Students studying to become the next generation of psychologists now have a facility that measures up to the quality of the program.
University of Windsor’s psychology graduate program is celebrating both its 50th anniversary and the grand opening of its new Psychological Services and Research Centre (PSRC) at 2629 Riverside Drive West on Thursday.
Director Antonio Pascual-Leone said the new facility will provide exciting new opportunities for the graduate students’ clinical training in the program.
“Our students are shoulder-to-shoulder with the Ivy league schools when writing the North American psychologist licensing exam,” said Dr. Pascual-Leone, adding that UWindsor students typically score within the top fifth to 10th percentile. He said objective and standardized exams show students graduating from this program are some of the best trained, not only in the country, but in all of North America.
“I’m excited to see what happens when a training program that is this good, and produces students of this quality, actually has a facility to support it. I think it’s going to catapult us forward.”
Pascual-Leone said the centre serves as an analog of what a teaching hospital is to a medical school.
The advanced training facility allows graduate students in the clinical psychology program a venue for working directly with students and members of the community. These clinical trainees, under the supervision of the University’s clinical psychologists, provide psychological assessments for children, adolescents, and adults.
Pascual-Leone said the life issues and mental health problems they address could range from emotional problems and psychiatric problems, to personality disorders, to family therapy, and even certain kinds of brain dysfunction.
The centre, which has existed in various locations for the last 40 years around campus, has also provided therapy to especially vulnerable populations including refugees or victims of human trafficking.
“This is where our students get their core training as clinicians, then they go on to do placements in the surrounding community, other cities, and eventually internships across Canada,” explained Pascual-Leone. “The value of services students in the department of psychology provides to our community is substantial: estimated at $6.3 million dollars every year in professional services.”
The new facility on Riverside Drive West now has 10 clinical service rooms which can be used for individual assessments, therapy, or group therapy. Of the 10 clinical service rooms, four are outfitted with one-way mirrors to allow supervisors or students to watch the sessions live.
“This is always done with the permission of the client and confidentiality is quite important here,” Pascual-Leone said.
“The whole house is wired for cameras and those encrypted video recordings provide another form of supervision. This is state-of-the-art clinical training.”
The house itself sits overlooking the Detroit River on Riverside Drive West and Patricia Road and is adorned with detailed woodwork and etched glass windows.
Artwork that has been donated or purchased from local artists and from University of Windsor students, decorates the walls in each clinical room and hallway.
“It’s important to have a building that doesn’t have a cold and clinical feel,” Pascual-Leone said. “This is an especially vulnerable population coming here and so approaching a place that is discreet, private but also feels warm and welcoming is a pretty key part of having the best clinic we can have.”
The University’s Department of Psychology has a lot to celebrate this year. Along with opening of the new PSRC, the clinical and social psychology programs are celebrating their 50th anniversary of training graduate students.
The official grand opening of the Psychological Services and Research Centre will be held on Thursday, September 21. For more information, visit www.uwindsor.ca.