilson, second year doctoral student in Marriage and Family Therapy, said, “BTI offers therapy services to the community for a very low fee and is always partnering with other agencies in order to offer the highest quality of care to our clients.”
Each session, in which patients speak with a graduate student, lasts 50 minutes. However, according to Director of BTI Arlene Gordon, this timing isn’t a strict regulation.
“If a client is having a really challenging time, we’ll stay later,” she said.
In a typical therapy session, patients are given the option of sitting with a therapist while a team of graduate students and supervisor sit in an adjoining room. The students in the adjoining room takes notes on the session, as they view it through a one-way mirror. Clients who chose to sit with a team often find comfort in knowing that the team is there working with them.
Natalie Rothman, second year doctoral student in the Marriage and Family Therapy program, said, “I have gained a different experience by working at BTI with professors, as I interact with them differently. I am no longer a student learning from them but a person working with and for them.”
The therapy session is also recorded, so that students can observe their own work and self-evaluate.
“Previously, I was in a counseling program that one day just turned us out into the field with no prior in-room experience,” Rothman said. “Role plays in a classroom do not come close to what it is like in the therapy room. Having an opportunity to practice our clinical skills while being supervised live is a benefit that is incomparable. BTI prepares students to work in the field which eliminates much of the self doubt that novice therapists experience.”
Since 2006, the number of clients seen at BTI has tripled in yearly visits. Gordon attributes this increased popularity to its convenient location, its community focus and its hardworking, dedicated staff of students and professors.
For more information or to set up an appointment with BTI, call 954-262-3030.