Center expands clientele

By Stephan L. Lopes

“Traditional” students are no longer the majority of those who seek help from NIU’s Psychological Services Center, but the shift to treating more local citizens is a positive one.

This shift follows the center’s goal of providing psychological services for local citizens and “non-traditional” students, as well as “traditional” students, said Dr. RuthAnn Parvin, the center’s director.

“Non-traditional” students are classified as those who are older, married or returning students. “Traditional” students are those just out of high school.

Parvin explained that the center tries to accept those who might provide a richer training experience for those seeking their doctoral degrees at NIU.

The students are supervised very closely by licensed clinical psychologists who are NIU faculty members.

The center does this by accepting applicants who are plagued by problems other than the ones encountered by traditional students.

Parvin said the center was able to change its clientele through the use of several media.

They first enlisted the help of communications student Jim McCormack, who produced a film about the center. The film was aired on closed-circuit TV around campus last spring. Parvin said she believes that this was instrumental in the clientele shift.

Other media used were direct mailings to doctors, news releases, information to day-care centers and public speeches.

The center’s records show that during the 1986-87 academic year, 26 percent of the center’s services were rendered to local citizens. The rest were administered to students.

During the 1988-89 academic year, however, 53 percent of services were provided to local citizens and the remainder to students.

The center provides a variety of services, including biofeedback, children’s services, stop-smoking clinics, weight control and marital and sexual problems. Interested persons may call 753-0591 for more information.

While the clinic is open year-round, Parvin said that it is best to seek services early since space is limited. This is especially true for those who wish to take part in a therapy group, she said.

Parvin wants those interested to know that although the center has limited space, their office can refer cases to the Counseling and Student Development Center located in Graham Hall.